Assistance in the development of the reading skill
Intervention for Reading Difficulties rehabilitation
The “KOLOVOS” method constitutes a full instructional package that is dual-purpose. On the one hand, it aims at assisting in the development of the reading skill of every pre-school and early school child, especially those at risk of presenting learning and other school difficulties and, on the other hand, it constitutes an instructional intervention for improving and rehabilitating the reading difficulties.
Its effectiveness has been proven by a large number of research findings (Tzivinikou, 2015) in Greek, while multiple case studies are in progress, where this instructional package is the basis of the interventions for confronting the reading difficulties of students with mixed capacity, although significantly lower than that of the students of their corresponding age group.
The “Kolovos” method is the basis of specialized programmes for teachers, special needs teachers, psychologists and speech therapists that have been developed by the University of Thessaly and offered by the Center for Lifelong Learning of the University of Thessaly. Scientific advisor, Dr. Zivinikou Sotiria, assistant professor of the Pedagogical Department of Special Education, supervised these programmes.
Method’s great acceptance on both scientific and educational level, being characterized as an effective, valid and trustworthy one, has led to its adaptation to other linguistic systems as well, especially those with similar phonological structure to greek language. The development of the “Kolovos” method has already been completed in Russian, Portuguese, Italian and its adaptation into Spanish is in progress.
In terms of its scientific psycho-lingual basis, it is based on a combination of basic approaches of reading development: a bottom-up approach and a top-down approach. The former has adopted the thorough teaching of all phrases and graphs. The latter has adopted the meaning-to-image linking. The emphasis is laid on memory strategies: connection with previous knowledge, organization in long-term memory, multiple repetitions, automatic memory retrieval. Thus, we can briefly describe the method such as:
Image + meaning + phoneme + grapheme + memory strategies
THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS OF THE “KOLOVOS” METHOD
The method follows a circular pattern: evaluation, decision-making for intervention, intervention, evaluation (Image 1)
Image 1: The implementation process of the “Kolovos” method
Description of the “Kolovos” method
“Kolovos” method consists of seven levels and the module of supplementary exercises.
First level: On the first level, there are phonological awareness exercises, visual distinction exercises, visual memory exercises and short-term enhancement exercises. The aim of the first level activities is for the student to discern the letters.
Second level: The aim of the second level activities is to master the reading and writing of CV-type syllables. On the second level, there are phonological awareness exercises, a conflation of linguistic sounds, visual and auditory distinction exercises, as well as short-term enhancement exercises.
Third level: The aim of the third level activities is to read and write CV-CV-type disyllabic words. There are phonological awareness exercises, visual and auditory distinction exercises and conflating syllables into words.
Fourth level: On the fourth level, the student has to read and write CV-CV-CV-type trisyllabic words and CV-CV-CV-CV-type four-syllable words. Exercises of the previous level could be also completed.
Fifth level: On this level, our goal is to read and write words of CCV and CCCV-type syllables.
Sixth level: On the sixth level, the student has to be able to recognize, read and write words of two-digit vowels and combinations “au” and “eu”, as well as diphthongs, two-digit consonants and the words that include them.
Seventh level: On this level, the student has to process and comprehend simple texts.
SUPPLEMENTARY EXERCISES: In this module, there are some exercises for the final “s” and “n”. In the supplementary exercises, there is also a module with the appropriate exercises in order to make letters and clusters clear in the minds of students with learning difficulties.
Note: In every exercise of the method, there is a video that demonstrates how the teacher will complete it along with the student.
 Tzivinikou, S. (2015). Ανάγνωση και αναγνωστικές δυσκολίες: Μελετώντας την αποτελεσματικότητα διδακτικών παρεμβάσεων. International conference’s announcement on "Literacy and Modern Society: Composing Socio-Cultural, Philosophical, Pedagogical and Technological Aspects". Nicosia, 23-26 October 2015.