01 09 10

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Multitude of Resources for Dyslexia at Dyslexia Reading Well


I am so pleased to feature an interview with Michael Bates: the creator of the Dyslexia Reading Well website and the Dyslexia Reading Well Parent Guide 2014-2015 (Click here to view more details). As a parent of a dyslexic son, Michael has created a wonderful and heart-felt site packed with valuable resources for individuals with dyslexia, parents, teachers and more.
_______________

Erica: Why did you create the Dyslexia Reading Well website?

Michael: Because there is overwhelming need for it. There are literally millions of parents with kids who struggle to read, many dyslexics themselves.  I am convinced that most of those parents (and many teachers) desperately want to help their children, but are not finding the kind of information and advice they need; my website is intended to help them.  I know for fact that many parents are struggling, because I was one of them. I wish we had caught the dyslexia in kindergarten or grade one instead of grade 5—it could have made everything much easier for my stepson. 
Michael Bates

As a parent, community and even a society, we have to take the problem very seriously. Lives can be derailed and destroyed by reading disabilities. For example research shows that our prisons are full of struggling readers.   While there are some good websites out there already, they are tiny compared to the scale of the problem and the need.  I felt that reaching even a few parents would make the site worthwhile; but today, seeing the number of daily visitors, and the kind emails I receive every week, I know that many people are benefiting.  This feedback is extremely rewarding.      

Erica: Why did you create the Dyslexia Reading Well Parent Guide?

Michael: Even though I try to make the website easy to navigate, I recognize that parents have very limited time and can't get to every page that may be of interest.  So I pulled together what I thought to be the critical information parents need and assembled it into one easy to read guide.  It's not a short guide at 80+ pages, but I think it is very easy to navigate and as an e-book, very portable.  To be sure, there is more that parents need to know beyond the guide, but if I had been referred to this guide when we first discovered that my stepson was struggling to read, it would have put us on the right path, helping us avoid false starts, unhelpful programs and wasted money. That's what I hope it can do for other parents.  

Erica: What types of resources can parents find in the Dyslexia Reading Well Parent Guide?

Michael: The guide is meant to present the essential information: definitions, lists of symptoms and signs and an explanation of causes.  There is also some information on assistive technology since that is now so important for every student. But where I think the real value of the guide lies is in the resource lists. First there is a table of reading programs that work best for dyslexic students and an explanation of why they work (the critical content and methods).  This can help parents find a reading program that will make a real difference.  
Sample pages from DRW Parent Manual
Second there is a state by state list of schools, tutoring centers and community groups. This table will point parents to local resources.  For example, I had no idea that there are so many schools for dyslexic kids until I started building my website.  Also most parents don't know that there are very active support groups such as Decoding Dyslexia and the International Dyslexia Association that have branches in most every state. My guide helps parents discover those critical links and connections which in turn will lead to more information and support. Finally there is a state by state list of legislation relating to dyslexia. In some states there is legislation requiring schools to assess young readers for dyslexia or laws requiring teachers to be trained for teaching dyslexic students. By knowing ones state mandates (and other states) parents are in a stronger position to assess how their school is performing or where their child might be better served.   

Erica: Will you be updating the guide yearly or creating other guides?

Michael: My plan is to make minor updates on an ongoing basis (two already since October) and then make one major annual overhaul before releasing the next edition each October in conjunction with Dyslexia Awareness Month. 

One of the benefits (and challenges!) of authoring an e-book is that it can be kept current with the latest science, news, product releases and policy changes that are going on.  I am also currently working on a guide for U.K. parents and after that one for parents right here in Canada.  Finally, I am thinking about creating other guides for teachers and students.

Erica: What kind of feedback have you received about the Dyslexia Reading Well Parent Guide?

Michael: The feedback from my Facebook page and through the website has been very positive and encouraging.  It's not yet on Amazon, where it will be publicly reviewed, but it should be soon.  Of course as an author, I see room for growth in future editions. For example, I look forward to adding content on Individualized Education Plans, homeschooling, and new assistive technology, which is always in a state of flux.  
_______________

If you are interested in viewing a free sample or getting the guide,  Click here to view more details! You won't be disappointed.

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, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com www.learningtolearn.biz  

Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, January 16, 2015

Eight, Dyslexia Games Make All Reading Programs Fun and Memorable

Do you ever have to bribe your students with candy or stickers to entice them to read through long lists of words or complete workbook activities?  There are a multitude of phonics and Orton-Gillingham based reading programs available on the market, but so many of them place struggling readers through boring drills and activities.  I experienced the same problem.  What could I do?

I Created Games to Bring the Fun Factor into My Lessons:
Over the past few years, I created a system to make any reading program fun and motivating.  I designed and published board and card games to weave into reading lessons.  Now, my students can't wait for their sessions, are reading more, have increased stamina and they are mastering concepts at a faster pace.  A series of three reading game publication bundles have been available and selling like hot cakes, but upon popular request, I have released a new title, Reading Games Primary.  This publication offers new games that help students master basic reading concepts such as syllables, rhyming words, short vowel sounds, ending sound blends and sight words by playing super fun and engaging card and board games.  

Tell Me More About the 8 Games:
  1. Sight Word War:   Sight Word War is a card game that helps students master sight words and practice basic alphabetizing skills.  
  2. Syllable Sort:  Syllable Sort is a card game that helps students master syllable divisions in words.
  3. Switch-A-Roo Reading: Switch-A-Roo Reading is a reading/writing game that helps students learn beginning, middle and ending word sounds as well as rhyming words. 
  4. Sole Survivor:  Sole Survivor is a board game that helps students master breaking words into syllables as well as beginning and ending word sounds.
  5. Animal Party:  Animal Party is a board game that helps students learn beginning, middle and end sounds of simple three letter words.
  6. Animal Bingo:  Animal Bingo is a board game that helps students master breaking words into syllables as well as beginning and ending word sounds.  It also develops tracking and counting skills.
  7. Three of A Kind Beginners:  Three of a Kind is a card game that helps students learn rhyming words, beginning sounds, middle sounds and ending sounds of simple three letter words. 
  8. Three of A Kind Intermediate:  Three of a Kind Intermediate is a card game that helps students master rhyming words, beginning blends, middle sounds and ending sounds of simple four to five letter words.  
Are There Other Reading Games?
Yes.  Reading Games Primary is my fourth bundle of reading games to be published.  In fact, I have created more than 50 different games for all levels of reading remediation.  To learn more about all of these games and even download a free sample game,  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, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

Follow on Bloglovin

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Our Golden Anniversary – Celebrating 50-Years Married to Dyslexia


I'm so pleased to feature this heart-felt and beautiful piece by my dear friend and fellow dyslexic, Stan Gloss.  Stan provides a glimpse of his "marriage to dyslexia" and shares his life's challenges as well as his most recent realization that dyslexia is in fact a gift.


A golden anniversary is an amazing milestone to reach in any relationship.  It is even more remarkable when your marriage is to Dyslexia.  Although this can be a challenging relationship, you can learn to work together to create success.  Please join me on my 50-year journey with Dyslexia.

My relationship with Dyslexia began in 1963.  My mother spoke to our family doctor, Dr. Gregory, because she was concerned that I was struggling in school with reading and writing. Initially he sent us to an eye doctor to check my vision.  After a comprehensive assessment, I was diagnosed with a “lazy eye.”  To treat this condition, a special screen was attached to our family’s 19” black and white TV set.  I had to wear huge glasses that swallowed my face like the ones from the first iMax movies. To see the whole TV screen, I had to concentrate on using both eyes, or half the screen went black. Even watching TV became work.  My eye did get stronger but my reading and handwriting did not improve.  In fact it got worse, and because of this, I began to fake asthma attacks to stay home from school to avoid feeling anxious and humiliated.

Next, my mom and I were sent to a Neurologist at Children’s Hospital in Boston. After a lot of poking and prodding and having to stand around in my underwear, my mom and a strange doctor talked about me like I was invisible.  From there, we were referred to the Reading Research Institute in Wellesley, Massachusetts.  At the Institute, I met Dr. Charles Drake, who would go on to establish the acclaimed Landmark School in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1971.  After a battery of psychological tests, he reported his finding to us. “You have Dyslexia.” With those words, Dyslexia became my silent partner.  Dr. Drake advised me, “Your relationship with Dyslexia is not going to be easy, but with hard work you will learn to flourish together.”  Dr. Drake should know, he was happily married to Dyslexia too.

Sadly, my teachers and principal had no concept of Dyslexia and refused to accommodate us.   For them, my diagnosis was just an excuse for being stupid and lazy.  Their answer was always, “just try harder.” I tried and tried and nothing changed. This became a frustrating, vicious cycle.  Albert Einstein best describes this pattern, “ Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” I quickly learned, it was best to try to keep Dyslexia “in the closet.” However, as the school years continued, I could no longer hide my Dyslexia.  Red marks slashed across my papers and kids giggled as I stumbled to read aloud.  Peering over the shoulder of the girl in front of me, I compared my small insignificant blue star to her giant golden seal.  I felt ashamed and defective.  Dyslexia and I wrestled and clashed through the school years and what resulted was a lot of scrapes and scarring.  I blamed Dyslexia for all my bad grades, a 714 combined on the SAT’s, and the rejection of every college I applied to except for my father’s alma mater. To say I was in a dysfunctional relationship was an understatement.  I hated Dyslexia, but a divorce for irreconcilable differences was impossible.

What do you do when it seems like the world is against you?  Where do you find the strength to keep going?  The key to my survival was finding mentors and advocates.  They coached me to stand strong when nobody else believed in me.  The two most important people were Dr. Gregory and my mom. On the one hand, Dr. Gregory was my mentor.  I became his little apprentice. I would spend time after school sitting on his knee while he stitched up cut fingers, looked under the microscope at blood cells and read chest x-rays.  When I was with him, I felt excited and smart.  On the other hand, my mom was my advocate.  She fought the school system every step of the way. When they tried to hold me back a grade or limit my future by pulling me out of the college track, they invited a battle that they would never win. My mom was an unyielding force, but I was still in the trenches.

To hold my ground at school, I had to sacrifice playtime for tutoring. Saturday morning cartoons were traded for tedious drills.  Strict nuns in their scary habits and shiny black shoes instructed me at the Cardinal Cushing Reading Clinic in Boston.  My reward for enduring the tutoring was riding the subway home alone from Boston.  For me the Boston subway system was an amusement park.  I bought my token from the man in the booth, inserted my coin, pushed through the turnstile and entered a magical wonderland of adventure.  I loved riding in the front of the trains and trolleys, imagining I was the conductor driving through the symphony of orchestrated lights. Between stops, I slid down the escalator handrails and raced back up the descending stairs.  Fresh-popped popcorn was a common treat at the Government Center T stop, as well as weaving between people to catch the next trolley. When I was in the subway, I was free, independent, and in control.

If school and tutoring was not challenging enough, Hebrew school and my Bar Mitzvah became an impossible burden.  After a long day struggling through school, I went home and traded my school books for Hebrew books. Mrs. Gutell whisked us away in her carpool to the next town.  Reading English from left to right was difficult, but reading Hebrew from right to left became my worst nightmare.  In my second year of Hebrew school, Dyslexia and I could not take it any longer, so we dropped out and my mother acquired a tape recorder and another tutor.  Mr. Copeland was a rather portly, older gentleman with suspenders who taught at MIT.   Each week he recorded a couple of new lines for me to learn and practice.  I listened to the recordings over and over again.  Eventually, I memorized my entire Bar Mitzvah and proudly delivered it in front of my family, friends and the temple congregation.  

I made my next breakthrough with Dyslexia my first year in college studying to be a respiratory therapist.  At the end of my first semester, I volunteered at my local hospital in the Respiratory Therapy Department, and this became my classroom.  Watching the respiratory therapists controlling the life support machines, treating asthmatics, and bag breathing patients during a “Code Blue” became my best way of learning.  Once I made the connection between the real world and what I was studying, there was no looking back for me.  I began to stop blaming Dyslexia for holding me back, and with that I moved forward - fast forward.

With these learning strategies in hand, together we completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and all of the coursework toward a Ph.D.  At 24, I was named the youngest Assistant Professor at Quinnipiac University. By 28, I was the Chairman of our Department. After that, I worked in the medical device market collaborating with Anesthesiologists. Now, I am CEO of my own company building the super-computers that scientists use to accelerate discovery.  For those who knew about my Dyslexia and me, they continually commented about and complemented our accomplishments. However, I still felt I was in a struggling relationship.

They say when the student is ready the teacher will appear. One day my sister shared a book call  The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain.  Drs. Brock and Fernette Edie’s words artfully reinforced that a relationship with Dyslexia is a blessing. For the first time, in my life, I fully accepted my Dyslexia.  It reminds me of a verse from the David Crosby song, Long Time Gone. "But you know, the darkest hour, is always just before the dawn.”  Now I reflect on my first fifty years with Dyslexia. A long time has gone, but the dawn has risen on my next fifty years.  Moving forward, I embrace Dyslexia as my amazing gift, and I hope my journey shows others with Dyslexia a path to acceptance and empowerment.

I hope Stan's story inspires you, too, to recognize the gifts in dyslexia.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The American Dyslexia Association Offers Free Worksheets for Children With Dyslexia


This week, I would like to feature a guest blog by the American Dyslexia Association (ADA), a wonderful resource for teachers, parents and individuals with dyslexia.  

What is ADA and What Resources Do They Offer?
ADA is a not for profit organization that provides help for individuals with dyslexia and dyscalculia by offering free online printable worksheets to help children improve their reading, writing, spelling and calculating difficulties.  The worksheets, that are based on the Attention Function Symptom (AFS) Method, help children improve academic challenges.  This scientifically proven method has been helping children with dyslexia worldwide for over 20 years.

Tell Me More About the AFS Method:
Livia Pailer-Duller, Executive Director of American Dyslexia Association, emphasizes that children with dyslexia see (perceive) things differently than non-dyslexic children because of genetically inherited difference in brain functions. This causes children with dyslexia to have difficulty recognizing and processing letters, numbers and symbols.  Based on this scientific fact, the AFS-Method goes beyond working on the symptoms of dyslexia (mistakes in reading, writing or arithmetic) by focusing on the development of the children’s attention and sensory perceptions as well.
  
How Does the AFS Method Work?
The AFS worksheets help children with dyslexia by training the different sensory perceptions in the areas of visual word recognition, memorizing the sequence of words and acoustic perception, or the sound of singular or groups of letters.  The worksheets also address spatial perception, the ability to perceive size, or distance between objects. The ADA offers over 1500 free worksheets designated to train each of these specific areas.  
  • “The AFS-Method is unique firstly because it focuses on all areas that cause the dyslexic child to make mistakes in reading, writing and doing arithmetic and secondly because it is designed to be used in a home setting. However, teachers can certainly implement this training as well,” Pailer-Duller said.


How Do I Use This Program? 
Before beginning the training and selecting a worksheet category, it is important to determine the problematic areas for each individual with dyslexia. The ADA also offers directions on how to detect challenges in the different sensory perceptions.  
  • “To achieve success, continuous training of the deficit area is important.  It is recommended working with the child 10-20 minutes a day up to five times a week,” Pailer-Duller said. 
Within a few months there should be noticeable improvement characterized by the lack of mistakes in the writing and reading of words or basic arithmetic.  For more information on these free learning aids and helping children with dyslexia visit: http://www.American-Dyslexia-Association.com

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Affording Academic Support For Students with Dyslexia


Will Insurance Companies Pay for Academic Support Outside of School?
Many families hope that their insurance coverage can help lessen the financial burden of academic assistance for children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, as study skills, development of cognitive abilities and homework help is often necessary for this population.  Although this appears to be a reasonable service, particularly for children that have a diagnosis, upon investigation, you will find that this is not the case.  Insurance companies will often accommodate medical and mental health services, but because tutors, learning specialists and educational therapists, are trained primarily in education, they don’t have the licensing credentials and codes needed for insurance companies to cover the costs. 

Are There Any Tax Benefits for Tutoring for Students with Dyslexia and other Learning Disabilities?
Before disregarding this option all together, there is good news.  According to the IRS publication 502, under the heading Special Education, with a doctor’s note, parents can include in medical expense fees the costs for tutoring by a teacher who is trained and qualified to work with learning disabilities.  Moreover, check with your employer to see if they have any other options.  Some large companies, such as IBM, offer financial support for these types of services.   

Are There Any Tax Benefits for Special Schooling for Students with Learning Disabilities?
According to the IRS publication 502, again with a doctor's note, families can be compensated for a child attending a school where the primary reason is overcoming a learning disability.  

So How Do I Decide on the Right Type of Services?
First off, make sure that you pursue a comprehensive psycho-educational assessment. This can be done through your local school district.  However, please note that many school districts often do inadequate testing, so finding a professional in your community that can do a comprehensive evaluation is best.  Make sure that they provide a thorough report that discloses the underlying cognitive weaknesses associated with the learning disability.  Then, find a highly-trained tutor, learning specialist or educational therapist in your area that can offer the remedial help needed.   Click here to read an article on finding the right professional.  Be sure to speak with each potential provider, so that you can find the best fit for your child.  

Early intervention and support is key for students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.  If young learners get the right help, some areas of deficits can be remediated and children can also develop compensatory and self advocacy strategies that will help them to attain their highest potential.

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, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, December 12, 2014

10 Great Games for Students with Dyslexia


With the holiday season almost upon us, finding fun and beneficial educational materials can be key for keeping students with dyslexia busy over the break.  What's more, you can continue to use these activities throughout the year to help remediate areas of difficulty. Games can be one of the best ways to help these kids, especially because struggling learners won't even know that their brains are hard at work!

Holiday Gift:
One of my favorite games, Puppy Party, helps students to master the short vowels sounds and is great for any Orton-Gillingham or phonics based reading program.   CLICK HERE to get your free downloadable copy!

Ten Great Games to Buy for Kids with Dyslexia:
  1. Hey What's the Big Idea: This is a fun, family game that teaches children how to generate and discriminate between main ideas and details.
  2. Word Shuffle: Word Shuffle is a fabulous word game that strengthens processing speed and language skills.  With three levels - elementary, middle school and high school, students will master concepts like rhyming words, grammar, parts of speech, figurative language and literary terms. 
  3. 5 Ws Detective:  This delightful sentence game develops language skills, sequencing, word retrieval and helps beginning writers solve silly cases by answering who did it, what they did, when it was done, and why it happened.  Players work against the clock to fill in the data and summarize their findings.     
  4. Reading Games:  Great for any Orton-Gillingham or Phonics based reading program, Reading Games offers 11 games, 17 printable decks and two printable board games that work on the different types of syllables, syllabication, affixes and compound words.
  5. Reading Games 2: Like Reading Games, these games work seamlessly with any Orton-Gillingham or Phonics based reading program.  These games focus on blending and spelling.  
  6. Reading Board Games:  Orton-Gillingham or Phonics friendly, Reading Board Games offers 7 reproducible board games that cover the 6 syllable types as well as syllabication. 
  7. Piggy Banking: This engaging board game helps players learn how to use a debit card, bank register and to write checks.  They will also learn about bank loans, bounced checks, discounts, tips, rebased, interest and more.  
  8. Place Value Panic: With 4 games ranging in difficulty level, Place Value Panic is loads of fun. The simplest game works on the ones, tens, hundreds and thousands place, whereas the most difficult level uses 13 place values. 
  9. Show Don't Tell:   Show Don't Tell is a fun, multisensory writing game that helps players to "show readers" with descriptive verbs, adjectives, adverbs, similes, metaphors and personification.  Instead of telling stories, learners will quickly master descriptive writing.
  10. Grammar Games Galore: Grammar Games Galore offers 5 new and engaging card games that help players master the parts of speech.   
I wish you and your family a wonderful, fun-filled holiday season.

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, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The CodPast Celebrates the Cool and Creative side of Dyslexia

I’m so please to feature and share an interview with Sean Douglas and his Codpast!  Sean is an internet broadcaster with experience in broadcast TV news, public relations, corporate communications and podcasting.  After Sean was diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult and met other successful dyslexics, he created the Codpast, to share those stories and more with the public.

My Interview with Sean:

1) Can you please give us a brief description of The Codpast?

The Codpast is a media portal which consists of three online radio shows (podcasts), a blog, news articles and videos.  The main purpose of The Codpast is to celebrate the cool and creative side of dyslexia.  We hope it will be a place where people can come to hear positive stories that they can identify with and pick up tips and advice.  Ultimately though, we hope it will be a place where people can come to find compelling and interesting content.

2) I understand that you were diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult.  What impact did this have on you as a person and a professional?

At the time it didn’t have a huge impact, as I already knew I was dyslexic.  The diagnosis just meant I had confirmation and a certificate to prove it.  At that point, I was a news cameraman which utilized a lot of my dyslexic strengths, so once I got the diagnosis I kind of just forgot about it.

3) Many individuals with dyslexia have genius qualities.  What do you believe are your most amazing talents?

I’m extremely organized.  I wouldn’t say this is a talent, as it is something I have to work at incredibly hard. However having everything organized is what allows me to function in the kind of work I do now.  For instance I have about 12 email addresses.  Most people would see this as a huge pain but for me this is great.  I see each inbox as a folder, so for me this is actually a system where emails automatically sort themselves into the correct folders.  This is a bit time consuming to set up but once it’s up and running is saves me hours.

4) What are the ways that dyslexia creates challenges for you?

Reading and writing are challenging.  Writing emails takes forever and takes a huge amount of energy, especially when trying to convey a complicated concept.  As the world now relies more and more on text-based communication, this is a bit of an issue.  Whenever possible, I will give someone a call.  Even if it takes me a few days to get hold of someone on the phone, I know that in a 5 minute conversation I can achieve what would have taken me hours of email writing.

5) What can people learn from your website and podcasts?

I really hope people are inspired and entertained when they come to my site or listen to the podcast.  I try and keep the guests as varied as possible, so hopefully there will be many guests that people can personally identify with.  I also want to make the site quite fun and contemporary, so we do things like our Top 10 videos.

6) Who were the two most interesting people you interviewed and why?

Every story we have featured so far is different, but two that standout for me are Episode 5 with Aakash Odedra and Episode 6 with Peter Stringfellow.  I think Aakash’s story shows how important it is to accept your dyslexia. He had achieved so much in his life, but it wasn’t until the age of 21, he had an incident with his passport which forced him to accept that dyslexia was a part of him.  This allowed him to take his career to the next level.

Peter’s story was a pretty epic rock and roll tale, incorporating the Beatles, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.  But at its core, it reinforces the fact that in life things don’t always plan out the way you thought they would.  Although it may be difficult at the time, in hindsight these mishaps are generally the things that push you in a new direction you may never have thought of.

7) What have you learned from creating the Codpast?

Producing the Codpast I have learnt a hell of a lot about myself and how dyslexia has shaped the person I am.  It’s great connecting with other dyslexics and realizing there are other people that do some of the weird and quirky things that I do.  When you realize there are a whole group of people doing the same things as you, they suddenly become less strange.

The self-awareness that I have gained from producing The Codpast has also given me the confidence to be less apologetic about being dyslexic.  It’s also made me more pro-active in doing things and obtaining information in the ways that best suit me and yield the best results.

8) What can people do to support your effort?

The best thing that people can do to help the show keep going is to spread the word.  I would love people to tell their friends, retweet and share our posts on Facebook and Twitter.  Another thing that really boosts the show's visibility is when people subscribe to the show on iTunes and leave 5 star reviews; this helps the show get on the featured list on iTunes.  There is also a donations page and any donations large or small really supports this cause as, at the moment, I fund the show myself.

I also had the great opportunity to Skype with Sean.  We had fun sharing our passions and experiences.  One area that Sean discussed was the different types of assistive technology that he utilizes.  Here is a list of his four favorites:
  1. ClaroRead:  ClaroRead is text to speech software for the internet as well as scanned books and documents.  It includes visual tools such as colored text, highlighting, and it offers an enhanced spell check, homophone check and thesaurus.  ClaroRead can even read the words as you type.
  2. AudioNotetaker: Audio Notetaker offers a visual and interactive form of note-taking where audio, text and images are used to create comprehensive notes.  
  3. Global AutoCorrect:  Global AutoCorrect allows you to focus on your writing as it automatically corrects your spelling as you type. 
  4. Encrypted dictaphone:  This device records audio and is converted to another form that can not be easily understood by anyone but the authorized parties.  
Sean also shared a video of a recent speech that he gave at the Moat School in London on how Dyslexia has impacted his work life.  Thanks Sean!
So, please check out the wonderful free podcasts and other goodies at Sean's site, and share this gem with your friends and loved ones.  To learn more go to: http://thecodpast.wordpress.com/

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, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, November 28, 2014

10 Free Ways to Improving Visual Tracking for Weak Readers


While reading, tracking across the page from one line to the next can be tricky when the text is small, but for students with dyslexia or weak reading skills it can be a problem regardless of the font size. 

What Exactly is Tracking?
Tracking is the ability for ones eyes to move smoothly across the page from one line of text to another. Tracking difficulties happen when eyes jump backward and forward and struggle to stay on a single line of text.  This results in problems such as word omissions, reversals, eye fatigue, losing your place while reading and most importantly it can impact normal reading development.  

Can Tracking be Improved?
Tracking can be improved by strengthening eye muscles as well as getting your eyes and brain to work cooperatively.  There are three eye movements that need to be developed:  
  1. Fixations: The ability to hold ones eyes steady without moving off a target.
  2. Saccades: The ability to jump to new targets that randomly disappear and reappear in a different location.
  3. Pursuits: The ability to follow a moving target with ones eyes.
10 Free Ways to Improve Tracking:
  1. Use Beeline Reader to read ebooks, PDFs and webpages will assist with tracking.  This free technology makes tracking faster and easier by using a color gradient to guide your eyes from one line of text to another.  
  2. Play ping pong - but more importantly, watch others play the game.  Sit on the side of the table and keep your head steady.  Watch the ball, moving your eyes back and forth across the table.
  3. Get a book but only read the first word and the last word in each line.  Continue down the page. Time yourself and try to beat your speed.  If reading words is slow or labored, just read the first and last letter on each line.
  4. Go to the site Eye Can Learn and do their eye tracking exercises. 
  5. Watch a metronome or crystal pendulum.  Place the metronome or pendulum about 1-2 feet from your face, keep your head steady and move your eyes with the swinging metronome or pendulum. 
  6. Use a laser pointer on a wall and watch the red dot while sweeping it across the wall: go up, down, left, right and diagonally.  
  7. Use Apps like Dream Reader which will highlight the words while it reads the text.  You can read along with the excellent synthesized voice options, or if you prefer, read the text yourself and turn off the audio.  Adjust the speed so that words are highlighted while you read.
  8. Pick a common letter of the alphabet such as the letter "A."  Select a book, or article and scan through the lines of text as if you are reading, circling the letter "A" every time they see it.  
  9. Read aloud.  This helps the eyes and brain to work together.
  10. Play an internet version of Pong.  My favorite is Garfield Tabby Tennis.
Are There Any Products I Can Purchase That Develop Visual Tracking?
Yes, check out the Reversing Reversals series to develop tracking as well as other important visual processing and cognitive skills that will improve the foundation abilities needed to be an excellent reader.
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, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

Follow on Bloglovin