Showing posts with label dyslexia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dyslexia. Show all posts
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.


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.






Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Children Who Struggle to Spell Need Multi-Sensory Teaching



Reading and Spelling Are Linked

Help my child can't spell!  Even in the age of technology where spell checkers abound. Spelling has an important role in literacy development.* Research studies have shown a moderate to high correlation between spelling skills, phonological skills, and reading skills.  Studies have also shown that if children can spell better their reading fluency speed increases.

What Skills Does A Student Need to Spell Well?


In order to be able to spell well student must have two capabilities. The first skill that they must have is phonological awareness. This is the ability to hear sounds that make up words in spoken language. For accurate spelling, students must be able to hear the sounds in words and then write them down in the correct order in which they heard them. Another skill that students must have in order to be able to spell well is the ability to visualize words in their mind. They need to be able to picture the words that they spell in their mind as if they were looking at them on a movie screen. Dyslexic students often have trouble with these skills.

courtesy of Vecreezy

 Multi-Sensory Teaching

There is a six-step multi-sensory strategy which is I use to help students to strengthen both phonological awareness and visualization. Multi-sensory teaching involves the use of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic tactile pathways simultaneously. The first thing that the teacher will do is carefully dictate the word to the student assuring that the student can see the formation of the word on the teacher's lips. After the teacher dictates the word the student uses the following 6 steps to gain spelling and reading mastery of the word.

Six-Step Strategy


1. Say it out -repeat back the word to the teacher so that the teacher can determine if the student heard the word correctly.








2. Tap it out- the student says each of the sounds in the word the student puts a finger down for each sound. I often will use boxes for this part and have the student put a finger down in each box for each sound. Remember it is a finger for each sound not each letter. So in a word like peach they would put 3 fingers down for the 3 sounds.
When tapping out 2 and 3 syllable words have the student tap out each syllable separately. 


3. Count it Out- This step just reinforces the last step. Starting with the thumb the student says the word again and counts how many sounds are in the word. 




4. Write it out and Read- The student will write the word and name the letters as they write them. This way they see, and hear the word as they write. Then they read the word they wrote. This is an important step to multi-sensory teaching.  



5. Visualize and Draw- For this step I have the student make a mental picture of the word. If any sounds are difficult we draw them in a different color to create a stronger mental image. Sometimes we will add a sentence to go with the word and then draw pictures directly on letters that are difficult because they don't say their usual sound.  This is especially helpful for "sight words." This student was having trouble withthe word ground so he added rocks in the o and dirt and flowers in the u this helps create a strong mental image for the student.





6. Visualize and Air Write- After visualizing and drawing to get a good mental picture then the teacher should ask the student to close their eyes and "see" the word in their " mind like looking at it on a movie screen. They should write the word in the air with their index finger saying the letters as they write and then say the whole word.

Using this method consistently will help your students retain their spelling words if you allow for enough practice. 









I have made a poster and chart for student’s desks or notebooks that will remind them of these steps. There is also a recording sheet with visual reminders where the student can write their spelling words and check off each step in the process. You can have them free this week Here. If you find it helpful please leave feedback in my store. Happy Thanksgiving!
I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions please contact me.










www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/Moats.pdf
https://www.nmu.edu/education/sites/DrupalEducation/files/UserFiles/Johnson_Mandi_MP.pdf





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Monday, 24 October 2016

4 Essential Aspects to any Homeschool Curriculum for Dyslexia


Reading is Complex

Dyslexic students have difficulty connecting the sounds that make up words with the letters that represent those sounds. The process of reading is very complex and uses different parts of the brain to decode and read words. Dyslexic students often struggle to keep those word pictures in their minds.


Big Picture Thinkers


Interestingly, even though dyslexic students struggle with reading and writing many dyslexic people are more often right brain thinkers who are very talented in seeing the ”big picture.”  Many dyslexic people are wonderful problem solvers and very creative. But their way of thinking, even though it is necessary and a fabulous blessing for the world, makes learning to reading and write more difficult. So how can we as classroom teachers and home educators best meet the literacy needs of these exceptional students?






 Dyslexia Curriculum Essentials

1. Individualized Teaching:  When parents come to me for help with their dyslexic child they often ask which program they should use with their child. That is a difficult question because each child is different with different strengths and weaknesses. We can’t use a one size fits all program. That being said there are wonderful programs out there that parents and teachers can use and we will discuss them later. However  keep in mind that any program that you use will have to be modified based on the specific needs of the student. This is one of the advantages of 1:1 instruction which is the ability to customize instruction for students.


2. Multi-sensory Teaching:  Research has shown that Children with Learning disabilities learn best when the teaching is done through Multisensory instruction. Judith R. Birsh has written an extremely helpful book Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills. .Birsh details how important it is to teach literacy lessons using 2 or 3 senses. For example, many children are helped by tapping out the sounds in a word on their arm for the kinesthetic feedback. I often have active children jump out syllables in a word which gets their entire body involved in the learning process. The use of multiple senses when learning a difficult concept can make a significant difference in learning for children with dyslexia.


courtesy of Vecteezy





3. Explicit teaching: Dyslexic children don’t “pick up” reading. In fact, most children don’t learn to read well without careful explicit instruction. The Annie E Casey Foundation report states that the data shows that 80 percent of lower-income fourth graders and 66 percent of all kids are not reading at grade level at the start of fourth grade. Dyslexic students need to be taught the rules that they can apply to reading and then be given the opportunity to practice the rules systematically until mastery is achieved.








4. Sequential and Cumulative Teaching: Students often come to me with huge gaps in their knowledge. They often have learned how to sight read words like children or people, but then can’t read basic CVC words like van, or pet. Children with dyslexia need to be taught with materials that present each concept carefully and that build on that knowledge in such a way that the student can master the information and become successful readers.
All these aspects of good teaching are part of the Orton-Gillingham Approach to reading. This approach is not a curriculum but a way of teaching that is effective for dyslexic learners and for other students as well.


Best Curriculums for Teaching Literacy to the Dyslexic Student




I always recommend that homeschool parents wanting to teach their dyslexic child at home get some support from a trained Orton-Gillingham tutor or teacher who can guide them through the best way to teach their child.  But there are well constructed curriculums out there that I can recommend:


S.P.I.R.E. One curriculum I often recommend for elementary age students is S.P.I.R.E. I like it because each 10 step lesson is scripted so you will be sure to have a well-rounded multi-sensory systematic lesson. However it is a bit expensive, so if you are a homeschool parent I suggest buying the materials used.

All AboutReading This is a good choice for the homeschool family. Lessons are also scripted which helps keep the teacher on the right track.

Barton Reading This is a one-on-one reading tutoring system, completely scripted for easy parent use and Orton-Gillingham based.
Logic of English  This is comprehensive, completely scripted reading, spelling and grammar program based on the Orton-Gillingham approach.




The Wilson Reading Program This program is not scripted, so if you don’t have Orton-Gillingham training, I do not recommend it even though it is an evidence-based program that works well.
More Practice Needed
Even with a well-crafted curriculum, for most dyslexic students more practice is needed than the curriculum materials provide. If you have young students in need of more practice you will find these games helpful. Games area fantastic way to practice skills for mastery. I created them so my students could get more practice in a fun and exciting way. You can find them here and here