“DOUBLES BOOKS” for Doubling Reading Progress

This is my second blog about DOUBLES BOOKS.

You may want to look back on the first one to read how they were started!


Lately I have been using the strategy again- for my very visual learners who need lots of repetition and have lost their confidence with reading and spelling.

It is a method that harnesses their own interests and well worth the small amount of time it takes to construct these simple books.

They work particularly well for students from 4-8 years of age and beyond for those with learning problems.

Milly is a very creative 7- year old student. I see her once a week and she is intrigued with everything to do with fantasy.

Milly has done well with the Jolly Phonics program but her word-recognition and spelling skills are still a little low.

Recently she was keen to write a story about fairies and as I need to improve her word recognition and spelling skills, we used the DOUBLES approach in her tuition session.

Milly dictated her story to me. I typed it with a simple font she could easily trace.

Milly read it to me and did not complain about the doubled words. In fact, she was so proud that she could read the words 100% accurately!

Milly then chose colours to trace the words and neatly worked her way through our “book.”

She had her book to show Mum at the end of the hour and was SO proud.

Some readers might remember this approach from the LANGUAGE EXPERIENCE method. Simply double whatever they dictate and either leave lines for them to copy or provide traceable fonts.

This method is successful with young students who need a boost of confidence, word-recognition and spelling skills and really accelerates their literacy skills in a non-painful and enjoyable way!





leaky armThe hole in the arm syndrome!

Many parents and teachers come to us with problems associated with reluctant writers. Their children are simply not able to transfer their thoughts to paper even though they have very creative ideas.

Many children are not able to sift through the myriad possibilities when asked to write freely – they often need some guidelines. These children often think on all levels at once and find it extremely difficult to order their thoughts and know where to start.

Some children are perfectionist in nature and know their written efforts will not be as good as they wish.

No matter what the cause- the effect is the same! Ideas and words just drop out of the elbow before they reach the pencil. I call it LEAKY ARM SYNDROME! It works in the same way as a leaking bucket- gradually all the ideas leak out and they are left embarrassed and unable to generate more.

We have been running professional development courses in Perth and Singapore to help parents and teachers stimulate writing and help children to overcome these difficulties and stimulate their “writing starter motors”.

Some of the suggestions we offer are:

• Give sentence starters and story starters – eg. It was a very stormy nights and …
• Use stimulating pictures to initiate writing responses
• Ask all children to keep personal journals
• Use guided visualisations to help children tap into their imagination
• Read a good story and ask children to retell it with a twist or some different characters
• We use paint charts to stimulate poetry and “stream of consciousness” writing.
• Let the child write one page or sentence and teacher/parent write the next one
• Encourage the child to speak their story onto a digital recorder or use voice recognition programs. Children LOVE to see their words magically translated into words!
• Pay more attention to the message rather than the spelling and editing when children are in the initial stages of writing.
• We also use some specific brain stimulation exercises to ensure ideas are travelling smoothly along all neural pathways!

We all have a writer’s voice inside so perhaps if we all write in journals and try our hands at some poetry our children will perceive that writing is a valued activity and try out their creative ideas!

If you would like further ideas or information about our methods, please contact us on 92714200 or 0409911135. You can also email us on victoriacarlton@iinet.net.au and don’t forget we are helping children find their WRITING VOICES during our January programs. The Victoria Carlton programs are held in Bayswater: 92714200 and Cockburn: 9414 7191

“My hand can’t write- it’s a drawing hand!”

I was working with one of my favourite reluctant writers (7 yrs) yesterday and giving him 10 minutes as a writing slave. This means he gets to dictate his story, I write and then he copies. He watched me write and commented, “My class teacher told me My hand is a drawing hand- not a writing one!” I was a bit stuck for words but eventually replied, “I know you CAN write Daniel. Now copy this right now and show me!”

To my amazement he wrote it fast and all over the place, not even trying so I pulled myself up to my full dragonish height and told him to do it again- slower and properly and of course he could! I pondered this later and to be frank I think the class teacher was trying so hard to affirm his drawing ability (great) but chose the wrong words- Daniel now had his excuse and he will churn that out as long as it works. Unfortunately (or fortunately) he now realises it won’t work with teachers at ICE so he is back to the EXCUSES drawing board!

The whole lesson and point of this is- we have to be careful not to feed these STAR (students at risk) kids excuses. They stuff themselves with them like other kids do with hot chips! Most kids CAN write and most CAN read. We need to raise the bar- not lower it. At the moment we have many children with very high intelligence levels but very low self-esteem in relation to their literacy. Sure- some kids do struggle with literacy skills and need specific help. The point is- we must give it to them and change their perception of themselves. Using labels and telling children they will always struggle is putting a self-fulfilling prophecy in their heads.

We give the students many short, timed writing exercises that access and foster their imaginations and if they have not been given too much negative feedback, the recovery process is fast.

We will make a free visualisation available on our website www.ice-au.com and change it regularly. Parents and teachers can also download individual visualisations (fee applies) or even ask for individualised ones to be written. This approach works. Our new book MIND JOURNEYS contains over 200 pages of visualisations, activity pages and instructions and tips to get ALL kids writing. This book will be released soon- email me for advance info- victoriacarlton@iinet.net.au

Let’s go forward confidently- when we write we explore our minds and refine our thinking skills. ALL kids need this civilising skill!



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