WHEELING - Wheeling Country Day School is taking the learning process another step as it more closely addresses the individual needs of its students.
The private Woodsdale-area pre-K through fifth grade school is set to introduce "The Learning Center" this school year to assist students with reading challenges. The program could be expanded in the future to include students from other local, private schools.
Strong reading skills are especially important to younger students, Elizabeth Hofreuter-Landini, head of school at Wheeling Country Day School, said.
She explained that in private schools there often is a lack of resources available to students with learning challenges - as well as for the teachers who want to assist them.
The pilot year of the program will focus on students at Wheeling Country Day School, while one day a week The Learning Center's instructors will move to St. Michael Parish School in Wheeling to assist students there, she said. She added the program could grow to include students at other private schools.
"Up until the third grade, students are learning to read," Landini commented. "After third grade, they are reading to learn.
"If we are not supporting their reading issues before the fifth grade, the child is behind the eight ball."
Students with "language-based or sensory-based learning differences" may have difficulty comprehending though they may have above-average cognitive abilities and talents, she continued.
Information provided at the school explains that The Learning Center at Wheeling Country Day School will instruct students through use of the Orton Gillingham methodology. The approach allows the educator to craft instruction based on the individual needs and abilities of the student.
Teachers in The Learning Center will focus on phonetic awareness and word attack skills, as well as spelling, vocabulary and reading comprehension. Wheeling Country Day School will utilize education students from Wheeling Jesuit University and West Liberty University, according to Landini.
There are about 160 students attending Wheeling County Day School in grades pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, she continued. Landini expects 48 students will receive instruction through The Learning Center, including students involved in the program at St. Michael Parish School.