At Ravinia Reading Center, we emphasize the undeniable connection between spoken and written language and so being able to hear and see the teacher clearly is critical. Our students learn to independently apply word structure knowledge—phonological, morphological, and orthographic—to help them learn and remember any word they see.
This integrated approach to word study calls us to staff speech-language pathologists (SLPs) as reading instructors, as certification in our field requires rigorous formal training in all aspects of language.
Over the years we developed a strong following and a reputation for achieving excellent outcomes with students, however our dilemma was we could only remain local. When parents from distant communities contacted us, it was difficult to direct them to a more suitably located clinic with full confidence.
I decided to look into telepractice. We researched a variety of products and ultimately chose Fuze because of the availability on multiple devices and rich annotation tools. Students can join from their home computer, parents often call in from their phones to join the session and the staff here primarily use iPads for teaching.The annotation tools allow us to work together with the student to discover the sounds in a word along with the letter or letters that represent each sound.
The above (picture) is from a lesson where Guy and I figured out that the sound combination /n/ (thus the nut) and /s/ (thus the sun) is often spelled <nse>. The “good job post” was Guy's doing! We have fun while teaching language skills on Fuze. We can see and hear each other beautifully and we just love how easy it is to share content. Before each session I load up word lists for students to read while I listen.
For us, Fuze sessions have the same look and feel as an in-person session, and offer the same opportunity for learning.Here's a funny story; one our SLP's met with a Fuze student in person. The first thing they did was look at each other and say, “This is weird!” It actually felt more natural for them to meet online.
Since we started using it in September we’ve had some fantastic success stories. We monitor progress faithfully and have been seeing objective, measurable results. Our students report significant improvements in their ability to keep up with schoolwork. Parents note that their children are beginning to enjoy reading. Parents have also commented on how they appreciate the flexibility of dialing in from outside home to join in.
At this point, Fuze is an easy decision for us. It allows us to see students statewide, making our services accessible to families who don't reside in the Chicago area. Parents tell us it is changing their families lives. We can’t ask for much more impact than that.
About the Author.
Dr Holly Shapiro is the founder of Ravinia Reading Center
Ravinia Reading Center provides individually tailored reading instruction delivered by speech-language pathologists. Twice-weekly enrollment is available at our reading center in Highland Park, IL and throughout the state via private online lessons.