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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Reading Comprehension Problems: 4 Causes and 12 Solutions

I'm sure most you have experienced the act of reading a book, while your mind was wandering elsewhere.  So, you can probably appreciate how easy it is for youngsters to miss meaning while reading.  Although teachers, reading specialists and even parents spend an enormous amount of time instructing young learners how to decode the written word, they often neglect to fully teach the metacognitive skills required to comprehend text.


What are the Common Causes of Reading Comprehension Problems?
There are a number of indicators that can be used to flag students who will likely require explicit instruction in reading comprehension.
  1. Learners that have or had weak oral language skills when they were in preschool.  
  2. Students that have underdeveloped word decoding skills.
  3. Learners with weak executive functioning skills, especially in working memory which involves the use of one’s “inner eye” and “inner voice.”
  4. Learners with poor language processing abilities.  They may struggle with any of the following difficulties
    1. Semantic processing - the processing of perceiving words and placing them in a context that allows for deeper meaning.
    2. Vocabulary - all the words known by an individual person.
    3. Inferences - the act or process of reaching a conclusion about something from known facts or evidence.
    4. Text structure - the many ways text can be organized.
    5. Grammar - the study of the classes of words, their inflections, as well as their functions and relations in the sentence.


What are Some Reading Comprehension Strategies?
  • Teach students to be active participants in their reading.  Exhibit aloud your own inner voice as you use your own metacognitive skills to actively engage in reading.
  • Develop decoding skills to automaticity - so students have the “cognitive space” to engage with the text.
  • Foster a robust vocabulary by both teaching individual words as well as how to glean the meaning of new words from the surrounding text.
  • Teach the grammatical rules that make up language.
  • Instruct students about the morphological structure of words so that learners can figure out the meaning of many unknown words by evaluating prefixes, roots, and suffixes.
  • Illustrate higher order language skills and teach students how to question, infer meaning, make personal connections and generate predictions.
  • Teach students about text structure such as the setting, characters, initiating events, problems, resolution, explicit themes, cause and effect, compare and contrast, as well as problem and solution.
  • Show students how to annotate text or take notes that summarize and sequence important events.
  • Develop each student’s ability to generate mental imagery while reading.
  • Show learners how to create their own inner questions that can focus attention on content and help them to make meaningful connections.
  • Teach students how to monitor their attention and comprehension through mindfulness practices.
  • Do pre-reading activities that explain the meaning of key words, activate relevant prior knowledge and generate mental imagery.


Don’t feel that you have to teach all of these reading strategies to every student that has weak comprehension skills.  Instead, evaluate the needs of each student and tailor instruction to address their specific deficits.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Learning Specialist Secrets: A Free 3-Part Video Course

Are you a tutor, learning specialist or educational therapist? If not, would you like to establish a business helping learners to reach their true potential? Whether you would like to create a private practice from scratch, or you already have an established business, I would love to help you.  For the past 18 years, I have directed my own business, Learning to Learn, and it's been the most rewarding experience of my live.  

I am so excited to announce my new, free course: Learning Specialist Secrets: a Free 3-Part Video Series!  In this course, I reveal the benefits, mistakes, and strategies for building your own practice as a learning specialist! I will cover:

  • The 5 Key Benefits of a Learning Specialist Practice.
  • The 10 Most Common Rookie Mistakes.
  • The 7 Most Common Questions and Answers About Establishing a Practice.
You will also learn tips on how you can create a practice that honors YOUR expertise and passions!  To learn more and sign up for my free course:
I look forward to getting to know you on the inside!

If you would like to join my Learning Specialist VIP list where you can get freebies, announcements and advice CLICK HERE.


Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Developing Fine Motor Skills with Osmo's Monster and Creative Set

I have been a fan of the Osmo from the day it was released, and I'm always excited to see what new interactive app they will create next. Well, I couldn't be more excited about their newest release, Monster. I just got it today! It comes with a dry erase board and a magnetic eraser that also serves as a storage pouch for a set of six colorful markers. If you don't already have the starter set, you will need that too. Once you get your package from Osmo, all you have to do is download their free app, set it up the ipad as in the image above, open the app and let the magic begin.

What is this New Game?
Mo is a cartoon character that requests players to make drawings that he then uses in animated activities.  Kids can have hours of fun sketching objects that Mo brings to life on the screen.

Are There Any Cognitive or Educational Benefits to Osmo Monsters?
Yes.  There are a number of benefits.
  • Drawing helps kids to develop fine motor skills.
  • Creative play helps to develop the imagination.
  • Playful animations kindle a love for learning.
  • Mo's nonjudgemental acceptance of the player's draws develops pride and confidence.
How Can Learning Specialist Use Osmo Monsters?
  • You can add additional directions to Mo's requests to develop listening skills.
  • You can encourage your students to visualize their sketches before they draw.
  • You can ask your students to verbalize their visualizations before drawing to develop metacognitive skills.
What are the Other Games?
The inventors or Osmo claim that their games foster learning in "social-emotional skills, creative thinking, art, STEM and common core.  They have six other games and each develops unique skills:

  • Coding - logic and problem-solving skills
  • Tangrams - visual processing, fine motor, and spatial relation skills
  • Words - spelling, critical thinking, and reasoning skills 
  • Newton - creative problem solving, spacial and visual processing skills
  • Masterpieces - fine motor, visual processing, drawing and creative confidence skills
  • Numbers - quantitive reasoning skills as well as counting, addition and multiplication skills
CLICK HERE to purchase Osmo Monsters.  By using this link, the first 5 people to order the full Osmo kit will get $5.00 off.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Rapid Automatic Naming Impacts Reading: Memory Strategies and Games Help

What is Rapid Automatic Naming?
Rapid automatic naming (RAN) or rapid naming is the ability to quickly verbalize a series of familiar items including letters, numbers, colors or things. Research purports that RAN tests are highly correlated to one’s reading abilities because the faster and more efficiently one can access information from the memory banks, the easier it is to read and comprehend text.

How Does Rapid Automatic Naming Happen in the Brain?

Although we know RAN impacts reading, there are three competing viewpoints in the literature. One view indicates that RAN involves how well one can retrieve phonological information and then verbalize a response. The difficulties lie in the brain’s ability to process sounds into language. Another theory indicates that RAN is a “complex set of cognitive processing” areas that work together in concert thus defining one’s reading fluency capabilities. This perspective further suggests that individuals with RAN and phonemic awareness difficulties have a “double deficit.” These individuals are believed to exhibit the most severe reading problems and tend to be the most difficult to remediate. Finally, there are those studies that suggest that struggling readers have an overarching processing speed deficit. They report that slow processing of sounds diminishes the ability to discriminate between phonemes and that this language learning problem likely causes dyslexia.

What Can Be Done to Improve Rapid Automatic Naming?

I have two primary recommendations.  On the one hand, you should teach those that struggle with RAN memory strategies.  Using methods like mnemonics, method of loci, visualization or hooking can assist the brain's ability to recall information.  On the other hand, you should play games that exercise recall.  Games are a motivating option for strengthening RAN.  There are many games that require word retrieval and they place time constraints on players too. Several rapid naming/word retrieval games are listed below. Also, don’t be afraid to create your own games!
If you found this blog helpful, I offer a monthly newsletter that features my current projects and publications, freebies, sales at Good Sensory Learning and my Amazon store, a summary of my most recent blogs and more, CLICK HERE. What's more, I will be creating an online support platform and course for creating successful learning specialist and educational therapist practices. If you want to be kept abreast of this project, be sure to sign up for my project newsletter that will be offering freebies and unique opportunities: CLICK HERE
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Scrible: Amazing Annotating Writing Tool for Dyslexic and Struggling Writers

Like a complex braid, great writers weave and multitask with sentence rules, spelling, idea formation, content organization and more. And when learners struggle with one or more of these processes, writing can become a frustrating tangle of ideas, an apparent, impossible knot to unsnarl. Research papers can be particularly tricky, because students also have the added obstacles to collect relevant articles, organize the information into a structured layout, paraphrase and manage citations.

This week, I am so excited to share with you an assistive technology video blog with Victor Karkar, the CEO of Scrible. Scrible is an amazing online tool that students can use to annotate and color-code online text and simplify the process of writing research papers. This extraordinary technology, that is recognized by the National Science Foundation, can help students to read and write more efficiently. What's more, it offers a step by step process that can be monitored and supported by teachers and parents. Scrible offers single click citations, bibliographies, color coding, sharing, as well as organizing and annotating features. To top it off, it integrates with Google Drive, offers a free Google docs Add-on and can sync with Google Classroom for individualized student analytics. They offer a free plan, but I highly recommend upgrading to the Education Pro Plan at only $10.00 a year for grade school and $28.00 a year for higher education. It’s well worth all the added features.

Come watch my video blog with Victor, so that you too can be blown away by this technology that can help all students become confident writers.


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I offer a monthly newsletter that features my current projects and publications, freebies, sales at Good Sensory Learning and my Amazon store, a summary of my most recent blogs and more. Click Here! What's more, I will be creating an online support platform and course for creating successful learning specialist and educational therapist practices. If you want to be kept abreast of this project, be sure to sign up for my project newsletter that will be offering freebies and unique opportunities. Click Here!http://goodsensorylearning.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=22cd5204eb8bf8b69c9fd1521&id=7672ad32b0

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Online Academic Support Services: A New Option for Struggling Students


Would you please take two minutes to fill out our very brief but important questionnaire about how to choose an online academic support service!

            Click here to take the survey now!

After years of tinkering with various ways to offer online remedial sessions and academic support services, we’ve finally reached a point where we don’t have to sacrifice quality for access. With all the new platforms and tools to communicate online (e.g., Skype, Zoom, Google Chat), assistive technologies, browser add-ons, and the faster Internet connections, learning specialists can finally provide high-quality sessions to their students (and parents and trainees!).

This development has become especially important to those of us in rural areas where there are little to no resources.

Yet, it still begs the question: What is the best way to choose an online service? What technology tools do I need to provide my child? How is an online session different from a live session?

These and other questions will be answered in an upcoming webinar conducted by Dr. Erica Warren and Dr. Michael Hart.

First, though, in order to help us best prepare to support you, we’d like to ask for two minutes of your time so we can learn more about your thoughts and your questions on this topic. Please fill out the following survey so we can make sure that we are giving you the information you need!

            Click here to take the survey now!



Dr. Michael Hart
Michael Hart, Ph.D. is a child psychologist with 25 years of experience in the diagnostic assessment and treatment of a full range of learning differences, including dyslexia and (AD/HD). He is the founder/owner of www.drmichaelhart.com and is currently providing webinars, online courses and onsite presentations/training for parents regarding the proper educational care of our dyslexic students.

       
Dr. Erica Warren
Dr. Erica Warren Ed.D. is an educational therapist with 18 years of experience in individualized remediation, multisensory teaching, diagnostic evaluations, advocacy, teacher education and the designing of remedial materials.  She is the founder of LearningtoLearn
GoodSensoryLearning and



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