Dyslexia Awareness Week: Dispelling Myths 3 + 4

Myth 3: Intelligence and ability to read are related. So if someone doesn’t read well, they can’t be very bright. Equally, very able children cannot be dyslexic.

Fact: Dyslexia is not related to intelligence. Many people with dyslexia are very able and accomplish amazing things as adults. Follow the link http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/about-dyslexia/famous-dyslexics.html to read more about famous people who are learners with dyslexia.

Myth 4: People with dyslexia cannot read.

Fact: Most people with dyslexia can read — up to a point. But they will “hit the wall” in reading development at some point. It is not necessarily the decoding or recognition of unfamiliar words that causes the most difficulties once early skills are acquired, but reading rate.

It is spelling that separates learners with dyslexia from those who struggle with reading for some other reason.

If the child works hard at studying the spelling list using multisensory techniques, s/he may be able to learn the list long enough to do “okay” on Friday’s test. But, they have more problems retaining those spelling words from one week to the next and transferring them to free writing. The overload on memory and processing ability is often just too much for them to do everything at once.

Wellington Square reading activities online

The Wellington Square website is designed for use alongside the book components of the Wellington Square Reading Scheme. This scheme provides interesting and lively stories for lower ability readers.

The website is easy to navigate and contains a range of activities to support the teaching of reading skills to pupils with Additional Support Needs.

After logging onto the website, pupils are able to enter the Character pages. The character pages follow the same format and are all updated over the course of a term. Each character area contains an introduction, game, quiz, character information, character facts and character questions.  A coloured logo on each web page specifies the reading level for that page. Vocabulary from that level’s word wall is included in the text and there are links to some of the books the pupils may have read.

Pupils must read each character’s area before attempting the quiz section, as all questions are related to the character information and character facts. The website also has ‘Ask a Question’ which pupils can address to a character and receive a reply on the website the following day.

These resources could be used in a variety of settings – whole class teaching, group work or independently.  Worth a look!

Dyslexia Awareness Week: Dispelling Myths 1 + 2

Myth: Dyslexia does not exist.

Fact: Dyslexia is one of the most researched and documented conditions that affect children. Over 30 years of independent, scientific, replicated, published research exists on dyslexia.

Myth: Dyslexia is a “catch all” term.

Fact: That was true back in the 1960’s and 1970’s before the research existed. Here is Scotland we have a research-based definition of dyslexia, as follows:

Dyslexia can be described as a continuum of difficulties in learning to read, write and/or spell, which does not respond well to conventional teaching techniques. These difficulties often do not reflect an individual’s cognitive ability and are often not typical of performance in other areas.

The affect of dyslexia as a barrier to learning varies in degree according to the learning environment and the demands of the curriculum as there are associated difficulties such as:

  • auditory and /or visual processing of language-based information
  • phonological awareness
  • oral language skills and reading fluency
  • short-term and working memory
  • sequencing and directionality
  • number skills
  • organisational ability

Motor skills and co-ordination are often affected.

Dyslexia exists in all cultures and across the range of abilities and socio-economic backgrounds.  It is neurological in origin; a hereditary, life-long condition.  Unidentified, dyslexia is likely to result in low self esteem, high stress, atypical behaviour, and low achievement. 

Dyslexia Awareness Week: Myths about Dyslexia

See you on the other side by Annalisa Shepherd

Next week is Dyslexia Awareness Week and I shall be posting something here every day.

First, here is a list of myths about dyslexia. I’ll make sure each one is debunked before the end of the week!

Myth 1: Dyslexia does not exist.

Myth 2: Dyslexia is a “catch all” term.

Myth 3: Intelligence and ability to read are related. So if someone doesn’t read well, they can’t be very bright. Equally, very able children cannot be dyslexic.

Myth 4: People with dyslexia cannot read.

Myth 5: People with dyslexia see things backwards.

Myth 6: Dyslexia is rare.

Myth 7: Dyslexia is a medical diagnosis.

Myth 8: Children outgrow dyslexia.

Myth 9: Dyslexia affects four times more boys than girls.

Myth 10: Any child who reverses letters or numbers has dyslexia.

Myth 11: Every child who struggles with reading is a learner with dyslexia.

Myth 12: Children with dyslexia are just lazy. If only they tried harder…

 

Thanks to Annalisa Shepherd for the picture.

New era for Scottish literacy

 The Scottish Government announces that breaking the long standing link between poverty and poor literacy will be the focus of action to improve literacy in Scotland.

Published on Wednesday 27 October, the Literacy Action Plan – the first of its kind since devolution – includes a range of actions from early years through to employment, aimed at eradicating poor literacy across the country.

Key actions include:

  • Vulnerable families to be targeted as part of the Play Talk Read campaign
  • Curriculum for Excellence supporting literacy from a child’s early years
  • New National Qualifications to support the development of literacy skills
  • More support for workplace learning.

A new suite of tests for assessing reading comprehension

At the Scottish Learning Festival last week I attended an interesting seminar on a new (to me) assessment of reading with which I was very impressed. It replaces the Neale Anaylis to some extent.

Maggie Snowling  heads the team which developed this assessment. She is a well known proponent of the links between phonological processing ability and literacy acquisition and highly regarded.

The York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (YARC) enables teachers to assess their pupils’ reading skills from an early age through to secondary school. It focuses not just on decoding and sight reading, but crucially on reading comprehension.

The assessments at passage level concentrate on reading for meaning, enabling pupils’ reading and reading comprehension to be regularly assessed and progress easily monitored. Questions linked to each passage demand the use of deduction and inference to arrive at the answers, giving teachers vital information about their pupils’ skills far beyond decoding and retrieval of information.

In addition to the passages for pupils, YARC also includes four short tests:

• letter-sound knowledge,

• sound deletion (supported by pictures)

• sound isolation

• early word recognition.

These are specifically designed for five and six year olds, although data will be available for the age range four to seven years. Assessing alphabetic knowledge, phonological skills and word reading, these tests are especially useful at identifying any underlying difficulties in phonological awareness and the acquisition of letter-sounds that could hamper progress in pupils’ reading.

The Passage Reading set comprises two equivalent passages for each year from Reception (P1) to Y6 (P7), each with eight comprehension questions of increasing complexity. A version of GL Assessment’s Single Word Reading Test is also included as a benchmark test.

The secondary reading tests include Passage Reading to assess reading comprehension skills, Reading Fluency and Single Word Reading.

Well worth checking out in my opinion.

Assessing Dyslexia Toolkit launched

New guidelines for identifying children with dyslexia were launched by former racing driver Sir Jackie Stewart on Tuesday. The online “tool kit” , available since January but now open to all, has been created for every teacher: we are all responsible for literacy regardless of our subject or sector. The resource supports the Curriculum for Excellence’s emphasis on literacy and numeracy across learning.

 The Assessing Dyslexia Toolkit for Teachers aims to help teachers and early years workers identify literacy difficulties and dyslexia among pupils. A key target is to spot problems as early as possible so children can be given support and are not disadvantaged educationally.

A key aim of the new guide is highlighting to all class teachers that they are in the best position to identify early indicators of dyslexia and other learning difficulties. It identifies problems teachers should look out for at various stages in a child’s education from pre-school to late primary, right up to senior secondary and college.

Dr Margaret Crombie, who led the team of experts behind the creation of the project from Glasgow Caledonian, Strathclyde and Edinburgh universities, said: “We now have a resource that all teachers can use to help them work through the process of assessment of literacy difficulties.”

It’s superb: check it out.

Free Explorer Bookpack for four-year-olds in East Lothian Council nursery provision

Every four-year-old in an East Lothian Nursery setting will be receiving an Explorer Bookpack filled with goodies to encourage a love of reading.

Adam Ingram MSP, Minister for Children and Early Years, launched the Explorer Backpack at a special event at North Berwick Community Centre, East Lothian on Wednesday 3 February 2010.

East Lothian Council and the Scottish Book Trust have created a free Explorer Backpack filled with goodies for four-year-old children to help them to move from nursery to primary with skills and confidence.  The packs are designed to encourage a love of reading in the children who receive them, and offer parents and carers lots of tips and advice about encouraging their children to read and learn at home. This is the first scheme of its kind anywhere in Scotland.