Foundational Concepts: Proficient Literacy

foundational concepts: proficient literacy

Dyslexic Students Can Become Proficient Readers and Writers

In our recent series on the building blocks for language and literacy, we looked at two foundational elements to proficient literacy:

  1. Comprehensible spoken input – language comprehension begins with spoken conversations in meaningful contexts
  2. Comprehensible written input – literacy emerges using the alphabet (letters) to represent words and meaning

For students on the dyslexia spectrum, fluency with written input is not automatic.

 

How Dyslexia Disrupts Proficient Literacy

The Simple View of Reading is a now universally accepted model in reading science. According to the Simple View, learning to read has two essential components: 

  • understanding spoken language (listening comprehension)
  • understanding the printed word (decoding and spelling) 

Children with dyslexia have a relative strength in spoken input and a relative weakness in written input. Sentences and paragraphs that would be easy to comprehend in spoken form become an exhausting challenge in written form.

Furthermore, these two “sides” of the Simple View formula have a multiplying effect when it comes to reading comprehension. For example, say a child is a 10 in listening comprehension but a 0 in decoding. If we multiply the two numbers, we can predict their reading comprehension will be 0. In other words, strength in one component cannot completely make up for weakness in the other.

Both components are essential for proficient literacy. Successful interventions must focus on giving each struggling reader the instruction and practice they need, matched to their pattern of strengths and weaknesses.

 

Overcoming Dyslexia 

There are three essentials for overcoming dyslexia: 

  • A structured literacy curriculum, delivered consistently as directed
  • A teacher or therapist who is an expert in the structure of the language
  • Daily or near-daily deliberate practice

How Structured Literacy Can Help 

Structured literacy is a science-backed, comprehensive approach to teaching reading, writing, and spelling that is widely accepted as the world’s most effective way to teach literacy and to help struggling readers and writers.” The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) explains that “Structured Literacy explicitly teaches systematic word identification/decoding strategies. These benefit most students and are vital for those with dyslexia.” This instruction includes the “analysis and production of language at all levels: sounds, spellings for sounds and syllables, patterns and conventions of the writing system, meaningful parts of words, sentences, paragraphs, and discourse within longer texts.”

the ladder of reading by nancy young
Nancy Young’s “Ladder of Reading” infographic shows the relationship between explicit instruction and learning to read.

A structured literacy approach is critical for dyslexics. But the same three essentials required to overcome dyslexia can benefit all students to some degree. Nancy Young’s wonderful infographic, “The Ladder of Reading,” illustrates the value of a structured literacy approach: students who are not dyslexic may not need as much direct instruction and practice to achieve proficiency, but all students can gain fluency and improve their literacy through this approach.

Struggling readers, and especially students with dyslexia, need to be taught to recognize individual speech sounds. But so do all readers when it comes to some words. It is only through explicit instruction and practice that readers and writers learn to discern the difference between (for example) to / too / two  …or… their / there / they’re …or… boys / boy’s / boys’ …or… how to approach an unfamiliar written word, working out its pronunciation and meaning. 

 

What’s Next for Your Struggling Reader

Lexercise clinical educators are experts in structured literacy. The approach is individualized to each child. It includes a print-to-speech (reading) and a speech-to-print (spelling) structured literacy curriculum plus a program of daily practice that is engaging, instructive, and builds awareness and memory. In the first eight weeks of using Lexercise with a qualified Lexercise therapist, most students improve their reading proficiency by one full grade level.

To learn more, explore our dyslexia treatment pages online or contact us to discuss your child’s specific needs.

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Additional Resources

To see Nancy Young’s infographic and links to supporting research, click here. This infographic was updated in 2021, see what was updated here.

 

Foundational Concepts: Where Literacy Begins

foundational concepts: where literacy begins

The Importance of Early Literacy

As we begin the new year (and, by the way, Happy New Year!) we’d like to do all we can to empower effective and efficient reading instruction. The science of how to teach reading effectively and efficiently has never been clearer. We know the main building blocks for proficient literacy and how to teach them.  And yet, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often referred to as the “nation’s report card,” the percentage of U.S. public school students reading at proficient levels has dropped over the last two years (NAEP, 2019). Mississippi was the only state in the country where 4th grade reading scores improved. As Mississippi demonstrates, when parents, teachers, administrators, and policy makers work together to apply reading science, reading outcomes improve!

The more we understand about the building blocks for language and literacy, the better equipped we are to support our children and students as they learn these essentials and improve their reading and writing. So, over the next few months, we’ll be examining the most basic and essential elements of language and literacy.

Let’s start with how children learn words.  How does a child learn the meaning of a word like frog?

How does she learn to pronounce the word frog? In fact, this all begins inside the “black box” of a baby’s brain, long before the child can walk or even sit up!

Somehow, we learn to speak. But by the time we’re old enough to wonder how we went about it, we can no longer remember our own experience of language learning. It seems to have “just happened.” Even now, when we learn a new word we don’t think much about it. Word learning is largely an unconscious process. For example, do you remember exactly when and how you learned the word coronavirus?

As infants, we are surrounded by sensory stimulation. We hear the sounds that people make and watch their faces, gestures, actions, and reactions. Nobody stops to explain to us the formal meaning of words, but gradually we begin to make associations between words and actions—to comprehend the language even if we do not precisely understand the meaning (or spelling) of the words. We refer to all of that incoming stimulation, including visual, auditory, touch, etc., as input.

The linguist Stephen Krashen studied this process, especially in relation to learning to understand and speak a second language. Krashen’s theory, called comprehensible input, describes how adults learn to understand and speak a second language. This theory, now supported by scientific research, is easily illustrated by watching and listening to a story being told in a language you do not yet speak.

As an example (for those who do not speak Spanish), in the Fabulaudit series on YouTube, native Spanish speaker Francisco tells simple stories entirely in Spanish. We listen as we watch his face, his mouth, his expressions and gestures, and the drawings and words he scribbles on the whiteboard. He rarely translates or explains in English and there’s no “repeat after me” memorization. We watch and listen, and, somewhat like a child, absorb the story. 

This sensory input feeds complex networks of mental representations that underpin spoken and, later, written language. In future posts, we will examine some of the elements of language learning, how the remarkable human brain connects spoken language to written symbols for reading and writing and, finally, how the Lexercise Structured Literacy Curriculum™ helps students build proficient reading, spelling and writing using these building blocks. 

Learn more here about how Lexercise Therapy can help struggling readers.

 

Homeschooling’s Surge and Lessons Learned

Homeschooling’s Surge and Lessons Learned

As we move into another school year, parents everywhere are scrambling for resources and examining the “lessons” of last year’s experience. Whether the local school district implemented virtual learning or parents elected to homeschool their children, 2020 pushed families into new educational territory.

Given increased concerns for health and safety, homeschooling is surging. The U.S. Census Bureau has reported that while homeschooling rates had remained steady at about 3.3 percent for nearly a decade, they showed a sharp increase during the pandemic, from 5.4 percent of households in spring 2020 to more than 11 percent by October 2020 and about 19.5 percent in May 2021.

Prior to the pandemic, parents cited bullying and other forms of aggression as well as discontent with the curriculum as their primary reasons for homeschooling. Many parents who recognize their children’s learning challenges, including dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities, have witnessed the value of the one-on-one learning environment that homeschooling offers. (In a July NPR segment, one parent expressed concern that mandated classroom masks might pose a greater difficulty for her speech-delayed child.)

Of course, homeschooling is a significant commitment that must consider the standard curriculum, teaching materials and how to acquire them, and the particular learning abilities of each child. According to School Library Journal, personalization has become a key element, with parents tailoring both subject matter and teaching techniques to meet the individual educational and cultural needs of their children.

Homeschooling has also boosted the importance of libraries and social media. Parents “gather” in like-minded online groups to share resources and increasingly turn to libraries and librarians before purchasing new materials.

Whether families will choose to continue homeschooling remains to be seen. School Library Journal suggests that pandemic restrictions and economic resources will certainly influence that decision, but the success of a family’s recent homeschooling experience may be just as important.

When it comes to success, Lexercise online reading and writing therapy offers consistent, measurable language improvements to students with dyslexia and other learning differences. In fact, we guarantee it.

 

During this unusual time, we are particularly excited to extend our curriculum to meet the needs of families with Pre-K students. Our research-based, one-on-one, individualized approach includes on- and offline practice, and generous guidance for parents as they support their child’s successful, early start with literacy.

Lexercise provides young students with the foundational skills they need to move easily into the classroom—wherever that classroom may be.

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A Better Reader in 8 Weeks?

New Summer Reading Program 2021

Swimsuits? Check.
Sunscreen? Check.
Snacks? Check.
Lexercise Summer JOLT? Check.

Wait. What was that?

If your summer plans—far-flung or close to home—could include a guarantee that in just eight weeks your child will advance one full grade in their reading proficiency, wouldn’t you want to learn more about it?

If your child is 6 years of age or older and still struggles with reading, our popular summer program can help them read faster, with greater ease and improved comprehension. Whether your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia or simply recognized as a struggling reader, eight weeks of personalized, one-on-one, online lessons and 15 minutes of daily practice can make them a better reader for life.

Lexercise’s unique reading program has helped over 200,000 families to identify and get treatment for their children’s reading and other learning difficulties. Additionally, the Lexercise program has been rigorously reviewed and certified as an International Dyslexia Association (IDA) Accredited ProgramPLUS.

We’re serious about our responsibility to our students and their families. At the same time, we know that summer should be fun, and happy students are more engaged and more successful. We make sure that our Summer JOLT Reading Advancement Program includes plenty of game time targeted to the specific needs of your child.

You can even take Summer JOLT with you wherever you spend your summer. Find out more about the Lexercise Summer JOLT Reading Advancement Program and then add it to your summer plans. Check!

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Can Letter Formation Promote Literacy?

Letter Formation and Dyslexia

January 23 is National Handwriting Day, established in 1977 by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association to encourage people to buy pens and pencils. Today, it seems, our writing involves more key-clicks than ink and graphite, but, as research is discovering, letter formation by hand is a critical step in letter and word identification as well as spelling proficiency, especially among struggling readers and writers.

It’s so critical, in fact, that Lexercise has just released a new online practice game: Letter Formation.

Though we don’t fully understand why, children with dyslexia tend to have less efficient motor control over letter-writing. They may take more time to write letters even as the resulting letters are less legible.

Letter Formation and Literacy

Handwriting is deeply entwined in the brain’s literacy network. Children who have difficulty with handwriting often have problems with spelling and language fluency. In addition, children with dyslexia may struggle with mirror invariance for letter images. Mirror invariance is a normal and helpful feature of the mammalian brain. It refers to the ability to recognize a mirror image as the same object. A chair is recognized as a chair no matter which way it is turned. A person’s face can be recognized from multiple vantage points. But, to master literacy, a student must overcome mirror invariance for alphanumeric symbols. Letters are special. A -b- is not the same as a -d- and a -p- is not a -q-.

Neuroscience has shown that overcoming mirror invariance for letters is facilitated by Letter Formation and Dyslexiaattending to the hand’s movement pathway when forming letters. Each lowercase letter has a distinctive movement pathway – where it begins, how it moves and where it ends (entry, movement, exit).  To achieve fluency, this pathway is followed every time the letter is written and practiced over and over until it can be done with unconscious ease. Students who are taught to form letters using a targeted, structured, movement-based handwriting approach recognize letters more quickly, decode and spell words more accurately and fluently, and formulate written language more easily. 

Unfortunately, in the U.S., a structured approach to handwriting is not supported in public education and the Common Core State Standards curriculum has no specific guidance about how to teach this vital skill. While research supports teaching transcription (letter and word writing using a writing tool), teachers are rarely trained for the task.

Letter Formation Practice Helps Students Overcome Difficulties

The good news is that a targeted structured approach to letter formation can help students to overcome difficulties related to mirror invariance and letter identity and become more fluent writers, spellers, and readers.

The Lexercise Letter Formation game teaches students each letter’s distinctive movement pathway. The goal is legible, fluent, and automatic handwriting that promotes comprehension and memory and does not disrupt written expression. The multisensory (kinetic) focus can help dyslexic children anchor in memory otherwise confusable letters. For example, -d- and -b- have opposite movement pathways, so when learned as movement pathways they are not at all confusable! 

We invite you to try Letter Formation and the other Lexercise practice games and of course we are happy to answer your questions about online reading, writing, and spelling therapy for dyslexia and other language processing differences.

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How to choose an online school for a dyslexic student

computer on a desk with Lexercise on the screen

What Should I look for when selecting an online school for my child?

As we move toward the school year, not certain if or for how long school buildings will be open, many parents of students with dyslexia are asking themselves – and Lexercise! – how do we choose an online school or curriculum for our dyslexic child?

Online learning has been around for a while, getting both easier and more sophisticated all the time. In fact, the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) posted their “Parent’s Guide to Online Virtual Schools” in 2014!  But many families have had an opportunity to experience online learning for the first time in the last several months.  More and more parents are asking how they can evaluate virtual schools and virtual schooling. 

We suggest that parents “interview” schools and ask for specific information on the following essential elements of online learning for dyslexic students: 

1. A structured literacy approach

Structured literacy (Orton-Gillingham) is the gold standard in teaching students to read, spell and write. It is not only the most effective method for students who are struggling with reading words and spelling them, but it is also the most effective method for teaching the foundations of literacy to all students. In fact, students with dyslexia may not become proficient readers and writers unless they are taught using a structured literacy approach. A structured literacy approach requires three elements:

  • A structured literacy curriculum

    – A structured literacy curriculum thoroughly covers the concepts related to decoding and spelling words with the goal that the student will read and spell even the most complex words automatically and without excessive struggle. In addition, the word study includes vocabulary and usage. Reading, spelling, and writing are practiced in increasingly challenging text reading and writing assignments. (See this IDA structured literacy infographic.)

  • A qualified structured literacy teacher

    – To be an effective instructor for the dyslexic learner, a teacher/therapist needs special training. The IDA accredits professional development programs that meet IDA Knowledge & Practice Standards. Professional development programs that have earned IDA’s Accreditation-PLUS prepare professionals to work one-on-one with students who have complex language processing difficulties.

  • Adequate structured, daily practice

    – A system of structured, daily practice, available online, is critical to the student’s success and advancement. It allows the student to make measurable progress, offers immediate error correction, and provides the parent and teacher with data about the student’s mastery of specific skills.

2. Access to accommodations and technologies

The dyslexic child may need a variety of accommodations, such as extended time to complete assignments and tests. Parents should consider their child’s unique needs in exploring this subject with potential online schools. For example, a child who has reading and spelling challenges can benefit from the support of audio services that provide reading assignments and tests in audio mode for “ear reading.” For writing assignments, a dyslexic student may benefit from technologies such as speech-to-text and spell- and grammar-checkers that work on the level of the sentence (to flag misspellings such as “there” versus “their”). School-wide use of organizational software, such as planning organizers and a calendar system for assignments can be valuable. 

3. Content subjects 

For content subjects such as mathematics, science, history, literature, and art, ask to see the curricula and review the content. Each curriculum should specify what the student will know and be able to do after completing each unit and at the end of the course. Skills and strategies should be related to mastering specific content as opposed to vague objectives, disconnected from content. (For example:  “The student will summarize the causes of the American Civil War” as opposed to “The student will summarize passages.”)

Ask about how students are placed in the curricula. Is there flexibility for placement at a different level if a child has already mastered the material at a particular grade level or if they need to step back a level in one subject? Or will they be placed at a certain grade level regardless of what they have or haven’t already mastered. 

4. School culture

“School culture” may be a little more abstract than the measurable program elements above, but it may be vitally important for a child’s success. The Harvard Graduate School of Education article “What Makes a Good School Culture?” explains the concept. Parents seeking a supportive environment for their child’s learning should explore the school’s stated policies and goals as well as the school’s reputation and achievements. Does the school really do what it says it will do? Do the school’s values align with family’s values and priorities? How do the school’s virtual classes provide children with the opportunity to discuss their questions and opinions about topics in various subject areas? Does the school teach students a process for investigating questions, engaging in discussion, and encouraging them to respect diverse thoughts and opinions?

5. A learning coach  

IDA’s guide emphasizes the role of the learning coach (LC). Typically a parent, the LC “is an integral partner in the education process. Students look to them to administer lessons and provide immediate corrective feedback on their performance toward the lesson objectives.” In our recent “Closing the Gap” post, we noted that the reading skills of some Lexercise students have actually improved faster since school has been canceled – a success we attribute in part to the consistent involvement of that involved adult/learning coach, who may be a parent, tutor, therapist or teacher. (There is a qualified Lexercise therapist assigned to every Lexercise student.) Parents should ask whether the school assigns a learning coach for their child and whether, how, and how much the parents are expected to participate in the lessons. 

Questions about equipment, hours, communication between parents and teachers, written reports, and IEPs should also be part of the conversation with the online school. When it comes to the education of your child, there are no stupid questions. Parents should look for IDA accreditation on the program’s website and ask for detailed information until they are satisfied with the answers.

And of course, if you have questions or concerns about how your child’s reading, spelling or writing may be impacting your child’s learning, Lexercise is here to help with our online dyslexia therapy.

Just Eight Weeks to Better Reading

If your child is a struggling reader or speller, you’ve probably tried just about everything. You’ve talked to teachers, counselors, and school administrators. You’ve talked to other parents. You’ve spent hours online looking for help.

Here at Lexercise we work directly with families and understand the frustration they encounter in seeking the answers and the care they need for their children. As successful as our Structured Literacy Curriculum is when used in our Basic Therapy program, we recognized that some students need to work directly with a therapist in a more in-depth and customized fashion so we created our Professional Therapy program.

In Lexercise Professional Therapy the principles and practices of structured literacy are applied in a program customized and guided by a Lexercise therapist.  Lexercise Professional Therapy comes with a guarantee that your child will improve one grade level in reading after 8 weeks of Lexercise teletherapy. If your child does not make a grade-level of improvement, Lexercise will give you an additional four weeks of teletherapy for free. You can see the details of our guarantee here.

This kind of significant improvement during the first 8 weeks establishes momentum and lays the foundation for the following months that may be needed to bring the student’s reading and spelling to grade level or above. 

 

Winfographic showing the number of students that succeed in 8 weeks with our dyslexia programhat Statistics Back Up Our Claim?

We make this guarantee because we know that when we do our part and the parent and student do their parts, it is very likely to be successful. Of the last 942 Professional Therapy clients who complied with the terms set out in our guarantee, 97.1%  made at least a grade-level reading improvement in eight weeks. (Actually, the average came out to 1.4 grade levels of reading improvement!

 

Here’s How Lexercise Professional Therapy Works:

  • Once a week, for eight consecutive weeks, your child will engage in a 45-minute one-on-one lesson conducted live via webcam with your Lexercise therapist. You must attend and participate in your child’s eight therapy sessions.
  • Four times a week, in between sessions, your child spends about 15 minutes a day completing customized online games, videos, and other activities to reinforce the weekly lessons.
  • Your Lexercise therapist will establish a baseline reading level in your first session, measure your child’s progress after the eighth session, and guide and support you every step of the way.
  • That’s all that’s required to help your child become the secure, confident student you know they can be.

Our research shows that structured literacy + an expert therapist + customized practice = a more capable, and confident student!

What’s Should I do Next?

We look forward to showing you what Lexercise Professional Therapy can do!

Drawing Parallels: Literacy and Music

literacy and music

Learning to read and write – what we call literacy – is a lot like learning to play a musical instrument.

When we hear a musical performance, we often say that people are talented, as if they just woke up one day ready for their first recital. But in fact, neither playing nor reading comes “naturally” to humans, the way breathing and talking do. 

Both require exposure, instruction, and practice.

The musician first listens to songs and simple tunes; the reader first listens to conversations, stories, and poems. Connecting the sounds of speech to letters and meaning is the most basic building block of reading and an essential step in structured literacy.

If these basic sounds, phonemes, can be compared to musical notes, then we can see that a growing understanding enables the student to comprehend and enjoy more complex music and stories and see how the elements join together in a tapestry-like whole.

For the reader and the musician, instruction and practice highlight the many, many sub-skills involved in fluent proficiency. Daily practice (eventually) makes them automatic. How much practice is required will vary from student to student.

Do you have a struggling reader? Browse the Lexercise library of online learning disability tests to learn more and to take a free test. 

 

Building a System for Literacy

picture of a brain and how building systems of literacy would work

In a recent post, we discussed the value of using systems to achieve goals. In our last post, we talked about the importance of using a speech-to-print approach when teaching children to read. In this post, we’d like to tie those two ideas together and examine a little more closely the systems that support a speech-to-print literacy approach.

So, what is a system?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a system as, “A set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method.” (System has several meanings, but this is the one that applies here.)

We’re surrounded by systems, even if we don’t think of them in those terms. A recipe is a system. Operating instructions are systems. Education itself is a system.

In its simplest form, a list is a system. In Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Dr. Atul Gawande compellingly demonstrates how a simple checklist can reduce catastrophic errors in complex tasks, from performing surgery to flying an airplane.

So, can we use a checklist as a system to support a speech-to-print literacy approach? At Lexercise, we think the answer is Yes. Of course, for a science-supported, best-practice, speech-to-print approach, the list is not random. What is included on the checklist matters a great deal.

Here are 3 essential elements to include on your literacy checklist:

  1. Explicitly teach these concepts that explain how and why words are pronounced and spelled as they are, with a minimum of one 45-minute direct instruction lesson a week to be followed by daily review and practice. 
  • Explain each letter-sound, beginning with the speech sound and then connecting it with its letter symbol(s).  (For example,  the “m” sound is spelled -m-.)
  • Explain how to pronounce each speech sound. (For example, the vowel sounds in bet and bit are similar but must be differentiated for accurate reading and spelling.)
  • Explain how to write each lowercase letter with a movement pathway that is both distinctive and ergonomic. 
  • Explain the predictable patterns that govern pronunciation and spelling. (For example, there is a predictable pattern that explains why -a- is pronounced “ah” in mat and matter, “ay” in bake and acorn, “uh” in across and alike, and “aw” in all and water.)
  • Explain the three meaningful parts of English words, prefixes, bases, and suffixes, and how they operate. (For example, the word subtracting is made up of three meaning parts: sub + tract + ing.)
  • Explain suffix spelling patterns such as the Doubling Pattern (as in batted: bat + ed = batted), and the Dropping Pattern (as in dining: dine + ing = dining).

2. REVIEW & PRACTICE every concept for both reading and spelling with enough intensity and consistency for the student to achieve mastery. (For most struggling readers and spellers that means daily, with a minimum of 15 minutes a day, 4 days a week.) 

  • Provide practice reading and spelling words with concepts previously introduced (i.e., only the sight words and words with letter-sounds, word parts, and suffix spelling patterns previously introduced).
  • Provide practice reading and comprehending phrases and sentences made up of words with concepts previously introduced, creating in the mind’s eye an accurate and vivid mental image.
  • Provide practice writing sentences made up of words with concepts previously introduced, integrating legible handwriting and accurate spelling and use of sentence conventions. 

3. MONITOR PROGRESS reading and spelling accuracy of each concept so that instruction can be adjusted, assuring that students do not move on to more advanced concepts and skills until they have mastered the foundational concepts and skills.

If that sounds like a recipe you’d never make because it has too many ingredients, don’t be put off! In building the Lexercise system over the last 11 years, we have marshaled technology to provide these and other validated instructional elements and deliver an integrated system that checks all the boxes.

Every day, students (at home and in the classroom) are using the orderly, explicit, user-friendly Lexercise system to improve their reading, writing, and comprehension, and to advance their grade-level achievement. To learn more, explore the Lexercise website or schedule a free 15-minute phone conversation with a Lexercise therapist.

The Case for Audiobooks

Some people will argue that listening to a book does not have the same benefits as reading it yourself. That is true, but just because it does not have the same benefits does not mean it is any less effective.

A popular model of reading is called “The Simple View (Gough & Tumner)” which says that there are two fundamental processes contributing to reading:

  1. decoding
  2. language processing

“Decoding” refers to figuring out words from print, but “language processing” refers to the same mental processes you use for oral language. They are both equally important, and language processing is worked on when listening to a book.girl with earphones

Audiobooks are especially useful for children with dyslexia. When reading is not their favorite thing to do, the next best tactic is to subject them to as many words as possible audibly. They may not be able to decode words as well on the page but they will be able to use them in their everyday conversation.

Another reason why audiobooks are good for children with reading disabilities is that usually, they have superior oral comprehension and high vocabulary. Audiobooks will expose them to complex words, storylines, and concepts that they otherwise would sacrifice by only reading books at their reading level.

Audiobooks will allow children to have a positive relationship with storytelling. They will gather all of the same information without all of the frustration. Listening to audiobooks is not cheating.

You can become a subscriber to audiobooks through one of our partners, Learning Ally.

If your child has trouble with reading skills, visit our website to learn more about what we can do to help.

Unconventional Summer Learning

How to Correct Your Child Without Discouraging them (33)The summer is drawing to a close and the school year is going to begin again. You don’t want to burn your child out with new information, but you also want to warm up their brains for a new school year.

So what do you do? This would be a great time to explore topics outside of the conventional classroom instruction.

Educational Screen Time: You can do this at your home with channels like PBS or History, but you can also take your child to see a documentary in an IMAX theatre. This makes learning an exciting experience that you can do together. This brings along positive thoughts to a learning experience for your child that may have had difficulty before with learning prior. Some good documentaries that are circulating at IMAX are “A Beautiful Planet” and “National Park Adventure.”

A day at the museum: Kid’s Museums are a great way to get out of the house for an educationally fun day. Not only will kid’s museums teach topics related to the classroom, it will also encourage your child to use their social skills to meet and play with new friends. These museums can assist you in facilitating productive play with your child, skills you can bring home.

pexels-photo-11523Cook together: Have your child read you the recipe steps and help you get the ingredients together. Recipes are less intimidating to read because there aren’t many words, but they may learn some new vocabulary. This will help your child learn patience and how to follow directions. It will also teach them that hard work leads to rewards.

If you suspect your child may have dyslexia or may need some extra reading practice, visit our website here. Our program is a perfect supplement to the start of the new school year.

The Problem(s) With Reading Recovery

How to Correct Your Child Without Discouraging them (30)Reading Recovery® is a strategy that has been praised by schools around the world and is currently being used in 10,000 elementary schools in the United States. Reading Recovery® is an early intervention program developed in New Zealand by Marie Clay in 1985. It was targeted towards children who perform at or below the 20th percentile in reading after a year of formal instruction.

Children who are selected for the program are provided with 30 to 40 minutes of daily one-on-one practice during the school day over a period of between 12 and 20 weeks.

But more recently, information has been coming out to discredit the reliability of results for the program.

Two scholars, William E. Tumner and James W. Chapman, have written a paper contesting the validity of the program– calling it “Reading Recovery®: Distinguishing Myth from Reality.”

teacher and student review reading instruction on an ipadThey concluded that about 30 percent of students who begin Reading Recovery® do not complete the program and do not perform significantly better than control students. Tumner and Chapman say that results reported in favor of the program are probably inflated due to the careful selection of the students used in the study. Another possibility as to why the original study was deemed “successful” was because the one-on-one instruction is going to be more successful than group learning no matter what the subject.

The researchers also pointed out that the program encourages students to use context when trying to figure out a word. For example, using pictures or the words around it to guess what the desired word says. As you can gather, guessing is not an effective way to improve a child’s literacy skills.

The main problem with this program is that they pull the children out of their normal classroom environment during the day to teach the material the same way as if they stayed within the classroom. If children are not understanding the way the material is taught the first time, teaching them the same way in a more intimate setting is not going to change their comprehension.

Lexercise, on the other hand, effectively tweaks the teaching curriculum and method to fit each student’s needs. This customization is one reason we guarantee a grade-level reading improvement after two months of therapy.

If you are interested to learn more about why our program works, give us a call or schedule a free consultation with one of our therapy partners.