A selection of stories from our clients about how they have helped their service users achieve using Communicate.
MS was unable to read two letter words and rarely attended school. Now he reads books for pleasure and attends every day.
MS is in year 8 and at the start of his Communicate intervention, his attendance and behaviour at school were both very poor. His mother was involved with an Education Welfare Officer and faced fines for non-attendance.
To his credit, MS has always engaged really well in his sessions despite having a very negative perception of school and education. MS’s communication skills were very weak which is why he kept misbehaving in school. The diagnostic highlighted just how weak his communication skills were. The Communicate tutor had to go right back to the beginning teaching him to read, recognise and spell two-letter words.
His progress was initially slow. He had to learn the process of learning words as well as committing them to memory. However, using a few memory tricks and a good dose of humour, the tutor was able to teach him what he needed to know in a way that he enjoyed and responded well to.
He has now completed the basic words module which teaches the 300 most commonly used words. He has developed ways to work out the words for himself and has worked on his handwriting which is now clear, legible and fast. He is reading books with the tutor for pleasure and he is now mainly working on his sentence writing to write funny stories. His sentence structure, spelling and vocabulary have improved dramatically. He has recorded one of these stories and created a video using Lego for the visual.
The impact of his sessions is demonstrated by his attendance at school. His school attendance jumped from 30% to 100%. He is getting good reports from all of his teachers and his Mum is ecstatic with his progress. She puts his change in attitude and confidence almost entirely down to his sessions with the Communicate Tutor. MS has himself said he really likes the sessions and has learnt a lot. He has since started doing the intervention on a voluntary basis. There can be no better endorsement than that.
Princes Risborough School
We now have a student who writes confidently, fluently and more importantly, legibly thanks to 3 hours of intervention.
We started working with a year 8 student who generally lacks confidence in class. One issue was that he struggled to keep up because of this handwriting. He used to print rather than join his writing which he found quicker but this limits how fast you can write and can cause the hand to hurt. The student was very willing and wanted help to improve his handwriting but equally saw the intervention as a bit of a stigma so we needed to handle the process carefully.
We worked together 1:1 for 6 weeks for 30 minutes a week. We prioritised the accuracy of his letter formation, joining and keeping the letters on the line. We identified 7 letters he has particular problems with.
The student was attentive and careful when learning the correct way to form his letters but got very frustrated when he made a mistake which showed he really cared about getting it right. Lots of praise and reassurance worked wonders but most powerful was being able to show him his initial sample. He could see for himself the progress he was making. No one had to tell him.
He worked really hard, repeatedly rewriting texts until he could do it beautifully. Gradually, he started to form letters easily and this naturally led onto joining. At this point, his pride in his writing started to grow and he was happy for his work to be shown as an example to other students. More importantly, looking at his class books, his new skills were being transferred into his lessons.
Although initially, his writing was slower, teachers gave him the time to get it right and now his writing is fluent and fast. He now writes confidently and more importantly, legibly. He can now continue to improve his control and work hard towards developing an important exam and life skill.
Mr F’s ability and confidence has improved dramatically. Last week, he called me to make another appointment- something he would not have had the confidence to do just a couple of months ago.
We were able to make a huge difference to a participant’s confidence speaking in English as part of our Sova Achieving Change through Employment (ACE) project.
The project is designed to help black, minority ethnic and migrant individuals find work. Mr F is an Eritrean man, whose first language is Tigrinya. He moved to the UK around 10 years ago. He understands most of what is being said to him but when I started working with him, he was not a confident reader and was extremely difficult to understand.
Mr F was keen to improve his language skills to enhance his employment prospects. Before the course, he would struggle at interviews and would need a lot of help searching for appropriate jobs and filling out application forms. He was very reluctant to make or receive calls.
We started with the ‘Basic Words’ section – a particularly useful element of the course. By learning the most used 300 words properly, it was amazing how much everyday language Mr F was able to use. The section highlighted certain words that he had been pronouncing incorrectly since moving to the UK and correcting these mistakes instantly made his speaking much clearer.
Mr F particularly enjoyed seeing his scores improve. It gave him a real sense of achievement. He has also been able to attend an IT course where he understood the instructor and was able to follow instructions. Not only has Communicate sessions increased his employability, it has also allowed him to pursue other courses and opportunities which will improve his prospects even more. He is now much more able to fill in application forms independently and will be much more confident attending interviews on his journey to find work.
L wanted to improve her communication and reading skills to enable her to improve her job prospects.
L is currently working part-time as a cleaner. She advised her biggest dream was to become a social worker, but felt that this was just a pipe dream and she wasn’t bright enough to do this.
As L progressed through the sessions her communication skills improved, her confidence grew and she felt able to follow her dream. L has gone on to enrol on an IT course and completed a Mental Health Level 1 course both with Lifelong Learning. She will also be enrolling in college to further her education, she wants to complete her GCSE’s in order to study at College for a 1-year Health & Social Care Access course. This will then allow her to realise her dream of going to University to study to become a social worker.
Feedback from L was that she felt inspired and was now confident to believe she can achieve her dreams.
I have worked with many young people using Communicate (Rapid English) over the last few years. I have found that the program works very well with almost all of the people I have used it on (including myself), and the flexibility in its structure is brilliant to get the users motivated to improve their skills.
One case, J, was aged 13 and had been out of school for some months. We started by doing the tracking in one of the interviewing rooms in the Justice Centre, this showed him that he did have better skills than he thought and highlighted that we needed to focus on writing skills. Particularly descriptive writing, which I thought would help improve his vocabulary and grammar skills.
Over the course of 6 weeks, we continued our sessions in the local library, where J completed the Level 2 modules and finished by writing a piece about his favourite film and taking a retest. The retest showed that they had improved in all of their writing and reading aspects.
J enjoyed the sessions that he did and said, “It was not what I was expecting. I thought it would be like school lessons.”
One other case was D, who was on a high-intensity order, which meant that he had to do a lot of sessions over a period of about 3 months. This young person did not like the education system and had been excluded before finishing school. He was trying to improve his skills to get into college to gain employment.
Our sessions took place in the local library and were 4 hours long. In that time, we would complete modules, discuss the content of the modules and look into education and employment opportunities. In the beginning, D would complete the work as I aided over his shoulder, but as time went on; He was more comfortable with the program and would happily complete a module without asking for assistance.
D’s tracking scores increased dramatically over the course, and his confidence in his skills also went up. By the end of our time together he’d applied for a college course and had gained employment.
G was struggling to keep up in school.
G struggled with his reading, punctuation and grammar. Mum told me he was falling behind at school and was struggling to keep up. He also struggled when meeting new people and having to communicate with them.
I used Communicate to try help G with his reading, punctuation, grammar and any other communication skills which he could improve on. Also, to give him the confidence to meet new people. We completed the initial talk and diagnostic within one session, as G was comfortable with this. The diagnostic was useful in identifying the areas G needed to work on.
G has stated the sessions have helped him work on spelling, reading and writing. He has also been working on improving his handwriting, including using capital letters in the correct places and understanding which letters sit on/above the line - he was able to show that he has made progress in his handwriting. He has shown increased confidence when reading aloud.
At the end of the programme, IG was really proud to see his final scores and how much he had improved, which was a boost to his confidence.
IG was always very enthusiastic during sessions and said that he really enjoyed them. He especially liked parts of the Ben section as it got him to stop and think about his work before rushing in to answer questions.
IG also really liked the Words section, especially the one where he could set the timer to fast, medium or slow, as I would always praise him for how well he had done.