Saturday, May 25, 2013

Flugle, Starnash, and Wimpolly: How Sight-Reading Affects Reading Ability

With phonics systems in place in most classrooms, many more children are picking up literacy with relative ease. However, 20% of children in English-speaking nations reach age 11 unable to pass a reading test.


Everyone has different learning styles, be that visual, kinaesthetic, or auditory. Kids with strong visual processing ability often favour this over the auditory (which is essential for phonics) when it comes to learning how to read. These children may or may not be diagnosed with dyslexia around the age of 7 or 8. Gifted visual learners will pick up the alphabet and simple words through sight-memorization and repetition very quickly.

But they are using a technique that will eventually fail them.  

As vocabulary and spelling gets more complex, these kids can no longer rely on their sight memory or the context as a trigger and so they begin to guess very wildly. The visual memory was simply not designed to hold thousands of combinations of fine-tuned black squiggly lines! That is why the auditory function is so essential when learning to read.

There is a simple test you can use to assess whether a child – or adult – is a sight-reader rather than a decoder. If they can read the first paragraph ok, but find the second paragraph much more difficult and the third nearly impossible, then they are using sight-memorization strategies to process text. This means they are very gifted visually, but have been misapplying this strength to the reading context.
Paragraph 1 (normal):
The country farm was in a deep valley. It covered 100 acres of green, rolling hills and in the winter was buried under a thick layer of heavy snow. Ben the farmer thought it was the best place to be in the entire world.

Paragraph 2 (letters mixed up):
His two-door, sporty car was panited oarnge, with braod, yleolw stirpes running aolng the roof. Jim lvoed his Mstunag more than aynthnig in his life.

Paragraph 3 (nonsense):
The brin, smight fload is where glagged balfs trow fron with oabs and snuts and flates of shrab. If you vroy after them juffedly with smoor and slirk, you will gwipe a shnook.

Guided Phonetic Reading technique was developed for sight-readers with weak auditory function. It is a revolutionary approach to remedial literacy that actually utilizes these children’s bright visual processing cortex as a tool to teach them.

See how this works over at Morgan Learning website. Morgan Learning publishes the Easyread System, an online course for children with highly visual learning styles, dyslexia, auditory processing disorder and more. It works through short, fun, daily lessons that are fully supported with one-on-one coaching and consultation.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hartford Courant article

I was just sent an article that was in the 4/28 issue of the Hartford Courant in Connecticut.  The Assumption School in Manchester, CT, has a student who won the State Level and is eligible to compete in the Annual Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest (I didn't know it existed).  More than 285,000 students entered this year's 22nd annual contest with the winner to be awarded later this month.  
In the article, it explained that at the Assumption School, students learn manuscript and cursive by the 3rd grade and receive 15 minutes of daily handwriting instruction - the amount recommended by experts.  A teacher at the school stated that there is significant research showing handwriting instruction enhances both cognitive and motor skills development and activates regions of the brain associated with thinking, short-term memory and language.
Irene Lambert