Dyslexia programme rolled out to 60 more primary schools this year

Ms Sim Ann (centre), Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information, looking on as Allied Educator Mdm Tutek gives a lesson to Primary 4 children from Tampines Primary School. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE  
Ms Sim Ann (centre), Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information, looking on as Allied Educator Mdm Tutek gives a lesson to Primary 4 children from Tampines Primary School. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE  

SINGAPORE - More primary school pupils with reading difficulties will get help, as the Ministry of Education expands its School-based Dyslexia Remediation Programme to 60 more schools this year.

The two-year intervention programme, which was piloted in 2012, helps Primary 3 and 4 pupils who struggle with reading and spelling to catch up with their peers through specially-designed extra-curricular classes.

The programme will now cover 121 primary schools, or two-thirds of all primary schools in Singapore. It will be made available to all primary schools here in 2016.

An additional 290 students are expected to benefit from this year's expansion, on top of the 1,510 who have already gone through the programme.

Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information, Ms Sim Ann, said: "Over the years, awareness about dyslexia has been increasing and also more students are being put through the diagnostic process."

"Reading forms a very critical foundation for learning. For those of our students who experience persistent difficulty with reading, we want to support them with targeted and effective measures," she said.

The classes are conducted after hours by Allied Educators and English language teachers with specialised training.

They focus on overcoming challenges such as difficulty in connecting letter sounds with letter names, and weak memory. Teachers incorporate sensory methods such as writing the word with a finger in the air and the use of visual props.

A majority of students from the 2012 two-year pilot showed an improvement in reading and spelling skills, gaining more than two and a half years in reading age, or the average age at which a comparable reading ability is found.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg