Training is so much fun when those being trained have seen the power of a program. That was the case in Colorado Springs this past week. The CPCD Head Start program, with additional support from a local Rotary foundation, is preparing for a giant leap forward for childhood literacy. A pilot summer session was so promising that more classes requested Souns. Rotary responded, and now Souns is in even more classrooms. The training was filled with enthusiasm, great questions, and comments. Now just to enjoy the process of learning….for both teacher and learners.
The following are candid comments from those involved with the pilot summer program:
● This summer I had a great experience with Souns. One child in particular started the program not knowing any letter sounds and by the end of the 6 weeks he was able to write words just by using the sounds of the letters. He also learned how to read simple words by connecting the letter sounds.
● A couple of things really impressed me as I implemented the Souns activities this summer: 1) The children grasped and learned so much in just 7 weeks to the point that by the end of those 7 weeks they were displaying emergent writing skills related to our study. 2) The other thing that impressed me was the simplicity, hands-on, sturdiness, and variety that the Souns activities provided. There is a multitude of ways to work with this tool and provide letter-sound-knowledge-building that our early learners need.
● I supervised the summer classrooms that were pilots for Souns. I was blown away by the learning from the children and the engagement. But, most of all, the enthusiasm from the staff was amazing.
● Things I noted: 1) How we worked as a team 2) A parent told me that she was happy to see her son reading labels at the grocery store.
● I saw the Souns program being utilized successfully in a typical classroom when I first started. During the summer I changed positions and moved to a class for children with behavior issues. At first I was worried that it would not work with these children, but they picked it up very quickly.
● I enjoyed watching how fast the children caught on to how we presented Souns. They enjoyed learning new letters-sounds each week. They wanted to be fed more.
● When one of our kids was registering for kindergarten, the mom was so impressed with how many sounds [her child] knew. Mom had no idea she knew that many! I accredit this success to Souns.
● I saw amazing literacy growth in the children. The children interacted with the Souns letters in many different ways. One of our children was reading early readers by the end of the summer session.
● [Souns is a] meaningful way for children to connect letters and sounds.
● Being part of [a class for behavior issues] I was hesitant to implement the program. The children began responding immediately to the program and made so much progress in so little time – It was easy and we fit it in whenever we could. Loved it!
● I was only involved with Souns as a supervisor. We have been trying for years to get teachers to understand that phonemic awareness comes first. It has been an uphill battle. Souns made this concept CLEAR! The kids understood that the letter shapes represented sounds. Amazing! Put the sounds together and you have words. Change a shape and you change the word. They got it! They really got it!
● I was so amazed at how so many children wanted to [write] words on their own so quickly…and really got excited about it!
● At first it was hard to get things going. At about half way through the summer it was amazing to see everything click!
● I loved how the kids who really got it would help the ones who were struggling through partner games.
● By the 4th week of implementing Souns [we] had a child reading. Rolling out Souns was simple, which helped the children catch on really fast.
● I wasn’t in the program, but ALL the teachers I talked to LOVED it and I can say they’ve shared their very positive experiences so much that other teachers are excited to get [the program].
And now for 2014/15! Thank you, Rotary in Colorado Springs, for providing more Head Start classrooms with Souns! Thank you Rotary Club of Peachtree City, GA, for volunteer trainers.