In the running for award

2019-03-12 06:00
Elizabeth Nadler-Nir

Elizabeth Nadler-Nir

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A homegrown online remedial reading programme, the Virtual Reading Gym (VRG), has been nominated in the London Book Fair (LBF) International Excellence Awards.

VRG has been shortlisted in two categories, the Educational Initiatives and Educational Learning Resources.

VRG can be used by primary school learners, with a focus on Grade 4. With the VRG the remedial reader now works online alongside a real-life mentor who could be a therapist, a parent, a responsible and committed older child or a teacher. A child and mentor work through a series of reading passages starting with the easiest and getting progressively more challenging.

Each piece comes with a set of questions and together they test the child’s reading speed, accuracy, comprehension, and vocabulary.

The programme has been designed with an inbuilt reward system.VRG treats errors as treasures, because the programme is tailored to the area of need, and the reader gets rewarded for choosing to work on their errors. The child cleans up a polluted city with each successive victory. Children find it fun and mentors enjoy it too, but the most important progress and results are measurable.

The awards, held in partnership with the UK Publishers Association (PA), celebrate publishing success in 17 categories, representing the best publishing ambassadors, innovative publishing, and ground-breaking initiatives in the industry. In each award category, the judging panel was comprised of experts in that sector.

Elizabeth Nadler-Nir, inventor of VRG says they are absolutely thrilled to be nominated in not just one but two categories. “VRG is dedicated to the thousands of delayed readers who helped to conceptualise this intervention.”

This online reading program has found a unique way to teach the challenged reader how to be a better reader. VRG’s uniqueness is in that it teaches the learner based on their reading challenges. At the moment, Good Hope Seminary Junior School in Gardens, Timour Hall Primary in Plumstead, Ellerton Primary School in Three Anchor Bay, Camps Bay Primary and Kronendal Primary in Hout Bay and Bay Primary School in Kalk Bay have access to VRG. The programme is run by volunteers mothers (“Moms tackle reading problem,” People’s Post, 20 November).

Nadler-Nir says the VRG was developed for the delayed reader of any age, who can cope with a basic grade 2 text. “Readers are not born with ready-made reading circuitry in the brain – this needs to be developed through a great deal of practice, and encouragement. For many this process is painless, but for others, it is fraught with struggles. Delayed reading can result in wobbly academic self-esteem and a lack of confidence around learning,” she says.

Jacks Thomas, director of The London Book Fair said the breadth of the sixth International Excellence Awards’ shortlist, with its impressive count of 26 countries, highlights how the global book industry is going from strength to strength.

“The nominees all showcase the diverse talent working in the publishing industry today, and I am thrilled to give them the international platform at the Book Fair to showcase their success. I look forward to welcoming the shortlistees to The London Book Fair in March – best of luck to everyone,” said Thomas

The LBF International Excellence Awards ceremony takes place in London today (12 Tuesday).

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