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Reading Bees Frequently Asked Questions

Contact details

Book now http://readingbees.gettimely.com
Email: hello@readingbees.com.au
Mobile: 0412268636

Locations for 2018

Williamstown
164 Ferguson st, Williamstown 3016
(Across from Tait Hair Salon)

Point Cook
Building C8, Level 1, 1 Main st, Point Cook 3030
(Woolworths building)

Wantirna South
1/322 Mountain Hwy, Wantirna VIC 3152

Caroline Springs
Brookside Community Centre
17 Federation Way, Caroline Springs VIC 3023

Tarneit
Tarneit Community Learning Centre
150 Sunset Views Blvd, Tarneit VIC 3029

Clayton
Monash Community Inn
36 Barry Rd, Thomastown VIC 3074

Braybrook
Level 1, 6 South rd, Braybrook VIC 3019

2019 Dates

The Reading Bees Program is for 37 weeks. Children attend 1 lesson per week.

Once you have enrolled, your child will remain in the same class for the remainder of the year or unless we are notified by you of any changes.

Payment is required before the next term commences. Once you have paid your child is automatically enrolled in the class you selected.

Term 1    4th of February - 6th of April
Term 2    23rd of April - 28th of June
Term 3    15th of July - 20th of September
Term 4    7th of October - 1st of December

There are no classes on public holidays.
11th of March (Labour Day)
22nd of April (Easter)
24th of April (Burnside and Caroline Springs only)
25th of April (Anzac Day)
10th of June (Queens Birthday)
4th November and 5th November (Cup Day)

 

Why do over 500 children each year attend Reading Bees?

Reading Bees is a unique program that continues to develop based on the needs of our most important customers, the children.  Reading Bees appeals to a wide community of children and their individual needs, whether it be building on their knowledge, providing a safe and nurturing learning environment, structure so too many choices doesn't make the child anxious.

Reading Bees provides a service to the community that no one else does.  You could say we slot between kinder and primary school.  We provide not only a service to children in our local community but the wider community.  We have families that travel for over an hour one way to come to Reading Bees each week.

There are not a lot of places that teach a systematic play based phonics program.  If a child has attended Reading Bees and requires further support at school, they don't have to wait until the end of their foundation year to receive that support as they have already completed an intensive phonics program.

 

Why do they need to come to Reading Bees before they start school. Isn't that what school is for?

‘Children are 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, take care of their own belongings, 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)
Research has proven that 'adjustment to school is also supported when children have basic literacy and numeracy skills and the support of sensitive adults'. (Associate Professor Kay Margetts - Lecturer in Early Childhood and Primary Teacher Education)
At Reading Bees we focus on phonemic awareness, alphabet knowledge and basic mathematical concepts through play.  
The program is developed from evidence-based literacy and numeracy research. 
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.The emphasis is on ‘decoding’ – sounding-out and a few ‘heart words’ (high frequency words children need to know by heart as they cannot decode them at this stage). 
This is all taught in a fun and engaging way.

Does my child need to know how to read before they go to school?

Starting school with confidence is really important. The demands both socially and academically are huge in the first year of school.

Learning to read is not easy or natural. It is a complex process. Oral language and pre-literacy or phonological awareness skills support early reading and writing development. Skilled readers have good decoding skills (word recognition); understand what they read (comprehension) and read with fluency (Maureen Pollard -Little Learners Love Literacy).

A child’s level of phonological awareness (ability to identify sounds and sound patterns in language) is an important predictor of their later reading development  (Maureen Pollard -Little Learners Love Literacy).

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 that new school routine and expectations.

Will my child be bored in prep if they have attended Reading Bees?

Not at all. We do not teach the children everything they will learn in Prep. We help the children develop the skills that will assist them with their transition into school.

Why do you teach sounds?

The awareness of sounds and their link to speech and letters is an important part of learning to read. In fact, the awareness of sounds is a pre-requisite skill before children can learn to associate sounds with letters.
It is sometimes assumed that because children are immersed in a sound-rich environment, they develop phonemic awareness naturally. The truth is that the speaker and listener are not actually attending to individual sounds; the focus is on communication - speaking and listening. (Maureen Pollard - Literacy Consultant).

At Reading Bees we use the Little Learners Love Literacy program for the literacy component of our lessons. The program is developed from evidence-based literacy research that emphasises the importance of explicit teaching, along with a focus on:
Phonemic awareness
Phonics
Vocabulary
Fluency
Comprehension

It also includes the teaching of handwriting skills as an integral part of literacy learning.

My child finds reading difficult, will your classes help them?

Definitely! We are very passionate about helping children learn to read and believe we have the tools to help them.  

'Approximately one student in every 10 in our primary schools experience some form of learning challenge within their educational setting, with three to five per cent having a Specific Learning Disorder such as Dyslexia.' (Kristin Anthian - LDA Consultant)

'These students require early identification and appropriate intervention using a systematic, explicit and cumulative approach to the instruction of reading and spelling, with high intensity and frequency.   The Little Learners Love Literacy phonics program provides a comprehensive scope and sequence for the teaching of literacy in the early years. It can be equally effective in supporting students experiencing learning difficulties, with it systematic and carefully sequenced methodology.' (Kristin Anthian - LDA Consultant).

 

How many children are there in a class?

The maximum amount of children in the pre kinder group is 10 children with two educators.  In the kinder group the maximum amount of children is 12 with two educators.

What do you do in the kinder classes?

Kinder classes....

Milo's Birthday Surprise
Reading Bees lessons are based around the storybook Milo's Birthday Surprise. Each double-page spread provides language-rich text and illustrations supporting the focus sound.

At the beginning of the lesson the children are encouraged to greet their teachers and peers.
The children settle into the class by putting their bags in the lockers, placing their workbook on the table and joining their peers for the first activity. If all goes to plan the children say bye to their parents. Some children like to take their shoes off and get comfy.

Circle time
The activity is at the beginning to build awareness of the sound before introducing the letter. This a great opportunity for vocabulary discussion, as well as encouraging children to develop the skill of segmenting the initial sounds in words.

Print awareness
Milo's Birthday Surprise storybook.

Song and Dance
Then we have a bit of a sing and dance.

Art and Craft
The art and craft activities help the development of fine motor skills: cutting with scissors, tearing paper, pasting and colouring in.

Handwriting
The link between handwriting and spelling is important. Our teaching is based on the sequence: children hear the sound, read the letter and write it. This multi-sensory process 'grooves' the skills in place. The correct starting position is vital for correct letter formation and minimises confusion when writing letters b and d, for example.

Chitter chatter chant and speed sounds
Children love the rhythm of chanting. This is one method we use to teach the children sound and letter association.

Super spelling
Blending sounds together is quite a difficult skill, so we start early to provide lots of practice.

Phonemic fun
To read and write successfully, children need to be able to hear and manipulate sounds in words. Each session has phonemic fun activities.

Socialising
The children have the opportunity through out the class to interact with their Reading Bees friends.  We practice taking turns, cooperating, compromising and sharing with others.

Communication
We encourage listening and talking so that the children have a supportive environment for developing skills and understanding about words and language to practice expressive and receptive language skills.
We nurture learning behaviours like following instructions, transitioning between activities and completing tasks.

Developing a Growth Mindset
We engage the children in activities that encourage self motivation, for example the children critique their own work, not the teacher.  They stamp their own work, put a smiley face next to their best work etc. 

Numeracy
We re-group to complete the numeracy component of the class. Some topics we cover are number recognition, 2D and 3D shapes, patterns, basic addition.

Borrowing time
Children are given the opportunity to borrow decodable books to take home.
These colour-coded books are an integral part of the program as they provide a great opportunity for children to practise their developing reading skills in a real context.

What do you do in the primary classes?

The classes are designed to let the children experience success in meeting challenges with reading and spelling.  

Children can usually recognise words before they can spell them.  Spelling usually lags behind reading development because spelling requires greater visual recall than reading and places higher demands on memory. (Maureen Pollard - Little Learners Love Literacy)

At Reading Bees we use the Little Learners program.  The program eases the demand on the memory by giving children a menu of letter choices.  This makes the children feel confident and helps them learn to identify and blend sounds to make words.

Small classes...

Small classes ensure educators understand the needs of each child and,  how they are progressing socially, emotionally and academically.   It allows for more interaction and observation of what strategies are working best for your child to learn.

About the classes...

The sequence of the classes has been designed for practical, successful learning.  Only one new sound is added at a time and each class builds on skills already learnt.  Children's skills grow pyramid style, building from a solid foundation.

Literacy 1

The teaching focus includes blending 3 sounds, introducing short vowel /a/ /i/ /o/ /u/ /e/,  initial consonant blends with /r/ /l/ /s/,  final consonant blends mp, nt, nk, nd, ft, lt, lk, nt, nd, nk, ck, sh, ch, th.

Literacy 2 

The teaching focus includes long vowel sounds + super e  (snake, bike, cube), ff, ss, ll, ck, ke, ai, ay, oa, ee, ea, oo, ar, or, ur, ir, oi, oy, ng, soft c (rice) and g (page)  -ed ending, -y (happy), double consonant +le (apple), double consonant + er, double consonant + ing (swimming), base word +er, ed, ing (helper, melted, standing) and tion (station, action)

How long is the program?

The program runs for 37 weeks per year commencing in February.  Although we recommend commencing at the beginning of the program, it is never too late to join.

Are there classes on the school holidays?

There are no lessons on school holidays or public holidays. You will not be charged for this class.  Private lessons are available upon request at an additional cost.

What class should my child attend?

• Pre-Kinder Beginner Program is for children attending school in 2022. ($35 inc GST, per 1 hour class).
Children must be toilet trained.

• Kinder Beginner Program is for children continuing on from our Pre Kinder Program or attending school in 2021. ($40 inc GST, per 1 hour and 15min class).

• Kinder Plus Program is for children who have attended the Reading Bees Kinder Beginner Program the previous year. ($38 inc GST, per 1 hour and 15min class).
We are happy to discuss with you the opportunity for your child to attend the Kinder Plus class if they have not attended Reading Bees the previous year.

• Literacy 1: This class is for children in foundation/prep, that are beginning to learn to read, write and spell. ($40 inc GST, per 45min class).

• Literacy 2: This class is for children in foundation or year 1 that have an understanding of phonics. The children continue to learn the skills and strategies for learning how to read, spell, and write. ($40 inc GST, per per 45min class).

Private tutoring is available for children in foundation (prep) to year 6.
Please call Rachel 0412268636 to discuss.

Please note, this is simply an outline. Children are individuals with different abilities and circumstances.

When do I pay?

Payment is required at the time of enrollment to secure your child's place.

For new enrolments into the kinder program, this includes payment for lessons and learning resources. 

Do you offer trial classes?

Due to the high demand we are unable to offer trial classes.

Are there any additional costs?

We ask parents to purchase the Milo’s Birthday Surprise story book and flashcards to use at home. We also have other resources you may purchase along your child's Reading Bees journey.

Using the Milo’s Birthday Surprise resources ensures that children learn the skills needed to learn to read and write. The focus is on teaching children to think about, talk about, and synthesise their developing knowledge of sounds and letters so they can read, write and spell with confidence. Getting children off to a good start is important!

My child receives financial support, can this be used for Reading Bees classes?

Allocation of funding is based on individiual needs, we are more than happy to provide information required or liaise with your provider to support your request.

Do you provide make up lessons, credits or refunds for missed lessons?

If your child is unable to attend a class under any circumstances (illness, appointment, holiday) a makeup class for the time your child is absent can be made up during the term at any centre if available.

You are most welcome to attend a makeup class/es at any of our centres during the remainder of the term where available.

We do not offer refunds for missed lessons. No deduction can be made on account of absence, as the expenses incurred in maintaining efficiency of the program are not lessened by the temporary absence of individual students.

In the event the teacher is away and we are unable to find a substitute teacher an additional week will be added or your money will be refunded.

What is your cancellation policy?

We do not offer refunds once you have booked in for the term. 

Please email hello@readingbees.com.au if you would like to cancel your child's enrolment.

What do I need to bring each week?

Workbook (provided by Reading Bees)
Bag (provided by Reading Bees)
Drink bottle
Reader (provided by Reading Bees)

# You do not need to bring the storybook and flashcards each week.

Does my child need to practice at home?

The more your child practices what they have learnt at Reading Bees, the more they will benefit from the program. Please take pleasure in reading your child the story we read to the children in class, Milo's Birthday Surprise.  Your child will receive this on their first day.  Although we only read the page that is relevant to the sound we are learning, please read the story and discuss the pictures etc.  This helps to consolidate their learning, help with anxiety as they can anticipate what is going to happen in class, and build excitement.  

The flashcards however, please only use them to practice the sounds we have learned so far.  Each week add the letter your child has learnt in class.  If your child practices the letters and sounds at home, they will retain it and will keep building on their knowledge.

Each week you will receive a parent letter (inside their workbook) discussing what we have done in class and activities you can do at home.

If you could practice three times a week for 5 -10 minutes this will definitely improve your child's learning.
Don't forget there is also a lot of informal occasions to practice. More about that in the parent letters.

Do I stay in the class with my child?

You do not need to stay with your child. In saying that you are most welcome to at any time. Some parents have stayed with their child until they are comfortable on their own. Some parents stay for a class every now and then or come back earlier to see how their child is going.

We would prefer if you leave. You will appreciate that the children find it overwhelming when they have a sea of adults watching over them.

Are the teacher's qualified?

All Educators at Reading Bees are either qualified primary teachers, kindergarten teachers, speech pathologists, have worked at Reading Bees for an extensive period of time and are extensively trained in the Reading Bees Program.
All Reading Bees Educators hold a current Working with Children check.

How did Reading Bees start?

Hi,

My name's Amber.  I'm the founder of Reading Bees.  Reading Bees was born 6 years ago after I attended a literacy workshop. I wanted to help my daughter who was in kinder at the time prepare for primary school.  I probably need to mention my background, I am a qualified teacher with a Bachelor of Arts (Japanese and Behavioural Science), Bachelor of Teaching and a Graduate Diploma in Business (Human Resource).  I left classroom teaching because I didn't like how I felt when I reflected on my day and knew I hadn't been able to give each child the assitance they needed as an individual.  

At the workshop the presenter, Maureen Pollard - Literacy Consultant and author of Little Learners Love Literacy said 'If children don't learn the foundations of reading in the first 3 years of school, they will struggle for the rest of their lives.'  On my way home, I called friends and said bring your children over to my place, I'm teaching them phonics.  I wasn't leaving anything to chance.  They told their friends and in the first year I had 25 students.  The following year I convinced my husband to let me transform our master bedroom into a little classroom.  By the way, he originally thought this was going to be a 'hobby' as we had a 4 year old and a 2 year old at the time.

By the third year, the word spread and Yvonne joined 'The Hive' to help me with 70 children attending Reading Bees at my home over 2 1/2 days!  At that point I had to decide if I would keep Reading Bees small and stay at home or give it a shot and expand so I could offer more classes.  In turn this meant more children had the opportunity to benefit from our program.

It didn't take me long to decide, I signed the lease for 164 Ferguson st, Williamstown.  Bianca and Siobhan joined Yvonne and I, our hive was growing.   The word was spreading..... 

Fast forward to today we have 7 learning centres and over 500 children attending each week.  Di and Hope helped open Point Cook and Tanya worked extremely hard on creating an awesome learning studio in Wantirna.  My brain is always ticking over thinking about how we can open more learning studios.  Everytime someone asks on Facebook etc can you open in our area, we honestly put a lot of thought into how we can make it happen.  'We' being Rach and I.  Rach is our 'jack of all trades', I think she has done every role available at Reading Bees!  Rach keeps The Hive buzzing.

I believe we are successful at Reading Bees because everyone at 'The Hive' genuinely care and are passionate about how we can help each individual child that comes to Reading Bees.  Our small classes enable us to attend to each child and we never leave each day wondering if we have given each child the attention they deserve.  The team go above and beyond for the children and to support each other.  We believe in our 'product' and take our responsibility as a child's first educator very seriously.

Thank you for your interest in Reading Bees.  Please reach out to us if you have any questions or would like to talk about how we can help your child become the best version of themselves.

 

Warmest Regards
Amber

 

To enrol:

http://readingbees.gettimely.com

Alternatively email hello@readingbees.com.au

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