The Sea Of Strengths Academy offers a unique learning environment for students with learning disabilities, speech-language disorders, ADHD, or those simply not performing on grade level in reading and math. Our school serves students in grades 1-8. Through a combination of intensive skills building, and high-interest learning activities, students gain the skills they need to succeed.
- We believe that children with learning disabilities possess many talents and abilities – a
“sea of strengths”.
- We believe that the child is not defined by their disability.
- We believe that all children desire to achieve academic success.
- We believe that quality instruction by well-trained staff can change the life of a child
- We believe in the transformational power of encouragement and positive reinforcement.
- We believe that parents and family are a vital component in a child’s education and
Reading is the cornerstone of a child’s education. Without strong reading skills, students find it difficult to perform in other academic areas. For this reason special attention is paid to reading.
Reading has five critical components:
- Phonemic Awareness:Phonemic Awareness refers to the understanding that words
are made up of individual sounds or phonemes that can be moved and manipulated.
- Phonics: Phonics refers to the ability to map sounds to the letters on the page.
Phonics is critical for accuracy in both reading and spelling.
- Fluency: Fluency is the ability to read with speed and expression.
- Vocabulary: Vocabulary is the knowledge of what words mean.
- Comprehension: Comprehension is the ultimate goal in reading comprehension refers to a student’s ability to gain meaning from what they have read.
Curriculum – Reading
In helping students improve their reading skills it is important to start with an assessment. The information gained from the reading assessment helps to determine which areas students need help in. The assessment also provides a baseline to measure progress.
The following are some of the approaches used in working with students on building reading skills.
Wilson Reading – This program uses a multi-sensory, systematic and explicit approach to teaching phonics skills. Through direct instruction students work to build their skills in sounding out unfamiliar words in reading and spelling. Students progress through Wilson Reading at their own pace, after demonstrating mastery in both reading and spelling.
Lindamood-Bell Phoneme Sequencing (LiPS) – The LiPS program is designed for students who need help in the area of phonemic awareness. These students typically are having difficulty distinguishing between sounds. By providing students with tactile cues, they are able to better distinguish between sounds in words. One example of this can be seen in looking at the sounds made by “f” and “th”. These two letters make similar sounds, but there is a difference in how these sounds are produced. When you make the sound for “f”, you can feel air on your bottom lip. This sound is known as a “lip cooler”. The sound for “th”, in contrast, requires you to stick out your tongue. This is known as a “tongue cooler”. In the LiPS program students gain the phonemic awareness skills needed to become a strong reader.
Visualizing And Verbalizing – This program is designed to help students who are struggling in the area of comprehension. Through visualization students are taught to create images as they read. With the use of 12 structure words, students create vivid images from text. The process starts small, with a single word or sentence. As student’s progress they are able to image a whole page of text at a time. Students who have gone through the V/V program often describe the experience as “creating movies in their head”.
Access To Age Appropriate Books – Students who are struggling in reading often lose a great deal by not being exposed to appropriate books for their age and grade level. According to the National Reading Panel, students gain much of their vocabulary through reading. Students, who don’t read, due to deficits in reading skills, wind up missing out on vocabulary development and critical content knowledge. In order to expose our students to books, students will have access to books on their personal Google Chrome computer. The students will use Bookshare and Google applications that offer many books for their enjoyment. Social studies and science lessons provide an additional opportunity to expose our students to content that is high-interest, and recognizes their many strengths and abilities.
Curriculum – Math
For students to understand math, they must understand what is happening behind the operations. An understanding of math concepts helps students to understand relationships between numbers. In order to help students build math skills, we have selected the Math U See program.
Math U See –This program uses a multi-sensory and systematic approach to learning math. Students are taught using a variety of manipulatives to help students “see” what is happening when they work with numbers.
Like our reading programs, Math U See uses a systematic approach. Students begin with an assessment to determine their current level of math skills. This helps to place the student in the appropriate level. Students then progress through the math sequence, demonstrating mastery at each level. Math U See spans a broad range of concepts, from basic addition to algebra and geometry.
Curriculum – Writing
In teaching writing, we focus on two major components: penmanship and writing composition.
Writing Skills: The writing skills series focuses on writing composition skills. Instruction in grammar and writing mechanics helps students to create writing assignments that express their thoughts and ideas.
Social Studies and Science
Social Studies and Science provide our students with opportunities to shine. Instead of focusing on traditional paper and pencil tasks, our students gain content knowledge through hands on theme based learning activities.
In developing Social Studies and Science curriculum, the Sunshine State Standards provide structure and direction. The difference is in the format of instruction, and the varied opportunities our students have to demonstrate their knowledge.