MSL Club 2018

The second MSL Club has just been completed in bayside, Melbourne. This club is the brainchild of a wonderful educator and MSL therapist, Kate Bertoncello, who saw a need, dreamed a dream, took a risk and planned and executed a slick, professional and amazing club to support children with dyslexia.

36 educators, 134 children (from all over Australian), 70+ parents and many teachers attended St Joan of Arc PS in Brighton over the course of the 4 days. Not to forget the many volunteers who were there to help with directions, first aid, support and more.

The children worked in small groups of 3-5, with one dedicated teacher, trained in the Orton-Gillingham or MSL approach, which is the most effective approach recommended for children with dyslexia. (But actually an approach which benefits all children due to its explicit teaching, structured scope and sequence and multisensory design) Mornings were full of active and energetic activities designed to teach the children how to crack the code of the English language. Afternoons were spent involved in a variety of fun activities such as robotics, art, Lego, meditation and various sporting pursuits.

An advocacy day was organized to provide parents with an opportunity to meet with other families navigating the maze of dyslexia. They listened to an amazing line-up of speakers who provided invaluable information about appropriate and reasonable accommodations for their children, working collaboratively with their school and helping develop effective ILPs.

A professional development day was also organised for any interested teachers (more than 70 in attendance) where topics included dyscalculia, learning disorders, handwriting and dyslexia, as well as discussion about best practice for spelling and reading instruction.

The club will be held again next year in Melbourne, and Kate is looking into options for an MSL club Sydney and Adelaide in the near future.

There were so many highlights from working at this club but one of the best has to be the honest discussions overheard between the children in my group- ‘We’re lucky we have dyslexia. Otherwise we wouldn’t get to come to MSL club.’