Monday, January 22, 2007

Overcoming Dyslexia (WFMW)

If there's one book that truly helped me help my dyslexic child, it would be Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz.

About 3 years ago, I was in the library frantically researching about learning disabilities because my son is having so much trouble in school. I heard about a particular book and so I asked the librarian if they have it.

"Sorry Mrs. P, that book is checked out. But I have one new book about Dyslexia that you night find helpful" said the librarian.

I was disappointed that the book I wanted to borrow was already checked out. I reluctantly agreed to borrow Overcoming Dyslexia instead. Little did I know that that book would be a "life saver" for G.

It is there where I first learned of Orton-Gillingham method, it's that book that opened my eyes to the symptoms of dyslexia that my child has. This book not only provided me with the information and education I needed, it also empowered me to be the best advocate for my son. G is now reading very well and is doing well in school. Had it not been for this book, I wonder if I had known whAt to do to help G.

There are so many other different books I have read on the topic of Dyslexia since then, but this one has been the most informative so far. It's not perfect, it's not complete, but it's a great start.


And since this book worked for me, I decided to put this in the "Works For Me Wednesday" carnival. For more WFMW blogs, visit "Rocks In My Dryer".


Anonymous said...

Hi there, it's Liz from I Speak of Dreams.

Your readers might want to know more about the content of Orton-Gillingham programs. I have a sort of canned description:

Here's Susan Barton (an O-G practitioner) on what dyslexia is, and how to remediate it.

One shouldn't regard a dyslexia program as "tutoring".   Parents should select a program that has been shown to work, that has the following features:

Effective Teaching to Remediate Dyslexia

These steps must be mastered in order!

Phonemic Awareness is the first step. You must teach the student how to listen to a single word or syllable and break it into individual phonemes--the individual sounds.

Phoneme/Grapheme Correspondence is the next step. Here you teach which sounds are represented by which letter(s), and how to blend those letters into single-syllable words.

The Six Types of Syllables that compose English words are taught next.

Probabilities and Rules are then taught. The English language provides several ways to spell the same sounds. For example, the sound /SHUN/ can be spelled either TION, SION, or CION. The sound of /J/ at the end of a word can be spelled GE or DGE. Dyslexic students need to be taught these rules and probabilities.

Morphology and Roots and Affixes--Morphology is the study of how morphemes are combined from words. A morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning in the language. The curriculum must include the study of base words, roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

How it is taught: Simultaneous Multisensory Instruction: Sometimes we rattle this off and don't really explain what it means or why it is important

This can be confusing to parents. It is sometimes refered to by the acronym VATK or VAKT

Sight or seeing, using the eyes = VISUAL

Hearing or listening, using the ears = AUDITORY

Feeling or touching, using the skin = TACTILE

Moving through space and time, using the whole body = KINESTHETIC

Reading and writing go together; writing is a kinesthetic task--(can you feel how all the muscles in your hand and arm work to form letters as you write a sentence?).

Dyslexic people who use all of their senses when they learn (visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic) are better able to store and retrieve the information.

A beginning dyslexic student might see the letter A, say its name and sound, and write it in the air -- all at the same time. 

Excellent instruction includes:

Intense Instruction with Ample Practice: The dyslexic brain benefits from overlearning--having a very precise focus with lots and lots of correct practice.

Direct, Explicit Instruction: dyslexic students do not automatically "get" anything about the reading task, and may not generalize well. Therefore, each detail of every rule that governs written language needs to be taught directly, one rule at a time. Then the rule needs to be practiced until the student has demonstrated that she has mastered the rule in both receptive (reading) and productive (writing and spelling) aspects. Only then should the instructor introduce the next rule.

Systematic and Cumulative Many dyslexic students are not identified until later in their academic careers. They have developed mental "structures" of how English works that are completely wrong. To develop good written language skills--reading and writing--the tutor must go back to the very beginning and rebuild the student's mastery with a solid foundation that has no holes or cracks.

Synthetic and Analytic: dyslexic students must be taught both how to take the individual letters or sounds and put them together to form a word (synthetic), as well as how to look at a long word and break it into smaller pieces (analytic). Both synthetic and analytic phonics must be taught all the time.

Diagnostic Teaching the teacher must continuously assess their student's understanding of, and ability to apply, the rules. The teacher must ensure the student isn't simply recognizing a pattern and blindly applying it. And when confusion of a previously-taught rule is discovered, it must be retaught.

Liza on Maui said...

Thanks Liz! Very informative and helpful comment. Very much appreciated :)

Carina said...

There are a few authors out there that I'd like to just give a big hug, too. Glad you found such a great book for your son.

Lines From The Vine said...

We loved this book! Our son has dyslexia and we actually went through the Dyslexia video training program (to teach him to read and write) through the Scottish Rite (I'm not sure if I'm spelling this right...most people will have a chapter in their area if they check the phone book). I can't tell you how much it helped.

The other thing that I'm learning (he's now 11) is to embrace this as a gift instead of a hinderance in his life. Though he does struggle in some areas, he exceeds in many others because he thinks about things so differently.

He has come a long way....dyslexia does not have to be something that hinders a child in their lives.