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ARROW Foundation offers solutions for literacy regression due to pandemic

The following article was featured in the Guardian newspaper Feb 03 2022

With schools now looking to resume in-person instruction, and students having been subject to online learning for nearly two years, the ARROW Foundation is offering solutions for students who are facing learning-related challenges—including struggles with literacy.

In an official release, Managing Director of the ARROW Foundation, Christopher Bonterre, says the pandemic conditions have had an impact on children’s literacy and learning skills, hence the need for the remedial learning ARROW is now offering.

"A recent United Nations' report stated that the learning losses for children as a result of COVID-19 is 'the largest disruption to education in history',” he noted.  “It should come as no surprise that the pandemic’s effects on children's literacy and learning skills, locally and globally, have been widespread and adverse, with reports showing that the restrictions put in place to control the spread of the virus have led to a regression in basic learning skills including communication, concentration, writing and oral fluency.”

Bonterre added: "Furthermore, there is a sense of anxiety that comes with an entire generation falling behind in education; disproportionately affecting socio-economically disadvantaged children. There is an urgent need to consider alternative and engaging ways of getting them back on track and fully immersed in learning once again, especially with Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examinations just around the corner. The ARROW Foundation is strategically poised to help students in this situation."

Bonterre explained that the ARROW programme, which utilises a brain-based learning approach through the self-voice technique, significantly enhances the literacy skills in students of all ages and abilities at a rapid rate.

Developed more than 40 years ago in the UK by Dr. Colin Lane, ARROW is an acronym that stands for Aural–Read–Respond–Oral–Write.  It focuses on remedial work in reading, spelling, dictation, speech and listening skills, and assists students who experience academic challenges by transforming their entire approach to learning. The computer-based learning applies use of the self-voice—a recording of the learner’s own voice while reading—which forms the basis of the multi-sensory learning approach.

“Its utilisation in schools across the country can prove to be a fundamental step in tackling this huge problem directly,” he said.

A report by UK-based OFSTED, carried out during September and October of 2020, stated that the children hardest hit by school closures had regressed in some basic skills and learning, while older children had lost stamina in their reading and writing. Reading was the most significant regression commonly pointed out by primary school leaders, as well as writing skills including spelling, grammar, punctuation and the ability to write at length.

“Our beacon status programmes ensure that targeted schools have the specialist brain-based technology installed on-site and that the teachers and staff receive the requisite skills, training and support to not only raise literacy levels, but also to deal with issues like crisis and trauma that may hamper learning,” Bonterre said, as he explained how ARROW could address this critical literacy and learning situation.

“Ultimately, our aim is to support the existing education system in order to reverse the setbacks caused by COVID-19 and raise literacy levels for all students in need,” he asserted.

The local ARROW Foundation is a non-profit organisation, which has established an enviable record of accomplishment over the past 15 years, having transformed the lives of thousands of children in over 200 schools across Trinidad and Tobago.

Based on their superlative results, the Foundation has been able to expand its reach through support from organisations including BP Trinidad and Tobago, RBC Royal Bank, Methanex Trinidad Limited, JB Fernandes Memorial Trust, Citizen’s Security Programme, Angostura Limited and Atlantic.

For more information on the ARROW Foundation, visit or call 624 9063.

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