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Code Read flies high at St Therese School

Schools

Paper planes, drones and the colour red were on the radar at St Therese School, Colonel Light Gardens, when students participated in a special event to raise awareness of dyslexia.

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The ‘Get on Board’ day, an initiative of the Code Read Dyslexia Network, involves students dressing in red and participating in STEM activities such as engineering investigations, red paper plane construction and test flights.

The planes reflect the aim of helping students to ‘fly high’ by using specialised teaching methods to achieve literacy success. The colour red symbolises the red pen used to correct work, traditionally viewed as a negative by students with dyslexia.

Some students also participated in a drone mapping exercise to code a potential flight map. St Therese School has a focus on digital technologies and Matt Richards, an Apple specialist and drone pilot, has been working with STEM students on coding.

Principal Amanda Humeniuk said the school was successfully applying evidence-based intervention methods/programs to improve literacy outcomes. Even with these supports, there was a component of children who found it very difficult to ‘decode’ and needed additional support.

“These children can be very clever in terms of mathematics, engineering and problem-solving but we need to support them in cracking the code,” Mrs Humeniuk said. “Research tells us dyslexia is often genetic and I have been in meetings with families where parents have been brought to tears and said they wished there was similar support available when they went to school.”

She said rather than people spending their lives trying to “mask” their dyslexia, the approach today was to celebrate each child’s uniqueness, which fits in beautifully with our Catholic ethos.

“By having all our students make and fly paper planes, we are saying we want them to soar like a plane, to be bold and proud” she said. “It also taps into the scientific capabilities they have.”

Key literacy teacher Siobhan Paley said there was a practical element to the ‘Get on Board’ day with donations received from school families directed towards literacy resources to support the school’s Multisensory Structured Learning (MSL) approach.

“This approach is part of a suite of literacy intervention and support methods that we have introduced at St Therese School, in working towards our goal of literacy for all,” she said.

“MSL is an evidence-based language approach involving the use of two of more of the senses (auditory, visual, and kinaesthetic) that is sequential, cumulative, cognitive and flexible.

“Current research has demonstrated the value of explicit, structured language teaching for all students, especially those with dyslexia and language processing difficulties.”

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