Every time I attend a conference on adult learning and training, the subject of learning styles comes up. The idea is that a lot of students who fell through the cracks in the school system did so because their learning style was other than visual or auditory. In other words, just hearing or seeing something didn't mean they learned it. These people, depending on your definition, were kinaesthetic, manipulative, or interactive learners. They need to write something down, work it out with someone else, or actually use the information.
The basic Laubach Way to Reading does take different methods of learning into account. Remember the bird that is traced, the word is heard, said, then written. But for a student who has some skills, we don't start in Book 1. It may be advisable to do a learning styles assessment, unless your student already knows how they learn. The New Readers Press publication, "Help yourself: How to take advantage of your learning styles" gives a self-assessment and lots of details on how to use your learning style to your advantage. "Doing it for ourselves", has another assessment.
A few more ideas came out of the LL of BC meeting in Kamloops that representatives from 3 councils attended. Shuswap Learn to Read in Chase attended local craft fairs with pamphlets and books. They talked about Laubach and sold copies of the game "Flying High". Marilyn Hunley, our Provincial Training Officer suggested contacting local police and the legion. It was also suggested that posters have a tear off phone number, or an envelope for pamphlets that have the local contact number. When speaking to a group, (always a good idea for recruiting and fundraising), make it clear you are looking for both tutors and students. That way, those that come forward aren't obviously one or the other.
Importance of rehearsal
"Research in Cognitive Psychology has found that if information is to be retained in memory and related to information already in memory, the learner must engage in some sort of cognitive rehearsal, restructuring, or elaboration of the material. For example, writing a summary or outline of a lecture is a better study aid than simply taking notes, because the summary or outline requires the student to reorganize the material and sort out what is important in it." (Slavin, R./Cooperative learning-theory, research and practice, 1990)
One of the most effective means of elaboration is explaining the material to someone else. By asking your students to turn to their neighbour and explain what you just explained to them, you allow them to cognitively rehearse or process the information. This helps the person who is receiving the information as well as the person getting the information.
A number of studies have been carried out where students were asked to take one of two roles - recaller or listener. In some cases, students were asked to read and elaborate on some material while their partners were asked to actively listen. Students who were listening learned more than students who worked on their own. But students who were taking the role of elaborator learned the most of all.
"I always thought I could drive a spike as good as any man. I cook as good as any woman I ever met...I'd go everywhere and see people read. I'd go places and streets I didn't know where I was. I just figured if everybody else could learn to read, I could too".
George Dawson, of Texas, who turned 100 last month learned to read when he was 98!