Setting goals is an important part of the learning process for all students. Goals provide a focus to a child’s studies. Working toward achieving those goals builds essential skills, such as problem-solving and accountability. Achieving a goal can boost a child’s confidence and provide motivation to tackle more challenges. For a student struggling to achieve age-appropriate academic skills, instructional goals have even more significance.
Why Is Goal Setting Important for Children with Academic Challenges?
For all children, academic goals include reading and writing independently at an age-appropriate level in real-world conditions. Instructional objectives are the measurable steps that lead to achieving goals. For those with academic challenges, objectives that enable achievement are specific, sequential, and cumulative subsets of skills that require explicit systematic instruction by professionals with training in Multisensory Structured Language Education (MSLE).
A student struggling to achieve age-appropriate academic skills needs appropriate goals that are informed by what research has shown is typical for students of a similar age. Academic screenings, assessments, and evaluations help identify appropriate intervention objectives which lead to meeting the goals. The short-term, achievable objectives for academic goals should be tailored to fit the student’s individual needs: clear, reasonable, purposeful, and measurable.
Success in the “written language skills” of reading, writing, and spelling for a child with dyslexia is more dependent upon effective instruction and guidance rather than the amount of the child’s effort or motivation. Therefore, it’s imperative that those working with struggling students have the specialized training and skills to be effective, combined with the necessary amount of time needed to develop mastery of skills that transfer to real-world applications. A Multisensory Structured Language Education professional certified by the Academic Language Therapy Association is particularly valuable.
How Can MSLE Help Set and Achieve Goals?
MSLE employs the science of reading and writing. It is the effective teaching of reading and writing skills using explicit, systematic, and sequential instruction while engaging multiple areas of the brain including the auditory, visual, motor, and tactile sensory pathways.
This approach guides learning by simultaneously employing multiple learning pathways to the brain. Reading and writing are taught in a structured and sequential way, starting with the most basic concepts and moving on to more advanced lessons only when the preceding concept has been mastered. By engaging multiple sensory pathways to the brain simultaneously, learning takes place in a logical and structured way.
For example, a student learns the sound of a letter better by verbalizing the sound it makes while simultaneously watching their mouth form the sound and using their hand to trace the letter. As the skills become more complex, the learning process continues to integrate sound-symbol sequences, meaning, and expression to strengthen memory. The methodology, based in the science of reading and writing, builds phonological awareness and enhances verbal expression while developing fine motor skills, composition and comprehension skills, reading accuracy, and fluency.
ALTA Certified Academic Language Practitioners use the MSLE approach as a classroom teacher or tutor in order to foster the development of basic language skills that apply to reading and writing.
Some students need the more intensive intervention of a Certified Academic Language Therapist in order to acquire age-appropriate independence. The ALTA certified therapist identifies particular difficulties a student encounters and can provide instruction tailored to those needs in a more individual and intensive manner. ALTA certified therapists specialize in MSLE to aid in the learning process and increase a student’s ability to achieve their goals.
Guidelines for Learning Goals:
To maximize learning:
- Goals should be age-appropriate.
- Objectives for each goal should be specific, measurable, sequential, and cumulative, providing a road map to achieving the related goal.
- Utilize the MSLE approach, combined with the frequency and duration required for skill mastery.
Multisensory Structured Language Education can enable students with dyslexia to become successful in achieving their academic goals, developing independent reading and writing skills that apply across the curriculum and throughout their lives.
If your child is struggling, find an ALTA Certified Therapist.