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Learning Disabilities: A Clearer Path to Reading Fluency
NY Times ^ | April 27, 2004 | JOHN O'NEIL

Posted on 04/26/2004 10:02:21 PM PDT by neverdem

Remedial programs for students with dyslexia often succeed only in making bad readers into slightly better bad readers. Now a new study shows that more aggressive treatment can make dyslexic brains work the way normal brains do, activating a region that plays a vital role in reading fluency.

Good and bad readers handle tasks differently, brain scanning research has shown, from the processing of sound to the recall of vocabulary. Last year, a study showed that dyslexic students who were tutored with typical methods made limited gains but continued to use cumbersome mental pathways.

The new study, to be published in May in the journal Biological Psychiatry, was the first to compare the effect of standard and aggressive treatments before and after pupils received them.

One group of 37 poor readers, ages 6 to 9, received an average of two hours a week of instruction using a systematic, phonics-based curriculum. A comparison group of 12 poor readers continued to receive their school's normal remedial help: about an hour a week.

Testing showed that in one year the intensive teaching group made up about half the gap between their initial scores and those of a control group of normal readers, while the other students fell further behind.

The brain scans showed that the children who received the intensive remedial tutoring had begun to activate an area of the brain known as the word-form region the way the average readers did.

Dr. Sally E. Shaywitz of Yale, an author of the study, called that change crucial. "The word-form region allows a child to look at a word and to automatically know how to pronounce it, spell it and know what it means," she said. "If a child is not a fluent reader, he or she will avoid reading; it's too effortful."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Connecticut
KEYWORDS: dyslexia; education; learningdisability; learningdisorde; phonics; wordformregion

1 posted on 04/26/2004 10:02:21 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: fourdeuce82d; Travis McGee; El Gato; JudyB1938; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; ...
PING
2 posted on 04/26/2004 10:03:36 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem
Thanks for posting this. My 11 year old deaf daughter reads at the second grade level. I contend she can do better with a systemic program but am butting heads with her school.
3 posted on 04/26/2004 10:07:43 PM PDT by merry10
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To: neverdem
One group of 37 poor readers, ages 6 to 9, received an average of two hours a week of instruction using a systematic, phonics-based curriculum.

Testing showed that in one year the intensive teaching group made up about half the gap between their initial scores and those of a control group of normal readers, while the other students fell further behind.

What a surprise! The old tried and true method of teaching reading Phonics beats out the new method Whole Language.

I wonder how long it will take the teachers union to bury this study.

Of course the New York Slimes writes the article like phonics is a new method. What a crock. Phonics was the only way to teach reading when I was learning to read 37 years ago.

4 posted on 04/26/2004 10:12:53 PM PDT by Pontiac (Ignorance of the law is no excuse, ignorance of your rights can be fatal.)
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To: neverdem
Humph.

I don't have a college degree, and I retrained my dyslexic, illiterate, public-school-ruined fifth grader to read a college level after one year of intensive study. No fancy phonics programs...just organic 'as-you-read-it-learn-it' phonics...and interesting, addictive books.

I'm no language professor, and I figured it out. What causes these wonks to overlook the obvious and weedle endlessly searching for common sense in statistical studies...while they, at the same time, heal not their "experimental subjects"? Sheesh, these are CHILDREN.

Waddabunchamaroons.

5 posted on 04/26/2004 10:32:34 PM PDT by dasboot
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To: neverdem
I hate to tell the Yale author of this study, but Dr. Samuel T. Orton, a distinguished neurologist, was saying this nearly 60 years agon. Orton-Gillingham multisensory phonics is generally considered the dyslexic standard in teaching reading.
6 posted on 04/26/2004 10:34:16 PM PDT by exhaustedmomma
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To: neverdem
repeat after me .... midline - it is the key to the world
7 posted on 04/26/2004 10:34:28 PM PDT by Porterville (Kerry has no gravitas!!!)
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To: neverdem
Different people learn in different ways. That is a fact.

Someone just posted: "The old tried and true method of teaching reading Phonics beats out the new method Whole Language."

Well, here is another very unpleasant fact: English is NOT a phonetic language. In some ways it is, but only very vague rules apply, one to remember is this:

I before E,
except after C,
Or as sounded as A,
as in neighbor and weigh,
And never forget,
some words are WEIRD!

Average readers, of course, will probably do best to use phonetics, as their ability to grasp complex concepts is more limited.

The very best and fastest readers do not use phonetics at all, as to them, words do not represent sounds, but rather ideas and concepts. A person will NEVER become a "speed reader" by using phonics, that is another sure and certain fact.

The proponents of phonetics as being "the best" method of teaching reading must wonder, in their dark moments, how in the world Chinese or Japanese characters can ever be read, as there is ABSOLUTELY NO correlation between the words and the appearance of the seven brush strokes that comprise every Chinese hieroglyph.

And, on the other hand, there are the truly phonetic languages, such as German. In German, there are NO exceptions to the rules of phonetics, and there is NO such thing as a "spelling bee", since there is NO memorization involved at all. Every educated German can pronounce any printed word, and also correctly spell any German word, from hearing it pronounced once.

The bottom line is this: There is NO single "best way" to teach reading. The method that should be used for each individual student depends upon what will give the best results - that is, the method that will allow the student to exploit his innate skills to the maximum extent possible.

And I'm not even a teacher - but I think I should have been!
8 posted on 04/26/2004 10:36:38 PM PDT by RonHolzwarth
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To: Pontiac; merry10
from above:
"My 11 year old deaf daughter reads at the second grade level. I contend she can do better with a systemic program but am butting heads with her school."
----->next:
"What a surprise! The old tried and true method of teaching reading Phonics beats out the new method Whole Language."

***
Exactly how do you think "Phonics" is going to work with a deaf person?
9 posted on 04/26/2004 10:41:53 PM PDT by RonHolzwarth
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To: RonHolzwarth
Sound thinking, you are right in all respects.
10 posted on 04/26/2004 10:47:02 PM PDT by nathanbedford
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To: nathanbedford
Well, they say experience is the best teacher! I learned the hard way - reading ahead in my second grade reading book, I read about "Clown IZ - Land.

I wondered at what a marvelous place an IZ - Land must be, as it sounded like a wonderfully fun place, full of clowns, and I sure hoped to visit an IZ - Land one day!

The next day, the teacher acted like I was incredibly dumb.

The word is not "is", followed by "land". It's just an island, silly!

Well, I already knew what THAT was! After that, my education went downhill fast, there would never be a wonderful IZ - Land to visit, and so I simply buried my head in books.
11 posted on 04/26/2004 10:54:27 PM PDT by RonHolzwarth
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To: RonHolzwarth
Exactly how do you think "Phonics" is going to work with a deaf person?

My guess is that phonics can be translated by lip reading to some degree. How much, I don't know. I would guess about 80% or more of English obeys spelling according to phonics. I don't see many words that violate phonics in this comment, "deaf" and "don't" being the only exceptions that I see to routine rules of pronunciation.

12 posted on 04/26/2004 11:15:12 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem
Exactly how do you think "Phonics" is going to work with a deaf person?

"eh?
Zac, tee, lee, hoe, (w?) duh, yoe, you, thin, (k?), "Phony Ks" eyes, go, Ing, toe, war, kay, why, (th?), a, dee, af, puh, son?"

Have you ever worked with deaf people?
13 posted on 04/26/2004 11:24:02 PM PDT by RonHolzwarth
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To: RonHolzwarth
Have you ever worked with deaf people?

Not 100% deaf, have you? I have a high frequency hearing loss and lip read when it's very noisy. IIRC, some 100% deaf people do lip read, and all are not dependent on reading sign language.

14 posted on 04/26/2004 11:40:26 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem
Bump.
15 posted on 04/27/2004 12:14:10 AM PDT by Spirited
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To: neverdem
I have only worked with deaf people at my workplace, I was fascinated at how they communicated, and now find that I almost automatically try to use what little sign language I do know when I meet one. I know very little, but seems many are impressed that a hearing person would even try.

One time though, it led to a rather funny situation! Some guy was scamming people at a restaurant along the Interstate, leaving photocopied notes taped to ten cent pens on each table explaining that he was deaf, and please help him and his family by buying a pen, the price was $2.00. So, I signed to him, "Hey! Do you know sign language?"

He sure did stay clear of me after THAT! I got a free pen out of the deal, but I did learn that apparently, you can run in just about anywhere, make two quick circles in a restaurant, and walk out with at least $30 in less than five minutes. And, there are a LOT of restaurants along the Interstates! Just, act deaf!

Actually though, most of the hearing impaired people I have known try to hide it, and look down on those who look for charity because of that impediment.

Of course, there is a major difference between people who have been deaf since birth, and those who lost their hearing later. I am not really sure which group faces the greater challenge. Those born deaf are used to it and do the best they can, those who lose their hearing as an adult sometimes retreat into their own world.

But a lot of people who have never been able to hear at all learn to read quite well. This is an awesome achievement, I think. And it certainly disproves the idea that you MUST know phonics in order to do it.

For some students, phonics really is the best way. It just depends on how the individual is "hard wired", what he brings with him to the classroom (I mean what he has already learned), and what his motivation is.

I worked with my nephew some, he had problems reading at first. I really wanted him to think of a word as an idea, and not as a collection of sounds. So I was quite at odds in teaching technique with his other instructors. But I think it was good though, as many different methods were explained to him, and now he can read rather well, so one of the methods must have worked!

This relates more to math: An idea should be presented several different ways. An astute instructor should then see which technique of explanation the student follows, and then complete the explanation using that method. For instance, I never did understand trigonometry, in the sense of "opposite over hypotenuse" and etc. But, when presented with the unit circle in college, I was like a fish in water, and I could then follow that old opposite and adjacent story. But I was NOT "hard wired" to follow the memorization required to track on "tangent = opposite over adjacent". Even now, that makes no sense to me. I am more of a "concept" person, as evidenced by the fact that it was almost impossible for me to memorize the multiplication tables. My fourth grade teacher once told my mother in a PTA meeting that I did multiplication by counting on my fingers. I cannot remember now how I did that, I think it was a successive counting method. I could understand the CONCEPT, but memorization was, and still is, very very difficult for me. And spelling for me, is the "look" of a word, although I do sound out some words in my head. The summation of the above rather long paragraph is that, normal teaching methods did not work for me. I was barely at a C level for just about all of my education. But today, I can read, I can write, I can design electronic circuits, am considered by many who know me to be a genius, BUT I cannot memorize to this very day! So, I feel rather strongly that concepts are much more important than memorization.

If a kid REALLY WANTS TO KNOW what is inside of books, it's going to be easy to teach him to read. If he doesn't care, well, then, an instructor is going to be against a brick wall. Based upon my experience, giving kids books that contain stories and information that they are eager to know about will frustrate them to the point of really putting forth an effort.

So, I believe that finding the motivation is the first step. Find a kid's interest, then get him a book that he WANTS TO READ! If he wants to know what's in the book, well, he's just gonna have to learn to read.

I've been fascinated for quite some time with visual displays of sound, and have been working on a project that does exactly that - the SonoSphere, a baseball sized low voltage unit that displays a visual interpretation of sound. I don't know how useful it will actually be though, but at least a door knock or a siren should be visible.

Essentially, each unit is to be a 12 channel color organ, a set of three would then be a 36 channel set. Red for bass, Yellow for midrange, Blue for tweeter. It is all based upon the musical scale. That is more information to be processed than a normal cochlear implant. Also, a single wideband unit is in the works.

However, I have been assured by people who would know, that the market for mass production is simply not there, so it is to be sold more for nightclub lighting than for anything else.

Only recently have LEDs that are bright enough to do the job become available, I've been working on this project for quite some time. I hope to get it done soon!
16 posted on 04/27/2004 1:07:04 AM PDT by RonHolzwarth
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To: RonHolzwarth
I enjoyed your story about the scam crook. So many imposters go through mass transit, at least in NYC. Keep up the good work!
17 posted on 04/27/2004 1:30:21 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: RonHolzwarth
There is NO single "best way" to teach reading. The method that should be used for each individual student depends upon what will give the best results

I agree with that. I think pushing kids into reading before they're ready is causing much of the problem. Kids develop at different rates and there is a stage where dyslexia is more common than not but that varies. Many kids are dyslexic at age 5 --- which means their brains are not ready to be pushed to read and you'd get more by waiting for them to develop a little more. Earlier generations might have learned phonics but earlier generations were learning to read in the first grade --- at about age 6 or 7 instead of preschool at ages 3 and 4. Kids whose parents read books to them will naturally pick up reading when they're ready.

18 posted on 04/27/2004 1:43:40 AM PDT by FITZ
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To: dasboot
and I retrained my dyslexic, illiterate, public-school-ruined fifth grader

It's interesting what is happening --- a lot of kids appear to read, they read word by word by word and they were being taught to read since preschool days --- but by the third grade it's apparent they cannot read with comprehension. They can read the paragraph but cannot figure out what it meant. It would be good for many to just start over and be retrained.

19 posted on 04/27/2004 1:51:37 AM PDT by FITZ
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To: FITZ
reply to: ",,,cannot read with comprehension. They can read the paragraph but cannot figure out what it meant."

That can certainly be a serious problem, for sure!

It relates very well to what I pointed out about thinking of a word as a concept or an idea - what good is it if you can sound out every single word, but during that feat, not be able to derive or remember the ideas the writer was trying to convey?

I have seen that so many times with kids - since they can sound out words, it is believed that they "know how to read".

Reading is actually a very complex skill, where the writer's ideas are reconstructed in the reader's mind. It serves very little purpose if there is nothing more than recognition of individual words. And that is what "phonics" is all about.
20 posted on 04/27/2004 3:01:38 AM PDT by RonHolzwarth
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To: neverdem
I too have a high frequency hearing loss to the degree that I have hearing aids provided by the VA. Their audiologist tested me and found that I get about 60% of my input from lip reading.

That siad I very infrequently wear my issued hearing aids because they amplify all sounds equally and the result in a crowded room or high noise area is babel.

Another point raised actually tends to divide the Deaf Comunity. One faction maintains that their kids should be taught lip reading because it prepares them to live in the hearing world better and another contends that sign is the way to go because it better prepares them to live in the deaf world.

Many deaf folks I am and have been acquainted with use a combination of lip reading and sign which allows them to function in both worlds.
21 posted on 04/27/2004 3:10:50 AM PDT by FRMAG
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To: neverdem
I was approached by one of these scam artists in a shopping center parking lot not too long ago. First thing I noticed was he was not wearing any form of hearing aid which did not ring true because most deaf folks even those who are profoundly deaf do wear aids as an adjunct.

At any rate after I read his card I turned my head and pointed to my aid and signed that I was deaf too. Exit scammer stage left at high speed!
22 posted on 04/27/2004 3:16:06 AM PDT by FRMAG
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To: RonHolzwarth
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are; the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteers are in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by istlef but the wrod as a wlohe.

This is surprisingly easy to read!
It seems to support your 'word as a concept' statement.


23 posted on 04/27/2004 4:32:19 AM PDT by maica (Member of Republican Attack Machine, RAM, previously known as the VRWC)
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To: nathanbedford
Two of my kids have learned to read phonetically, but in German. They have had no particular problem applying the phonics concepts to English, learning the exceptions as they go.

Another learned sight reading when phonics led him to a dead end in English. He was then able to get the phonics for German and now reads a great deal for pleasure in either language.

I never cautght on to phonics until late in life, tought myself to sight read and got over 700 on verbal but cannot spell to this day.

There is no one route to reading heaven in english except parental attention and reading itself. Thank God for Mark Twain who made me love books.
24 posted on 04/27/2004 4:56:30 AM PDT by nathanbedford
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To: FRMAG
That siad I very infrequently wear my issued hearing aids because they amplify all sounds equally and the result in a crowded room or high noise area is babel.

I've had the same experience. That was years ago. Supposedly newer models of hearing aids are more sophisticated, but I haven't tried them.

25 posted on 04/27/2004 12:23:03 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: FITZ
Kids whose parents read books to them will naturally pick up reading when they're ready.

My now 29 year old lawyer daughter gave us little choice. She would come beat on us with a book, yelling "book! book!", whenever she wanted to be read to. She's still like that, come to think of it. :)

26 posted on 05/01/2004 11:32:21 AM PDT by El Gato (Federal Judges can twist the Constitution into anything.. Or so they think.)
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To: El Gato
Wow --- one of these days you're going to have to teach her to read for herself!! Just kidding. But I do think that kids need nothing more than to be read to by their parents and they'll pretty much learn to read on their own. I've seen kids actually memorize the whole book and then pretend to read it --- carefully studying each word as they go -- next thing they are reading by themselves. You don't really need to take each sentence and word apart and teach that way and I think that can introduce problems.
27 posted on 05/01/2004 11:43:36 AM PDT by FITZ
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