Watch out for these red flags to help identify dyslexia

Children cannot grow out of dyslexia. Rather, the dyslexia will only have more severe consequences over time with lack of intervention. It is critical to keep an eye out for all possible red flags at every grade level to understand when intervention is needed. In their recent edWebinar, Kelli Sandman-Hurley, Ed.D., and Tracy Block-Zaretsky, co-founders of the Dyslexia Training Institute, reviewed the potential warning signs of dyslexia.

There is no definitive list of symptoms for dyslexia, Sandman-Hurley explained. Every individual is completely different, so educators must figure out each student’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition, depending on the severity of the symptoms, it’s possible that they could show up at different ages, which is why it’s critical to watch for these red flags throughout all grade levels. There is also a misconception that students cannot be screened for dyslexia until as late as second or third grade. In fact, early screening, if possible, is key.

Preschool- and kindergarten-level red flags
These may include:…Read More

4 reasons why some children have difficulty learning to read

According to Hill for Literacy, about 66 percent of fourth-grade readers cannot read proficiently, which often translates into a growing achievement gap for these children. Why is reading such a difficult task to learn and teach? While humans are born with a natural ability for spoken language, reading is much different. In fact, Dr. Vera Blau-McCandliss, vice president of education and research at Square Panda, said that reading is a relatively new and unnatural phenomenon which she described in “Reading and the Brain.”

Reading requires two systems of the brain to connect. First, the brain has to learn the meaning of a letter, and then it has to combine that with spoken language. Bringing these two systems together is a key to becoming a skilled reader. In addition, the brain must learn to understand the meaning of written text and develop essential skills such as phonological awareness, working memory, executive control, and more. Most of this requires fundamental changes in brain organization, and there are four key processes to this.

1. Fine tuning visual brain areas for processing printed letters and words.
The human brain is wired to recognize that a right-side-up object is the same object if turned upside down. Therefore, it needs to learn to recognize that the lowercase letter “p” is completely different from the lowercase letter “b.” A Visual Word Form Area (VWFA) develops as this is learned, and research has shown that there is decreased activation in the VWFA in dyslexic individuals.…Read More

Want to get struggling readers enthusiastic about reading? Here’s how

With 10 million students in grades K-12 struggling to read, taking those struggling readers from disengaged to enthused may seem like a huge feat. However, doing just one thing to take action can cause a wave of reaction throughout the entire school. In a recent edWebinar, Nelda Reyes, a dyslexia interventionist at De Zavala Elementary in San Marcos (TX) Consolidated Independent School District, shared how she was able to establish a culture of reading at her school by creating a sense of belonging, building awareness, and never taking no for an answer.

Before Reyes started any initiatives at De Zavala Elementary, the general feel in her classroom regarding reading was a lack of enthusiasm, interest, or any conversation about books and authors. Promoting a school-wide reading culture, as well as recognition for the struggling readers (many who have never had that feeling before), was crucial to curbing these negative feelings. She successfully created an atmosphere of reading and literacy at her school with the following strategies.

Be a reading cheerleader. Make sure all teachers are becoming their students’ reading cheerleaders throughout the day. Motivation in class and the hallways, through notes, and over announcements will give students the boost they need to start believing in themselves.…Read More

11 online tools & apps for dyslexic students

In the past, dyslexia was rarely recognized, and when it was, very little was put in place for the student. It was assumed that students were being lazy, not paying attention, or being disruptive because they were badly behaved, not because they were infuriated.

Nowadays, however, so much has changed, and students with dyslexia are able to thrive in the classroom. The following teaching tools and apps can make learning a lot more enjoyable for dyslexic students.

Shakespeare In Bits…Read More

eReaders may help people with dyslexia

CNN reports: People with dyslexia may have an easier time reading on an eReader than using traditional paper, a new study published today in the journal PLOS One suggests. Researchers say the idea for the study came out of anecdotal reports they were hearing from dyslexics who said they never read for pleasure before smartphones and eReaders enabled them to start. “They said it was a much more comfortable experience,” said Jenny Thomason, a study author who worked at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education at the time. “We wanted to take a closer look.”

Read more

…Read More