Ten Meaningful Minutes

Ten Meaningful Minutes

“My child just can’t read well.”

Whether your child is seven or fourteen this can seem like an overwhelming problem and one that seems to show up in more than just the classroom. Kids that can’t read know they can’t read and the last thing they want to do is admit it, leading to behavioral problems going hand in hand with the academic issues that arise—anything to avoid admitting that they cannot decode the words on the page. And unfortunately, while there are many things that are taught successfully in group situations such as classrooms, because of the vastly different proficiency levels in a classroom it is almost impossible to help a struggling reader catch up. They need help, individualized help, and it needs to come sooner rather than later. Once a student is in third grade the large majority of their new vocabulary words are gained through reading. Without that growing vocabulary it is easy to see how they just slip further and further behind. In the United States, approximately 19% of graduating seniors cannot easily read and understand a newspaper. Those are the ones that graduate…

To watch your child struggle with reading is heartbreaking. Homework is a nightmare for everyone involved—I have watched time and time again students working until ten and eleven o’clock every night because they just can’t read well enough to do the work. It is frustrating for the student and for the parent as well. Report cards are a nightmare. Oftentimes the school offers programs that do not get it done and you feel helpless as you watch your child getting deeper and deeper into the hole in all subject areas.

As a parent you know your child needs an intervention.

And I am here to tell you that in most cases, you can be that lifeboat for them with ten minutes a day.

Ten minutes: Enough time to pack their lunch, comment on a Facebook post, eat a sandwich, or Teach them to read.

Yes, Great Leaps has been used in classrooms for over twenty years but it has also been used by lunch ladies, janitors, parents, grandparents, paraprofessionals, college students and a wide array of other groups of people for that much time as well. When Great Leaps was being written in a middle school in rural Florida Ken Campbell specifically set out to write a program that did not need a professional teacher to administer it and he has kept the program that way to this day. If you can read, you can teach reading. And because he knew that the human attention span is about 6-8 minutes he wrote a program that fits within that timeframe (I say ten minutes because I figure you need to grab the book and maybe clear off a spot on the table. Ten minutes is the most it should take you!)

Ogden Lindsley, the father of Precision Teaching, believed strongly that one minute a day was more useful than an hour a week. 22 years of Great Leaps data concurs. The average growth using Great Leaps is almost two years per school year. One third of those students will jump several grades in the first nine months of the program! And the best part is that you can indeed do this with your child with the program and ten minutes a day!

Where is your ten minutes? Maybe when you first get home as a way to spend special time with your child one on one? Or after dinner, so you can end your Great Leaps time with dessert? Maybe your ten minutes will vary between waiting for a sibling to be done with soccer practice some afternoons and at home on other days—the program is portable and with ten minutes being all you need you can adapt it to work into your own special situation.

Ten meaningful minutes. One on one attention with your child that can literally change their lives one leap at a time. Let’s make it happen!


By Lisa Skisland

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