Pre-school English & Phonics Enrichment Class

Last week, the Husband and I made a concerted effort to find an English Language and Phonics Enrichment class for Little Edison. We feel that he is still slow in reading, and we need some external help to expedite the process. Otherwise, he will definitely suffer when he goes to P1.

We shortlisted two enrichment classes for him – I Can Read and Jan & Elly. Both centers have a branch near our house. We called up to make an appointment. Firstly, we need to bring him to the centre for assessment to determine his competency in reading and speaking the English Language. From there, the centre will determine the suitable program for him. 

I Can Read (Sengkang), 11 Rivervale Crescent, #02-08 Rivervale Mall, Singapore 545082

We went to I Can Read in Rivervale Mall with high expectations after reading the good reviews from parents on KiasuParents website. We were told to reach the center by 9am for the assessment. We arrived 10 mins earlier, but waited for half an hour before the teacher is available to conduct the assessment for Little Edison.

The assessment took about five minutes. Little Edison has a good letter foundation, but he is still unable to distinguish letter sounds of the alphabets. So, the teacher recommended him to join the I Can Read Preliminary class to further establish his phonological abilities and letter formation.

The teacher spent the next five minutes explaining to us the importance of phonics to improve a child’s ability to read and write, as well as an overview and effectiveness of their program. Then, he rushed off for his class at 9:30am.

I Can Read

Each lesson takes 1.5 hours, and there is a guaranteed 11 lessons per term. The course fee is $530.72 per term for weekend classes. We wanted to enquire further about the program, for instance, how the student is evaluated and promoted to the next level, what we can expect from each term or level and most importantly, what our son can achieved if he continues with this program until the end of his K2.

However, the center manager seemed to be very busy with her administrative work. She gave us a short reply for every question that we posed to her. At the end, V wasn’t satisfied and we didn’t enroll him. Personally, I find that the program is good. My only concern is the lack of toilet in the center. The children have to walk out to the nearest toilet in the shopping mall – which I feel that it’s unsafe.

Jan & Elly (Seletar Hills), 1 Seletar Rd, #02-10 Greenwich V, Singapore 807011

We had our lunch before we drove to Jan & Elly at the new Greenwich V shopping mall at Seletar Hills. The center is very new – it was opened early this year (their 3rd branch). The environment is cosy and comfortable. The center manager (a very nice lady) gave us an overview of their program. Then, she conducted the assessment on Little Edison.

Jan & Elly

By the age of 5, Little Edison should be joining the Phonics Intermediate class. However, he has not mastered all the letter sounds. So, she has two proposals for us. First, we can enroll him in the Intermediate class and add a few bridging lessons for him to revise on all the letter sounds.

Bridging is the one-to-one customized lesson to accelerate his learning by completing more than one lesson per week.

The second option is to enroll him in Phonics Readiness class for one term with a few bridging lessons to cover all the letter sounds. By the end of the term, he should have a good working knowledge of each letter sound and he’ll be promoted to the Intermediate class mid this year.

She suggested the latter option, so that it will not be too stressful for Little Edison. For the subsequent terms in July and Oct, he will join the Intermediate class to learn about the basic blending skills, word recognition and reading. By the time he goes to K2, he will be in the Phonics Advanced class.

Assessment will be conducted by the teacher after every 3 lessons. What I like most is the bridging 1-to-1 lesson – although it is quite expensive. It focuses on areas that need improvement so that the children can progress through the program smoothly.

Secondly, the center has its own toilet. So, I don’t have to worry about safety. The duration of each lesson is 1 hour. The course fee is $300 per term (10 lessons) and bridging 1-to-1 is charged at $80 for 40 mins.

Both of us like Jan & Elly, the same goes to Little Edison. So, we enrolled him straightaway. After the registration and payments, we returned home happily. Hopefully, this program will work for Little Edison and most importantly, he will enjoy his lessons and reading.

Looking forward to his first Phonics class this weekend!

 

46 Comments on Pre-school English & Phonics Enrichment Class

  1. CE
    April 3, 2012 at 8:20 PM (2 years ago)

    I believe boys are generally slower in learning phonics and language. Have you ever come across any study that confirms or denies this?

    Reply
    • Emily
      April 3, 2012 at 9:44 PM (2 years ago)

      Hi CE,
      No leh. I don’t think that boys are generally slower cos I know some who can read really well. Maybe it’s my teaching method that does not interest him to learn to read. So I guess sending him to Phonics class will help.

  2. May
    April 4, 2012 at 12:16 PM (2 years ago)

    doesn’t kindergarten in sg cover phonics and literarcy?

    Reply
    • Emily
      April 5, 2012 at 8:57 AM (2 years ago)

      Hi May,
      The kindergarten covers early literacy and phonics too, but maybe not too in-depth. Or maybe my boy doesn’t pay attention at school and doesn’t learn much? I’m not sure. So, we’re putting him for enrichment class to focus on phonics & reading.

  3. Shannon
    April 4, 2012 at 11:17 PM (2 years ago)

    I am surprised that you did not shortlist Lorna Whiston. They have been around for ages and they are good.

    Reply
    • Emily
      April 5, 2012 at 8:59 AM (2 years ago)

      Hi Shannon,
      Yeah, I heard of Lorna Whiston. We didn’t shortlist it because it’s not near to our place. :( Do you have any experience with this school?

  4. Shannon
    April 5, 2012 at 2:46 PM (2 years ago)

    My nephew and nieces went to Lorna Whiston (LW) when they were young, under 5 years old. Last year, my nephew gotten A1 for his English ‘O’ level and my niece gotten A for her English PSLE. I am planning to send my daughter there next year when she turns 4 years old. I think LW is good to set the foundation and minimises the use of Singlish.

    Reply
    • Emily
      April 7, 2012 at 10:02 AM (2 years ago)

      Hi Shannon,
      Yeah, LW has a good track record, they really set a good foundation for the young learners. I find that age 4 is the best to start phonics class, kinda regret not sending my boy earlier. Hope he will catch up fast now.

  5. May
    April 6, 2012 at 5:34 PM (2 years ago)

    thanks Emily for clarifying. we are moving back from hk end of april and trying to get my head round sg’s curriculum

    Reply
    • Emily
      April 7, 2012 at 9:56 AM (2 years ago)

      Hi May,
      Welcome back!

  6. Bbau08
    April 7, 2012 at 9:19 PM (2 years ago)

    Hi Emily….wow this post came on the right time. I was also sourcing for phonic class for my 4yr old son. We went to woodland I can read, but was disappoint w the ans we rec and even more disappointed w the environment. We went to I can read at forum. The environment is better, cleaner and newer. But the centre mgr or reception were v arrogant that my hubby was not happy w them. After reading ur post which came on right time, will visit jan centre day before we decide on which class. Hope to read more update from ur blog….

    Reply
    • Emily
      April 9, 2012 at 1:21 PM (2 years ago)

      Hi Bbau08,
      My boy just had his first lesson last weekend, he really enjoyed it. So far, I have a very good impression of the school. But on the effectiveness of the program, I think I’ll need longer time to evaluate it. I suggest you make a visit to the school, and understand more about their program. As Shannon has suggested, maybe you can check out Lorna Whiston too. Good luck! :)

  7. cheryl
    April 9, 2012 at 2:29 PM (2 years ago)

    Hi Emily.. my boy (5) has been joining i can read kovan since last year and he’s ready to progress to the proper icanread programme now. He’s been in the preliminary stage for a while now. So far, he is able to distinguish the letter sounds so I should say it the lessons really work. He can read simple jane and peter books now ( the 1 and 2 series). The teachers are really nice though, not sure about the admin staff.. Just my 2 cents .. : )

    Reply
    • Emily
      April 9, 2012 at 5:47 PM (2 years ago)

      Hi Cheryl,
      Great to hear that your son is making good progress at ICR. I went to the Rivervale Mall branch, they have 6 teachers and quite a number of students too. Didn’t go to Kovan though.

  8. Irene
    April 10, 2012 at 8:47 AM (2 years ago)

    Hi Emily, was so busy I didn’t have time to do my blog reads. Finally found time to catch up since on medical leave :p
    My son, Enoch (2), knows all the sounds of the alphabet cos he watches leapfrog. I did not have to do supplementary teaching then, it just caught on. Have u tried it? It was recommended by other colleagues and it’s really entertaining. I watch with him too. Hth

    Reply
    • Emily
      April 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM (2 years ago)

      Hi Irene,
      Thanks for your recommendation. My boy actually watched the Leapfrog DVDs too when he was 2-3 years old. But after a long time, he has forgotten about the letter sounds. Now, when I asked him to watch the DVDs again, he refused. :( I still have a few brand new titles which he haven’t started watching.

  9. nha
    October 25, 2012 at 5:19 PM (2 years ago)

    Hi Emily

    Icanread program has recently opened their business in Hanoi, Vietnam. They said that this program is the most sucessfull in Singapore where they have 17 branches and about 600 students in each center. They said that Icanread program is teaching in the public schools in Singapore? is this correct?

    Reply
    • Emily
      November 4, 2012 at 10:05 AM (2 years ago)

      Hi nha,
      Yes, ICR is one of the most popular English schools in Singapore, but I can’t be sure if it is taught in the public schools. Maybe you can call them to enquire about this.

  10. Vanz
    October 31, 2012 at 10:17 PM (2 years ago)

    Hi. Am interested to know the progress of your boy. My girl is now in K1 and she still can’t real read. I’m also in SK area so Greenwich is really quite nearby. Would be grateful to hear from you on your son’s progress and your likes / dislikes for the centre / curriculum. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Emily
      November 4, 2012 at 10:09 AM (2 years ago)

      Dear Vanz,
      My son is with the school for the third term now. In fact, he really enjoys his lessons and is making good progress in reading. I highly recommend this school. Maybe you can enroll your girl on the trial class to assess whether she likes it or not.

  11. Mathi
    November 1, 2012 at 2:30 PM (2 years ago)

    I am planning to enroll my 4.5 yrs old daughter to ICR, Jurong East. Can anyone share your comments about this branch?

    Reply
  12. Celine
    November 14, 2012 at 7:20 PM (2 years ago)

    Hi Emily,

    I am glad to read yr recent reviews on Jan & Elly. I will be bringing my son for assessment next week. They will be having a promotion from 23 Nov to 25 Dec. Registration fee will be waived if u register yr child during this period. My son also can’t read very well and he will be in K2 next year. I was looking for reviews on Jan & Elly, and found yr blog. It is very informative. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Emily
      November 16, 2012 at 12:48 PM (2 years ago)

      Hi Celine,
      Jan & Elly is indeed a good English school, my son enjoys his lessons a lot. I hope your son will enjoy it too. :)

  13. darcia
    January 23, 2013 at 5:42 PM (2 years ago)

    Hi mummies,

    I felt so blessed to come across this website n blogs.

    I have a question here..

    My boy was born in year 2009 n just turned 3yo last Nov.
    Will it be too kaisu to enrol him for phonics class?

    Reply
  14. Emily
    January 25, 2013 at 12:50 PM (2 years ago)

    Hi darcia,
    I think there is no such thing as “kiasu” when it comes to parenting. All of us just want to provide the best to our children. I think the Phonics class is available from Nursery level onwards, but I’m not sure what is the minimum age. Maybe you can call the schools to check out. :)

    Reply
  15. Joey
    May 3, 2013 at 11:34 AM (1 year ago)

    Hi Emily,
    I was also looking for Jan and Elly review and found ur blog.. My girl is in nursery this year and still do not know abt the letters sound. I held back on phonics enrichment class cos the cc teacher told me that they cover phonics in their school. But half a year gone my girl doesn’t seems to know any letter sounding yet. Then I decided maybe she need more help in phonics.

    I have called up ICR at Kovan, visited Mind Stretcher at Hougang 1. Both are very rigid in the aspect of makeup class.. J&E on the other hand is very flexible in the class arrangement. I have registered my girl in the Sunday 11.30-12.30pm class under teacher Nick. Which teacher is Edison under and is the teacher good?

    Reply
    • Emily
      May 3, 2013 at 1:13 PM (1 year ago)

      Hi Joey,
      Welcome to the Jan & Elly club… Haha! :) My son is with Teacher Nick too. He’s still quite new to the school, so I haven’t really talk much to him personally. But my son really likes him a lot and I see that all the children really click well with him and enjoy his lessons. Hope your girl will enjoy her Phonics classes too. :)

  16. Joey
    May 3, 2013 at 2:08 PM (1 year ago)

    Thanks Emily. But I tot I heard the recept mention that teacher nick have been with J&E for 3 years… Am glad that ur son and other children like him.. I hope my girl will like him too and enjoy the lessons. ????

    Reply
    • Emily
      May 3, 2013 at 2:30 PM (1 year ago)

      Hi Joey,
      Maybe he was transferred from other branch? I’m not sure. He came in last term after Teacher Ian left. Teacher Nick is younger and he has quite a lot of games to play with the kids, so that why they like him (I think). Anyway, my son always look forward his Phonics class there and his reading skills has improved a lot since joining them. :)

  17. Alicia
    June 12, 2013 at 10:05 AM (1 year ago)

    Hi Emily, is jan & elly good? It is more expensive & location not as convenient as ICR kovan.
    My 5yo knows phonics but self learn/self taught, somehow lacking of something…

    Reply
    • Emily
      June 15, 2013 at 8:59 PM (1 year ago)

      Hi Alicia,
      I visited ICR in Rivervale, and I don’t quite like it. The environment at Jan & Elly is much better. My son enjoys his lessons at J&E. Their fees is $320/term now.

  18. Alicia
    June 19, 2013 at 10:22 AM (1 year ago)

    Emily, my 5yo went for the assessment ytd. Tr Alyson said my boy don’t need the phonics class as he knew it all… She suggested me to try for the k2 creative writing… Quite a bit of concern if my boy is ready for writing, & the time table doesn’t really suit me… Furthermore, the fee is not cheap… Ironically, my boy loves phonics so much, he says he wants to starts lessons from the beginning… 0o

    Reply
  19. Alicia
    June 19, 2013 at 10:24 AM (1 year ago)

    Do you think it’s waste of time & $ to enrol for phonics?
    I hope my boy has fun but on the other hand, afraid he is into too much of his comfort zone & unable to progress further… *sigh*

    Reply
    • Emily
      June 19, 2013 at 12:59 PM (1 year ago)

      Hi Alicia,
      You are lucky that your boy knows phonics so well. If I were you, I will enroll him with creative writing instead. My boy is going for Phonics Advance next term and by the end of his K2, he will complete the Phonics Advance course. I intend to enroll him with P1 creative writing next year.

  20. anna
    January 24, 2014 at 3:46 PM (7 months ago)

    Hi Emily.
    My son is currently in P1 and still struggling to read. Last night was my first visit to Greenwich and saw Jan&Elly centre. But I was there at night. So they are close.
    Is the fee still the same now? And any hold of deposit?

    Reply
    • Emily
      January 25, 2014 at 9:01 AM (7 months ago)

      Dear Anna,
      The deposit is $50 and registration fee is $50 as well. My boy has completed the phonics program and he’s currently taking Creative Writing and Composition for P1. The fee is $480 per term. They also have Reading and Comprehension for P1. You can call the centre to ask, the staffs are very helpful.

      Hope this helps.

  21. sharon
    March 5, 2014 at 4:35 PM (6 months ago)

    Has anyone heard of my english classroom?

    Reply
  22. Sheila
    March 24, 2014 at 3:48 PM (5 months ago)

    Hi Emily,
    I am thinking of sending my 2 sons, aged 3 years plus and 4 years plus to Jan & Elly for phonics. I am really wondering whether the program is good. how old is your son this year? is he in primary 1 or K2? is he very good in reading now?

    Reply
    • Emily
      March 26, 2014 at 9:27 AM (5 months ago)

      Hi Sheila,
      My boy is in P1 this year. He was a very slow reader when he was in K1. I tried to teach him Phonics at home, but it was unsuccessful. I’m glad to have enrolled him with Jan & Elly. I like their teaching method and materials. My boy enjoyed his Phonics lessons a lot too.

      With a good foundation in phonics, he’s able to read with minimal supervision now. Although I can’t say that he can read VERY WELL now, but his progress has improved tremendously. It helps him with his spelling too.

      I suggest that you send your boys for their trial classes. From there, you can gauge whether they like the lessons (most important!). You can also check their learning materials at the centre.

      Hope this helps! Cheers!

  23. Sheila
    March 26, 2014 at 11:29 AM (5 months ago)

    Hi Emily,
    Actually I am still pondering which one to choose between I can Read and Jan & Elly. I am bringing my 2 sons for the assessment this sun. which one is better?

    Reply
    • Emily
      March 26, 2014 at 10:28 PM (5 months ago)

      Hi Sheila,
      I’ve been to both schools. Personally, I prefer Jan & Elly than I Can Read, mainly because the staff who attended to me at ICR had some attitude problem. After the assessments and trial lessons, I’m convinced that J&E is a much better choice.

      Let your boys try out the classes. Most importantly, ask them which one that they prefer.

  24. Karen
    April 25, 2014 at 12:29 PM (4 months ago)

    Hi Emily

    I was doing research for Jan & Elly and saw your blog, thanks for the info.

    My gal k2 this year and with ICR since last year Jan, but till now she still can’t blend the word, thus she is unable to read a full simple story book. Though ICR is famous but looks like we need to have a move now.

    I would like to check with you how long your boy been with J&E? So he can blend and pronounce most of the words at his level now?

    I will go J&E next week for assessment, hopefully my gal will likes the school.

    Reply
    • Emily
      April 28, 2014 at 10:18 PM (4 months ago)

      Dear Karen,

      Sorry for my late reply. My boy has been with J&E Phonics program for 1.5 hours and he really mastered his letter sounds and blending techniques. Three years ago, I was really worried because he still couldn’t read much at K1 level.

      Now his reading has improved. Although I wouldn’t say that he’s an advanced reader, but his reading skills are age-appropriate. Most importantly, he enjoys his lessons there and he loves his teachers.

      Hope your gal will enjoy her first trial lesson there. You can talk to the teacher after the assessment and understand more about the program.

      All the best!

  25. Mummy
    May 14, 2014 at 2:17 PM (3 months ago)

    Hi Emily,
    I have regisetered my 4 year old son to J&E for a trial class.

    Can you kindly share if J&E is good as my son doesnt know the sounds of A-Z.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  26. Pallavi
    July 1, 2014 at 1:57 PM (2 months ago)

    Hi Emily,

    Thank you for this informative post. My 5 yr old also has some issues in reading and writing both.After reading your experience, I would like to try J&E and hope my son like it.
    I have one query, how long it took to really notice the improvement in reading abilities?

    Reply
  27. Fiona
    July 12, 2014 at 3:46 PM (1 month ago)

    May I ask how long is the duration for 1:1 for phonics?

    Reply

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