Meeker library offers help with reading

MEEKER -- Leeann Gibson is thrilled about the opportunity to use an alternative teaching method to help people learn to read.

Gibson tutors in reading using Lindamood-Bell learning concepts at the Meeker Regional Library.

Gibson is the tutor part of a facilitating effort in conjunction with the library to help teach people to read. With financial help from the Burt O. and Allison White Foundation and individual training from former Meeker resident and Lindamood-Bell tutor Jennifer Paschal, Gibson is ready, and eager, to offer the service.

"Jennifer Paschal has tutored this method for several years and believed it would be something I could continue in Meeker," Gibson said. "Once I got into it, I was totally hooked."

Gibson said most research suggests that 65 percent of us would learn to read with minimal instruction. Memorization is a large part of the current teaching techniques, and for 35 percent of the population, memorization is not effective. Lindamood-Bell offers another way to expedite learning.

"We present the reader with tools that incorporate feeling and touch along with hearing and seeing," she said. "We back up to what is called phonemic awareness so the reader can experience the difference between sounds."

One of the simple tools Gibson uses is a hand mirror. A student can look at what the mouth and tongue do when a sound is generated.

"It gives them another way to utilize the sound and comprehend the word," she said.

According to the Lindamood-Bell system, there are three areas of learning that lead to comprehension.

"They are auditory, visual and language. If any of the three are out of sync, it impairs comprehension and makes reading difficult and, with some, impossible," she said.

Gibson is offering classes at the Meeker Library Monday through Thursday by appointment. The classes are $30 an hour with a recommendation of four hours instruction a week. There is financial help available through the White Foundation.

Librarian Mike Bartlett said the library staff is excited to be a part of this project.

"We are extremely impressed with this system and are happy to be the facilitator," Bartlett said.

He said that through the White Foundation, the library also will help fund students needing tutoring.

"We will subsidize based on income with a sliding scale to help defray some of the costs," Bartlett said.

Bartlett and Gibson agreed that the partnership in the tutoring program was unique.

"The people that represent Lindamood-Bell know of none quite like it," Bartlett said. "In this case we would really like to be the trendsetter."

For more information about the program, call the Meeker Regional Library at 878-5911.

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