Fighting the National Reading Crisis
Today’s teachers are often faced with students who have a wide variety of challenges. Be it because of dyslexia, ADHD, a learning disability or coming from an at-risk household, many students fall further and further behind. Behaviors deteriorate and any motivation that they started the school year off with evaporates. Teachers are then expected to teach with insufficient resources and interventions that in practice, just don’t work. This is why Great Leaps Reading was created.
Great Leaps was developed out of necessity. Kenneth Campbell was contacted by a Florida school, determined to correct poor reading scores with limited resources available. Mr. Campbell used the practices developed over his 30-year teaching career to create a solution to increase reading scores through providing a positive and motivating academic experience.
Great Leaps, Born Out of Necessity
At the time, there were few options available. There was no computer lab available that they could monitor students at and hope they learn. So, Great Leaps utilized paraprofessionals, school bus drivers, lunchroom staff and community volunteers to implement a simple one-on-one program for struggling students. Through three daily, one-minute lessons in phonics, sight phrases, and stories, Great Leaps worked within the limit of the students’ short attention span. Because of this, each student missed less than 15 minutes of class time!
In fact, principal Hackmyer, of North Marion Middle School in Citra, Florida, said that “One of the amazing factors of Great Leaps is the results are so quick and dramatic. The students are shocked by their progress and this became self-reinforcing. Students asked to skip field trips and assemblies so they wouldn’t miss doing Great Leaps.” Nothing short of a miracle considering these middle school students were known for having disciplinary issues and a general disdain for school.
What Contributes to Great Leaps Success?
- The short, 15 minutes of individualized instruction
- Students achieve success reaching goals while working through highly-motivated lessons
- 20 plus years of testing
Great Leaps makes the words on the page become living language with age- appropriate stories in conversational English. Working with a Great Leaps instructor, many students for the first time in their life received attention, praise and positive reinforcement. Most importantly, this experience shifted their negative outlook towards school and learning to positive! Julie C., a teacher from an alternative school in Somerset, Kentucky, stated “I have never before found such an effective tool as your Great Leaps Reading. I am presently using it with eight middle and high school students in an alternative school..The students enjoy it so much they ask every day when I will be coming to get them.” When have you ever heard struggling students express that kind of motivation?
Great Leaps begins with lessons that are relatively simple. The students accomplish goals quickly providing them a sense of victory and confidence needed to progress into more challenging lessons. Once students have reached the independent reading level, Mr. Campbell’s goal, the students’ improved fluency and comprehension naturally generalizes to success in the rest of their academics reducing the at-risk students’ dropout rates and disciplinary referrals.
Great Leaps students now have a pathway towards a much brighter future.
Leading a New Era
The team at Great Leaps says it like this, “Our past success was born out of necessity and a desire to be the change we knew the world needed. Our present success is founded on positive data, sound research and a relentless passion for bringing children to their potential.”
Recently, Great Leaps Reading has evolved into the digital age. While retaining the power of one-on-one instruction, Great Leaps Digital provides improved accountability features and progress monitoring for administrators and instructors. Great Leaps Digital is also averaging an increase in reading fluency of nearly two years per semester with students.
A Little About Great Leaps
Since its official founding 1995, Great Leaps has made an immeasurable impact on correcting the bleak course of students’ lives. This was done by offering reading, fundamental math, and early language growth programs, all developed from the frontlines of teaching with a “student first” approach. These research/evidence-based programs have been proven to be effective with a wide range of students, from kindergarteners to 12th graders in districts across the country. Great Leaps has touched over one-half a million students’ lives in all 50 states and over 40 countries!
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