The WordsWorthLearning© Programme
In 1991: The original WordsWorth Literacy Programme© was created by Rita Treacy for children with “Specific Learning Difficulties (SLDs)”. In this era before low cost PC’s and suitable internet access, it was only available on a client / consultant basis through a Private Speech & Language Therapy (SLT) Service in Ireland.
Over the last 20 years, thousands of students with reading and spelling difficulties successfully completed the programme. There is results-based evidence available that was compiled by statisticians in the Educational Research Centre in Dublin, supported by many testimonials to substantiate the efficacy of the programme.
The literacy skills of the students improved significantly after using the programme and their school results were consistent with their academic potential and often beyond expectation. This in turn also boosted their self confidence.
2009: WordsWorth Learning Limited was set up to create a new digital version of the original paper based programme and to replicate how it was delivered in the private SLT service. The prime objective was to make it more readily available and affordable to parents, teachers and learning support staff.
2011: The new online program now called WordsWorthLearning© was launched. To make it easier to access, it was designed for a PC and internet browser e.g. safari, chrome or Internet Explorer. It would be used in class with a teacher or at home (with a parent to facilitate) providing an online literacy programme to improve reading and spelling. It could also be used by a teacher, child and parent working in collaboration.
2012: The online PC version was enhanced to make it work on an iPad (Tablet). Although it did also work on some android Tablet devices, we were working towards making it available across more platforms.
2015: The program was tested in a mainstream school in Greystones, Ireland using the "Flipped Classroom" model. The schoolteacher set the tutorials and exercises to be done online at home under the supervision of a parent/guardian. The "homework" was done next day in class in a group setting where the teacher could devote more time to each of the pupils. The results were impressive where all the children participating substantially improved their reading and/or spelling in one school term.
About the Creator of the WordsWorthLearning Programme
Rita Treacy: Consulting Speech & Language Therapist - Specialising in Dyslexia
When I was 18 years of age and in my 1st year at Trinity College Dublin, I was informed that I was Dyslexic. My first reaction was to question what it meant and I was flabbergasted to learn that there was no cure. Over time, I learned that it was a specific learning disorder that took on many guises, labels and stigmas. It certainly caused a “reluctance” to be put in a position that would expose the problem and as a consequence my “avoidant behaviours” were often misinterpreted. Frequently the literacy component is not identified and, in my case, attending an all Irish secondary school certainly compounded the problem.
My own experience of the problem included e.g. word finding difficulties, reading accuracy and comprehension problems, spelling and written expression difficulties and like others before me, I managed to struggle my way through tertiary education. However, by adopting and more importantly by developing many learning strategies along the way, I qualified with a BSc. (Hons) Degree in Remedial Linguistics i.e. Speech & Language Therapy (SLT). This sparked the beginning of my quest to find a logical intervention for a very common and worldwide problem.
First-hand experience of dyslexia inspired me to create WordsWorthLearning© and working with a varied child and adolescent caseload during my 10 years as Principal SLT in Lucena Clinic - Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services (Dublin), and this coupled with my own “learning strategies” certainly provided the impetus and means to do this.
The programme is still being used very successfully in my Private Practice in Dublin. In 2009 a digital version of the programme was created, to make it more affordable, available and inclusive (to everyone that needs it) via the internet. It is being used to improve reading and spelling skills in schools, by parents (at home with their children) and also by teenagers and adults. Although it started life as a programme for children that are failing at school, it is now being used by many teenagers and adults that are under-achieving, providing them with an opportunity to reach their true potential.