To find out more about the I Can Read System, we speak to one of the founders, Ms. Annabel Seargeant
Reading is the very basis of literacy. However, reading, per se, is merely a platform for comprehension. When one reads, while being able to access the text but not its meaning, the exercise is futile. In spite of this, few enrichment centres nowadays make the effort to proceed past this first step. This is the one outstanding factor that sets the I Can Read (ICR) system apart from the others. We managed to get in touch with Annabel Seargeant, one of the founders, to find out more.
Unlike other centres, which simply teach students how to read, the ICR programme is a total literacy system, designed to encompass all aspects of literacy, be it in understanding, writing or speaking English. The system, a product of years of scientific research, has been meticulously constructed to become the most comprehensive, and hence effective, guide to teaching literacy.
A more mature total literacy approach
One of the most interesting things about the programme is that it isn’t only meant for schooling children. “The development of the techniques used in the ICR system are by their nature quite different and unique because they arose out of the scientific research… and having been peer group tested, these techniques address vital aspects that any person, student or non student, requires in order to become a proficient reader,” says Seargeant. In this way, ICR also provides for students with different aims, be it improving their English language in school, or just another aspect of their literacy.
The centre’s wide range of programmes caters specially to the individual needs of students. The programme also has flexible durations in order to allow the student to benefit completely from it, regardless of their age, learning pace or ability. “Most ICR courses are ‘student centred and ability driven’, allowing a student to learn at his or her own pace. In situations where a student is slower or wants to learn more quickly, we have a different approach which usually involves a specific teaching approach designed to cater for individual needs,” shares Seargeant. On top of that, the classes are devised specifically to the requirements of each level. For instance, the Primary English Programme is designed specifically to fit in with this year’s revised MOE syllabus outcomes.
The small classes also facilitate open interaction and greater levels of attention that can be given to the students. Additionally, the programme even provides before and after assessments, so that students are able to get a specific idea of how much they have improved, how they can improve, and the exact areas which they need to strengthen.
Since it was established in Singapore, ICR centres have sprung up in 20 different locations, and over 80,000 people of different ages, occupations, background and groups have benefited from it. Said Seargeant, “ICR’s approach reflects what we have learned from 20 years of global research by educational psychologists and is often different from the approach taken by teachers. In this manner…these skills will enable the student to become a fluent and effective reader more quickly.”