ALTA has always sought innovative methods to reach students where they are. Now, with the backdrop of a pandemic that calls for us to maintain physical distance, the only space available for our students and teachers is the virtual space.
Covid-19 presented ALTA with an opportunity that was unforeseen before March 12th, 2020 – to teach literacy classes virtually.
ALTA-V is a vibrant teaching platform where our students join us via Zoom to improve their literacy skills. ALTA-V is delivered by a trained ALTA tutor to groups of 6-8 students. Breakout rooms are used to maintain ALTA’s commitment to individual attention.
Classes are twice a week for two hours and run with the school year – September to July, with holidays for Christmas and Easter. Once registered, the student may stay as long as needed to achieve the literacy goals they set for themselves. ALTA has no tests but, at the end of the academic year in July, awards a certificate based on an end-of-level evaluation.
Download the ALTA programme options for 2021 here.
The ALTA Student Levels
All persons who register at the start of September for a free ALTA community class are assessed by class tutors on the first day of the academic year. Based on this assessment, students are placed into Beginner, Level 1 or Level 2 classes. The ALTA programme is not for persons who have a School Leaving certificate, CXC certificates or who are reading and writing fluently and with ease.
• Letter Recognition: Does not recognize the letters of the alphabet
• Phonics: Does not know the sounds of individual letters of the alphabet
• Writing: Does not know how to write the common and capital letters
• Word Recognition: Does not recognize any words or knows so few that they cannot read a short sentence.
Students assessed to be in Level 1 struggle with all reading except infant texts (approximately equivalent to reading age 5-6 years).
• Letter Recognition: Recognises most, but not necessarily all, 26 letter shapes in both cases.
• Phonics: Does not know all the sounds of the individual letters of the alphabet.
• Word Recognition: Has a very small sight vocabulary, i.e. whole words recognised instantly on sight. Many of the high frequency words are not known.
• Comprehension: Poor word recognition skills mean cannot read and understand a paragraph.
• Writing: Writes very little, only a few lines to a short paragraph, without punctuation, correct spelling and Standard English grammar.
Students assessed to be in this level do read and write but slowly and often haltingly. Their literacy level does not enable them to read newspapers, fill in many forms or read text related to their skill area.
• Letter Recognition: Recognises all letter shapes but may show confusion between some upper and lower case letters and differential letter proportions.
• Phonics: Knows individual letter sounds but not combinations of letters and more advanced phonics.
• Word Recognition: Recognises most high frequency words but has poor syllabification skills.
• Writing: Writes but not accurately in terms of punctuation, spelling and Standard English grammar.
Students move into Level 3 after successfully completing Level 2. At this point they read and write fluently but have difficulty with some multi-syllabic words, spelling and Standard English grammar. Students do not start the ALTA Programme at Level 3.