FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) - click on a question to reveal the answer
Having assessed thousands of children with their parent/s in attendance, over the past 25 years, here are some questions from teachers and parents that have arisen over that time period:
Why is it priced at only €100?
The original version of WordsWorthLearning © has been available since 1991 as part of our Speech & Language Consulting Therapy Service (specialising in literacy). It provides an exclusive remedial service for children and adults with reading and spelling problems (e.g. dyslexia). To make it more affordable and widely available, we developed the web version (WordsWorthLearning ©) which is offered at the affordable and reasonable price of €100.
Will it work on an iPad?
YES. The Programme works on an iPad although it is not an "APP". You simply type www.wordsworthlearning.com into the iPad browser to access the programme on our website. NOTE: WordsWorthLearning © has its own spelling check and when using an iPad, you will need to switch OFF the "Predictive Text" feature before starting. This is very easy to do and it can be turned ON/OFF as follows:
1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.
2. Select "Auto Correction" and turn it ON/OFF as required. Turning Auto Correction OFF will automatically disable the "Check Spelling" feature.
Will it work on Android Tablet PCs?
Some clients have been successfully using WordsWorthLearning © on android tablet PC devices. However, BEFORE purchasing, it is recommended that you try out the "Free Trial" (on the website homepage) using the android device you intend to use. This will let you test that your device can access the videos and interactive exercices without any problems. It is not an "APP" you simply type www.wordsworthlearning.com into the browser to access the programme via our website. NOTE: WordsWorthLearning © has its own spelling check and you may need to switch OFF the "Predictive Text" feature on your device before starting.
How does the Licence work?
WordsWorthLearning © can be purchased online as a "Single User Licence".
The Single User Licence is designed for a single version of WordsWorthLearning © to be loaded and used on one computer only.
Some patterns of use are emerging where "group" licences have been requested by a number of schools and we do accomodate such requests - simply contact us to discuss your requirements.
Note: Usage for each WordsWorthLearning © licence is tracked and recorded and WordsWorth Learning Limited reserve the right to revoke any licence that is deemed to be operating outside the terms & conditions specified on this website.
Is there any evidence to prove the efficacy of the programme?
YES. Research projects undertaken in 2007 and 2012 were professionally analysed by the Education Research Centre, Drumcondra, Dublin. The reports can be found on this website just click the "learn more" button to find the results based - evidence. An ongoing study already indicates that results using the online version are even better.
What is the best age for my child to start?
This does depend on their state of 'readiness' to begin learning to read, however, many are ready to begin
the early levels of the programme at school age (5 years) however we recommend from 6 years upwards. The earlier the better to instil confidence in reading & spelling.
How do I sign my child up?
Click the 'create an account' button to register with an email address and password. You will then be able to purchase a licence to use the product.
I have more than one child. Do I need to purchase a licence for each of my children?
Yes. Each child's level of literacy attainment is different and they need to learn at their own pace.
Is it suitable for my child?
WordsWorthLearning © has been developed for a range of students from about 5 years of age up to adult age. Younger students will need an adult facilitator to guide them through the various levels of the programme. We recommend that all students have a facilitator if possible. A student must be at least within average range of intellectual ability, but there are exceptions if there are indications that the student could improve with the correct intervention. Disclaimer: Children presenting with low intellectual ability may find the programme too difficult, so an alternative literacy intervention programme may be more suitable.
Are there any additional costs?
There are NO ADDITIONAL COSTS. It is a step-by-step web version of our Speech & Language Therapy Service provided in a Private Practice in Dublin, Ireland. The price of €100 for a "single user" licence is amazing value for money compared to the alternatives.
Can the Licence be used in a "Classroom" situation?
YES, a one year single user licence for each participating School Class (or Group) can be purchased under the Terms & Conditions of a normal licence. A "collaborative" model should be established where Parents purchase their own licence, in order that they can work at home to support what is being done in Class and facilitate any "homework". We have evidence to prove that this model works, with outstanding results.
What approach is being used?
WordsWorthLearning © begins at a pre-reading/pre-spelling stage for all age groups. This is to ensure that each student has a solid literacy foundation. It works through a 'Phonemic' (speech sound) approach rather than a 'Phonetic' (letter sound) approach. It involves a hierarchical process introducing unique 'rules' that apply to 1000's of words thus negating the need to learn 1000's of words by rote. WordsWorthLearning © accelerates the acquisition of competent literacy skills and students consistently reach a level in advance of their age group when reassessed using standard attainment test norms. However, each child learns at their own pace and as our methodology is based on building up knowledge in a structured and supported way, it should complement, not conflict with what your child is learning in school.
Do I need to use other literacy programmes at the same time?
WordsWorthLearning © is a complete 'end to end' programme that starts with 'the making of sounds' and progressing to 'reading and spelling words with up to 7 syllables'. In our opinion, there is no need to use any other programmes, infact doing so may only serve to confuse the student.
Is the course suitable for children with dyslexia?
It certainly is. The material was originally designed specifically to address the needs of students with Specific Learning Disabilities (dyslexia or reading & spelling disorders). Students find the multisensory style of teaching and emphasis on a structured approach most helpful. Many tips and visual hooks are provided throughout the Programme to 'anchor' the concepts in memory.
Why do you recommend a minimum of 15 minutes homework per day?
WordsWorthLearning © is a structured process and getting the student into a rhythm of structured learning helps enormously - especially with reading and spelling. A number of concepts are taught in each teaching session and the student needs an opportunity to practice and consolidate what has been taught. Students who engage in regular / daily short periods of practice perform better overall and progress faster! It is very important that certain knowledge and rules are embedded in the student's subconscious so that they become 'automatic'. The way to do that is quite simply through practice, practice, practice.
How fast will I see results?
In our experience progress can be seen very quickly, which is a motivator to continue. However it depends on the age of the student and how committted they are to completing the schedules.
How long does it take to complete that programme?
The private practice 1:1 therapy would normally complete in 16 half hour weekly sessions, regardless of age! There is a recommended programme of work for the student/facilitator to follow i.e. what should be covered in a typical week, including 15 minutes daily practice. It is important to consolidate before moving on to the next section. Each Licence lasts for 52 weeks from the time the Licence was purchased which we believe provides an adequate timeframe to cater for exceptional circumstances.
What happens if I have not completed the programme within the year licence term?
In practice, if the guidelines are followed, most Students should be able to complete the programme in the 12-16 week period.
How can I help my child to use it?
Your role in this process is that of a facilitator and affirmer: praise, praise, praise! Each new learning concept is explained through the videos with graphics to demonstrate and further explain the concept. You can replay the instructional videos and exercises and can contact us by email if further information is required.
How much emphasis do you put on practice?
Daily practice is the key to embedding the concepts and empowering the student to carry out the literacy tasks. Practice, practice, practice.
How can I cancel my subscription to www.wordsworthlearning.com?
At wordsworthlearning.com we want you to be completely happy with your purchase. If for any reason you want to cancel your subscription, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and give your agreement ID if you have it (this would have been emailed to you when your subscription was first set up). Please also provide your email address, full name and postcode. It would also be really helpful for us if you explain why you want to cancel. We will cancel your subscription and you will receive an email confirming the cancellation.
How can I get a refund?
Under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, you are entitled to a cooling off period of 7 working days. If you have changed your mind about your purchase from wordsworthlearning.com in this period then please email email@example.com stating that you want a refund under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000. Please provide your email address, full name and postcode. If you have purchased a subscription, please give your agreement ID if you have it (this would have been emailed to you when your subscription was first set up). Providing this is received within 7 working days of your original purchase then we will cancel your purchase and provide a full refund within 30 days. Your account with WordsWorth Learning Ltd will be cancelled immediately. No other refunds will be provided.
Can a student with Aspergers Syndrome do the Programme?
Interestingly students with Aspergers Syndrome or High Functioning Autism normally do very well on the Programme, as it is very structured and formula based and it normally appeals to their learning styles and need for order.
Will a non-Irish student pick up an Irish accent from following the Programme?
An interesting thought - but no! Having worked as a Speech & Language Pathologist in Australia and in the UK and also with many students from overseas, I can safely say that none of my students spoke like me at the end of intervention! Students translate the heard sounds and words into their own sound system and reproduce them with their own accent intact.
Does this Programme work for students learning English as a second language?
As English is a hybrid language it is an accepted fact that acquiring competent English literacy skills is a daunting task. However WordsWorthLearning © uses a logical rule-based and hierarchical approach and students learning English as a second language, with a reasonable level of competency in oral English, should perform well using the Programme.
Will a student with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) be able to do the Programme?
It is very common for students with ADD or ADHD to present with Specific Learning Difficulties / Disabilities (studies have shown up to 50%). I worked in the field of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for 12 years and treated, with great success, a substantial number of students with Specific Learning Difficulties that also presented with ADD/ADHD. Again because it is logical, with clear rules and an emphasis on the “visual” domain, students with multiple difficulties find it easier to access than other more traditional literacy programmes.
Does the student need a formal assessment before embarking on the Programme?
That really depends on why you are doing the Programme; e.g. is it to accelerate the acquisition of competent literacy skills?, or is it to remediate a literacy difficulty? If there is no literacy problem then additional literacy assessments, over and above the standard tests done in school, are not required. However if the student is struggling in school, it would be beneficial to have a cognitive assessment (I.Q. test) carried out by a Clinical Psychologist to ascertain if there is a literacy problem and also what services or 'accommodations' might be available to the student. If the student has been diagnosed with Dyslexia, this is deemed to be a 'language-based learning disability' and a speech & language assessment is recommended. Reading and spelling disorders rarely occur in isolation, so if the student is presenting with any of the following: articulation difficulties, showing signs of a comprehension difficulty, weak vocabulary repertoire, displays 'word finding' problems or has poor oral expression, then a speech & language assessment with a Speech & language Therapist would be strongly recommended. The outcome from these assessments would help guide you in how best to proceed with the student and identify the areas that require further focus.
Will the Programme help with improving literacy skills in other languages?
The Programme is designed for English literacy only as the rules are designed to apply to English vocabulary and grammar.
Is there a difference between Reading and Spelling Disorders and Dyslexia?
Very definitely yes! In my opinion the term Dyslexia is over used. To be 'classically' dyslexic there must be a biological or neurological cause which is a lifelong difficulty that can be accommodated with compensatory strategies. Dyslexia accounts for only a small percentage in the overall 'Specific Learning Disability' group. Students with a Reading & Spelling Disorder probably acquired the disorder at key learning stages with the most common cause being: middle ear infections / 'otitis media' / glue ear or another major consideration is the 'method' being used to teach them in school didn't fit their individual learning style. With the correct intervention, students in this group can acquire competent literacy skills quickly and hold them for life.
Is there an upper age limit to doing the Programme
Definitely not! In fact the older the student is in many ways the easier a reading & spelling disorder is to treat, as they will already have a lot of information which is often held in an unstructured manner. In my experience the only stumbling block is an emotional one, dealing with the feeling of fear and a history of failure. Acknowledge the fear, get a person to support you through the Programme and get on with reaching your goal - attaining competent literacy skills!
How is progress assessed?
This can be judged in a number of ways:
1. Standard school literacy tests will show any improvements.
2. If already attending a Psychologist, Speech & Language Therapist or Literacy Specialist the pre and post intervention literacy assessments should indicate any improvement.
3. The programme will introduce a multiple choice questionnaire, at each major level in the programme, to test the student's progress. The student and facilitator will quickly see results for themselves.
Can I do the Programme on my own?
For younger students no, although older students can use the programme on their own, it is better for them to have support. Mainly to keep the student motivated and to assist in clarifying concepts - lets face it - everyone likes praise for their efforts and progress! There is also a "contact" facility for support via the website and Blog.
What tolerance is there for errors?
Lots! Most people using the Programme will get things wrong! The aim is to understand the concepts being taught, not necessarily getting everything right. As the Programme is aimed across all age groups, a younger child would only be expected to correctly complete the age appropriate tasks. Having said that, younger students love the challenge of tackling the harder words and learning from their errors. Work on 80% correct criteria for older students.
What if I don't understand something being taught?
In the first instance, replay the instructional video. You can also check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section and if you still don’t understand the concept then blog or email your query and I will endeavor to respond and explain.
Does the Programme help other problem areas to develop?
Yes, although it is a literacy programme, there is a great emphasis on vocabulary building, enhancing problem solving skills, auditory and visual memory skills development and building the concept of directionality (left / right orientation etc). Very few difficulties occur in isolation and they should not be treated in isolation!
Why do adults without a literacy problem sometimes find the Programme more difficult than students with a problem?
The reality is that when you are a competent reader and speller, you have a working system inherently in place. Because WordsWorthLearning © uses new rules and new slants on known rules that have been developed to 'retrofit' the quirks of the English language, competent readers and spellers can often feel under pressure because they didn't learn that way. They don't have to change anything; they simply use their language skills to guide the student through the programme. Interestingly some students gain confidence when they can explain a rule that the facilitator may be struggling with. When you don’t have a 'system' in place - logical rules and new approaches are a welcome relief to the student.
Do reading and spelling skills progress at the same speed?
Normally no. Reading and spelling are two very different skills, with reading being an easier task. If you think about it, when reading you have the word in front of you, you can identify the number of 'working' vowels and know the number of syllables in the word, discern what rules are within the word, identify known prefixes or suffixes, apply your knowledge and read the word. However for spelling you have to ask yourself how many syllables are in the word, how many sounds within each syllable, which vowel spelling do I choose for the same sound, is there a homophone in use, what rules might apply to each syllable, is there a prefix or suffix in use, is it an irregular word 'phew' only when you have gone through all the machinations can you then write the word! However the good news is that, over time, spelling does catch up with the rate of reading progress and, not surprisingly, the more you read the faster this catch up becomes.
What if I want to replay something again?
You can replay the video on the right of the screen for the exercise you are currently working from. If you want to go further back then click on the 'levels' button and select the 'module' for the video or the Reading or Spelling exercise that you want to revisit.
Who is the Programme developed for?
The aim of the Programme is to accelerate the acquisition of literacy skills in the English language. The appropriate client groups are people from about the age of 5 / 6 years to adult who are functioning within the low average / average range of intelligence or above. It is also suitable for those people with Specific Learning Difficulties (i.e. with reading and spelling disorders or dyslexia). It can also be used by those learning English as a second or foreign language.
If I have a literacy difficulty myself will I be able to help my child?
Of course! The Programme is designed so that I take on the role of 'teacher' on each video session and you just act as the facilitator, helping the student to follow the Programme. You too will also gain better literacy skills while going through the programme.
Not all words are spelled as you would expect?
This is true, the English language is a 'hybrid' language made up from many other languages over the centuries. Consequently there are some strange spellings, however - WordsWorthLearning © treats such words as “outlaws” and shows you how to use 'flashcards' to help you learn them.
If I don't understand the spelling of a word, how can I find out more about it?
Easy! Simply use the website 'contact' section to send your question.
Can I attend a Speech & language Therapist, Teacher, Literacy Specialist to do the Programme?
Of course, providing the Professional has adequate broadband and computer facilities for you to log-in to your own personal copy of the Programme. You will need to purchase a personal copy of the Programme, have your own access code so that you use the same Programme both in the therapy session and at home. That way progress and home work can be tracked. The benefits are that you will get additional support, however keep in mind that there will be an additional cost for their Professional/Specialist services.
Is the use of technology beneficial to learning?
Most definitely! As young people now are 'digital natives' they relate well to technology and more and more technology is being used in education. Studies in the UK (particularly Scotland) have shown a marked improvement in a student’s performance through using digital technology and hand held learning devices.
Why does my child do well in spelling tests but have numerous spelling errors in essays?
This is a most common pattern as the emphasis is no longer on spelling words in isolation but is on getting thoughts down on paper in a coherent manner. In my opinion, the most important factor is content, spelling is secondary. My advice is to get the ideas down without inhibiting creativity. Once written, go back over the composition and edit spelling and grammatical errors. For the students who read what they think they have written, not what they have actually written down, I strongly recommend using computer spelling and grammar checks. This heightens self awareness and self correction monitoring skills.
Should I stay on a section until it is learned off by heart?
The aim is to introduce concepts which are repeated and built upon throughout the Programme. The concepts re-emerge in different ways which helps to embed them and they become automatic. Don't get bogged down on a concept, move on at the recommended pace.
Do I need to go through all the levels?
Yes, even if your reading is better than your spelling or vice versa. The Programme starts at the pre reading/spelling stage in Levels 1 & 2 and it is imperative that the student learns all the speech sounds or phonemes because they create the "foundation" which is built upon all the way through the Programme. So persevere, it is worth it! Going through the exercises will only help promote the Students' skills beyond their age level. Even although each concept is taught as simply as possible, the concepts "grow and grow" into a more complex vocabulary as the Programme progresses.
If the student has been given a 'diagnostic label' should I use it?
Proceed with caution! There is a tendency to overuse labels and for some it is like a fashion label, a new available condition! People can become the label and be treated as such. In my experience in dealing with literacy disorders the label can change, which only serves to compound the problem.
Should I use the correct terminology to describe concepts?
In my opinion always, as long as you define the terms as you go along. It is very important to know the language terms linked with literacy regardless of the students age. A six year old is no less able to understand and remember a term than a much older student, so why give a babyish term only to have them relearn the proper term (or not, as is often the case) at a later stage. Clinical experience shows that many students nowadays are demonstrating a weaker vocabulary knowledge base than their counterparts would have shown a decade ago. There are now big gaps in knowledge and this deficit needs to be addressed.
Why isn't the common rule 'i before e except after c' in the programme?
Primarily because it is nonsense! The rule applies to approximately six 'root' words and their derivatives e.g. receive, perceive, receipt. In comparison / ei / appears in over 930 words in English where the letter C is not preceding the vowel e.g. vein, seize protein etc.
What should I do to support the progress made once the Programme is completed?
Once the Programme material has been completed I always suggest doing five things:
1. Continue by reading challenging passages aloud to an adult: take material from The Times newspaper, National Geographic magazines or similar, where the standard of English used is high.
2. From what is being read, pick 5 difficult words to spell and if errors are made use the errors to judge what aspects of the Programme need to be revised.
3. Continue to make flashcards of irregular or troublesome words.
4. Write passages or essays on computer, availing of the Microsoft word spell and grammar checks and thesaurus facility to heighten awareness of errors, and expand vocabulary repertoire.
5. Listen to age appropriate or advanced audio books, to foster the love of literature and also expand language use and understanding.
Why is WordsWorthLearning © not available already in schools?
Over the last 20 years WordsWorthLearning © has only been available as an exclusive service via a Client/Consultant Private Practice for Speech & Language Therapy. My main motivation for redeveloping the Programme into an online application was to make it simple, affordable and available on a modern platform for all those that want to accelerate their literacy development and most especially their reading and spelling skills. I hope, in time, that all schools will adopt WordsWorthLearning ©. It is currently being used in more than 50 schools in Ireland. Parents and teachers are working collaboratively to improve literacy skills in a systematic and effective way.
If I stop the Programme before finishing it will the student progress on anyway?
In my experience to date the answer is NO! however there has been a very small dropout rate from the Programme. Those few that have dropped out and returned, when reassessed, were found to have remained at the same level at which they stopped i.e. none of them regressed, however, none progressed either! It is an interesting phenomenon and one that I can only rationalize as follows: the student needed to be taught each and every rule or concept because they don't absorb information in the same way as students without literacy difficulties. This is something that is worth exploring further.
Do I need to repeat any of the exercises?
In general no as the exercises are designed to help support the concept being taught, the same concept will re-emerge a number of times through the Programme until it is well cemented! So the policy is do everything once, however you can repeat the tasks if you feel you need to.
How should a home tutor, school or private practitioner use the on-line programme?
At this point in time only a 'Single User' Licence is available i.e. one copy per person. The system will work as follows:
1. Each student can access their own individual copy of the WordsWorth Literacy Programme at home with their tutor and use it in their own time and at their own pace.
2. Therapists must have access to the internet and adequate computing infrastructure to enable their client to login to their own copy of WordsWorthLearning ©. The Therapist can introduce each weekly lesson to the Client and set the 'homework' tasks which can then be done (at home) by the client in their own time and at their own pace.
3. In School there will be a 'Class' copy of the WordsWorthLearning ©, where the teacher can introduce each weekly lesson to the Class (where they will all be moving at the same level) and the 'homework' tasks can then be done (at home) by each student using their own copy of WordsWorthLearning ©.
Can I use a single licence with a number of individual students?
NO. From a legal perspective it will contravene the terms and conditions of the contract for a 'single' user licence. We will soon be introducing a procedure that will only allow one single user to be signed in to an account at any one time. From a practical perspective and to help you know where you are at any given time, your progress is tracked for each LEVEL and this is shown on your dashboard when you login or click the "levels" button.
Can I download the programme?
With the exception of the printable materials in the 'materials' section, the programme cannot be downloaded. In subscribing to use the programme you will have purchased a single licence effective from the date of purchase to use the programme online with one student.