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Reading Bees Frequently Asked Questions

Contact details

hello@readingbees.com.au
0412 268 636

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Locations for 2021

Williamstown: 164 Ferguson St, Williamstown 3016

Williams Landing: Suite 4, Level 1, 100 Overton Rd, Williams Landing Shopping Centre, Williams Landing 3027

Caroline Springs: 248 Caroline Springs Blvd, Caroline Springs 3023

Wantirna: 1/322 Mountain Hwy, Wantirna 3152

 

2021 Dates

One class per week during school terms:

Term 1: Mon 1 Feb - Thu 1 Apr
Term 2: Mon 19 Apr - Sat 26 Jun
Term 3: Mon 12 Jul - Sat 18 Sep
Term 4: Mon 4 Oct - Sat 4 Dec

Closed on Public Holidays:

Mon 8 Mar - Labour Day
Mon 14 Jun - Queen's Birthday
Mon 1 Nov - Melbourne Cup long weekend
Tue 2 Nov - Melbourne Cup

 

Why do over 600 children attend Reading Bees each year?

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, or offering structure so that too many choices don't make your 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.

Our vision is to help children to become the best version of themselves.  We respect that children develop at their own pace and empathise with the children according to their unique needs and character.

 

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, 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).
 
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, 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 Foundation/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 emphasizes 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 has a speech &/or language delay, will coming to Reading Bees help them?

ABSOLUTELY!
Children with speech and language delays often have difficulty with literacy skills as well. Children who have difficulty pronouncing or understanding certain speech sounds may have difficulty with reading and writing those sounds as well. This can lead to trouble decoding and sounding out words.
Children with language delays may not fully understand all parts of language, such as grammar, syntax, vocabulary, etc. This can lead to problems understanding text or putting one’s ideas into writing in a logical manner.

Before children are ready to read, write, and spell, they develop phonological awareness skills. These skills help them understand how words are made up of sounds and that sounds are represented by letters. These skills are essential for reading and are often impaired in children with speech disorders, especially phonological disorders.

At Reading Bees, we help your child develop phonological awareness skills by incorporating the following in their play based activities....

            - Rhyming
            - Alliteration (same beginning sounds)
            - Letter-sound correspondences 
            - Manipulating sounds in words
            - Identifying sounds at the beginning, middle and end of words.

With a maximum class size of 12 children, led by a dedicated educator plus an assistant, your child gets the personal attention they need and deserve.

 

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 percent 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?

In the Pre-Kinder learning groups, the maximum amount of children is 10, with two educators.

In the Kinder learning groups, the maximum amount of children is 12, with two educators.

 

What do you do in the Preschool classes?

Pre-Kinder & Kinder classes....

Milo's Birthday Surprise
Reading Bees classes 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 class, the children are encouraged to greet their teachers and peers.
The children settle into the group 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. 

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

Print awareness
Each week, the children listen to a page from the story 'Milo's Birthday Surprise'. 

'Milo’s Birthday Surprise' takes children on a journey through the letters of the alphabet, highlighting the sound of each letter. Becoming aware of the link between sounds and letters is the first step in learning to read. Milo the monkey introduces his friends as he invites them to his birthday party. Entertaining illustrations allow children to search for clues about the birthday surprises that are in store for Milo. 

The introduction of sounds in 'Milo's Birthday Surprise' is not in alphabetical order. Every page is full of alliteration - eg. Felix the frog flips and flops with four fat fish; Kylie the koala practises karate kicks; and Cooper the caterpillar crawls on a cactus.  
(Little Learners Love Literacy)

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 throughout the lesson to interact with their Reading Bees friends.  We practice taking turns, co-operating, compromising and sharing with others.

Communication
We encourage listening and talking so that the children have a supportive environment for developing skills and understanding 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. We encourage the children to use the term 'YET', "I can't do this, YET."

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?

These classes are designed to help 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 Love Literacy 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 letters 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 - 5 sounds, introducing short vowel /a/ /i/ /o/ /u/ /e/, initial consonant blends with /r/ /l/ /s/, final consonant blends (eg. mp, nt, nk, nd, ft, lt, lk, nt, nd, nk), and consonant digraphs (eg. ck, sh, ch, th, ng, ph).

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)

We also offer 1:1 sessions at some centres by appointement only.  You are unable to book these sessions online.

 

How long is the program?

The program runs for 38 weeks per year commencing in February and running during school terms only.  Although we recommend commencing at the beginning of the program, it is never too late to join.

 

Are there classes in the school holidays?

There are no lessons during school holidays or on public holidays. Private lessons may be available upon request, pending educator availability.

 

What class should my child attend?

Pre-Kinder program is for children attending school in 2023 ($35 inc GST, per 60 minute class).
Children must be toilet trained.

Kinder program is for children continuing on from our Pre-Kinder Program or for children attending school in 2022 ($40 inc GST, per 75 minute class).

Kinder Plus program is for children who have attended the Reading Bees Kinder Program the previous year ($40 inc GST, per 75 minute class).

We are happy to discuss with you the opportunity for your child to attend the Kinder Plus program if they have not attended Reading Bees the previous year.

Literacy 1: This class is for children in Foundation/Prep, who are beginning to learn to read, write and spell. ($45 inc GST, per 45 minute class).

Literacy 2: This class is for children typically in Year 1 or 2, who have an understanding of phonics. The children continue to learn the skills and strategies for learning how to read, spell, and write, and are introduced to more advanced code knowledge ($45 inc GST, per 45 minute class).

Private tutoring is available for children from Foundation/Prep to Year 6.
Please call 0412 268 636 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 enrolment, to secure your child's place.

For new enrolments, this includes payment for the classes and the required learning resources. 

 

Do you offer trial classes?

Yes! We would love to invite you to attend a trial class, as an opportunity to see our creative learning space, meet our passionate educators, and give you the confidence in knowing that your child is happy and engaged prior to making the decision to enrol.

Throughout Term 1, we will have 'Come and Try' classes allocated on our class calendar at each location for you to be able to book online. If these days/times don't suit, please call 0412 268 636 or email hello@readingbees.com.au to discuss alternative options.

At any other time of the year, please contact us by phone or email to arrange a trial.

 

Are there any additional costs?

For the Pre-school programs, we ask parents to purchase the 'Milo’s Birthday Surprise' storybook and a set of flashcards to use at home. This is a one-off cost upon starting the program, as their 'start-up pack'. Each child is also provided with a workbook & tote bag, and access to our reader library. This is all considered as their required learning resources..

For the Primary programs, there is a one-off cost per student per year, as their 'workbook pack'. This covers all workbooks/writing books provided, printing & photocopying throughout the year, and access to our reader library.

We also have other Little Learners Love Literacy resources you may purchase along your child's Reading Bees journey.

Using the recommended 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 makeup 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 attended during the term at any of our learning studios, based on availability.

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 that the teacher is away and we are unable to find a replacement teacher, or if the learning studio is forced to close, an additional week will be added to your program 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?

 - Your child's workbook in the plastic pocket provided
 - Drink bottle
 - Reader (if borrowed)

 * You do not need to bring the storybook and flashcards each week. These are for home use

** Also please note - we do not allow food in our learning studios, due to allergies. Please help us to keep our learning studios a safe place for all children, & do not bring any food/snacks with you.

 

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 the 'Milo's Birthday Surprise' storybook with your child at home. Your child will receive this on their first day.  Although we only read the page that is relevant to the sound we are learning each week, we encourage you to read the story and discuss all the pictures that go with each of Milo's friends. This helps to consolidate their learning, helps with anxiety as they can anticipate what is going to happen in class, and builds excitement of who they're going to meet next!  

However, when it comes to the flashcards - please only use the cards for the sounds we have learned so far.  Then each week, we encourage you to add in the new letter that your child has learnt in class, so that the collection of flashcards you practise with gradually increases throughout the whole year.

If you could practice three times a week for 5 -10 minutes this will definitely improve your child's learning. Away from the book & flashcards, it is also all of the informal occasions throughout your week that we encourage you to take advantage of, to practice the focus from each week - eg. noticing food you eat, or things you wear, or places you go that begin with that week's focus sound; pointing out the focus letter on signs or on the TV, etc.

 

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.

Ideally, however, we are aiming for you leave. You will appreciate that the children find it overwhelming when they have a sea of adults watching over them. It is also an important element of the school readiness that we are aiming to develop, so that your children build confidence in being away from you, and in knowing that you will be back to pick them up at the end of the class.

 

Are the teacher's qualified?

All Educators at Reading Bees are either qualified primary teachers, kindergarten teachers or speech pathologists.

All Educators at Reading Bees hold a current Working with Children check and current First Aid certification.

 

How did Reading Bees start?

Hi,

My name is Amber. I'm the founder of Reading Bees. Reading Bees was born 8 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 assistance 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 4 learning studios and over 500 children attending each week. Di and Hope helped to open Point Cook (now Williams Landing) 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 cares and is 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 thoroughly believe in our 'product' and we 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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