Why are Reading Ninjas classes beneficial for my child before they start school?

Research has shown that a child’s preschool level of expressive and receptive language, phonological and phonemic awareness, and number sense skills are a direct measure of their literacy and numeracy skills in their early primary years. Children are also more likely to cope with the challenges of school when they are “Self-reliant and confident; are willing to try new things, can listen to and follow instructions, can take care of their own belongings, can interact confidently and co-operatively with other children and adults, and are able to cope with inevitable frustrations”
(Associate Professor Kay Margetts – Lecturer in Early Childhood and Primary Teacher Education).

Starting school with confidence is really important. In the first year of school, the demands on children, both socially and academically, are huge. We believe that if your child begins school knowing something about sounds, reading and writing, it can make a significant difference to how they feel as a learner and how easily they settle into their new school routine.

The Reading Ninjas program is developed from evidence-based literacy and numeracy research and best practice in early childhood education. Reading Ninjas classes ensure your child will be well prepared to cope with the transition to school, meet the challenges of school, and thrive with the changes and new learning starting Prep brings.

What is your approach at Reading Ninjas?

At Reading Ninjas, we use the Little Learners Love Literacy program for the literacy component of our lessons. The program is developed from the growing body of scientific evidence referred to as “the science of reading”. This evidence-based literacy research shows that students learn at a quicker rate if they are taught systematically and explicitly using synthetic phonics and a structured literacy approach, as we do at Reading Ninjas.

Our program focusses on the proven essentials of:

– Phonemic awareness
– Phonics
– Vocabulary
– Fluency
– Comprehension

It also includes the teaching of handwriting skills as an integral part of literacy learning. Children start reading real stories once they know the first 8 ‘sounds’. The sounds and letters are introduced in an order that makes it easy for children to learn, resulting in positive growth and stress-free learning.

Our Reading Ninjas numeracy program, based on the Victorian Curriculum and best practice in numeracy teaching, gives children a foundation for learning how to use mathematics in everyday life. Children’s informal number sense when they start Prep, provides a foundation for their school mathematics achievement, and strongly predicts their maths competence later in school (Geary, 2015).

At Reading Ninjas we aim to set children up for success in maths early through our focus on:

– Recognising, reading and writing numbers
– Counting objects (trusting the count and one-to-one correspondence)
– Matching words and numerals to collections
– Recognising collections without counting (subitising)
-Creating and continuing simple patterns
-Sorting, comparing and ordering sets
-Simple addition and subtraction
-Making simple measurements with informal units

We develop children’s literacy and numeracy development through active, hands-on, play based activities that sequence and structure children’s learning so that each class builds on skills already learnt, resulting in genuine learning from a solid foundation. Games, art and craft, music and dance, puppets, and much more are all part of the learning and fun at Reading Ninjas!

My child finds reading &/or writing difficult, will your classes help them?

Yes, absolutely! We believe that all children can learn to read and write. They just need the right tools, explicit teaching, practice, and support to feel successful. That’s where we come in! Children engage with learning when they experience success. Our systematic and carefully sequenced approach ensures every child grows and shows progress in their reading and writing. At Reading Ninjas, no child is left behind in their learning.

My child has a speech &/or language delay. Can Reading Ninjas classes help?

Yes, for sure! Language delays can result in a range of literacy skills being harder for children to learn and understand. If a child finds it difficult to pronounce or understand certain speech sounds, they can often have difficulty reading and writing those sounds as well.

Our program explicitly teaches and practises phonemes (speech sounds), graphemes (print) and vocabulary (meaning) to build neural connections in the brain that are needed for learning to read and write. This explicit teaching, time to practice and targeted support are particularly essential for children with speech and language delays, and our small class sizes mean your child gets all the extra help and support they need. Phonological awareness skills are often impaired in children with speech and language difficulties, so our specific focus on phonological awareness activities in each and every Reading Ninjas class really makes the difference for these children.

Do you support children with special needs?

Absolutely! The approach is engaging, multi-sensory, structured and sequential. Most importantly, the approach is flexible, ensuring genuine learning for your child, no matter what their challenge is. Our small class sizes and experienced teachers ensure a personalised learning environment where each child in uniquely cared for and taught.

How long is the program? Does it run during the school holidays?

Our Reading Ninjas program runs from February to early December each year (38 weeks). We recommend commencing at the start of the year, though if that’s not possible, it’s never too late to join.

Children attend 1 class per week during school terms. There are no classes during school holidays or on public holidays.

How many children are there in a class?

Our School Readiness Classes (Pre-Kinder & Kinder Ninjas) have a maximum of 8 children in the class. Our Primary Program has a maximum of 5 students per class.

Are the teachers qualified?

Yes, our teachers are all qualified primary teachers, with many years of experience in teaching in both primary and early childhood education.
All hold a current Working with Children Check and First Aid certification.

Do I stay in the class with my child?

When new to Reading Ninjas, you are welcome to stay with your child, until they feel secure about you leaving. Once your child is comfortable on their own, we recommend you leave them with us, so they can practice being independent learners and build confidence in being away from you, both important elements of school readiness.

Does my child need to practice at home?

The more your child practices what they have learnt at Reading Ninjas, the more they will benefit from the program. If you could aim to practice a few times a week for 5 -10 minutes this will definitely improve your child’s learning even further.

In this time, you can listen to your child read their decodable reader (once they start borrowing them). These provide a great opportunity for children to practise their developing reading skills in a real context. You can also enjoy reading the ‘Milo’s Birthday Surprise’ storybook together, found in your Home Learning Pack. Although in class we only read the page that is relevant to the sound we are learning that week, at home we encourage you to read the story and discuss all the pictures, clues and alliteration that go with each of Milo’s friends. This will help your child consolidate their learning, and get excited for which of Milo’s friends they’ll meet in class next!

In your Home Learning Pack you will also find sound flashcards to use. With these, we recommend you only practice using the cards for the sounds we have learned so far. Then each week, as we learn a new sound in class, we encourage you to add in the new letter that your child has learnt, so that the collection of flashcards you practise with gradually increases over the year.

Another great way to help your child’s learning is to take advantage of incidental moments to practice the sound focus from each week. For example, pointing out the focus letter on signs you see or in books you read, or noticing the foods you eat or toys you play with that begin with that week’s focus sound.

What do I need to bring each week?

-Water bottle (clearly named)
-Reader in the plastic Reader pocket provided
-Workbook in the fabric bag provided

When do I pay?

Payment is required at the time of enrolment, to secure your child’s place. Thereafter, fees are required for the coming term 2 weeks prior to the end of term, so that your child can hold their place in the class