This fall, my friend Sara and I taught a community education class on Dyslexia and received many positive comments from those that attended, so we decided to do it again.
Here are the details:
Dyslexia – Knowledge, Awareness, and Empowerment
Dyslexia is a learning challenge facing many children. Come learn about dyslexia and other learning difficulties. The main objective of the class is to discover tools and attitudes that will empower students with learning struggles. This is a great survey course for parents and instructors.
Classes are Monday evenings at Ordean East Community School on Feb 22th, 29th and March 7th from 6:30 to 8:30pm.
Click here to sign up.
I will also be hosting a community education session:
Struggling Learners – What a Parent Should Consider
Is this year hard for your child? How can you help your child be more successful at
school? Homework takes hours and we’re still in elementary school, should it be this
hard? We’ll talk about reasons why kids struggle, how to help and how work with his/her
This class is Tuesday, Feb 9th at Lincoln Park Middle School from 6:30-8:30pm.
Last night I received a very special recognition from the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper University Medical Center where our program, the Cooper Learning Center is within the Department of Pediatrics.
One thing that was particularly special was that some of the people in attendance were former parents and kids (now grown up) who were there to offer their acknowledgements for what our program and my involvement meant to them. I then thought about the current state of affairs in the field of education.
These days in education and psychology it’s all about the measurable goals, the quantifiable objectives. The work that you do as a teacher or as a therapist needs to be “evidenced based.” Your outcomes need to hit a certain percentile of growth to document and justify your work.
I get all of that. It’s probably good to ground your practice in approaches that are supported by research. It’s also good (I think) to measure outcomes.
I can tell you this, though. The kids in the room last night and the parents who came to offer their own tribute were not there because they hit “outcome measures.” They were there for something unmeasurable, something intangible.
With all that we know about education and psychology, with all of the research and studies that have done, we can’t get past the intangibles.
It’s still the intangible that impacts kids most.
Think back. Who is a teacher or mentor that inspired you? Did they inspire you because you hit your “student growth objectives?”
I doubt it very much.
It’s the intangibles that matter, that make all of the difference in a kid’s life. I hope in this world of quantifying and measuring we don’t lose sight of that fact.
The summer schedule begins on Monday, June 9th. About a third of my students will be new which is always exciting for me. It’s a great time to work on skills that are lagging behind their peers, without the fatigue created by spending a day in the classroom. We have a marvelous opportunity to make strong gains.
Whether you’ve planned some “academics” for your children or not, below are some ideas for summer activities. In addition, you could consider rewarding your child with an end of the week treat if they read at least 30 minutes for at least five days in the previous week (an old fashioned chore chart works for this). Some ideas for treats are: a DQ, a new book, a special dessert, and a favorite at our house – have a picnic dinner.
1. Find a movie based on a book. Watch the movie, then read/listen to the book. Talk about the differences and similarities.
2. Go to the library and borrow some books and games.
3. Pre-read some of the books that will be part of next year’s reading. (Get that list from the teacher before school ends.)
4. Do a read-out-loud book.
5. Make dinner together—read the recipe, measure the ingredients, learn about the chemistry of cooking.
6. Play board games and card games.
7. Encourage your child to read to a pet or younger sibling/neighbor.
8. On a rainy day, have your children curl up with comic books or magazines.
9. Have your child plan a dream day somewhere. Be creative: they could write about it, make a collage, research with a travel book, or just talk about their ideal day. Make sure you share your ideas, too.
10. Have a TV/technology free day.
11. Once a week, “drop everything and read” for 15 minutes … everyone in the house has to participate.
12. CREATE A READING HABIT!!!
From Jill M. Ham, Ed.S. Educational Consultant and Dyslexia Expert from Children’s Dyslexia Center of Georgia
Jill list many of the symptoms that might indicate you want to learn more about dyslexia (reading), dysgraphia (writing), and/or dyscalculia (math).
#1 Issue: CAN read fluently due to memorizing SIGHT WORDS, but cannot decode unfamiliar words, spell correctly, or write complete sentences with punctuation.
• Reading is slow and choppy, not fluent, but reader can re-tell story
• Reading is fast and fluent, but can not recall the information read
• Struggles with attaching the correct sound to the correct letter
• Will say the individual sounds r-a-t but can not tell you the word at the end of sounding it out
• Will say the letter name instead of the sound when trying to sound out a word
• Can not remember the same words on the next page when reading a book that repeats
• Cannot decode unfamiliar words that they have not memorized
• Skips words when reading
• Omits words when reading
• Inserts words that look visually similar, for example instead of reading HOSE it would be HORSE or HOUSE
• Avoids reading and will always check to see how many pages are in the book first
• Eye Sight is Fine, but Vision Therapy May Be Recommended
• Handwriting is tiny, small, large, and changes size
• Writing takes a very long time to due and very laborious
• Always struggled with writing letters in a fluid motion, many children draw their letters with circles and sticks
• Has a hard time copying notes from the classroom teacher or white board
• Phonetically Spells words (missing vowels or silent letters)
• Struggled or still struggles writing the alphabet without hesitations (hesitations occur when the writer pauses or has to stop and think which letter or how to form the letter)
• Will inverse letters when writing (writing letters from the bottom to top, instead of top down)
• Will reverse letters: d, b, p, q, z and many times write a j for g and a g for j
• Struggled or still struggles with remembering the difference between: b, d, p and sometimes m and w or n and u and we typically see the j and z reversed
• Will capitalize the B and D when writing so they do not reverse the lowercase b and d
• Will write uppercase letters mixed in with lower case letters
• Will write above and below the line without using the correct pencil grip
Working & Long Term Memory
• Executive Functioning Deficits
• Struggles with Working & Long Term Memory
• Hard time breaking task or multiple steps into parts
• Takes a long time to learn new concepts
• Learning vocabulary words and commutative information is extremely challenging
• Learns better with visual (concrete information) and hands on
• Struggles with memorizing addition and subtraction facts
• Struggles with word problems in math
• Struggles with memorizing and recalling multiplication facts
• Struggles with multiple step math problems
• Very creative in arts, music, dance, drama, but has a hard time staying focused
• Does not understand the concept of time and struggles telling time
• Struggles with money and counting money
• Struggles with going backwards and forwards on the number line
Homework & Sensory
• May Exhibit Signs of ADD or ADHD
• Low Self-Esteem and Very Self Conscious
• Fidgets, rocks, moves or tries to avoid when given a reading, spelling or writing task
• Homework and studying takes HOURS and MELT DOWNS occur
• Parent is re-teaching information daily/nightly
• May teach new information and 30 minutes later the child does not remember the information presented
Great opportunity for kids to read, so if we get the rain that’s predicted here is a great indoor activity. Something fun for your Saturday.
Duluth Library Foundation
Studies show that children feel more comfortable reading out loud to dogs than to people. Your child can read to a therapy dog this Saturday at Miller Hill Mall between 11 am and 1 pm!
Michael Sledd writes “The 8 Skills Students Must have for the Future” on Edudemic.com. The original article is from Pearson’s 2014, “The Learning Curve”. These are the strengths of many of the children I work with. As they work so hard on some foundational skills it’s important to remind them that their area of strengths are valued. —
If you’re working on taxes and you’ve paid a tutor to help your child learn to read, you might be eligible for the MN Reading Credit. This credit is currently available only for the 2014 tax year. The following is directly from the Department of Revenue form:
Who is Eligible?
You may be able to receive a refundable credit for non-reimbursed expenses you paid to assist your qualifying child with meeting state-required academic standards. To be eligible for this credit, you must meet the following criteria:
The following is a link to the form,
This class is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 9th at Denfeld High School at 6:30 pm.
Does homework your child avoid homework?
Is it a battle every night?
Could something else be going on?
Is their work hard to read?
Or is it easy to read but takes forever?
Is their work full of spelling and punctuation errors?
Do they use both upper and lower case letters interchangeable?
Is their writing ‘scattered’ across the page?
This workshop is designed to give parents basic information to help their children succeed in writing. Dysgraphia, sometimes called disorder of written expression, is a neurology disorder. We will discuss how to detect, assessment, types of remediation, accommodations and technology. Bring a sample of your child’s writing to class.
Go to Duluth Community Ed to sign up