FEWER COLLEGES REQUIRING STANDARDIZED TESTS If you or your students struggled with standardized tests, there is good news on college admissions as increasing numbers of schools no longer require tests for admission. This fall, over 80% of four-year colleges won't...
Almost half of all dyslexic student may have math disabilities (Wilcutt et al.2013), but math disabilities or dyscalculia are rarely recognized in public or private schools in the US. All the more important for tutors, teachers, and parents to be aware of dyslexia-related differences in learning better ways of helping information ‘stick’. One helpful example for how to support math for dyslexic students comes from the Sagonaska Demonstration School. They have completely embraced multisensory learning and have considered how reading and writing challenges can affect the way students learn and show their work. Third Space Learning has nice graphics about this approach. Briefly, it involves introducing new math concepts with physical materials, then switching to the use of drawings (representations) to work problems. […]
“…when I was a kid, my mother had often asked my father, ‘What are you thinking?’ He’d shrug and say, ‘Nothing’ — a response that irritated her to no end. (‘How can he be thinking about nothing?’ she’d ask me.) I’ve always been on Team Dad; I spend a lot of time thoughtless, just living life. At the same time, whenever I speak, ideas condense out of the mental cloud. It was happening even then, as I talked with my friend: I was articulating thoughts that had been unspecified yet present in my mind. My head isn’t entirely word-free; like many people, I occasionally talk to myself in an inner monologue. (Remember the milk! Ten more reps!) On the whole, though, silence reigns. Blankness, too: […]
Many students and adults attribute difficulties in math to memory problems, but probing these difficulties further often leads to the realization that it’s not a simple matter of remembering or forgetting, but rather trouble defining, organizing, then retrieving what has been learned. PROBLEMS DEFINING AND UNDERSTANDING ‘WHY’ First of all, if a student is struggling with remembering new information, it’s best to check and see if the definitions, procedures, and the why of procedures are clear. In fact, it may be a flipside of a strength in long-term memory that contributes to dyslexic students’ confusion with ambiguous terms. A good example of this James Tanton’s blog post: When fractions are introduced as pieces of pie, 3/5 + 1/5 makes sense to equal 4/5, but what […]
Question: My middle grade student still has trouble with reversals. What can I do to help? Answer: Reversals can occur in different contexts, so understanding the different causes can help determine the best solutions. PERSISTENT LETTER REVERSALS Reversals can be a normal developmental finding up until the age of seven years. After that, severe difficulties with letter reversals may require intensive training or even therapy. Letter Recognition Persistent letter recognition problems are usually helped by a variety of multisensory sensory and mnemonic approaches. Programs like Zoophonics combine little memory associations and character drawings to help improve letter recognition. Hand visual mnemonics may help some children to distinguish between the letters b and d, as shown in the bed image: See more: Usually older students develop […]
Some teachers find parent-teacher conferences the most stressful part of their job so it’s best to keep that in mind before you head off to the meeting. I remember we had “good” meetings and “bad”. The good ones seemed so easy – sit back and be presented with student work and positive comments. But there were also hard ones, frustrating ones, and depressing ones. People react to conflicts and crises in different ways – so that there can be psychological minefields for everyone involved in parent-teacher conferences – the parents, the teachers, and the students…and it all seems to go by so fast. BRING SOMEONE If you’re a single parent, bring someone with you – whether it’s a friend, fellow classroom parent, or relative. If […]
Reading fluency is defined as an ability to read texts with accuracy, a good rate, and good expression (sometimes the latter two are referred to as automaticity and prosody). Strong reading fluency is a goal that all children should have on their path to becoming...
Almost every structured literacy program uses letter tiles and flashcards. The reason for this is that there are so many word parts and whole words to learn and the use of tiles and cards can give students visual support as they focus on various letters, letter groups, and their sounds while building up reading fluency. Some students may have difficulty learning with tiles and cards if the lessons or demonstrations proceed too quickly, or if working memory is easily overloaded or motor challenges make hands-on activities more difficult than less kinesthetic ones. Activities like word sorts may also provide a little physical activity that help students stay alert and engaged whereas more passive study may have them drifting off. For college kids and adults, flashcards […]
Question: I have a third grade student who attends a school that used Wilson Fundations in the earlier grades. The problem is that even though my daughter did some summer work, she’s been having trouble keeping up. She’s dropped down a level from her peers so that she’s just repeating what she had been taught before. There is less stress in the lower group, but would changing her to a different curriculum be a better option? Answer: This is a difficult question to answer specifically. Ideally, someone who really knows your student could give you specific guidance on whether repetition or a new curriculum might be a better move. The Wilson Fundations program is designed for general education classrooms. It (as well as other programs […]
For many of us, hearing about a new technology, app, or software can result in mixed feelings. We may have hope about better organizing and simplifying our lives, but also have reasonable worry about a difficult learning curve, a complicated interface, or any number of problems that can prevent us from reaping the benefits of whatever thing we are hoping might help. Enter – the simple list. If you have a weak short term or working memory, but great long-term memory and you don’t like reading lots of extra text, then lists may be the perfect productivity tool for you. Putting something down on a list can offload your working memory, but also have the benefits of reinforcing the big picture, while never losing sight […]
Finding one’s voice is an existential issue for many – but for dyslexic folks in particular, it can be a difficult because of the nature of their challenges early in life and, of course, the school business. From a practical perspective, dyslexia can create many obstacles in expression and people may be trapped not being able to reveal the depth of their feeling and understanding. Even when the reading issues get remediated and accommodated and writing gets easier, many will still struggle – and that may drift into the adult years. WHAT TO DO? There’s a saying, “Use it or lose it”, and the dilemma for those who may have some trouble expressing their ideas is that they are more likely to be inhibited about […]
If you have moderate to severe dyslexia, chances are that you've encountered many obstacles on path to higher education and career. The farther one gets in education, the more one can recognize that much of education deals with writing about things rather than doing...