ReadWrite Center expands its programs and facilities to better help its students 

click to enlarge Therapy intern Rachel Southworth works with student Kaevion Tyner at ReadWrite Center. | Photo Gazette / file
  • Therapy intern Rachel Southworth works with student Kaevion Tyner at ReadWrite Center. | Photo Gazette / file

ReadWrite Center is redefining early childhood education one student at a time.

Focusing on speech-language therapy for children with dyslexia, the center recently expanded its facilities, staff, programs and abilities to provide alternative forms of learning for elementary level students.

“This expansion has given us nonprofit status and larger facilities,” ReadWrite Center director Wendy Stacy told Oklahoma Gazette. “We will be able to serve more children than ever in our community, especially focusing on families in financial need.”

The expansion project will bring on 14 T under Stacy’s supervision as well as a new dedicated classroom space for group learning.

The center was co-founded by Stacy and Laura Gautreaux to provide screening, assessments and immersive therapy for children with dyslexia and reading disorders. Using the Orton-Gillingham curriculum for dyslexic patients, Stacy and her team help hundreds of families each year.

“We take a holistic approach to dyslexia and reading disorders,” Stacy said. “Families come into the center desperate to find a solution for their children. Dyslexia affects entire families, and our goal is to treat everyone dealing with this learning issue.”

Numbers work

Combined with years of medical research and experience with hundreds of patients, ReadWrite approaches learning as a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional process.

“The Orton-Gillingham-based curriculum is the only method that has been proven to make a difference in learning disorders,” said Stacy. “We utilize the Take Flight curriculum under the Orton-Gillingham method, which is a research-based dyslexia intervention. It’s systematic and explicit, meaning every skill is taught without leaving anything to imprint.”

This highly detailed curriculum involves each student learning every rule in the English language and then practicing each rule 1,500 times. Such an intensive program is the foundation of ReadWrite’s mission to provide accessible learning for all children.

“It’s so repetitive because these kids need to have everything imprinted on their memories,” Stacy said. “The Take Flight program is an interactive and multi-sensory curriculum using visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile learning points for each child.”

The Take Flight program varies greatly from what Stacy calls a traditional 2-D classroom style, which is not effective for many children with dyslexia. ReadWrite seeks to supplement what the school system lacks in dyslexia education through such rigorous therapy.

“When we first meet children struggling to read in school, we emphasize the fact that they have not failed,” Stacy said. “Instead, the school system has failed these kids. We make sure each child understands that he or she has the ability to learn.”

ReadWrite’s first priority is to make each child struggling with dyslexia feel welcome and part of a community. Stacy said this process of normalization creates major change.

“Often, kids will come in with their shoulders slumped and their heads down, just completely defeated by their lack of ability to read,” she said. “It is so important for them to socialize within our program with other children in the same situation. Most of our students make lifelong friends through our program.”

Wendy Stacy, director of ReadWrite Center | Photo Gazette / file
  • Wendy Stacy, director of ReadWrite Center | Photo Gazette / file

Community presence

Expanding the center’s resources and building means more of a presence in the OKC community. In partnering with organizations like Payne Education Center, ReadWrite can expand its mission to families that cannot afford expensive education therapies.

“Since we are now a nonprofit, we’d like to build partnerships with other community organizations focused on learning and improving the quality of life for low-income families,” Stacy said.

In the future, Stacy said the center will seek more partnerships with local schools and organizations to expand ReadWrite’s programming. The center will also provide specialized training for teachers in several public schools, including those in Yukon and Putnam City.

Changing how we perceive education starts with a change of expectations. Walk into ReadWrite on any day of the week, and chances are it will sound more like a jovial playground than a typical therapy center.

“There’s a certain grace you feel walking into the building,” Stacy said. “People expect it to be a sad experience. In reality, the kids we serve are so full of energy and a zest for life. If the ReadWrite Center can give them that happiness, then we’ve fulfilled our mission.”

Visit readwritecenter.org.

 

Print headline: Alternative learning, ReadWrite Center expands its programs and facilities to better help its students.

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