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DYSLEXIA VICTORIA ONLINE

FOURTEEN STEPS TO TEACH DYSLEXICS HOW TO SPELL & READ and

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FOURTEEN STEPS TO TEACH DYSLEXICS TO SPELL & READ


INTRODUCTION
Dyslexic students have great difficulty learning to spell and read because they look at and learn information differently than other children in a classroom. They are right brain dominant thinkers which means they look at all things from the big picture and then the parts. They also need to see whole or complete concrete images of what they are studying; especially the meanings of words. Abstract words however cannot be experienced with the senses and need to be related to concrete images for Dyslexics so they can understand, retain and spell them. Concrete words describe things that people experience with their senses. For example: brown rough dog A person can see a brown dog, stroke him and feel his rough fur and hear him bark. Abstract words refer to concepts or feelings. We cannot see, touch, hear or taste them: honour contented love "Honour" is a concept, "contented" is a feeling, and "love" can be a feeling, a concept or an action. Another type of abstract word that is very frustrating for Dyslexics are Dolch or service words. They are joining words in a sentence and mean nothing unless they are used in context in a sentence. Examples: from and in then When Dyslexics learn these words they are best done with very visual sentences to help them remember them which we will explain later. Another issue for Dyslexics when learning to spell and read is seeing words as a whole image rather than broken into phonemes through phonics programs. Dyslexics often have phonemic awareness problems which is difficulty hearing sounds in words. Saying the individual letters C A T does not bring up any images, only sounds. Saying the word CAT however brings up an image of a cat something real and concrete which can be imagined or experienced through sight, touch, and sound when they are meowing or purring.

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14 STEPS TO TEACH DYSLEXICS TO SPELL

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"WORDS ARE LIKE FOOTPRINTS" One of my favourite examples of how to understand how the right brain recognizes and gives meaning to whole image symbols is the idea of foot prints. On their own foot prints mean nothing other than an impression in the ground. But for primitive man, foot prints represented a real animal he could hunt and eat or one that would "hunt" and "eat" him! By identifying which animal this footprint symbol was connected to he could process this information, give a name to it, verbalize it to his hunting group and then decide to run to it or away from it. Letters on their own represent nothing other than sounds. As part of a "whole" word image/symbol the combined letters will be a name that can be connected to something a rightbrain thinker has experienced and can imagine like what animal made a particular footprint.

We focus on teaching a Dyslexic student spelling and reading with whole concrete teaching methods to learn and remember concrete, abstract and Dolch words. The following 14 step process incorporates these concepts and others that can work extremely well with these students. Most teachers and parents will notice that many of the steps are typical teaching methods used in many classrooms, especially in kindergarten and the first two grades. They are very appropriate however for Dyslexics all through the grades, college and life. Please note that these steps can be used altogether, separately or a combination to best suit the student. This is further explained on the last page of this manual.

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14 STEPS TO TEACH DYSLEXICS TO SPELL

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FOURTEEN STEPS TO TEACH DYSLEXICS TO SPELL & READ TABLE OF CONTENTS

STEP 1: STEP 2: STEP 3: STEP 4: STEP 5: STEP 6: STEP 7: STEP 8: STEP 9: STEP 10: STEP 11: STEP 12: STEP 13: STEP 14:

READ ALOUD TO THE STUDENT A SHORT STORY OR PASSAGE TO FIND NEW SPELLING WORDS HIGHLIGHT KEY WORDS IN THE STORY WITH A COLORED HIGHLIGHTER GENERAL DISCUSSION TO GET STUDENTS FAMILIAR WITH THE TOPIC MEANING OF NEW WORDS: PANDA, CHINA, COARSE, WATERPROOF, SHOOTS USE PICTURES OF REAL WORLD OBJECTS AND PRINT THE WORD BELOW THE PICTURE PRACTICING COPYING THE SPELLING WORDS USING THE WORDS YOU DREW IN THE PREVIOUS STEP,BOX THEM TYPE THE NEW WORDS ON THE COMPUTER HAVE THE CHILD MAKE UP SENTENCES USING THE NEW WORDS GIVE THE STUDENT A DICTATION INCLUDING THE NEW WORDS DO PRACTICE SPELLING TESTS USING THE FIVE SPELLING WORDS OR MORE HAVE THE STUDENT FIND THE NEW WORDS IN A JUMBLED LIST RETEST AT ONE WEEK AND ONE MONTH. OTHER STUDY SUGGESTIONS *OTHER SPELLING ISSUES AND TEACHING SOLUTIONS *FINAL THOUGHTS

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READ ALOUD TO THE STUDENT A SHORT STORY OR PASSAGE TO FIND NEW SPELLING WORDS.
Find a short story or passage that is appropriate for the students reading level and preferably a subject that interests them. If possible the text should be simple in appearance such as a Comic sans, Verdana or Calibri font and big such as 14 or 16 point. Examples below are in 16 point.

Comic Sans

Verdana

Calibri

~I am now typing in a Times New Roman font which uses seriphs ( lines added to the end of the lines of a letter) is too busy to read for Dyslexics and I am using a 12 point font which is too small. ~

E in Times New Roman versus E in Calibri


Read it to them first. Point to each word as you read so the student doesnt just listen to what you read and not look at the individual words. It is important that the student knows to follow your finger as you point to each word so that is the only image they are looking at when you say the word while reading.

Dyslexics can have incredible photographic memories. Some Dyslexics who are strong auditorily can retain what you read out loud to them and connect those words to the total image of the words and pictures on the page. Then with these visual cues, repeat the words on the page for you giving you the impression they are reading. This becomes a terrific asset for them in the long run but needs to be managed carefully when they are young. An example of this amazing memory capability is my daughter Genevieve. When she was in grade two her teacher showed me how she could not read a single word when attempting new material. Then he had her read from a story her reading group had read together a few days before. She seemed to be able to read the entire story. Her teacher realized that Genevieve listened to the other children read while looking at the pages of the story with pictures and was committing it all to memory. When she appeared to be reading she was actually using the images of pictures and words on each page as a memory cue to remember the text.

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After you have read the passage have the student read it. If the student hesitates, tries to sound out the words, guesses or reads any of the words incorrectly, say the entire word for them, without sounding out the parts, and have them repeat the word. This includes words they miss altogether. It would be helpful if the students spelling lists from school could be included in these stories. There is an example on the next page printed in 16 Calibri font. Spelling list words are highlighted which is also Step Two in the Fourteen Steps.

The Giant Panda Giant pandas live in China. They look like teddy bears with their large heads and chubby furry bodies. They are easy to recognize with their black-and-white coloring. Their fur looks soft, but it is actually stiff and coarse. The thick fur is waterproof and keeps the panda warm in cold weather and dry in the rain. Giant pandas can spend twelve to sixteen hours a day eating! They feed mainly on bamboo, which grows in the forests where they live. They prefer to eat the tender shoots and leaves. But they will eat the thick large stems too. The panda uses its strong teeth to strip away the stems outer covering to eat the soft insides.

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OTHER SUGGESTIONS FOR READING SELECTIONS:


You could have the student make up a story instead about an experience they had or imagined using their weekly spelling list and write it down for them. Help them put it in a logical order with proper sentences and punctuation. There is a teaching methodology called Language Experience Approach that has been around since the 1960s that uses a childs experience and writing them down that is very effective helping a Dyslexic child to connect with written language. Two books that you might find useful: Language Experience Activities (2nd edition) Roach Van Allen What I think about, I can talk about; what I can say , I can write or someone can write for me; what I can write, I can read; and I can read what other people write for me to read. (Allen, 1976) Using the Language Experience Approach with English Language Learners: Strategies for Engaging Students and Developing Literacy Denise D. Nessel (Editor), Carol N. Dixon (Editor) This article outlines how this approach could be used in the classroom or home school settingin a practical manner The Language Experience Approach to Reading: Recurring Questions and Their Answers Barbara Mallon and Roberta Berglund The Reading Teacher Vol. 37, No. 9 (May, 1984), pp. 867-871 (article consists of 5 pages) Published by: International Reading Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20198639

This is a great site for stories to use for reading selections. They can be downloaded and modified with an appropriate and larger font and then printed on coloured paper. www.freechildrenstories.com

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14 STEPS TO TEACH DYSLEXICS TO SPELL

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HIGHLIGHT KEY WORDS IN THE STORY OF THE GIANT PANDAS WITH A COLOURED HIGHLIGHTER.
These highlighted words from the passage being practiced will become the spelling words to practice throughout the Fourteen Steps. Have the student highlight the chosen spelling words in the passage. We have used yellow but the student can use another colour they prefer. Highlighting words helps to train the student to locate information for studying and marking new words to memorize and practice spelling them. We suggest starting with 5 words at a time and increasing as the student can handle them. Words from their weekly spelling list would be helpful and create less additional school work for them.

Spelling lists to practice could be:


The Dolch or Service spelling word list Words they have difficulty recognizing when reading Word families (Dyslexics generally do better with learning syllables rather than sounding out words) Days of the week Months of the year Seasons Words or names connected to a particular subject being studied such as volcanoes; magma, lava, mantle, eruption, crater. A picture of a volcano and its parts will make these spelling words come alive for them. Words in a poem Words from their favourite book or comic book Have the student make up silly sentences or a story and highlight words to practice Words or names from a favourite movie Their favourite foods Names of their favourite animals Ask them for suggestions Go through a magazine and have them choose words Lists of words from books they are reading at school or on their own

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GENERAL DISCUSSION TO GET STUDENTS FAMILIAR WITH THE TOPIC


Talk about the passage or story and discuss: what, where, when, why and how of the story. This helps the student find context with the words leading to improved comprehension and retention of the spelling words they are going to practice. Using their own stories will further enhance the benefit of using reading selections to help hold onto the image of their spelling words. We have provided some examples of questions that could be asked: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Who or what is the story about? Where do pandas live? What do their coats of fur feel like? Why is their fur waterproof? What do they eat? How do the pandas use their teeth? How many hours a day do they sleep?

If it applies to the sentence or story you can ask them; What do you think is going to happen next and why?. They can learn and practice the concepts of cause and effect and critical thinking which are very important for all students personal development. Cause and Effect A cause is the reason why something happens. Such as if a deer runs out in front of you while you are driving, you will slam on the brakes. The effect is what happens because of the cause. So when you slammed on your brakes, your tires stopped revolving and the car comes to a stop. Critical Thinking "... the use of those cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of a desirable outcome...thinking that is purposeful, reasoned and goal directed - the kind of thinking involved in solving problems, formulating inferences, calculating likelihoods, and making decisions when the thinker is using skills that are thoughtful and effective for the particular context and type of thinking task. Critical thinking is sometimes called directed thinking because it focuses on a desired outcome." Halpern (1996). Critical thinking involves: understanding the logical connections between ideas identifying , constructing and evaluating arguments detecting inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning solving problems systematically identifying the relevance and importance of ideas reflecting on the justification of one's own beliefs and values and reflective thinking which focuses on the process of making judgments about what has happened

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MEANING OF NEW WORDS: PANDA, CHINA, COARSE, WATERPROOF, SHOOTS


Look up the meaning of the new words on the internet or in a dictionary. Because most Dyslexic individuals have great difficulty knowing the correct order of the alphabet they find the dictionary confusing but the definitions and images used on the internet with Google tools and Wikipedia are just as effective and easier to work with. Google tools such as Images, Videos, News, etc are a lot of fun for the student. You can pull up the list of tools by googling google and the tools will display in the Google browser screen. Understanding the meaning of words is important for a Dyslexic to help them retain the image of the word and how to spell them.

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USE PICTURES OF CONCRETE OBJECTS & PRINT THE NAME OF THE OBJECT
Dyslexics think in pictures and complete images and will generally have more success learning and retaining words when connected with an image that the word refers to. Also they will remember words better that are presented in their complete form, in bigger simple font (at least 14 / verdana, comic sans, calibri), lines of text spaced 1 to 2 apart and not broken into phonemes. Pictures with words are used extensively with pre-schoolers, kindergarten and the first couple of grades but not so much for older children. This practice needs to continue for a Dyslexic for the rest of their lives. Print out pictures from the internet or cut them out of magazines of an object or an action that demonstrate the NEW words. Have the student pick the image so it has meaning for them. It can be clipart, photos, illustrations, drawings, etc. Print the word below the picture or have the student print the word if their printing is readable. Say the word out loud with the student and have them spell the word while looking at the picture and word together. This uses all three senses, visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Say the word Draw the whole image of the sound of the word

Panda

Panda

Saying the words correctly improves both the students memory of the words and their spelling. Pronouncing each new word several times helps the student hear the sounds in the word. When out driving, shopping, walking, travelling, etc. look for their spelling words on signs or when you see real examples of the objects of them. This can become a game to see who can find their spelling list words the most. When practicing an action words such as running find pictures of people or animals running. The Dolch or service words the little words are practiced by putting them in a short sentence, highlighting the word and using a picture that conveys the meaning of the sentence. The Dyslexic student now has a way to remember the word with a sentence and a picture. These pictures with words can be posted in view of the student such as the kitchen, their bedrooms or a study/play area where they can see them constantly.

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Panda
*Example of images for nouns (person, place or thing)

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running
*Example of using images for a verb (action word)

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Lets play hide-n-seek and I will find you.

find
*Example of using a Dolch or service word in a sentence
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should
We found this example on Google Images using the search word should. The title is What Should We Wear. Actually one of the Dyslexic students we have worked with found it. He loved it. He told us that everyday you should wear something that fits the weather.

You can also find multiple pictures that the words also relate to. This can become a game finding as many meanings of the words as a student can find. Silly ones are great also.

judge in a court room

judges in a pickle contest

judge
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magnetic force

explosive force

airforce

force

size

High respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions: a man of honour/to be held in honour.

Honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions: a man of honour.

honour
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Page 17 of 20 This idea can also be utilized when studying subjects such as chemistry. The student can build sets of flash cards or full 81/2 x 11

PRACTICE COPYING THE SPELLING WORDS


Enter these words and meaning in their Spelling Notebooks as described in Chapter 5 of Spelling and Language Arts. In the Spelling Notebook and in this 14 STEP exercise the words are copied vertically five times with a space between. Practicing writing or drawing the picture image of the word at least five times will help them commit the word into memory. Another way to practice writing the spelling words is to use coloured lined 4x 6post-it notes. The color should be the one that was determined when their color was chosen during a colour preference test for plastic overlays to reduce Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome issues. If the student has not been tested for an appropriate colour background for them, experiment with different colours of post-notes with your student to determine which colour they are most comfortable with. Using paper with coloured backgrounds are easier for many Dyslexic students to look at rather than black text on white paper. Write the words double-spaced in a vertical list on the note paper. Never write them in a horizontal row. They will learn those words written together as a single image. These practice lists can also be put up on places they will see them such as a fridge or bulletin board.

4 x 6 Post-it Notes

This is a better way to practice vertically with a space between the words

This is the wrong way to practice horizontally because they will learn dog as the image dog dog dog dog

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*Never practice other words on the same post-it note because the words can become mixed up in their minds and they wont be able to separate them.

USE THE WORDS YOU DREW IN THE PREVIOUS STEP AND BOX THEM
This method is very useful and effective for many Dyslexic students as it helps them see words in their minds. Why is this important? As we state many times in our books and presentations, Dyslexics generally think about everything in images first, words second. Those people who are left brain dominant will usually think and see words first in their mind, then images. Some left brain thinkers cannot see images in their minds, only words. Many Dyslexics cannot see words in their minds, only images. Not seeing images easily or predominantly is not really an issue when going through school. The left brain dominant child may not be strongly creative, thinking outside the box or a phenomenal problem solver. But they can generally be successful completing their schooling because they can relate to words, read, spell and follow other sequential and linear information taught them in school which is a large part of the curriculum. The right brain thinker is more often than not very creative, inventive, intuitive, artistic, three dimensional, a great problem solver and always thinking outside the box. Unfortunately they usually do not easily see words in their minds, or sound them out well or remember how to spell or read them. One question we ask attendees at our workshop is, If I ask you to think about the word car what do you see in your mind? The lefties generally see cars and the word car in their minds. Some cannot see a car in their minds, only the word. Righties and Dyslexics see a car in their minds and some can see the word car but the Dyslexics usually dont. This is a big factor to overcome if these students are going to remember how to spell words. The boxing method described here is designed to help them see words in their minds. This sometimes is the most important of our 14 steps because many of the Dyslexic children we have worked with will use this as a primary way to memorize words. They also use it to study other subjects such as biology, social studies and math because they memorize names and facts easily by boxing them. The following description of this method should be read and followed carefully to obtain the best results with the student. We box words during all of our assessments with Dyslexics and it always works with them. There are only a few instances that we had problems getting them to see the boxed words in their minds. We have found, on rare occasions, the boxing method may need more practice when the student had previous intensive phonics instruction. However the boxing method has been extremely effective for all of the students we have worked with.

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14 STEPS TO TEACH DYSLEXICS TO SPELL

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Page 19 of 20 * See chapter 3 in our TEACHING THE DYSLEXIC STUDENT: SPELLING AND LANGUAGE ARTS for more information about Boxing words.

Examples of Boxing

The box provides a frame for each word that helps the student to focus on just the word. Because a Dyslexic student often has a problem with understanding limits and seeing individual parts, images or objects on a page the box helps the student focus on each word image with each of its letters. The coloured background of the paper is easier to imagine than white.

Box the word with thick black lines

dog
Take a piece of 5 x 8 coloured paper (11 x 8 paper folded in half). Use the colour overlay chosen if they have been tested for Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome and draw the word in thick black felt pen. Then draw a box closely around the word and extending around the taller and longer letters. Ask the child to hold the paper in front of them and while looking at the word say the word out loud and then say the letters out loud as they point to each one. Have them repeat this process two more times.
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Page 20 of 20 Then ask them to look at the word carefully for about five seconds and then close their eyes. Make sure they are doing this on a cleared table or area. If there are any objects in their visual range they could be seeing everything near them including the word on the paper which can be distracting. Now tell them to imagine the coloured paper in their minds, once they say they can see it then tell them to imagine the boxed word on the paper. When they say they can see it in their minds ask them to say the word aloud and then say the letters of the word they can see in the word. Ask them to repeat saying the word and saying the letters. Then ask them to read the word in their mind backwards. This ensures they are seeing the whole image of the word clearly in their minds. Now they can open their eyes and ask them to write the word on one of the coloured post-it notes. If they have a problem with any of the steps have them start from the beginning.

Other great ideas to expand this concept can be found in:


Right-brained Children in a Left-brained World by Jeffrey Freed, chapter on Spelling Visual-Spatial Learners and the Challenge of Spelling Alexandra Shires Golon http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/Articles/vsl/v107.pdf

Dyslexia Victoria Online 2009-2011

14 STEPS TO TEACH DYSLEXICS TO SPELL

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