Thursday, 2 February 2017

Activities for Reading Fluency with Visual Dyslexia

Improving Visual Memory

I have  worked extensively with students with visual dyslexia. These students often have good phonemic awareness, and can "sound out" words,  but can not visualize these words in their minds and so continue to sound out the same words time and time again. These students must have help to retrain the brain to see these words and phrases in their "mind's eye." If the students can not get these words from the short term memory to the long term their reading rate is extremely slow. This leaves them frustrated. 

Sentence Pyramids

One activity I use to help students with this are Sentence Pyramids. They help with repetition in a fun way. I have students read one word or phrase and then try to vizualize that word with closed eyes and “air write” the word or phrase.

Sentence Flip Books


These work on the same principle. Have the student read one sentence at a time and then flip the page and try to write it. For some students , they may need to just write one or two words and then flip back and read again.  The goal is to help them retain more and more word pictures and not to "sound out."  "Oh, wait" but you might think but " sounding out" is good. Indeed, it is an important skill but these are words they already know the sounds for. In fact, they have decoded them perhaps hundreds of times. They need to get beyond decoding to fluency.

Sentence puzzles

I included sentence puzzles in this fluency pack to aid in fluency and visualization. Have the student put together the puzzle, read it, and then turn over one piece at a time and have them "air write" what they saw.
I have a sample pack of these materials available for Free here. The whole pack has 25 sentence pyramids with stories, flip books, and puzzles to make essential practice fun.
You may purchase this megapack here.

Sentence pyramids Powerpoint


I tutor students online all over the word. So I need great multimedia presentations to keep kids attention while we work on needed skills. I created a Sentence Pyramid Powerpoint to keep my students engaged. This powerpoint will reveal one phrase at a time and kids love it. You can buy it here.

Strengthen Symbol Imagery


Strengthening symbol Imagery is essential for all struggling and beginning readers. Without good symbol imagery skills students reading rate and spelling accuracy is curtailed. I base my learning activities for symbol imagery based on  Seeing Stars by Nanci Bell. This is an excellent resource for any teacher or homeschool parent will a student with weak symbol imagery ability. Please follow my blog and my store for more great materials for struggling readers and writers. Lots of freebies in every post.


Thursday, 19 January 2017

Speech and Language Therapy and Black History Month (with Freebie)

Harriet Tubman Helping Kids with Speech




I normally work with students with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia, but I also help students with speech and language issues. Also, many of my students have English as a second or third language so language is an issue I deal with often. I  wanted to share my new Harriet Tubman Speech and Language Therapy Unit.  Harriet Tubman is truly a woman I respect for her courage and perseverence. The first aspect of the unit is a mini book which features the life of Harriet Tubman in easy decodable language.
I am selling this book by itself in my store, but it comes as a freebie in the Speech and Language Therapy Unit.

The unit cover sequencing and includes Ordinal Numbers and Transition words for retelling.

Then I created 36 game cards which target vocabulary, grammar and phonetic awareness  as well as comprehension and Wh questions for students to answer. They come in color and black and white as well as with and without picture prompts for students at different levels.

The unit covers syllables, rhyme, and articulation goals as well.



There is also an open-ended game which I have included as a Black History Month Freebie 





Please do leave freeback if you decide to download this game.

Hope you find this unit helpful and please subscribe to my blog and follow my store so you don't miss out on great products and more freebies
Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Best Curriculum to Help Struggling Writers

Systematic


Some students are blessed with the ability to just sit down and write. If they are given a topic, they can sit down and write paragraphs with ease. But for many students writing is a nightmare, they don't know what to write or how to structure their writing. These students  either write very little or they write a lot, but it is a confusing mess. These students  need to be taught a system to get their thoughts out on paper in an organized way. 


Specific

Students who struggle with writing need very specific instructions in order to write well.  Many writing programs give general outlines or ideas on writing, but struggling writers just find this frustrating. They need specific instructions on ways to write sentences, paragraphs and essays and they also need specific guidance on each type of writing ie. narrative, persuasive, expository etc.



Sensory

Just as multi-sensory activities help dyslexic readers read better, multi-sensory strategies help struggling writers write more effectively.One effective technique I use often is making the students highlight the different parts of their paragraph or essay in different colors. 


Three curriculum programs that I like to use the most with struggling writers are Institute for Excellence in Writing, Step up to Writing, and Basic Writing Skills by Judith Hochman. In fact, I combine the strategies of these three fantastic programs when I tutor struggling writers.





I have created a terrific resource for January that focuses on expository paragraph writing.
It combines  the 3 S's using a Power point presentation and correlating printables.  You can purchase it here







If you have a struggling writer who is not ready for expository paragraphs yet you might find this article helpful.


I will be creating more helpful material for struggling writers in the future so subscribe to my blog and follow my store so you don't miss out.


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Floss Rule for Spelling and Reading



Do you use the Floss Rule? No, it isn’t for your teeth. The Floss Rule is an extremely helpful memory aid for spelling words with a double consonant ending. The FLoSS rule is one of the first spelling rules I teach to dyslexic students to help them understand when to double the final “f”, “l” and “s” consonants at the end of certain words. It is often taught in first and second grade.    
When a /f/, /l/ /s/ (or /z/) is heard after a short vowel at the end of a one-syllable word, it is spelled with a double “ff”, “ll”, “ss” or “zz”.    Feel free to download this free floss rule poster for your classroom.

I created 3 resources to aid beginning or struggling readers with this helpful rule. First, I created a set of decodable stories with matching close passages.



Then I created a fantastic  Word Work activity packet filled with lots of no prep and low prep  printable activities that will help with reading and spelling.





My struggling readers need lots of practice to gain fluency so I made the activity packet with lots of variety to keep their attention and keep them learning. This packet is a great Response to Intervention addition to your classroom. This packet includes lots of picture and word cards for a fun "write the room" activity.

Lastly, I made a great Smart Notebook Companion Activity Presentation which correlates to the printables so you can easily use them together.






Use the floss rule as another great opportunity to improve your student's literacy skills.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Visual Processing and Memory issues with Dyslexia




When people think of seeing they most often think about visual accuracy,as in 20/20 vision. But vision is much more than that. The brain is the main processor for the visual world. When students struggle with visual processing  they will often struggle with reading and reading comprehension. Not all children with visual processing issues have dyslexia and not all dyslexic student struggle with visual processing. However, some dyslexic childen do struggle with visual processing so it is helpful to know more about it.
Visual processing issues affect how a child learns as well as functional skills like kicking a ball or sorting socks. Children with visual dyslexia often struggle with 5 areas.
  • Visual discrimination issues:  These students often have trouble discriminating between 2 different shapes especially if they are similar. This may cause them to confuse letters like b and or p and q.
  • Visual sequencing issues: Students who struggle with sequencing may skip lines when reading or reverse or misread numbers or words. 
  • Long- or short-term visual memory issues:Students with visual memory problems commonly read the same words over and over again by "sounding them out." This is because they can not remember what the word looks like and this slows down reading fluency.
  • Visual figure-ground discrimination issues: Students with this issue often can not pull a shape or letter from its background this will cause them to have trouble finding a specific word or sentence on a page.
  • Visual-motor processing issues: Students with this problem often struggle with coordination because they have difficulty using the feedback from their eyes to coordinate body movements. They may struggle writing on lines or within the margins. and may have trouble copying  from books.

How to Help Children with these issues

Some simple activities you can do at home or in the classroom are to encourage students to do puzzles or work with books like Where's Waldo.



In addition, memory games are very helpful for students who struggle with visual memory. 
But try not  to do just object memory games. Students with visual memory problems or visual discrimination problems need to do word memory games.I created 3 games for Visual memory this winter. Click on the captions to access these fun and helpful games.


It is important to add the kinesthetic aspect when playing a memory match game. Have students close their eyes are try to visualize words and then "air write" those words. 
"Air "writing is helpful to visual memory


I also created a SMART Notebook activities to assist with visual memory and CVC words and a printable pack to help especially with students who have visual memory and visual discrimination struggles with CVC words.  You can purchase this helpful resource here.

Have students read across and then vertically
Line and loop is great for eye tracking and fine motor control



This is great for figure ground practice.

With practice kids who struggle with visual discrimination can improve their reading ability.
Please let me know if you have comments or questions and I would be happy to help.