Frequently Asked Questions
What is the curriculum used at The Total Learning Center?
The Total Learning Center is a unique facility in Neptune that offers remedial programs for children and adults with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and other learning disabilities. Our programs are geared specifically towards improving performance in the areas of reading, spelling, and written language skills.
At this center, we specialize in the Wilson program, which is based on the multisensory principles of the Orton Gillingham methodology. This is a multisensory curriculum that engages all the sensory modalities in the learning process: visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile senses work in tandem to reinforce the learning. Multisensory learning has been proven to be the way dyslexic students learn best.
Each lesson provides direct instruction in decoding (word attack), encoding (spelling), and significant opportunity to apply this knowledge when reading and performing written language skills. This leads to reading accuracy, reading fluency, and enhanced comprehension. Through the manipulation of sounds using magnetic letters, the students learn to segment sounds and syllables to enhance reading and spelling fluency and accuracy. This leads to improved quantity and quality of their written work. The program begins with learning the single consonants and short vowels in the initial lessons of the curriculum and they continue to advance through the program until they have learned all 144 sounds in the English language.
By developing an association between letters, their speech sounds, and direct instruction in segmentation of syllables when reading and spelling multisyllabic words, the students become proficient in decoding, encoding and written language skills. Each unit is a ten-part lesson that rotates the modalities to enhance the learning.
How many steps are there?
The Wilson curriculum used at the Total Learning Center is comprised of 12 steps. In Level 1, Steps 1 through 6, the students are taught the regularities of sounds in the English language and four of the six basic syllable types. In Steps 7 through 12, the students are taught the irregularities of our language and letters that can make more than one sound and the final two syllables in the English language.
How do students get on the Wall of Fame?
In order for a student to advance to the next Step in the program, they must successfully pass a post test which consists of reading 15 real words and 15 nonsense words from that Step with 95% accuracy. In addition, they must spell 15 real words and 5 nonsense words accurately with a minimum of 85% accuracy. They are expected to apply knowledge of concepts learned by writing sentences and a story independently and then edit their written work. When they have successfully passed a Step, they receive a certificate and move on the Wilson bulletin board. Their picture is taken and they are then put on the Wall of Fame.
When they complete the basic level and advance level of the program, they receive a plaque which the students treasure. This plaque signifies this great achievement and the parents come in to celebrate this significant accomplishment with their children.
Do you provide progress reports?
The parents are provided with updates after each Step when the student’s testing is complete. In addition, a comprehensive progress report is provided in December and May of each year. If the students begin their instruction during the summer session, then a progress report is written after the six week summer session.
What should the parents expect from your teaching methods?
After the students have received this instruction for a few short weeks, the parents begin to see their child tap out sounds with their fingers, rather than guessing wildly when they come to unfamiliar words. The students begin to develop confidence in themselves, which leads to an improved self image. Once the child is taught in a way that they can learn, they realize they are intelligent and begin to enjoy school success.
As the students advance in the program, they begin to read with ease and spell with increased fluency, which leads to improvement in school in all aspects of the school curriculum. The parents are invited into their child’s class at the end of each Step, so that they can witness the extensive concepts their child has learned, their reading proficiency and their ability to become independent learners who can edit their written work. The parents are always amazed how much the students have learned through a fun and engaging multisensory curriculum that changes activities every five to 10 minutes. When the children have completed all 12 steps in the program, they have become scientists of the English language and with their extensive background in the basic syllables and sound options in the language, they read and spell with efficiency, fluency and confidence.
What about adult learners?
Adult dyslexic students who come to the center have often experienced years of frustration and a feeling that they were not intelligent. While they may have received remediation during their school years, they felt it never really helped. They continued to struggle in their personal lives and on the job due to their difficulty with reading, spelling and writing. It takes great courage on the adult’s part to take the first step by making the phone call to set up an appointment for testing.
Often, adult learners have learned to read from sight, but do not have a knowledge of sounds, and as a result, do not know how to sound out words that are unfamiliar. Their area of greatest weakness is often spelling and written work.
They will sometimes come in because a spouse, a friend, or even a parent who has heard about our services made the initial phone call. After the initial testing, when it is explained to them what dyslexia is and that they need to be instructed in a methodology that was specifically developed for this type of learner, they feel great relief. The Wilson Curriculum was initially written as an adult program for Grades six through adult and it was only later that primary and elementary versions were written. While the same graphemes, concepts and rules need to be taught in the curriculum, the material is more sophisticated and appropriate for the older student.
Often the adult dyslexic has spent years hiding their disability on the job, from friends and sometimes even their spouse. By completing the Wilson program, they begin to feel empowered with the belief that many of their life goals that they did not feel were possible now become attainable.
The learning journey can start today. Contact us and talk to us about setting up a dyslexia evaluation, signing up for classes, and more.