Full Discussion: The Dyslexia Research Registry: Making the Difference in Reading Research September 22-23, 2008

The Dyslexia Research Registry: Making the Difference in Reading Research and

Dyslexia: What is It? Curriculum, Teaching Techniques, and Effective Interventions

Full Discussion

Discussion Announcment | Guest's Bio | Discussion Outline | Reading List

Disabilities 2318] Welcome to the Discussion on The Dyslexia Research Registry:

Good morning
everyone, I am pleased to introduce Dr. Megan Bakan for her discussion on the The
Dyslexia Research Registry
. With each of her messages, she will be asking questions
to facilitate reflection and initiate further discussion and comments from you.
Please - post your questions and responses. I am also issuing an open
invitation to other researchers that specialize in Dyslexia to join in on our
discussion. Thank you,

Rochelle Kenyon,

Moderator, NIFL/LINCS Learning Disabilities Discussion List

Center for Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee



Disabilities 2319] The Dyslexia Research Registry: Making the Difference in
Reading Research!

Hi! I am Megan
Bakan. I am a research associate with the Dyslexia Research Registry. I am very
pleased to be speaking with you today. Thank you for joining this discussion.

The goals of
this discussion are:

  1. To introduce
    you to the Dyslexia Research Registry and to explain how it works.
  2. To inform you
    about some of the research topics associated with this lab.
  3. To discuss the
    importance of research in understanding reading and dyslexia.
  4. To let you
    know how you can become involved in research through the Dyslexia Research
  5. The Dyslexia
    Research Registry (DRR) is a project of the Florida State University
    Learning Disability Center. http://www.fsuld.org

The purpose of the Dyslexia Research Registry is to
facilitate research in the understanding of dyslexia.

What is
dyslexia? Individuals with reading difficulties vary dramatically in degree of
severity. Approximately 5% of children with reading disabilities do not respond
adequately to the best available instruction. In spite of adequate vocabulary
knowledge and general intelligence, they continue to struggle with sight word
reading, word reading fluency, and reading comprehension. Often there is a
family history of learning difficulties. These individuals are likely to be diagnosed
with dyslexia.

The DRR recruits
families who have a history of dyslexia who would like to participate in
reading research being conducted by the Florida Center for Reading Research.
Families are then notified of appropriate reading research projects and invited
to participate. Joining the registry does not obligate one to participate in
any project.

Have you
participated in dyslexia or reading research projects?

Do you know how researchers typically identify participants?

How can community programs for individuals with learning disabilities and
university research programs work together?

Next post:
Dyslexia Research Registry funding and current research topics.

Megan M. Bakan

Florida State University

Department of Psychology, Room 418B

1107 W. Call Street

Tallahassee, FL 32306-4301

FSU Office (850)644-4563/Toll Free: (866) 290-2456/Home Office (850)216-0510

The Dyslexia Research Registry - Improving Reading, Improving Learning,
Improving Lives



Disabilities 2320] Dyslexia Research Registry

Dyslexia Research Registry in funded through the National Institute of Child
Health and Human Development (NICHHD). The NICHHD has funded 4 Learning
Disability Centers.

Colorado LD Center at the University of

Florida LD Center at Florida State University

Northeast LD Center at the Kennedy Krieger Institute

Texas LD Center at the University of Houston

Each conducts its
own independent research projects. There are five current research projects at
the Florida LD Center.

Project 1
addresses alternative approaches to classification and prevention that include
new measures of emergent literacy and response to instruction in a large scale
study of 1,500 preschool age children.

Project 2
addresses alternative approaches to classification, the role of effective
instruction in preventing or minimizing the expression of learning
disabilities, and a fundamental assumption of response to instruction models in
two large-scale studies of elementary school-age children.

Project 3
addresses etiology, identification, and classification of individuals with
dyslexia in a state-wide sample of over 100,000 children in Reading First
schools, and in a large-scale, twin-based quantitative genetic study of 9,000
pairs of twins.

Project 4
addresses the molecular genetics and behavioral characteristics of profound
reading impairment in a family genetics study. This project will also establish
a national registry of families with one or more family members who are
profoundly impaired readers. Families in the Dyslexia Research Registry will be
contacted to be given an opportunity to participate in studies of reading.

Project 5
addresses underlying dimensions of performance in vocabulary and fluency, and
tests alternative models of the development of reading and writing in a
four-year longitudinal study of 300 children in first through fourth grades.

What areas do
you see as the most critical to research?

Where do you see
the gaps in research today?

Post: The Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing

Megan Bakan



Disabilities 2321] Re: Dyslexia Research Registry

areas do you see as the most critical to research?

How does early reading instruction impact
the students ability eventually learn to read.

Where do you see the gaps in research

I received my teacher’s degree from River Falls Wisconsin State University in 1966. I then began teaching third grade. It wasn’t long before I noticed that the
reading ability of my students depended upon who had been their teachers in
first and second grade. The teachers who were older and more experienced
produced better readers. The other teachers who, like me, had little classroom
experience produced students who did not read well. I realized that I couldn’t
teach students to read well either in spite of more than four years of
education courses in three colleges.

Sharon Hillestad



Disabilities 2322] Re: The Dyslexia Research Registry: Making the Difference in
Reading Research!


I help run a Community Learning Center. I have been an educator (in and out of school) for over 35
years. Presently I help children and adults learn how to read and I supervise 20
tutors who are employed to tutor children in the "No Child Left
Behind" program. We have 175 such students. In addition, I supervise
volunteers who tutor the children who were left behind. I am interested in
learning as much as I can about the cause and cure of dyslexia.

Sharon Hillestad



Disabilities 2323] Re: Dyslexia Research Registry

Hi Sharon,

You bring-up some
good points.

Concerning early
reading instruction on student's eventual ability to learn to read, there are
several variable to consider. The main two are how early (what age child) and
of what does the reading instruction consist. The question you ask is exactly what
we are trying to find out in this research project. We don't know how early or
exactly what kind of instruction is needed. The study at FSU, considers
preschool age children and focuses on pre-literacy skills such as phonological skills.
This is the second year of this five-year project, so the data is still being
collected. I think it is safe to say that there will be some positive impact
but how much and from what type of instruction remains to be seen.

comments about teacher training are very insightful. The Florida Center for Reading Research (www.fcrr.org) is working to provide teachers in Florida with research
based teacher training. However, the gap between what researchers and teachers/practitioners
know/are doing is still quite large. More projects do need to address this


Megan Bakan



Disabilities 2324] Re: The Dyslexia Research Registry: Making the Difference in
Reading Research!


I would suggest the book Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz as a good
introduction to what is dyslexia and what research tells us about its causes
and interventions. Two great websites at the International Dyslexia Association
(http://www.interdys.org) which
provides lots of information about dyslexia and the Florida Center for Reading Research
(http://www.fcrr.org) which has a site
just for teachers. The FCRR teacher site provides information on the components
of effective reading programs and evaluates reading programs based on these

These are the essential
components it lists:

  1. Phonemic awareness
  2. Phonics
  3. Vocabulary
  4. Reading fluency, including
    oral reading skills
  5. Reading comprehension


I hope this is helpful.

Megan Bakan



Disabilities 2325] Dyslexia Research Registry

Principal investigator of the Florida Learning Disability Center is Dr. Richard
K. Wagner. Past research from Dr. Wagner’s lab resulted in the development of
the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP, Wagner, Torgesen, and
Rashotte, ProEd: 1999) The CTOPP assesses phonological awareness, phonological
memory, and rapid naming. These three factors are the most common causes of
learning disability in general and reading disability in particular. They also
play a role in mathematical calculation, listening comprehension and reading comprehension.
The CTOPP identifies kindergarten through college age students who may profit
from instruction in these areas.

you use any of the CTOPP measures?

Have students that you see who have a diagnosis of LD or dyslexia been assessed
by these measures?

Next Post: What
and Why of research.

Megan Bakan



Disabilities 2326] Dyslexia Research Registry - Genetics Research

Research is a hunt
for the truth. Research is a process through which we attempt to achieve
systematically and with the support of data the answer to a question, the
resolution of a problem, or the greater understanding of a phenomenon. http://www.geocities.com/Athens/3238/page3-15.htm
- This is not to say

that any one research study provides a definitive answer. However, through
numerous studies we begin to see patterns and evidence concerning the question
at hand.

In the past decade
we have gained a greater understanding of how people learn to read and why some
people have difficulty learning to read. Yet, some individuals still struggle
to learn to read and spell in spite of having received the best available
instruction. This is why more research is still needed to understand dyslexia.
The Dyslexia Research Registry’s role is to link families with a history of
dyslexia to research projects.

How has research
influenced identification, assessment and instruction for individuals with LDs
such as dyslexia?

What research has
been the most influential in your work?

The first project
for which we are recruiting families is a Genetics study. Families often report
that more than one family member had difficulty learning to read. Some causes
of reading difficulty are inherited others are environmental. This study
focuses on the inherited factors.

In this study we
will be collecting genes from three biologically related family members. One or
more of these family members needs to have a diagnosis of dyslexia/reading
disability. Genes will be collected through a saliva sample that each person
will submit. Saliva contains the DNA and genes that get passed down from our
relatives. Genes work like instruction manuals for our cells. Genes tell our
bodies and brains how to react the things in our world.

In this study, we
are not looking for a "dyslexia gene." It is unlikely that one gene causes
dyslexia. Rather, we are looking for combinations of genes that influence
reading related processes, such as phonological processing, that are critical
to learning to read. This information may help us to identify children at risk of
reading difficulties at younger ages. In addition, these studies may shed light
on variability in the degree of reading disability that individuals with dyslexia

Megan M. Bakan,



Disabilities 2327] Joining the Dyslexia Research Registry

Who can be
involved in the Dyslexia Research Registry (DRR)? The DRR is recruiting two
groups to join the registry. The first is families who have a history of
dyslexia/reading disabilities. The second is educators and professionals who
work with these families.

Families who have
a history of dyslexia or reading disabilities are invited to join the DRR. In
particular, for current studies we are recruiting families who have a child in
grades 2-8 who has dyslexia or a reading disability. However, others may also
apply to learn about future studies. Families who wish to join the DRR will be
asked to complete an application regarding their reading and educational
history of immediate family members. This information will assist us in matching
families with the most appropriate research studies. Families who complete the
application will be eligible for a gift card to a major retail store as a thank
you. All information will be kept confidential and will only be used for
reading research purposes. Applications can also be completed as a telephone

Joining the
Dyslexia Research Registry does not obligate a family to participate in any
reading research studies. It does allow the DRR to contact families about
reading research studies. Families are then free to choose if they wish to
participate in a particular study. Many studies may be participated in from your
own home through the mail, telephone, or internet. Other studies may request
that families meet with a professional local to the family for reading related assessments.
Thus, you do not need to live in Florida.

To receive an
application please contact the Dyslexia Research Registry at: Bakan at psy.fsu.edu1-866-290-0510, http://www.fsuld.org/dyslexia_registry

Include a mailing address and an application will be sent to you.

Dyslexia Research Registry is recruiting Educators and Other Professionals who
work with families who have a history of dyslexia or reading disabilities. We
are looking for professionals who would like to distribute Dyslexia Research
Registry Brochures to the families with whom they work.

We are also
recruiting professionals who have experience assessing reading related skills
to assess families in their geographic area. Professionals with this training
who would like to join the Dyslexia Research Registry team will be asked to
complete an application. Professionals who administer the reading assessments
will be eligible for a gift card to a retail store as a thank you for their
time and talent. To obtain a Professional Application contact the Dyslexia
Research Registry contact Bakan at psy.fsu.edu 1-866-290-2456. The attached brochures provide additional
information. THANK YOU!




Disabilities 2328] Dyslexia Discussion - Funded Research


I did some
searching today to see what additional funded research on dyslexia is ongoing.
I found the information below from the National Institutes of Health website: http://www.nih.gov

Using fMRI to
Evaluate Instructional Programs for Children with Developmental Dyslexia

This study is
ongoing, but not recruiting participants. Sponsored by: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/bye/BQoPWw4lZX-i-iSxuQ7gl6YxuQ7Ju6c9c

Information provided by: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
(NICHD) ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00068835

Dyslexia is a common
reading disorder. Specialized instructional programs can improve reading
ability in children with dyslexia. This study will use functional magnetic
resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine changes in the brains of children who have
taken part in these programs.

Condition http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/help/conditions_desc

Intervention http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/help/interventions_desc


Behavioral: Lindamood-Bell training for dyslexia

U.S. FDA Resources http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/info/fdalinks

Type: Interventional Study Design: Educational/Counseling/Training, Randomized,
Single Blind, Active Control, Factorial Assignment, Efficacy

Study Official Title: Remediation in Developmental Dyslexia

Further study details as provided by National Instituteof Child Health & Human Development (NICHD):

Enrollment: 160

Study Start
Date: June 2000, Estimated Study Completion Date: May 2005

Detailed Description: Reading is a uniquely human endeavor and failure to
develop this skill can lead to serious educational and emotional consequences.
Reading more slowly or less accurately, as is the case in developmental
dyslexia, occurs in between 5% and 15% of individuals in the U. S.
Developmental dyslexia significantly interferes with academic achievement and
with activities of daily living that require reading skills. Although dyslexia
is considered a reading disorder, dyslexia's clinical signs are varied and
include deficits in the sensory domain, abnormal phonological awareness, and
problems in related linguistic skills. Phonological awareness training and
visual perceptual training can improve reading ability in children with
dyslexia. Recent functional imaging studies on sensory and language processing
in dyslexia have demonstrated involvement of the posterior temporal and inferior
parietal cortical systems of the brain. However, how these brain areas are
changed as a result of dyslexia treatment has not been determined. This study
will investigate the neurophysiologic changes before and after treatment in 11-
to 14-year-old children immersed in Lindamood-Bell training utilizing either
phonological (LiPS) or visual (Seeing Stars) strategies. These training
programs have successful behavioral outcomes, but neurophysiologic changes have
not been evaluated. The study will determine whether behavioral changes in
reading skills result in physiological differences in the brain identifiable
with functional brain imaging and whether initial physiological observations
are indicative of the degree of success of the intervention. Participant will
be randomized to receive either Lindamood-Bell training, a math intervention
(active control), or no intervention (passive control). The intervention will
last 6 weeks; children will have both pre- and post-intervention behavioral
testing and fMRI scans.

Eligibility Ages

Eligible for Study: 8 Years to 12 Years Genders Eligible for Study: Both Accepts
Healthy Volunteers: No Criteria


  • Developmental dyslexia diagnosis
  • English speaking
  • Right-handed
  • General good health


  • Metal implant, braces, or other device that prevents child from undergoing

Contacts and

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00068835

Locations: United States, District of Columbia Georgetown University Washington, District of Columbia, United States, 20057

Sponsors and

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Investigators Principal Investigator: Guinevere F. Eden, Ph.D. Georgetown University

Rochelle Kenyon,

Moderator, NIFL/LINCS Learning Disabilities Discussion List

Center for Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee



Disabilities 2329] Re: Dyslexia Research Registry - Genetics Research

to the family genetic study: How are these families selected for the study? Are
more families needed, and if a family is interested in participating, what
should they do? Thank you!

Gretchen Giuffre



Disabilities 2331] Re: Dyslexia Research Registry - Genetics Research


who have a child (grades 2-8) who has dyslexia or a specific reading disability
may apply. Yes, we need families for this study. We have just begun recruiting
this summer. Our goal is to include 500 families in the study. If a family is
interested in participating in the Genetics Study, they should contact me at bakan at psy.fsu.edu or call 1-866-290-0510.
Please include a mailing address in the e-mail. We will send a Consent Form and
Application to the family. If a family needs assistance completing the
Application, we can conduct it as a telephone interview so they do not need to
write the responses. Then we will contact the family again in early 2009 when
we begin the DNA collection portion of the study. DNA collection involves
submitting a sample of saliva through the mail. Families will receive a gift
card to a major retail store after completing the application and after
submitting a saliva sample. Thank you for your interest.

Megan Bakan



Disabilities 2332] Dyslexia Documentaries

are some interesting documentaries that can be found on the web:

Demystifying Dyslexia: http://www.thinkbright.org/dyslexia/about/default.asp

Deciphering Dyslexia: http://www.knowledgenetwork.ca/dyslexia/base_loader.html

They demonstrate
research being put into practice.


Darla Hatton




Disabilities 2333] Fwd: Dyslexia Resources


Thanks for sharing
those video resources. I had never seen either of them before. I invite other
subscribers to share resources on dyslexia they may be familiar with.

Megan Bakan
mentioned genetic testing in an earlier message (Learning Disabilities 2326 in
the archives). I have found an interesting research study summary as posted on
the National Institute on Health website: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/news_and_events/

I have also copied the article from 2006 below:

National Institute
of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov

National Institutes of Health - DCDC2: Demystifying and Decoding Dyslexia

News - Press Releases For release: Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A recent study shows that variations in a gene called DCDC2 may disrupt the normal
formation of brain circuits that are necessary for fluent reading, leading to
dyslexia. After further research, genetic screening for these variations could
identify affected children early in their lives and possibly prevent the
misdiagnosis of other learning disabilities that resemble dyslexia. "We have
good statistical data that variations of the DCDC2 gene are strongly associated
with reading disability, also known as dyslexia. These results reconfirm that
dyslexia is strongly genetic and is not a consequence of just environmental
factors," says lead investigator Jeffrey Gruen, M.D., Associate Professor of
Pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. This study was funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological
Disorders and Stroke(NINDS) and appeared in the November 22, 2005, issue of
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.* Dyslexia is a common disorder
that causes people to have difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word
recognition and hinders the development of reading skills. The brain-based
learning disability specifically impairs a person's ability to read. These
affected individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected
despite having normal intelligence. "Unfortunately, people assume that if you
read poorly that correlates with having a low IQ. This study confirms that
dyslexic children can be typically smart and can have strong IQs. The reading
disability is not a global effect on entire brain function," says Dr. Gruen. The
researchers examined variations in a gene, doublecortin domain containing 2
(DCDC2) and found that specific variations including a large deletion may be
inherited in up to 20 percent of people affected with dyslexia. The study demonstrates
that DCDC2 is involved in neuronal migration (the movement of neurons to their
target regions during early brain development). The researchers tested the
hypothesis that down-regulation of DCDC2 affects brain or neuronal circuits
using embryonic rats. Brain sections of these rats showed an abnormal migration
pattern of neurons, in which the neurons failed to reach their target
destination. In humans, the DCDC2 gene is strongly expressed in the same brain
regions (cortex, hypothalamus, amygdala and hippocampus) of normal and dyslexic
readers, suggesting that changes in the gene's function, rather than a deletion
of the entire gene, cause the disorder. The gene in people with dyslexia is altered
but still somewhat functional, which may explain why dyslexia is frequently
associated with subtle changes and not extreme learning disability. Previous
clinical studies have shown that up to 50 percent of children of dyslexic
parents have dyslexia themselves. These and other studies of

heritability led researchers to hunt for genes that influence the disorder. In recent
years, two other genes have also been linked to dyslexia, EKN1 and KIAA0319.
KIAA0319 is also involved in neuronal migration. The DCDC2 gene and its strong
relationship to dyslexia have already been replicated in an independent study
in Germany **. "This is powerful because those researchers studied subjects who
speak a different language and used different reading tests, yet they still
found this same gene involvement. This illustrates a strong role for human
genetics in the expression of the disorder," says Dr. Gruen. Although the
disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with
dyslexia include difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of
sounds) and/or rapid visual-verbal responding. Researchers estimate that 10 -17
percent of the population in the U.S. has dyslexia. Dyslexia is also equally
prevalent in non-English-speaking countries. It is a common misconception that
dyslexia is simply a person who sees words backwards. Only 30 percent of
dyslexics have trouble with reversing letters and numbers. "Traditionally, many
people are under the impression that dyslexia is an issue with visualizing
letters differently. However, we now know that dyslexics just learn to read
differently - most learn to read by sight memorization not phonetically," says
Dr. Gruen.. Anatomically, dyslexics have normal brains; however, the brain
areas activated in reading may be different. Several studies using fMRI, an
imaging technique that studies activity in the brain,

have shown that dyslexics display different patterns of brain activity than
other people when they read. "Some kids just learn differently. Not all children
learn to read with our current one-size fits all methods," says Dr. Gruen. "The
earlier we can identify children at risk, the earlier we can start intervention
when studies have shown that remediation works best. Even with the future
capabilities of genetic testing for dyslexia, the biggest problem is still the
lack of infrastructure for early intervention in schools." Dr. Gruen cautions
that although we can now draw a path from the disease to the gene, the reverse
is not necessarily proven yet. That is, predicting the outcome for a person who
has the gene and determining if the person will have the disorder is still not
possible. The next steps of the research will examine other variations
including deletions or changes in this particular gene family. The
investigators will also examine brain imaging in children and adults given
reading tasks and then see how that relates to DCDC2 variations. Ultimately,
identifying dyslexia genes may provide opportunities for early identification
of the disorder and help to distinguish dyslexia from other learning
disabilities. The NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health
(NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland , and is the nation’s primary supporter of
biomedical research on the brain and nervous system. The NIH is comprised of 27
Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting
basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and investigates the
causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more
information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov

*Meng H, Smith S, Hager K, Held M, Liu J, Olson R, Pennington B, DeFries J, Gelernter
J, O’Reilly-Pol T, Somlo S, Skudlarski P, Shaywitz S, Shaywitz B, Marchione K,
Wang Y, Murugan P, LoTurco J, Grier P, Gruen J. "DCDC2 is associated with
reading disability and modulates neuronal development in the brain." Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences, November 22, 2005, Vol.102,

**Schumacher J, Anthoni H, Dahdouh F, Konig I, Hillmer A, Kluck
N, Manthey M, Plume E, Warnke A, Remschmidt H, Hulsmann J, Cichon S, Lindgren
C, Propping P, Zuccheli M, Ziegler A, Peyrard-Janvid M, Schulte-Korne G, Nothen
M, Kere J. "Strong genetic evidence of DCDC2 as a susceptibility gene for
dyslexia." The American Journal of Human Genetics, January 2006, Vol. 78, pp.52
– 62. -By Michelle D. Jones-London, Ph.D.

Rochelle Kenyon,

Moderator, NIFL/LINCS Learning Disabilities Discussion List

Center for Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee



Disabilities 2334] Re: Dyslexia Documentaries


you for sharing these resources.

Megan Bakan



[Learning Disabilities 2335] Re:
Reminder: Discussion Begins on Monday, Sept. 22nd

In Milwaukee, our public school system, despite its many dedicated teachers and staff, is
performing dismally. I teach the adults who were failed by that system. Many of
them have children who have the same learning difficulties their parents have and
are not having their needs met any better.

Several educators
have pointed to the absence of resources and support services for families and
teachers of people with learning differences in our area. I am among those who
believe that a center offering diagnosis, support, teacher and family
education, research dissemination, and product exposure could make a big
difference in our community.

Do these four
centers provide these things? If so, is there any data to demonstrate a positive
effect on their communities?

Christy Breihan

ABE Instructor



Disabilities 2336] Continuation of the Dyslexia Discussion


I apologize for
the interruption in our discussion on dyslexia. I thank Megan Bakan for her
contribution to the beginning section on research and the Dyslexia Research

To Christy Breihan
~ I have contacted the four LD Center Directors that were mentioned in Megan's
outline. I am hoping to get a response directly from one of them to your
question below:

In Milwaukee, our public school system, despite
its many dedicated teachers and staff, is performing dismally. I teach the
adults who were failed by that system. Many of them have children who have the
same learning difficulties their parents have and are not having their needs
met any better.

Several educators have pointed to the absence of
resources and support services for families and teachers of people with
learning differences in our area. I am among those who believe that a center
offering diagnosis, support, teacher and family education, research
dissemination, and product exposure could make a big difference in our

Do these four LD centers provide these things?
If so, is there any data to demonstrate a positive effect on their communities?
Christy Breihan, ABE Instructor

Next, I have the
pleasure to introduce the second guest speaker, Kelli Sandman-Hurley. Here is
some information about Kelli, her background and experience:

Sandman-Hurley is a published author and researcher of dyslexia. She is an
adjunct professor of reading and a tutor trainer. She has worked with low
literate adults and their volunteer tutors for the past ten years. Kelli is the
President of the San Diego Branch of the International Dyslexia Association, as
well as a board member of the Southern California Library Literacy Network
(SCLLN) and the California Library Association. She is a professional developer
for California Library Literacy Services (CLLS) as well as a Literacy
Consultant for the San Diego Council on Literacy. Kelli is trained in Lindamood-Bell
and Wilson Reading System. She also received training by the Academy of
Orton-Gillingham. She was awarded the Jane Johnson Fellowship and the Commission
on Adult Basic Education (COABE) scholarship. Kelli has presented at numerous
conferences as well as provided professional development for k-12 teachers. She
is currently a doctoral candidate working on a dissertation studying adults
with dyslexia at San Diego State and the University of San Diego. She is the
co-founder of the Dyslexia Training Institute http://www.dyslexiatraininginstitute.org.

As part of her
discussion, Kelli will pose some questions about curriculum and teaching
techniques that literacy programs use or don't use. She will elaborate on what
works, what doesn't, and why. Considering the long discussion we had in the
last few weeks on Whole Language, Phonics, Reading, and Phonemic Awareness (see
the archives at
to revisit those messages), her expertise will be most enlightening and
useful. I will post her first message shortly.

Rochelle Kenyon



Disabilities 2337] Dyslexia and Curriculum

Hello. I am so
pleased to be a part of this discussion and I look forward to helping to answer
your questions, dispel myths/misconceptions and help inform your practice. As
someone who has worked in adult literacy for the past ten years I am very aware
of the challenges we face when teaching or training volunteers to teach these
'hardest to teach' learners. The previous comment about the gap between the
research and tutor training is a major problem in adult literacy and I hope this
discussion can close that gap ever so slightly.

There is old
research and new research that supports the use of an Orton-Gillingham based
program for those who have dyslexia. The old research based their opinion on
test score improve-ments and general reading improvement and developed the
theory that it also 'changed' the brain.

The new research
(fMRI, MEG) has actually now begun to show that the use of an Orton-Gillingham
based program actually might change the brain and the neural networks used to
read, which has supported the earlier research. One caveat is that it is much
easier to change the brain of a young person than say, someone like our adult
learners, but it is still possible. Also new and I saw was brought up briefly
is the genetic or familial factor of dyslexia. So, how could this impact how we
approach our Family Literacy programs?

In order for
this change to take place, the intervention needs to be: implemented by a
trained individual, consistent over a period of time (no less then 80 hours),
and the tutor/teacher needs to follow the program exactly as it is laid out.
All of which can be very challenging in any adult literacy setting. If money
and time were not an issue, it would be best if all of us who work with most
challenging students there are (adults with dyslexia) to be thoroughly trained
in one or more of these programs. Of course we must be aware that not one of
learners if like another, so how do we deal with that? Also, there are various
degrees of dyslexia and each program needs to be individualize, which is
difficult in an adult literacy setting, but it is possible.

I look forward to
your thoughts and questions,

Megan Bakan



Disabilities 2338] Re: Dyslexia and Curriculum

experience teaching O-G for 18 years confirms it works. I founded and directed
Project Literacy/Outreach, Inc., that developed volunteers to help an underserved
population, using O-G.

Volunteers learned
the essentials in a 21 hour course, with follow-up help as needed. O-G rests on
understanding how 26 letters are representing 44 phonemes, and that there are
five syllable types. Add kinesthetic modalities, and explicit direct
instruction, and voila! the non-reader now can read. It does take time - you go
as slow as you must and as fast as you can.

Thank you for this
contribution to the discussion. The technology now is confirming what practitioners
have known empirically.

Lucille Cuttler



Disabilities 2339] Re: Dyslexia and Curriculum

All learning
changes the brain, it is one definition of "learning:" the relevant
circuits are established.

Andrea Wilder



Disabilities 2340] Re: Dyslexia and Curriculum


am interested in this discussion b/c I have been working with a man with
dyslexia for the past four years. We are working through the organization
"ProLiteracy." My initial question is how do you get large
organizations like "pro literacy" to invest in the training of their
tutors, particularly in methods that proved to be effective like OG? I know that
pro literacy uses the assessment tool "PowerPath" but that assessment
is the first step in helping to uncover learning issues. Where do tutors go
from there? B/C I am not an administrator, I'm not sure what the barriers are
(other than the obvious -money) that prevent organizations like Pro literacy
from getting training in methods like OG, so that they are better able to work
with the many learners that are dyslexic.

Esther Shupe,



Disabilities 2341] Re: Dyslexia and Curriculum

(and others),

should know that there are various tutor training approaches and materials used
by programs that are affiliates of ProLiteracy. ProLiteracy is the organization
that was created by the merger of Literacy Volunteers of America and Laubach.
Although they don't provide the O-G training as an organization, individual
literacy programs may choose to adopt and pay for some of their staff and/or
tutors to be trained.

Teresa Sweeney

Arlington, VA



[Learning Disabilities 2342] Re:
Reminder: Discussion Begins on Monday, Sept. 22nd


the NICHHD LD Centers do not provide these resources. The centers' main focus
is conducting research projects related to LD. So, they are at the far end of
the research to practice spectrum. However, some of the centers are conducting
research that is seeking participants from the community, so, some community
members do benefit. You will find links to the centers (when available) on our
website. In addition, the Dyslexia Research Registry is conducting nationwide research
In terms of teacher and family education and research dissemination, the Florida Center for Reading Research does provide these services through on-line resources.
Any one may access their website to learn more about what research does say
about teaching individuals to read. You may wish to look at their website, http://www.fcrr.org >

I just want
to add, I think the points you make are quite valid. As I talk to families
around the country, their biggest concerns seem to be:

  1. How
    can we get an appropriate assessment/diagnosis for our family member?
  2. How
    to I get my school to provide the appropriate education and accommodations?
  3. How
    do I find out what is an appropriate and effective education for my family
  4. How
    do I find out about accommodations and technology?
  5. How
    do I get extra tutoring for my family member?

I have found the
following to be the most helpful resources on these topics:

  • The
    International Dyslexia Association – http://www.interdys.org
  • Great Schools – http://www.greatschools.net – in
    particular the reports that were originally written by Schwab Learning
  • Wrights Law – http://www.wrightslaw.com - this
    site provides special education law and advocacy
  • Parenting a
    Struggling Reader by Susan Hall and Louisa Moats
  • Overcoming
    Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz

Your message
brings up an important issue. Communities need to pool their resources to make
"shopping" for family members with dyslexia easier. I would be
interested to hear about any communities that have done this. Keep up the good

Megan Bakan



Disabilities 2343] Re: Dyslexia and Curriculum


think you make some very good points. Research has done a good job of showing
us what works - in an ideal setting. Then we get to the real work of practice
where students and tutors have limited time and resources. In addition, with
adult learners in particular there is a great deal of variability. How do we
bridge the gap?

Megan Bakan



Disabilities 2344] Dyslexia and Curriculum

Hello again. I
am impressed to here of Lucille's experience with an adult literacy program
that trains their tutors in an O-G method. That is very rare. I am wondering,
how do you know which students are dyslexic and which are not? What do your
assessments look like?

It has been my
experience that most adult literacy programs use a 'hodgepodge' of materials
with their learners. Unfortunately, for those with dyslexia this type of
approach generally is not effective. My experience is that those who are
running/training programs are not as well versed in dyslexia, the causes, and
the interventions, as we would like them to be in order to be really effective.
I also ponder the role an ineffective curriculum plays in the persistence rate (or
lack thereof). In a perfect world I would require all trainers, directors,
coordinators, etc to be thoroughly trained in reading and reading disabilities
- considering the population we all work with. This no fault of anyone’s, it
isn't a topic that is even taught in most teacher credentialing programs for

The question
about how to get an organization like ProLiteracy to fund such training is a
great one. I think Teresa is correct. The training in up to local
organizations. In our case, our program (READ/San Diego) paid for all of the
trainers to attend an O-G training that was given by an O-G fellow. It was
expensive, but for our learners who are dyslexic, it will be the difference between
reading and not reading.

Allison, yes,
all learning changes the brain. In the case of dyslexia, the studies are
focused on particular areas that seem to be functioning a bit differently when
compared to their non-dyslexic counterparts. The fMRI and MEG studies that have
used and O-G program with their learners have shown a change in the dyslexic
brains in which they begin to look more like non-dyslexic brains.

I always share
this information with my tutors and learners so that they understand the great
importance of following an O-G program the way it is laid out.

Megan Bakan



Disabilities 2345] Re: Dyslexia and Curriculum


am very excited to a participant of this discussion. As a former manager of
Literacy Training Program for Adults with SLD, ADD/ADHD, current pre-service
trainer, and a peer-tutor trainer, I can only confirm that consistent creating
of patterns through O-G program is possible even within ProLiteracy curriculum.
I was trained by the Dyslexia Research Institute in a multisensory
approach(method of teaching) 9 years ago and as a Literacy Program Manager
graduated more than 200 hundred students from a program with up to 6 year gains
in literacy within 4-6 months period. I still meet my students in the positions
we assisted them to be employed in. Since 2001, I used this knowledge to train
my peer-tutors in the correctional facility (up-to-date graduated 81 of them).
Peer tutors (inmates) are using the same method to assist their students (more
than 50% of our SpEd population has been diagnosed with SLD). Our new staff
members (officers, food service, medical...) are introduced to learning
disabilities and multisensory approach through pre-service training. You are
totally right about consistency. It is one of the most important elements. Once
trained, all of our peer tutors are using one and the same approach throughout
the facility. So, even if one tutor is transferred elsewhere, the other one
will be carry on. Our staff is assisting in providing the same method
throughout the facility. This overall approach creates understanding, support,
and positive re-enforcement to our struggling learners.

Tatyana Exum



[Learning Disabilities 2346] Re:
Reminder: Discussion Begins on Monday, Sept. 22nd

would like to add a resource that might help with some of these questions that
Megan posed: I just want to add, I think the points you make are quite valid.
As I talk to families around the country their biggest concerns seem to be:

  1. How can we get an appropriate
    assessment/diagnosis for our family member?
  2. How to I get my school to provide
    the appropriate education and accommodations?
  3. How do I find out what is an
    appropriate and effective education for my family member?
  4. How do I find out about accommodations
    and technology?
  5. How do I get extra tutoring for my
    family member?

When you visit
the http://www.interdys.org, please look for your local branches. Most have their own
website and they have a plethora of local resources and that can help you answer
some of these questions.

Kelli Sandman-Hurley



Disabilities 2347] Re: Dyslexia and Curriculum


Oh yes, the
complicated nature of adult literacy. We have a far from ideal setting. But
again, I wonder how much of an effect the lack of an appropriate intervention
for someone with dyslexia has on persistence. It is a valid question that probably
does not have a neat answer. I am inclined to advocate for really good training
up-front for our tutors so that no matter what 'type' of learner they teach, it
is a sound intervention.

In terms of the
variability of levels, that is where a good assessment comes into play. Every
program should be using an assessment that includes phonemic awareness,
phonics, spelling, reading comprehension (Silent and aloud) and miscue
analysis. This type of information in the assessment would allow tutors to
start at an appropriate place in the curriculum.

I think it is
important at this point in the discussion to clarify that I am referring to
those adults with dyslexia who are English speakers and were never able to
read. Also, you have to rule out brain injury, lack of educational opportunity
and developmental delay. Having said that, an O-G program will work for just
about anyone in need of reading help.

I think it may all
come down to training for all in the areas of reading and assessment in

Kelli Sandman-Hurley



Disabilities 2348] Re: Dyslexia and Curriculum

There is a newer
strand of instruction that has developed sort of sideways from the O-G methods.
Coming out of Lindamood Bell's LiPS, the McGuinnesses streamlined reading
instruction--cutting down to the bare essentials for efficient, systematic
reading instruction--in their program Phono-Graphix. I think I have talked
before on this list about ABeCeDarian created by Michael Bend. He has developed
a teacher friendly curriculum around the principles of Phono-Graphix and the
best of other programs. I have found ABCD to be the most effective, efficient,
QUICKEST method to teach nonreaders to read and poor readers to read better.

These newer
programs differ from OG in that they are not as rule-driven. Instruction starts
with sounds and teaches how they are represented by letters, rather than
starting with letters and learning what sounds they represent. Students sort
the various spellings for a sound as they learn the logic of the language. As
has been recommended for adult students, phonemic awareness and skills are
developed with the use of written text rather than just orally. There is no
discussion of syllable types, rather a student reads from left to right in
reasonable chunks, flexing the vowel sounds where the vowel can represent more
than one sound. This approach for reading multisyllable words works quite well.

I'm afraid this is
a scattered description. Basically I want to say that if you like O-G, check
out Phono-Graphix and ABeCeDarian (abcdrp.com) to see how they streamline the
process of learning to read. You may like it or find activities to add to the
techniques you already use.

Jo Ann Fishburn



Disabilities 2349] The "Decoding" of words, sentences, and paragraphs

The "Decoding"
of Words, Sentences, and Paragraphs

Much discussion
of teaching using alphabetics (phonemics; phonics) aims at learning to decode
written words. Of course, this is necessary for reading. But beyond the word
are the sentence and paragraph. Fluent reading may depend to some extent on how
well people can construct sentences and compile them into paragraphs. The
question arises, do more skilled readers develop a greater ability to construct
sentences and compile them into paragraphs?

Ordinarily word,
sentence, and paragraph construction are aided by the use of spaces between
words. Sentences are marked by punctuation (capitals; periods, etc.), and
paragraphs are separated by spaces and sometimes indentation of the first
sentence in the paragraph. But how well can low and high ability readers
identify words, sentences, and paragraphs when there is no spacing or
punctuation to mark beginnings and ends of these aspects of written language?

To find out, in
an exploratory study colleagues and I worked with 16 low reading young adults
with reading skills from 3.5 to 7.7 grade levels, and an average score of 5.5
grade level reading. We also worked with 18 college students as high ability

We prepared four
paragraphs of writing by typing all the words running together, the sentences
running together, and paragraphs running together with no spaces or
punctuation. We then asked the adults to go through the materials and place a
line between each word, a dot over each line that separated sentences, and an x
through the dots that separated each paragraph.

We found that on
average the high ability readers accurately identified 99 percent of words
accurately, sentences with 77 percent accuracy, and paragraphs with 88 percent
accuracy. For the low ability readers words were identified with 77 percent
accuracy, sentences with 12 percent accuracy, and paragraphs with 19 percent

This raises the
possibility that in reading normal texts, low ability readers may not achieve
higher fluency skills in part because of a weakness in sentence meaning
construction and paragraph meaning compiling skills. Possibly alphabetics may
provide effective word recognition while whole language teaching may foster the
development of sentence and paragraph construction and compilation abilities. These
are aspects of "decoding" written language that I have not seen given attention
in reading research, with either children or adults.

Thomas G. Sticht

Consultant in Adult Education



Disabilities 2350] Re: The "Decoding" of words, sentences, and


Absolutely agree
with you. The same words taken in different context may be of a different
meaning. Context is delivered not by a word, but by a sentence/paragraph. Could
you provide a link to your papers? Thank you.

Looks like, that
writing has a similar pattern. Therefore, we (Ghotit ) are using context-aware
spelling for dyslectic users, whereas meaning of spelling candidates is explained
by description sentences and/or examples.


Iakobashvili, Ph.D.



[Learning Disabilities 2351] Re: The

"Decoding" of words, sentences, and paragraphs


I am curious what
the purpose would be to have students read sentences without spaces? That is
not how language is ever presented. What would be the purpose of reading that
way? What does that prove other than they were not able to decode where words
started and ended, which would be expected with lower level readers? Were they
dyslexic or just assigned to groups based on reading level? It doesn't seem
like an authentic context in which to make a judgment - to me.

Also, the fluency
of people who have dyslexia will most likely always be slower than they would
like, but they have to understand how the language is constructed so they
decode new words. It is true that when learners are spending all of their
cognitive resources on decoding they are not paying attention to the
construction of meaning. That is why when using a program like O-G the reading
presented should be in line with the decoding skills they have. Repeated
reading has also been shown to be effective in not only improving fluency but
comprehension. Learners, especially those with dyslexia, should always been
given the opportunity to read their paragraph/story/whatever more than once to
obtain meaning.

Of course, any
reader dyslexic or not, should be encouraged to use context clues, but in
conjunction with learning the fundamentals of the language.

Kelli Sandman-Hurley



[Learning Disabilities 2352] Re: The
"Decoding" of words, sentences, and paragraphs

Lakobashvili: I have not published any formal paper about the study on words,
sentences, and paragraphs. It was, as I indicated, an exploratory study. I did
a number of these types of exploratory studies when I was developing the Army's
functional literacy program. Though not published, I do have a brief paper
describing the methodology and results as a part of a notebook I kept to record
the exploratory studies. If you send me an email with a snail mail address, I
would be pleased to send you a copy of my notes on the word, sentence, and
paragraph study.

I am still
interested in how beginning readers come to be able to construct sentences and
paragraphs when all punctuation cues are removed from a text. There is a body
of research in linguistics and psycholinguistics on "the psychological
reality" of sentences and paragraphs. The exploratory study I described
briefly fits into this body of research, and is to my knowledge the only study
with adult literacy learners in comparison to skilled readers.

Thanks for your

Tom Sticht



[Learning Disabilities 2353] Re: The
"Decoding" of words, sentences, and paragraphs

all made sense to me until the very end, when the "phonics vs. whole language"
agenda burst through. On what basis were the different kinds of skills

"assigned" to different approaches?

Susan Jones

Academic Development Specialist

Center for Academic Success

Parkland College

Champaign, IL 61821



[Learning Disabilities 2354] Re: The "Decoding"
of words, sentences, and paragraphs

Susan Jones: You
said, "It all made sense to me until the very end, when the "phonics
vs. whole language" agenda burst through. On what basis were the different
kinds of skills "assigned" to different approaches?"

I just
speculated that because alphabetics focuses on word recognition and whole
language has for over a century focused on larger units of language, e.g.,
sentences and extended texts, that both of these approaches might be useful in
helping adults learn to read and then develop their reading beyond the decoding
of words. I still wonder how higher ability readers can figure out where
sentences begin and end when there is no punctuation cues to help in the mental
process of sentence meaning construction. Also, how can they figure out where
paragraphs begin and end when there is no punctuation? When we comprehend
paragraphs, we do not recall them word for word as meaning but rather as a
"gist" or "main idea." Higher ability readers did this
pretty well, much better than the less skilled readers. So how did higher
ability readers, who were once beginning readers, develop this higher order
"decoding" or meaning construction ability. Its’ a puzzlement to me.
But I suspect engaging in lots of reading of extended texts is necessary for
this ability to develop.

Tom Sticht



Disabilities 2355] Dyslexia - What is it?

has occurred to me that we have discussed some interventions, but we have not
discussed what the actual definition of dyslexia is. There are many myths and
misconceptions about dyslexia. I will use the definition adopted by the International
Dyslexia Association:

is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is
characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and
by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result
from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often
unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of
effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in
reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth
of vocabulary and background knowledge.

of my favorite things to do is explain what dyslexia is not:

  • Caused by poor eyesight or hearing problems
  • A Developmental Disability
  • Acquired Alexia, Aphasia or Anomia - these are caused by some type of head
    injury (ie: stroke)
  • A degenerative disease
  • Lack of educational opportunity
  • The result of a lack of effort or laziness on the part of the student
  • It is NOT seeing letters or words backwards. Although this is a symptom,
    people with dyslexia don't actually see things backwards. Rather, they have
    trouble processing with phoneme goes with the grapheme.

have attached some slides I have taken from a much longer presentation to help
discuss the definition of dyslexia and the remediation/accommodation that we
can use with these students.




Disabilities 2356] Dyslexia Resources

would like to suggest three great resources for more information about

Proust and the
Squid by Maryanne Wolf: This is an excellent and new book.

F.A.T. City: How Difficult Can This Be? DVD: I am sure many of you have
seen this, but just in case.

I think you have
already been privy to Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz.

Kelli Sandman-Hurley



Disabilities 2357] Re: Dyslexia Resources

is also a newer version of Richard Lavoie's project. Beyond F.A.T. City, (A Look Back, A Look Ahead) reviews the history and philosophy of the
original project and incorporates major trends and issues.

Carol McDonnell




Disabilities 2358] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?


me if I'm wrong--but dyslexia is a developmental disability, in that it is
inborn--part of the individual's genetic make-up. I think there is some mixing
up of letters when the individual has a condition akin to "visual
neglect," which I understand only slightly.

Andrea Wilder :)



Disabilities 2359] Re: Dyslexia Resources

I agree your big 3 are good; I've already used the Squid in presentations and
the new slant on materials was well received. Also, I try to include a 2 page
overview/follow along of FAT City even when not showing it, to be certain to at
least whet intellectual appetites of the non-familiar. Imagine a world where
Rick & the Shaywitzes managed the curriculum! Wow! Dream, then jump!

Mary Kay Doran



Disabilities 2361] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?


There is a lot
of reference to dyslexia as developmental dyslexia but I would differentiate
that from a developmental delay such as Down's Syndrome. The main point behind
stating that dyslexia is not a development disability is to say that it is not
the result of low I.Q. In order even be diagnosed with dyslexia, the learner
has to have at least low average intelligence.

Kelli Sandman-Hurley



Disabilities 2363] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Thanks, Kelli,

I think I will just
stick with the developmental disability as I am getting used to that.
Personally, I don't confuse it with Down's syndrome--maybe others do. Thanks!

Andrea Wilder :)



Disabilities 2364] Where does the reading problem go?

Where does the
reading problem go when children grow up? Each year you can count on numerous
reports and news articles being written about reading education in the K-12
school system of the United States. Without exception, these reports give the
impression that we need to spend billions of dollars more on teaching children
to read earlier (e.g., universal preschool) and better.

But if America’s public schools aren’t doing a good job of teaching reading, you wouldn’t know it
when the children have grown up and are asked as adults how well they read.
Overwhelmingly, our nation’s adults think they read Well or Very Well.

The 1992 National
Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) asked adults to rate their own reading skills as
they perceived them. In a report on the Literacy of Older Adults in America, from the National Center for Education Statistics in Washington, DC, November 1996, the
authors reported (p. 43) that adults aged 16 to 59 rated themselves as reading Very
Well-72%, Well-22% and Not Well/Not At All-7%. Overall, then, some 93% of
adults in this age range rated themselves as reading Well or Very Well.

broken out by ethnic groups, ratings were

Very Well-77%, Well-21%, or Not Well/Not At All-3%.

Blacks: Very Well-67%, Well-27% and Not Well/Not At All-6%.

Hispanics: Very Well-46%, Well-22% and Not Well/Not At All-32%

In this analysis,
only Hispanics reported a high percentage, 32 percent, or 5.3 million adults,
who thought they could not read English Well or Very Well, no doubt reflecting
the large immigrant population in this category with less education and poorer
English language skills than U.S. born adults. Among both Blacks and Whites,
poor reading appears to be a perceived problem for only 3 to 6 percent of these
populations, about 4.5 million adults in the age range 16-59.

when the average proficiencies of Whites and Blacks on the NALS Prose scale
were compared, it was found that for Whites who rated themselves as reading Very
Well, their average Prose proficiency was 308, well above average, whereas for
Blacks rating themselves as reading Very Well, their Prose average proficiency was
259, well below average.

Perhaps when
children grow up and get out of the pre-K-12 world they adapt to the ambient
literacy demands of a cultural niche that they find possible to occupy. They
find jobs they can qualify for, they get information from sources they have access
to and feel comfortable in using, and as they slip ever more firmly into their
literacy niche, they feel more and more satisfaction with their literacy
skills. Maybe this is why so many U.S. adults think they read Well or Very
Well, despite their poor performance on literacy tests. This raises the
possibility that if they are using themselves as a standard, many adults are
not able to judge whether or not their children are learning to read Well or
Very Well in school and fail to take action on behalf of failing children.

Today, our
nation’s Adult Education and Literacy System remains marginalized, operating
with an average of $820 per enrollee, including both federal and state funds.
This is less than 10 percent of what we spend per child in the K-12 system.
Strangely, though federal and state governments have provided tens of billions
of dollars in mostly failed attempts to improve the reading skills of children,
once the children grow up their reading problems seem to go away. I wonder why?

Tom Sticht, International
Consultant in Adult Education



Disabilities 2365] Re: Where does the reading problem go?

is so interesting. Low level readers do not even know what they are missing in
not being able to read books. My life has been shaped by the influence of books
on my religion, nutrition and education. I realized a couple decades ago that
the people I met in various organizations had one thing in common with me -
they could and did read books. I also noticed that most of my neighbors in an
upscale "white" neighborhood did not read books and many would not
even read an long article in the newspaper. We have really settled for a very
low standard of literacy in this country.

Hillestad, Director of a Literacy Center in Clearwater



Disabilities 2366] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Are we talking
about two different problems? Dyslexia being some kind of brain problem and the
low level reader or functionally illiterate person something else? The latter
is far more common than the former. I really disagree with so much of our
resources going into dyslexia when the bigger problem is plain old NBT - Never
Been Taught. This is something that needs addressing. One teacher who faced
this head on was Marva Collins. After 14 years of teaching in a public school,
she created her own school so she could teach her own way and she was very
vocal about the fact that functional illiteracy is a taught disability. I visited
her school in 1981. It was located in Chicago’s inner city. All 200 students
were black and most of them came from working class families. She had books in
stacks in the hallway and essays written by the students on the walls. There is
book and a movie about her school. Marva Collins, teacher, is one of the most admired
women in America.

At the time of my
visit, she was tutoring a young man who was in college on an athletic
scholarship. He couldn’t pass his classes, let alone graduate, because he
didn’t know how to read well. The college ended up paying for his tutoring so
he could learn what he should have been taught in grade school. Marva was
tutoring him on the same skills (phonics, grammar, using a dictionary, etc.)
that she taught her elementary students. She taught basic skills so effectively
and thoroughly that many of her students could read classic literature at an
early age. President Regan wanted her on the Education Committee. I really wish
she would have accepted his offer. Lots of the NBT kids end up being called
dyslexic and grow up to be low proficiency readers. Oh well.

Hillestad, Director of a Literacy Center in Clearwater, FL



Disabilities 2367] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?


I think every teacher should have screens / assessments available to use with
their students. And I also think that a teacher should know exactly what dyslexia
is so they can recognize it when they see it.

Andrea Wilder :)



Disabilities 2368] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

There is a
distinct difference between lack of educational opportunity and dyslexia. For
those who have NBT or Never Been Taught, they will benefit from the same type
of intervention, with one important exception - they will learn much faster.
For the most part, those with dyslexia will have much more difficulty with
phonemic awareness and phonics than their NBT counterparts. This can be teased
out with a good assessment that includes nonsense words and phoneme segmentation.

There are also
reading disabilities that manifest later in school (around 4th grade when words
become more difficult) that are not dyslexia. I don't know what the statistics
are for the Never Been Taught group but it is estimated that approximately one
in five people have some degree of dyslexia.

Andrea's point
is a very important one. When beginning to teach someone, it needs to be
determined via a valid assessment and knowledgeable tester and tutor whether or
not dyslexia is present.

So, how do you
determine the needs of your students? What assessments are you using? How do
you determine what curriculum to use?

Kelli Sandman-Hurley



Disabilities 2369] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

the distinction between NBT and dyslexia is interesting to consider. I use
several of the Woodcock Johnson battery of tests to determine who needs to
develop phonemic and decoding skills. I have never thought it necessary to get
a diagnosis of dyslexia. As Kelli says, I have believed that I would teach the
same sequence of skills and information either way. But, maybe it would be
important to know when students do have learning difficulties not caused by

What do other
members of the list see as indications of more than just failure to have been
taught correctly?

What tests enable
you to make the distinction?

How should we
adjust our instruction if we know that is the case?

Jo Ann Fishburn



Disabilities 2370] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

People form a
"representation" of a word when the sound of the word matches a
visual symbol---in a non-impaired reader this happens on the left side of the
brain in the temporal lobe, or more or less on the side of the head around the
ear and going towards the back, where the visual images are stored in the occipital
lobe This is the most common form of dyslexia. The dyslexic reader has trouble
identifying sounds to match the symbols, that is, the sounds themselves can be herd
but not the differences between them--"b" and "d" for
example. This is a partial description of dyslexia--one type, and I think the most
common type.

Andrea Wilder



Disabilities 2371] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Explicit direct
instruction in phonological awareness and structure of English, as early as
possible - specifically, an O-G approach - would reduce the numbers of
"struggling" students by grade four, if done in grades K-2, and if
possible, sooner.

This is in
accordance with neuroscientific findings.

The very fact
that this dialog is going on gives evidence that the departments of education
are not developing teachers for the tasks. Can we dare to ask why the tools for
teaching English, although well known and practiced since the early 20th
century, still remain a mystery for the general population? The Colleges
preparing teachers should catch up and give students the tools they need and deserve,
by including O-G in the curriculum for K-6 teacher candidates.

I personally
appreciate the notice of a distinct difference between lack of educational
opportunity and dyslexia. I have just personally been thrilled to work, as a
volunteer literacy tutor, with a young woman who was identified, wrongly, as
dyslexic. She was deprived of education of any kind until Grade 6. By dint of
much effort, she has now achieved a B.A degree and is accepted for law school.

Lucille Cuttler



Disabilities 2372] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?


I knew I would
hear your voice! Do you use assessments, and if so, what kind? Thanks!

Andrea Wilder :)



Disabilities 2373] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Hello Everyone,

I can't help but
jumping in here to reiterate your point Lucille that we know or have strong
evidence to prove the best and effective ways to approach learning, but the
mainstream continues to remain steadfast with the status quo - I'm afraid the
reasons for this are deeply embedded in American culture ideals about
education. Without going further into my own take on this - I would like to
know how and what ways we as educators can be involved in helping to change the
status quo. Of course, the classroom has always been the place where policy and
teaching have done battle - and there has always been a disconnect between what
policy says and what teachers do - (at least for me) how are we able to join
these forces together to implement some real changes in our education system.
I'm frustrated but willing to be involved in this pursuit.

Esther Shupe



Disabilities 2374] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

I received my
teacher’s degree from River Falls Wisconsin State University in 1966. I then
began teaching third grade. The teachers who were older and more experienced
produced better readers. The other teachers who, like me, had little classroom
experience produced students who did not read well. I realized that I couldn’t
teach students to read well either in spite of more than four years of
education courses in three colleges.

The reason I
could graduate from college with a degree in Education and not know how to
teach reading is because decades earlier there were some very influential
people who wanted it that way! Why they wanted to do this is a subject we ought
to address.

The results of
such "teacher training" were already apparent. The junior high teachers in my
school were beginning to complain that they were getting students who could
barely read. As this was a new thing in the late 60s, the teachers talked about
it only amongst themselves. It would take several more years and millions of
poor readers before "functional illiteracy" made headlines.

We can dance
around methods of "repair" for another fifty years or we can simply
confront the fact that the first grade teachers are poorly trained how to teach
beginning reading. They are also very constrained in what they are allowed to
teach which makes it impossible for them to create a better learning
environment even when they find out how to do so.

Two years ago I
tutored a 22-year old woman how to read who had been in school for 11 years and
no one taught her the vowel sounds or how to read by syllables. She couldn't
even read the words on the back of her drivers license. She is a very smart
woman and very easy to teach. The fact that no one else did so is criminal.

Sharon Hillestad



Disabilities 2375] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Sharon and

I have been a
reading teacher for 10 years in an adult correctional setting. I would like to
share my observations.

1. the vast
majority of poor readers that i work with have a pretty good understanding of
letter sounds and phonetic decoding.

2. many of those
who do not have this ability have some organic dysfunction that prevents them
from learning it, e.g. TBI or learning impairment.

3. a large
factor in poor reading is limited ability with the language. They have
impoverished vocabulary. We ask them to read and comprehend words they simply
do not know.

I think the
matter is way more complicated than simply not teaching people. If it were that
simple, why is there such a wide variation in reading ability among students in
a classroom? So much of it is socio-economic and cultural. You must have gone
into a person’s home and noticed they had no books, no newspapers, no
magazines. The adults do not read to their children. There is no love of
written language. Is it any wonder a child in this environment would not learn
to read?

Tom Woods



Disabilities 2376] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?


Beautifully put.
We have talked of this before. I worked on a federal study of reading
assessment. Our before and after measure was located in the home, and contained
a list of items that people might read there. This captured the reality you
describe. In my view, the impoverished reading environment is a great tragedy.




Disabilities 2377] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?


I've heard the
response citing lack of parent involvement in providing reading material for
children as well as sufficient modeling of daily reading activities for
children in their homes - I've even seen both quantitative and qualitative
research confirming this - but honestly we really have to look at the reading
material that is/has been available to the different communities - When I was
in grade school (a very long time ago) the pictures and content material was
far from my reality. How can people/families relate to much of the reading
material that is/was provided - I have taught many of the developmental reading
classes at a local community college and have had tremendous success in using
alternative authentic materials to help maintain student interest. If what you
read is not a reality for you - how can we expect learners to spend their time
with it - I know the problem is much more involved than just providing
authentic materials - however I do think when we look at the issues we must
also look at this –

Esther Shupe



Disabilities 2378] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?


Could you be
specific about materials you use? This is sounds interesting.

Andrea Wilder :)



Disabilities 2379] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Sure . . . we
were using clippings from local newspapers in the area - so many of the
articles pertained to the issues affecting learner's lives -we used poetry and
prose written by people who dared to move outside the mainstream -- as part of
the requirement for novel reading we used "The Pact" written by three
young men who were born and raised in the Bronx, New York. Their stories were
inspiring b/c they dealt with real issues that resonate for many - this is not
to say that everyone was engaged in the material and the activities, but it
felt so much more respectful of the contribution of the different cultures and ethnicities
in our classrooms.

Esther Shupe



Disabilities 2380] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

I have seen
classrooms where the teachers had all the students reading. Some read better
than others for the reasons noted. But, none ended up functionally illiterate.
I found out there was a "controversy" on how children should be
taught to read years after my last experience in a classroom. The teaching of
reading was not all "sewn up" and the teachers guides are not the end
all as my college professors seemed to think. Some of my young students in the
60s ended up functionally illiterate or very poor readers by the 80s. Teachers
need to be trained by people who can really get children to learn how to read,
spell and write. Granted with junk food and junk television the job is harder
than ever. But, there are teachers doing the job. They need to teach others how
to do that.

Sharon Hillestad



Disabilities 2381] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

There is a ton
of controversy about this. A lot takes the configuration of two metaphors, the
machine and the garden. These are ancient metaphors. Their incarnation in
reading is phonics and whole language.

Andrea Wilder



Disabilities 2382] Re: ADA Amendments Bill

Thank you for
keeping us up to date, Rochelle! We surely do appreciate you!

Donna Brian



Disabilities 2383] Re: Dyslexia and Curriculum

Hi Kelli,

Yes, I agree.
Thanks for the input.

Megan Bakan



Disabilities 2384] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

I agree with
Andrea that dyslexia is a developmental disability. Very influential definitions
disseminated by The National Joint Council on Learning Disabilities and the Interagency
Committee on Learning Disabilities (in a report to Congress) both note that
learning disabilities, including dyslexia, may occur concomitantly with other
handicapping conditions, including mental retardation. This is a difficult concept
to accept because we know that MR makes it very difficult to diagnose dyslexia.
But, I have seen people with very low IQs (below 68) who have very specific
problems in processing phonemes that I do not see in others with low IQs. Dyslexia
is present at birth and the literature suggests it is a result of neuronal
migration gone slightly awry during the development of the brain. Not everyone
with dyslexia mixes up letters, and I have not seen anything relating it to
visual neglect.

Mary S. Kelly,

Director, Fisher Landau Center for the Treatment of LD

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

1165 Morris Park Ave.

Bronx, NY 10463



Disabilities 2385] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Mary et al.:

While I agree
with you that dyslexia is developmental, if it is comorbid with another
developmental disability, then the interventions and discussions we have been
having are not quite the same. The type of dyslexia that I am speaking of is
independent of low I.Q (below 80). The studies (fMRI, MEG) that have been
conducted and reported widely include only those with average or above average
I.Q. Also, in most circumstances the researchers also gone to great lengths to
control for ADHD, which is also commonly associated with dyslexia, although
that is another topic on its own. TBI is also ruled out, that would be acquired
alexia. All these exceptions are why we need to make sure our assessments are
top notch. So, what assessments are you using to define you learners and their
needs? How do we determine between dyslexia, TBI, DD, and lack of educational
opportunity and what does that mean for our instruction? Who is making these
decisions and carrying out the intervention? Is training an issue?

I would also
like to loudly agree and reiterate that not all people confuse (not 'see')
letter directionality, but it is one symptom among a list of symptoms.

Kelli Sandman-Hurley



Disabilities 2386] Re: ADA Amendments Bill


I'm excited to
see this new legislation, but I'm curious why Adult Ed. programs were
overlooked for funding. It seems to me that adult education is a KEY component
to the New Freedom Initiative. Any thoughts?

Lauri M.
Schoneck, M.Ed

Professor, Adult Basic Education/GED

Seminole Community College

Sanford, FL



Disabilities 2387] Re: Dyslexia and Curriculum

Bravo, Kelli!
Let us all make it our goal to put O-G into K-2 curriculum. It conforms with
all the scientific data. We O-G teachers know it works. What are we waiting for
when it will give the necessary foundation for all learning.

I am approaching
the school district with this suggestion and am encouraged to believe it will
be considered. This is because there is one school in San Francisco that
provides a model. This discussion reveals that earnest and dedicated, and
certified teachers, have not even a clue to understand O-G - unless they
learned it outside of the college education departments.

Lucille Cuttler



Disabilities 2388] Fw: Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Thanks Kelli for
your clear definition of dyslexia. There are a lot of myths about dyslexia and
the term is in some countries used as a generic term for all learning
disabilities. It is often confused with Dyspraxia which is the often called
developmental dyspraxia or clumsy child syndrome, developmental in that it
takes these children a lot longer to develop motor skills. It therefore affects
a child's motor skills, both fine and gross motor skills, that is their poor
pencil grip, inability to use pedals on a two wheeled bike, it takes these
children a lot longer to do up buttons and tie shoe laces, it may also affect
bowel control. Dyspraxia affects a child’s and adults body awareness and
sensory perception, it is the brains feedforward process that is faulty and a
dyspraxic person has to move into a sequence of actions cold, they don't have a
preplanned process and have to use a trial and error approach, therefore these
people can do something one day and not another, learning has to start anew
each time they are faced with a particular challenge and every time their trial
and error method may take a different neuronal pathway. The dyspraxic child is
slow and inefficient in motor planning. Dyspraxia is listed in the medical
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as a Developmental Coordination Disorder. The
main distinction with children with dyspraxia is there inability to plan or
think ahead and in many cases, not all, speech development is slow (Verbal
Dyspraxia). All learning disabilities are neurological, not to be confused with
Apraxia which is as a result of a stoke or brain damage. Many children with
dyspraxia also have accompanying learning disabilities they have the same
issues as children with dyslexia, word recognition, phonetics, decoding etc.
These learning disabilities are on a continuum and many children who have
different learning disabilities share many of the same symptoms, but not all.
This makes it hard to diagnose learning disabilities for the untrained, we can
just rely on our own experience of whom we have come into contact with, and
that is different for us all. From memory and my training many years ago, the
continuum is: ADHD, Dyslexia, Tourette’s, Dyspraxia, Asperger’s and Autism.
Children with dyspraxia grow up and overcome many of their developmental issues
and as adults learn to cope with many of their planning issues, they still have
the same spelling, word recognition issues as adults. Thanks

Miriam Rees, Academic

Karoro Learning

Greymouth, New Zealand



Disabilities 2389] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

would like to chime in as a parent who has a child who was suspected of having
dyslexia at age 5. I was teaching privately emergent readers at the time and
although all my students were reading above grade level, my daughter was still
having difficulty with her phonics (letter/sound recognition) despite my
efforts to tutor her. In addition, she displayed many of the symptoms
associated with Dyslexia. When she reached second grade and was still unable to
read at grade level I asked about having her tested for dyslexia and I was told
by her school to bring her to the eye doctor. You can imagine my faith in our
school (and teachers) when I received this advice since all the literature I
had read specified that this was a neurological disorder and not an eye

She continued on
in grade finally receiving special education, but never was assessed formally
for dyslexia. When I asked her special education teacher, she advised me that
there were no formal assessments and that it is something that she needs to
learn personal strategies on her own. I trusted these people as the experts and
felt quite let down. Mind you, we were in a school labeled "a school of
excellence." They did bring her up to grade appropriate reading while in
elementary school and we continued to work with her at home. She is now
currently 15 years old, in the 10th grade and continues to struggle with
reading and spelling. She is a very bright girl (and I am not just saying that
because I am her mother :-)). She truly has huge potential. Unfortunately, I
find that these kids that do not find there needs addressed tend to become
quite frustrated, develop low self esteem, and low self-efficacy which then
leads to a "why bother" attitude.

was very excited to see this discussion going on. To date, I am still clueless
to how dyslexia is assessed. Can someone share with me what assessments are
used and how dyslexia is typically diagnosed? Also, what techniques and
strategies can be used with individuals with dyslexia? Thanks,

Dina Schwam



[Learning Disabilities 2390] Re:
Reminder: Discussion Begins on Monday, Sept. 22nd

I would like to
address a somewhat different perspective regarding learning disabilities. I
would like to hear comments from those on the list serve regarding the emotional
impact that having a learning disability has on a person's life. The learning
disability not only impacts a person's life academically, but psychologically
and emotionally. It has a significant impact on one's self esteem and life adjustment
to name only two.

Susan McGilloway



Disabilities 2391] Re: Fw: Re: Dyslexia - What is it?


assessments have you used?? Thanks for any info, and thanks for your long

Andrea Wilder :)



[Learning Disabilities 2392] Re: Reminder:
Discussion Begins on Monday, Sept. 22nd

Has to have an
emotional impact.

shouting this, as we don't have an answer yet--any answers at all.

Andrea Wilder :)



Disabilities 2393] Join the Second RTI National Online Forum: "The Role of
RTI in LD Identification" -- October 1st, 12-1:30 p.m. ET

Please see the
information below for an excellent webinar on "The Role of RTI in learning
disabilities Identification." This webinar takes place TODAY.

You're Invited to
Join in the Second RTI National Online Forum: "The Role of RTI in LD
Identification" On Wednesday, October 1, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Eastern Time, the RTI Action Network will present an RTI National Online Forum,
"The Role of RTI in LD Identification." http://ncld.convio.net/site/R?i=wVDGUI2F8f5nfquxhokSKg

Don't miss this
opportunity to engage in a dialogue with key national leaders on RTI to arrive
at a greater understanding of the role RTI can play in the accurate and timely
identification of LD.

This forum will be
a video broadcast that you access on your computer. Individuals are welcome to
participate on their own. In addition, school districts and building teams may
want to use this webcast as the centerpiece of a staff development workshop. We
encourage you to gather your colleagues to share this webcast and then use our
follow-up questions for discussion of applications in your particular setting.
All you need is a good Internet connection. Please join us for this live,
interactive event!

This webcast is
made possible by the generous support of the Cisco Foundation, the Lee Pesky Learning Center, and the Janet Shafran Memorial Fund.


The formal incorporation of RTI models in the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals
with Disabilities in Education Act signaled a major change in the approaches
that schools may use to identify students as eligible for special education in
the learning disability (LD) category. School-based interdisciplinary teams
face many questions as they move toward establishing RTI in their schools and
districts. In this webcast, three nationally recognized experts on RTI and
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identified when RTI models are in place.


Don Deshler, Ph.D., is the Gene A. Budig Professor of Special Education and Director
of the Center for Research on Learning within the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities at the University of Kansas. Dr. Deshler serves as an
advisor on adolescent achievement to several organizations including the
Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Governor's Association, the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Council on Families and Literacy, and the U. S.
State Department. He recently received a presidential appointment to serve as a
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Jack M. Fletcher,
Ph.D., is a Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at the University of Houston. For the past 30 years, Dr. Fletcher, a child neuropsychologist, has
worked extensively on issues related to learning and attention problems in
developmental and brain-injured children. Dr. Fletcher served on the NICHD
National Advisory Council, the Rand Reading Study Group, the National Research
Council Committee on Scientific Principles in Education Research, and the President's
Commission on Excellence in Special Education.

Rick Wagner,
Ph.D., is the Alfred Binet Professor of Psychology at Florida State University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Institute for
Literacy and is well known for his research on the assessment of reading and
intelligence. Dr. Wagner is the Associate Director of the Florida Center for Reading Research, which focuses on research related to reading, reading growth, and
reading assessment.


1. Access to the Internet (a 300Kbps connection or better)

2. Web browser to connect to view the presentation

3. A separate telephone line or email access if you would like to submit

NOTE: This webcast is completely FREE and NO REGISTRATION is required.


Simply connect to the live event
on October 1st.


If you have a question concerning this webcast event, please contact Negar Kordestani
at NKordestani at ncld.org

The RTI Action
Network is dedicated to the effective implementation of Response to
Intervention (RTI) in school districts nationwide. Our goal is to guide educators
and families in the large-scale implementation of RTI so that each child has
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with learning disabilities - are identified early and receive the necessary
supports to be successful. The RTI Action Network is a program of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, funded by the Cisco Foundation and in
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Have you Subscribed
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please subscribe online today http://ncld.convio.net/site/R?i=dORsKet1n-NzL0cOwYbjtg

The RTI Action
Network is a program of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Founding

Tanya Shuy



Disabilities 2394] Re: Fw: Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Johnson Psychoeducational Battery III, Cognitive and Achievement (sections from
both) Need training to use it; gives info on various cognitive strengths and
weaknesses, and correlates with achievement skills

long message wasn't from me!

Miriam Fisher



Disabilities 2395] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Esther, what I am
attempting is to convince the school district, San Francisco, to acknowledge
the evidence of the neuroscientists, so well documented by Shaywitz and Wolfe,
and by recommendations of the National Reading Report, 2000: namely, to start
as early as possible using Orton-Gillingham based instruction.

The resistance
arises from administrators and from classroom teachers who have never been
taught this method.

It is my ambition
- no, my dream - that the SFUSD will provide O-G instruction in grades K-2, and
start in pre-K. This will not be limited to "at risk" children.
Failure to do so merely flies in the face of scientific data.

For the 20% of the
population who are dyslexic, they will be spared the anguish and misery of
illiteracy. The 80% for whom any method of reading instruction works will gain
a knowledge of the 44 sounds and the five syllable types. A bonus in their

The schools of
education bear responsibility for the anguish and the expense of illiteracy in
a country where there is mandatory education. Just imagine the tax dollars
saved on confining juvenile delinquents and prisoners - 75% of whom lack literacy
skills to make a life.

If we all put pressure
to make changes, maybe something would result.

Lucille Cuttler



Disabilities 2396] Re: Fw: Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

....but thanks!

Andrea Wilder :)



Disabilities 2397] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

had such a child born in 1971. I knew he was bright even though his language
abilities (speaking and reading and writing) indicated otherwise. I tutored him
at home. For one year, I mainly read to him. Little by little, he learned, but
could not advance into the high school level reading unless I helped him with
the books. He had learning blocks that could only be handled by advance counseling
techniques. It took years, but he started college at age 26 and is now working
at the Mayo Clinic on his doctorates in genetics. I would not have believed it
possible when he was ten years old. His education was special. No one told him
he was learning disabled, ADHD, or any other degrading label. He thought it
just took longer for him to learn to read than it did the other two kids in the
family. He was right.

Sharon Hillestad



Disabilities 2401] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

It was my son
also born in 1971 that launched a career change for me from teaching High
School Chemistry to Learning Specialist and ultimately Educational Therapy.
When his second grade teacher refused to believe me when I said he could not
read the class reader because he was answering all the questions correctly, I
asked him how he filled out the worksheet. His answer was a simple, " well
I just ask my friend what it says and then I know the answer"! Well, that statement
gave me my answer! Here was a pretty smart kid who could not read. With no help
from the school, I embarked on a teaching career change. Since then I have worked
in Welfare to Work with adults, and in private practice with young school age
children. Some of the adults became angry when I taught them language structure
and spelling rules, that no one ever taught them this before in their entire
school careers. Many thought they were stupid and had dropped out of school.
With the students I work with in private practice, well, I just sit back and
enjoy as they blossom! A client of mine who refused to do anything ( read or
write) for almost a year of therapy in third grade, walked into my sessions with
400 page books by grade 7 , a different one every week! . She is an avid reader
and a top student!

I support
Lucille Cutler's remarks.... if would teach these basics in K-2 all of our
children would do better! I have a precocious granddaughter starting
kindergarten this year and her favorite play at Nana's is to "work on our
letters and sounds"! Adults may think this is boring rote stuff, but from
my experience.... KIDS LOVE IT! It makes them successful! I use Slingerland
Method.... my favorite, but there are others out there that work!

Maureen Carro



[Learning Disabilities 2402] Re: Dyslexia

What if all of
us who think alike try to get the Depts. of Education to train all teachers in

Good teaching
comes from well-developed teachers. On that premise, let's prepare all teachers
to know how English is structured. WHOLE LANGUAGE instruction goes back to the
16th century, and we're still expecting it to be effective.

Knowing what
neuroscience tells us - or rather now proves - it's time for the Departments of
Education to DO THEIR JOB. Meanwhile, I am trying to make reforms one school at
a time, by suggesting that the SFUSD consider O-G instruction in grades K-2. We
know that we can't start too early.

Lucille Cuttler



Disabilities 2403] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

and others,

I hear you Lucille and share your vision but existing ideology makes it hard to
be the lone voice calling for change - Tutors like myself are sent out to work
with adult learners who are sometimes dyslexic and after months of little to no
progress get frustrated and quit and the learner is left to feel like a failure
again - it's so damaging to these people. I would love to learn this method
(OG) but unless I am willing to use my own money for the materials and training
it isn't going to happen. At least not in the near future. Any suggestions on
how I can begin talking about this change with the Proliteracy administrators
in my area? Or how I can begin to use this method without the financial investment?

Esther Shupe



Disabilities 2404] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?


Slingerland--did you do any diagnostic assessing before using this? Do you use
an initial assessment? Or did you feel that the Slingerland would do it for

I am trying to
find out what teachers use to describe / diagnose learning disabilities.

Andrea Wilder



Disabilities 2405] Assessments, please

OK, this is
another request for ANY information about what teachers use for initial diagnostic
testing. What might the tests reveal? Phonological processing levels, ADHD,
others? So far, I have one teacher from the list about the Woodcock Johnson.
Thanks for any info!




Disabilities 2408] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?


I do a thorough
evaluation including the elements mentioned by Kelli in an earlier posting. I
use the WJIII Cognitive and Achievement Batteries as well as other tests of
oral and silent reading (depending on age), spontaneous writing such as TOWL or
other sample, and tests of visual and auditory processing. I use CTOPP and VMI.
These are my "mainstays" and as I proceed through the evaluation, I add
ones that will give me more documentation in areas I suspect to be contributing
to the problem. So... in my private practice, I really gear the evaluation to
the area identified by parents and teachers as trouble areas. With the Welfare,
I used a basic measure in all the areas mentioned, but an actual conversation
with an adult can certainly give the evaluator a good idea of skills and
cognition, so for them, in addition, I used a written survey of background that
served as a basis for an interview. When Welfare to Work kicked in, the
assessment defined here in CA was the CASAS, which I learned to trust and make
useful over my time using it. I did not abandon the others, especially the
written survey and interview, but did figure out how to use the CASAS for
placement and "promotion" to higher-level classes.

accommodations for adults, the full psychological evaluation is still necessary
to my knowledge.

As far as
Slingerland.... I should qualify that I do not always adhere to it strictly
with older students and adults. I have had training in several OT
methodologies, but Slingerland training is by far the most rigorous and
comprehensive and one emerges with the system's basic tenets internalized! It
is not a "canned" curriculum in the sense that there are certain
materials that go with it. A teacher understands how to use materials that fit
the learner, while at the same time following a clear and systematic
development of skills. As someone mentioned in a previous post, for example,
with adults, authentic materials work well.... this could include anything from
a school newsletter that a child brings home to newspapers, magazines or anything
the individual is interested in! Working one on one with kids, I can do the
same. These are worked in to lessons that include the drill necessary to build
automaticity of low-level skills. Slingerland also seems to hit all the
modalities so well... It is really a "methodology" ( an OG
adaptation) more that a specific curriculum. The downside is that the training
is very expensive, although there are scholarships.

In the case of
K-2, I agree with Lucille that Slingerland method would enhance learning for
ALL kids to get them started on understanding how language works. Of course,
with older students, adolescents, and adults, there are many other things to
consider including confidence and self-esteem! I have found that explaining how
the language works... syllables, roots, prefixes, suffixes........at the word level;
subjects and predicates and their trimmings at the sentence level and maid idea
and detail in larger chunks of text goes a long way to promote organized
thinking overall! It is truly a complex hierarchy of "priorities"
once one reaches adulthood, and the immediate need for the skill development
has to be considered. Time is so limited and we need to give ourselves a break
and use some of our own intuition! As an aside, I find the WJIII Cognitive
Battery a huge help in helping adults find meaningful work that meets their skill
strengths and serves as a great basis to discuss potential careers!

Maureen Carro



Disabilities 2409] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Slingerland is a
good test and has recently been updated. It is a screening test, not a full
battery but gives helpful breakdown of visual/auditory processing and integration
of these modalities

Miriam Fisher



Disabilities 2410] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Hello Everyone,

I have just
returned from being away for two weeks and am just catching up on the dyslexia
discussion. Since it is my passion, as it is for Lucille and others, I have
been extremely interested in following it. On October 16th, we are planning to
show F.A.T. City, the first of three videos, to the community in an effort to
bring about a greater awareness of learning disabilities and specifically dyslexia.
It will be interesting to see where this takes us, as we are ready to follow up
with discussions, training, etc. as the interest leads us.

Esther, if you
really want to learn the O-G approach, you can do it without spending a lot of
money. Go to www.epsbooks.com http://www.epsbooks.com

. Check out these books: Recipe for Reading by Nina Taub, The
Gillingham Manual by the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Also good
are the Language Tool Kit by Paula D. Rome and Jean S. Osman, Solving Language Difficulties
by Amey Steere, Caroline Z. Peck, and Linda Kahn, and A Guide to Phonics by
June Lyday Orton. These can all be used for adults as well. The Language Tool
Kit will give you your flashcards with lots of information on the back of each
one. It explains lesson planning and drill work with the cards using the
multisensory approach plus much more information to get you

started. If you were to only get one, I would recommend the latter. Recipe for Reading would be a good companion to the Language Tool Kit. In addition, Marcia K. Henry's
book, Unlocking Literacy, Effective Decoding and Spelling Instruction is

All of Educators
Publishing Service materials are excellent. I also use the Reading and Reasoning
series a lot. Regards,

Betsy Gauss

Lake Wales, Florida



Disabilities 2411] Re: Assessments, please

go to www. nifl.gov and click on "Assessment Strategies and Reading Profiles".
Go through the Mini course. It gives you assessment strategies and lists a
number of assessments you can use. Some you can download for free right from
the website. One of the big clues to reading problems even if the learner knows
the sounds for the letters is difficulty blending the sounds together. Regards,

Betsy Gauss

Lake Wales, Florida



Disabilities 2412] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

out the National Right To Read Foundation founded by Robert and Joy Sweet. They
offer phonics programs including assessments on line and it is given freely. Go
to http://www.nrrf.org. He is one of
the nation's most powerful champions of scientifically based reading

Sharon Hillestad



Disabilities 2413] Re: [SPAM?] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

I am an ABE
teacher, not a diagnostician, but when we were using Forms 5 and 6, Complete
Batteries of the TABE tests, I found that students who did much better on the
comprehension section of the reading test than they did on the vocabulary
section often responded well to lessons on the sound structure of English. They
themselves recognized that this was something they needed help with, so I guess
I was using an RTI approach before I ever heard of it.

To get a
diagnosis, we have to go through the state DVR, which takes many months, and
then I have found that educational psychologists only find "disabilities
in the area of language," not dyslexia. Some ed pyschs in the area refuse
to test for or acknowledge even that, and find all sorts of other demeaning
things to say about students we've referred. It reminds me of doctors treating
ulcers with milk and mashed potatoes, long after the culpability of H. pylori
had been demonstrated.

Christy Breihan




Disabilities 2414] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Hello again:

I hear and share
your frustration. One idea that came to mind while reading yours posts was that
maybe ProLiteracy or a similar organization, like IDA, needs to teams up with
an O-G fellow and ask them to offer their training at a conference. This way,
many people can be trained at the same time for the price of the conference
registration. Of course, a full training in O-G is usually one to two weeks,
but this can be a starting point or an overview. It might be that we need
partnerships to be formed between adult literacy practitioners, our representative
organizations (COABE, ProLiteracy, and IDA) and Orton-Gillingham trainers.

I would like to
state that whole language does have a place, but it should be used in a balance
approach with a structured phonics program. Even some O-G based approaches can
be accused of leaving out reading comprehension (or have very strange readings)
and vocabulary building. Also, those who do not have dyslexia are able to learn
with whole language, but that again goes back to: How are you determining the
difference between dyslexia and lack of educational opportunity.

This brings me
to my next point, it has been asked several times how we are assessing our
learners to determine what course of action to take and there has been minimal
response. This leads to me to believe that maybe there is not an assessment
strategy to make this differentiation and if there is, it is not clear how to
do it or what should be included. I think at this point, training is an issue.
The initial intake assessment of a learner is one of the most important things
we do and I personally think it is not taken as such. I have tossed around the
idea of creating an assessment for adult literacy practitioners to use
universally, to help them tailor the curriculum to that specific learner. In the
interim, here is what needs to be included:

  • Background
    (native language, last grade completed, special ed, family history of reading
    problems, goals, list of symptoms of dyslexia)
  • Sight words
  • Phonemic Awareness (different from phonics. How well can they differentiate
    sounds within word when NOT presented with the visual letters)
  • Phonics
  • Writing (spelling, free writing)
  • Reading Comprehension (Silent and oral reading comprehension, miscue

The question of
emotional distress because of dyslexia and is an excellent one and
well-documented in many biographies. It is very real and it not only affects
the learner but their entire family. When I tell a student what I think is the
cause of their reading problems and show them how we are going to teach them, I
often hear back, "Why didn't anyone teach me like this before?" or

"Why didn't anyone tell me this before?" The answer is simple - it is
a training issue.

The word
dyslexia always brings up emotional responses and I think it is a result of so
many years of misconceptions and bad jokes about people with dyslexia and what
it actually is. The debate continues and will continue, but I think the science
is starting to outweigh the detractors. It is real and it is rampant in the
adult literacy classroom. We have been charged with teaching the very hardest
to teach and we need to be prepared to identify what the problem is and then
how to intervene before those learners (and frustrated tutors) drop out because
of yet another failure.

There has been
some suggestion that we discuss what to do when the learner you are working is
just not 'getting it'. What to do? There are so many suggestions and so many
techniques, such as making sure it is all presented using multisensory methods.
This is an entire discussion on its own and could be quite interesting. I would
be willing to host that discussion if it is of interest to you and if Rochelle
thinks it fits in.

I thank you for
allowing me to lead this discussion and I will continue to jump in. Please feel
free to email me with any questions, comments or just to continue this


READ/San Diego &



Disabilities 2415] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Yes, very
true.... in itself, it does not diagnose learning disabilities, but is IS a
great diagnostic. These are by grade level: pre school through high school.

Maureen Carro



Disabilities 2416] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

A wonderful
resource also is NCSALL.......the website http://www.ncsall.net
has a wealth of information.

Maureen Carro



Disabilities 2417] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Thanks Betsy -
I'll be sure to look at these products –

Esther Shupe



Disabilities 2418] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Thank you Betsy,
Christy, Sharon, Miriam and Maureen, for your excellent suggestions.

It sounds as
though the testing / assessment field is wide-open! I am going to try out
everything I find, I have access to tests/assessments this semester, and I want
to put together a useful list.

Andrea Wilder :)



Disabilities 2419] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Thanks, Sharon, for this resource. I didn't know about this site. All one needs is right there!

Betsy Gauss



Disabilities 2420] Guest Discussion on Dyslexia

Hello all,

First, I have to
thank the two guest speakers that led us through different aspects of our
journey into Dyslexia. Thank you to Megan Bakan and to Kelli Sandman- Hurley. I
greatly appreciate your time, willingness, and expertise in sharing about this
most prevalent type of learning disability.

Kelli, I will
gratefully accept your offer to host a discussion on techniques and strategies
presented using multisensory methods. I think this will be a topic that many
subscribers will be interested in. If you are interested in this, please
contact me with your thoughts --offline --at my email address below. Possibly a
panel with several subscribers and Kelli facilitating might be a way to present

What was
originally supposed to be a 2-day discussion blossomed into almost 2 weeks. The
guests' discussion points sparked questions and comments from the subscribers
and the discussion continued on with a life of its own.

Thanks to all of
this List's subscribers for participating the last few weeks. The depth of
information and new resources that have been shared is due to what you have
brought forth from the field.

In closing, I
have already started putting all the posts together from this discussion into a
complete transcript. I will let you know next week when that is completed and
will post the URL where this resource can be accessed.

My thanks to all
that were involved in any way~!!

Rochelle Kenyon,

Moderator, NIFL/LINCS Learning Disabilities Discussion List

Center for Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee



Disabilities 2421] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Dyslexia needs
to be de-mystified. Simply stated, dyslexia is trouble with words. Verbal
abilities are just one of 9 or 10 of the multiple intelligences. Children and
adults within the range of normal intelligence who are low in any one of the
multiple intelligences will struggle in that realm (visual spatial,
interpersonal, musical, etc.) If a child is clumsy, we don't call him or her
"dyskinesthetic." But someone who has trouble with words is called
"dyslexic." And trouble with words in a world of text (which school
is) puts dyslexics at great disadvantage in life.

Trouble with
words at its most basic is the inability to perceive sounds in words and how
those sounds correspond with symbols on the page (letters). That is the lack of
phonemic awareness. Research is very clear that this is the root cause of the
failure to learn to read.

For over 10
years I have assessed adults (and some children) with very low literacy skills
using the Wilson Assessment for Decoding and Encoding (WADE). They know many
consonant sounds but have almost no conception of what a vowel sound is. When I
ask adults to tell me the sounds that go with the vowels, I see squirms,
confusion, embarrassment. I tell them that the vowel sounds are the boulder
that lies in the path of learning to read. But the sounds can be learned with
time and MUCH multisensory practice. The WADE is an informal assessment of
dyslexia, but it does provide the necessary information to design instruction
for dyslexics.

It is possible
to be a reader and be dyslexic--if you have a good memory for words. However,
dyslexics are very poor spellers because you can't memorize that many spellings
and you need to know letter-sound correspondence and have a good grasp of
phonics in order to be a good speller. Another difficulty dyslexics have is
organizing thoughts and putting them on paper. Sentence structure and writing
cogent paragraphs elude dyslexics.

Word retrieval
and pronunciation are also difficult for many dyslexics. Malapropisms can be
typical (using the wrong, but similar sounding word), i.e., "rotary
cup" for "rotator cuff." There is not one typical profile of
dyslexics. Each person has his or her own unique manifestation of the above
language-processing difficulties. But all lack phonemic awareness. And a low
self esteem because if you have trouble with reading and spelling, the
assumption is that you are not very smart. That is so very untrue, but that's
the assumption.

Anne H. Murr,

Coordinator, Drake University Adult Literacy Center

Des Moines, IA 50311




Disabilities 2422] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Hi Anne,

Are there any
reports on a norming group for the WADE? Thanks!

Andrea Wilder :)



Disabilities 2423] Re: Learning Disabilities Digest, Vol 37, Issue 15

I don't know if
my reply will reach you, but I hope it does. I have been working with a 48-year
old Haitian-born dyslexia student for one year. I do see some real advancement.
It's been so difficult that I can't begin to describe the difficulty we both
experience, student and tutor. He comes to my house now almost every day.
ProLiteracy or someone should help us so that we don't have so much trial and
error. I'm a certified teacher (gr 5-12) in business. I think I'm actually
developing my own style of teaching this man. I will eventually be able to
teach people how to teach dyslexia. But wouldn't it be easier to not re-invent
the wheel and have the information in front of me from Day 1. I get nothing but
the satisfaction of seeing some success with him. He is the one who will
benefit. Society will benefit if he doesn't have to steal or sell drugs to feed
his wonderful family. Can't someone see this?

He needed
glasses, and I couldn't afford to pay for a doctor and to purchase the glasses.
So I hounded Lions Club for one year. Finally, the leader said, "I won't
pay for a Haitian to get glasses." If this man goes to prison, we all pay.

Mary Slavik



Disabilities 2424] O-G research with adults

LD colleagues: I
came across the following information Wikipedia and wondered if anyone knows of
experimental research using O-G with adults?

Following is a
quote from Wikipedia:

Begin quote:

"Despite the long-term and widely established use of Orton-Gillingham
techniques, the Florida Center for Reading Research reported in 2006 that it was
unable to identify any empirical studies examining the efficacy of the approach
specifically as described in Orton-Gillingham training materials. Thus there
was no direct research evidence to determine its effectiveness, although there
are a variety of studies of derivative methods that incorporate aspects of
Orton-Gillingham in combination with other techniques.[2]

An overview of
all reported studies of Orton-Gillingham derivative methods, such as Alphabetic
Phonics or Project Read, revealed only a dozen studies with inconsistent
results and a variety of methodological flaws. In a detailed report in the
Journal of Special Education, the authors reported that despite widespread use
in a variety of settings for more than 5 decades, "OG instruction has yet to be
comprehensively studied and reported in peer-reviewed journals." They concluded,
"the research is currently inadequate, both in number of studies and in the
quality of the research methodology, to support that OG interventions are
scientifically based." Despite these conclusions, the article does provide a
detailed overview of the available research, which viewed most favorably would
show some evidence of benefit from classroom use of OG methods with first
graders, and use in special education or resource settings with older children
with learning disabilities.[3]


Sherman, Gordon. Can Neuroscience Help to Demystify Dyslexia? Schwab Learning.
Retrieved from http://www.greatschools.net/LD/reading-dyslexia/brain-research-demystifies-dyslexia.gs?content=778
October 8, 2007.

Approach". Florida Center for Reading Research. Retrieved on 2007-05-23.

Ritchey, K.D.;
Goeke, J.L. (2006). "Orton-Gillingham and Orton-Gillingham Based Reading Instruction: A Review of the Literature". The Journal of Special Education 40
(3): 171–183 http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/proedcw/

Retrieved on 2007-06-01." end quote


Tom Sticht



Disabilities 2425] Re: O-G research with adults

Hi Tom,

It strikes me
that teachers are just going ahead and using OG or OG derived materials on
their own. The Wilson materials I know are used in this manner and are
mentioned frequently on the NIFL lists.

Andrea Wilder



Disabilities 2426] Re: O-G research with adults

have got to be kidding. Use OG techniques with an adult student and compare the
results with adult students who are being taught to read without applying those
techniques. This is not rocket science. Teachers all over the country have done
just that. Some folks would rather argue than look.

Sharon Hillestad



Disabilities 2427] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Sharon and
others, can we start a movement to demand O-G instruction for all teachers
preparing for their credentials? Can we ask all literacy programs developing
volunteers to include the basics of O-G (namely, phonological awareness, and
knowledge of six syllable types)? We have the technology to mobilize political
pressure. Is that the question we must ask? Is that the question our conscience
tells us must be answered if we are to create a literate nation? The need is
there, the desire is there, and the technology is there to start a movement. I
thank you, and others out there, for showing interest in O-G. In all the years
of this list serve, this is the first time this has happened. Is that a sign
that something may happen? I hate to be superstitious, but...

Lucille Cuttler



Disabilities 2428] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Thank you,
Betsy, for your contributions to this list serve. In addition to the books you
name, I would like to add Angling for Words, Dorothy B. Montgomery/
Linda M. Gipson. These are the books Project Literacy/Outreach, Inc. used to
prepare volunteer tutors. The 21 hour course of instruction (seven 3 hour sessions),
delivered by an O-G experienced remediator, did the trick. Regular sessions for
development helped strengthen the tutors. And it worked. Academic therapy
publications, Novato, CA is the publisher.




Disabilities 2429] Re: O-G research with adults

I would think there
is some research out there that shows that people learned something with O-G.
When people decide they are ready to learn, they can learn with just about any

I was curious
about why some people in our field were so passionate about Orton-Gillingham. It
wasn't the way I taught, and I wanted to be open to it. If it was a better way,
I was ready to convert. So, I did some informal asking around. I did not do a
formal "study," just comments and thoughts from teachers, volunteers
and students in California, Illinois, and New York:

--Teachers and
(especially) volunteer tutors with little training or support are very
comfortable with O-G. It is very structured and organized. It tells them what
to do next. You don't have to plan lessons. You just follow O-G.

--Some students
think it's fine but no better than any other approach to instruction.

--Other students
were very excited about the phonics approach as it taught them phonics, but
frustrated as they were still unable to read. They learned the O-G fragments,
but not how to read a real-life text. That's what I heard, folks....

Bruce Carmel




Disabilities 2430] Re: O-G research with adults


We teachers
often fly under the radar, and adopt as quickly as possible what works best.
You are describing this, I think.

Andrea Wilder :)



Disabilities 2431] Re: O-G research with adults


I think
assessments are essential--they should pick up some learning disabilities and
give base line data. We need to have a list of assessments that have proven
useful--AND we need to have info about how they were structured, in particular their
norming groups, and opinions of people who know about putting together tests to
look at them--validity issues.

Andrea Wilder :)



Disabilities 2432] Re: O-G research with adults

another comment--a real-life text is made up of the OG taught patterns in kind
of a salad. My guess is that these "real" words could be the base for
a series of lessons using OG (or its derivatives).

Andrea Wilder:)



Disabilities 2433] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

I am on the
planning committee of the Florida Literacy Conference in May 6-8th. It will be
held in Clearwater. To learn more about it go to www.floridaliteracy.org. We
could start here with an OG presentation. Ask the organizers to make that happen.
There are lots of phonics programs, but they all are based on the same
principles of OG. I was not officially trained in OG, I learned from a variety
of teachers using spin offs of OG. Then I spun off a program myself. Now it is
time to get back to source. Perhaps there is finally enough awareness of the
cause of the illiteracy problem (NBT) to get something accomplished. I was
Chairman of the Minnesota Chapter of the Reading Reform Foundation in the early
80s. RRF was established in 1963 to affect what you are talking about right
now. It was fought or ignored by the establishment. The teachers a generation
or two ahead of me knew that my generation of teachers was not well trained.
Some of them really tried to do something about it. They wrote up their
successful actions and often gave them to the younger teachers. I am so glad I
met those teachers. We have to do what they did. Help whomever we can and
tell everyone what we know.

Sharon Hillestad



Disabilities 2435] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

The least
expensive way to get the appropriate training is to buy Reading Reflex by the
McGuinnesses. They brilliantly pared down beginning reading instruction to only
what is essential and logical for learners to understand. The method is very
fast, and has been improved upon in ABeCeDarian by Michael Bend, which is more
teacher friendly as well. This strand of reading instruction is less
rule-driven than O-G and uses a simpler method of multi-syllable instruction
which works very well. I am not criticizing O-G, but just want to be sure
people know there is an equally good alternative out there. Reading Reflex is
available in many bookstores and is sold on Amazon for about $12.00. If you
haven't read it, I think you'll be surprised at how much sense it makes and how
helpful it can be for your instruction.

Jo Ann Fishburn



Disabilities 2436] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

I work as a
reading specialist at a center for 16-22-year-old, out-of-school youth who are
trying to get their lives back on track, usually pursuing a GED. My job is to
assess those TABEing under 5.0 in reading, and then helping them bring their
reading up to the level at which they can be successful in GED classes.

For assessment,
I begin with an interview including much of what Kelli mentioned below as
background. Then I give Tests 1,2,3,5 and 10 of the Woodcock Johnson III
Diagnostic Reading Battery. These tests are single word reading (where I can
observe word attack), reading compre-hension, word attack, fluency and oral or listening
comp. I love the listening comp. test because many students score quite well on
it, and I can therefore assure them that they have good working brains and
good potential to learn to read much better, since they already understand so

I find these
tests give me enough information to plan how to begin instruction and can be
done in a little over an hour. Virtually all my students who are nonreaders or
poor readers have poor word attack skills and scores. I start such students
with the appropriate level of ABeCeDarian to develop their phonemic and
decoding skills, supported by practice reading and fluency drills. Once
students are decoding they move on to the next teacher to further develop
comprehension, vocabulary and writing.

The testing I do
is adequate for planning my instruction. BUT, it doesn't indicate the presence
of learning disabilities. The question I posed a while back was do we need that
diagnosis if our instruction is successfully remediating the student's reading
weaknesses? What would be indicated by further testing that would direct
instruction? What experiences have others had that speak to this question?

Jo Ann Fishburn
in Philadelphia



Disabilities 2437] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Thanks for that
description. It is clear and complete, with enough examples to make it
understandable. I'm saving it!

Jo Ann Fishburn



Disabilities 2438] Re: Learning Disabilities
2436] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Jo Ann,

It sounds like
your remediation efforts are very successful and you have a great program
going! However, depending on the severity of the possible learning disabilities
you're remediating, the student may or may not benefit from obtaining a
diagnosis for the disability. They will need the diagnosis if they need to
request & receive GED accommodations, and if you work first with
remediation, it may take them much longer than necessary to pass the GED if
they have the prerequisite knowledge to pass the test sooner with
accommodations, such as an audiocassette format or even just extra time. Also,
the more they remediate prior to diagnosis, the harder it is to see the test
score discrepancies used to approve an accommodations' request.

Finally, while
they may be able to remediate to the point where they can pass the GED, it may
be much more difficult for them to pass an ACT or SAT without accommodations.
Hopefully, they'll attend a post-secondary institution after obtaining their
GED. Documentation would also be necessary to request accommodations in the

If you think the
student has much more knowledge than what they can demonstrate on the TABE, you
might try giving them the TABE over again with accommodations. TABE 9 & 10
is available in a number of formats, including audiocassette, Braille, and large-print.
If the student's scores increase dramatically when accommodations are applied,
it seems that it would be appropriate to get the documentation needed to request
accommodations on the GED.

Patti White,
M.Ed., Disabilities Project Manager

Arkansas Adult Learning Resource Center

800.569.3539 ph/fax/tty



Disabilities 2439] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Jo Ann:

I love the
question about whether or not we need a diagnosis if the intervention is
working. I never recommend a diagnosis unless the person (adult or child) needs
it to receive services. Since most of us work with adults, I only suggest it
when they need to take the GED or some other standardized test or if they need
accommodations in a college classroom. I think they appreciate knowing what the
'problem' is but we don't need to label them. That is why I almost always (I
can get lazy) say a person with dyslexia, not a dyslexic. It is interesting, I
find that most of my students have already labeled themselves 'dyslexic' before
we even begin the assessment. So many times, it is an erroneous self-diagnosis.

Kelli Sandman-Hurley



Disabilities 2440] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Jo Ann,

I concur, from
my personal experience, that informal assessments that pinpoint the areas you
mention are adequate to determine who would benefit from an OG ( or alternative
as you mention) will benefit an adult student. With the same population, I have
used an assessment from the manual by Joan Knight's program for adults called
"Starting Over". It consists of 9 quick tests that can give you a
very good idea of what the reading problem is. While I am not a proponent of

"trial and error" remediation, I think that it is clear from some informal
( and formal.... I use WJIII also) tests that an OG type program would be
appropriate. Most of time the intervention I designed based on these few
informal tests did move the student to reading success if they maintained in
the program long enough... I think the full-blown diagnosis is useful if
seeking accommodations for GED or College level study. I speak to my students
(from about 8th grade and up) in terms of their learning strengths and
weaknesses and guide them toward making the most of their strengths while
remediating their weaknesses enough to lead a full and productive life and meet
goals they set for themselves. We play a role in helping them achieve the goals
they set for themselves.

On the other hand,
I think that the more comprehensive evaluation that measures cognitive
strengths and weaknesses.... ie, short/ long-term memory, retrieval memory,
inductive and deductive reasoning, and verbal skills ( those measured by
WISC/WAIS or WJIII Cognitive Battery etc., ) can certainly give more
information that informs how we plan intervention and guide realistic

I will check out
those alternatives you mentioned.... thanks!

Maureen Carro



Disabilities 2441] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?

Sharon. I usually do an O-G based presentation
at the Florida Literacy Coalition Conference. I will write Yari Payne and try
to push for more. I never called it an O-G presentation. It was usually
something like "Multisensory Techniques to Enhance Reading Instruction"..

Betsy Gauss



Disabilities 2443] Re: Dyslexia - What is it?


Thanks for
mentioning "Angling for Words". I do have that in my collection and
use it as a resource. Since I have developed my own techniques based on my
training at the Michigan dyslexia Institute, I draw from a number of resources.
That is a good one, too.

Betsy Gauss



Disabilities 2444] Orton-Gillingham Research

I was intrigued by
Tom's question asking for research to back-up the Orton-Gillingham approach to
reading. So, I looked for peer-reviewed articles that would be relevant and I
cam across an article that was actually a fairly recent meta-analysis. The
results were mixed and the conclusion was this:

For decades,
educational researchers have lamented the "research to practice
gap"-that is, the reluctance of classroom teachers to implement
educational practices that have been developed and validated by researchers
(see. Gersten, Chard, & Baker, 2000; Greenwood& Abbott, 2001). In the
case of OG instruction, the opposite phenomenon-a "practice to research
gap"-appears to exist. Despite widespread use by teachers in a variety of
settings for more than 5 decades, OG instruction has yet to be comprehensively
studied and reported in peer-refereed journals. The small number of existing
studies lack methodological rigor that would be required for publication in current
peer refereed journals.

Interesting to see
the practice to research angle. It looks like if we believe this works we need
to be seeking partnerships with Universities in order for the approach to
studied appropriately. Only then - when the research is there - can we hope to
persuade the districts and powers that be that Lucille has eluded to, to adopt
the approach.

Kelli Sandman-Hurley



Disabilities 2445] Re: Orton-Gillingham Research


The effectiveness
of the Orton-Gillingham reading instruction was backed up by the National
Reading Panel. I read the entire report. I am now supervising 20 tutors who are
tutoring 130 children in the No Child Left Behind Supplementary Services.
Billions of dollars are being spent to help children learn phonics. That is the
result of research. It would be a lot less expensive to just teach the teachers
how to do this. Oh well.

Sharon Hillestad



Disabilities 2446] Re: O-G research with adults

I resisted
commenting on this, but there is one line that I have to address. "When
people decide they are ready to learn, they can learn with just about any

In my experience,
this is not true. I have data on almost 2,000 adults who have come to our program
for evaluations. Without question, the vast majority of these adults were ready
and eager to learn for many years. Most of them wanted to learn when they were
in school. 25% of them were enrolled in adult literacy or adult education programs
before coming to us. The reason they came to us was that, despite wanting to learn
and attending programs for adult learners, they were not making progress. They
could not learn with "any approach."

Our program depends
on two methods for helping adults with LD learn to read. We try to use the Wilson
System with everyone. This is a systematic approach to learning to decode that includes
a great deal of practice and repetition, cornerstones of learning for people
with LD. It is not as simple as Bruce implies, because it requires the person
doing the teaching to have an understanding of the phonemic building blocks of language.
I train people to use this approach, they cannot just get it out of a cookbook.
And planning is required, as each student will respond in different ways and
need different amounts and types of practice.

Clearly there are
individuals who might not be successful learning to read using multisensory phonics
instruction (i.e, O-G). We use a series called New Beginnings in Reading to
work with these individuals. This series is out of print. I was told by the
publisher (then New Readers Press) that there was limited call for this series.
We use it to teach sight words in a systematic manner. Again, some training is needed
because the teacher needs to be sensitive to the responses of the individual
student and know how much practice is needed for the individual to achieve
mastery. New Beginnings is structured to provide a wonderful amount of practice
in a lively and interesting way. It is too bad that we have to use Xerox
copies. And, if this doesn't work, we try other things.

My point is that
adults with LD do not learn using just any method. They need more than readiness
to learn, although that is an enormous part of it. They also need appropriate
methods that take their underlying processing problems into account.

Mary S. Kelly,

Director, Fisher Landau Center for the Treatment of LD

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

1165 Morris Park Ave.

Bronx, NY 10463



Disabilities 2446] Re: O-G research with adults

I resisted
commenting on this, but there is one line that I have to address. "When
people decide they are ready to learn, they can learn with just about any

In my
experience, this is not true. I have data on almost 2,000 adults who have come
to our program for evaluations. Without question, the vast majority of these
adults were ready and eager to learn for many years. Most of them wanted to
learn when they were in school. 25% of them were enrolled in adult literacy or
adult education programs before coming to us. The reason they came to us was
that, despite wanting to learn and attending programs for adult learners, they
were not making progress. They could not learn with "any approach."

Our program depends
on two methods for helping adults with LD learn to read. We try to use the Wilson
System with everyone. This is a systematic approach to learning to decode that includes
a great deal of practice and repetition, cornerstones of learning for people
with LD. It is not as simple as Bruce implies, because it requires the person
doing the teaching to have an understanding of the phonemic building blocks of language.
I train people to use this approach, they cannot just get it out of a cookbook.
And, planning is required, as each student will respond in different ways and
need different amounts and types of practice.

Clearly there
are individuals who might not be successful learning to read using multisensory
phonics instruction (i.e, O-G). We use a series called New Beginnings in
Reading to work with these individuals. This series is out of print. I was told
by the publisher (then New Readers Press) that there was limited call for this
series. We use it to teach sight words in a systematic manner. Again, some
training is needed because the teacher needs to be sensitive to the responses
of the individual student and know how much practice is needed for the individual
to achieve mastery. New Beginnings is structured to provide a wonderful amount
of practice in a lively and interesting way. It is too bad that we have to use
Xerox copies. And, if this doesn't work, we try other things.

My point is that
adults with LD do not learn using just any method. They need more than readiness
to learn, although that is an enormous part of it. They also need appropriate
methods that take their underlying processing problems into account.

Mary S. Kelly,

Director, Fisher Landau Center for the Treatment of LD

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

1165 Morris Park Ave.

Bronx, NY 10463



Disabilities 2448] Re: O-G research with adults

"My point
is that adults with LD do not learn using just any method. They need more than
readiness to learn, although that is an enormous part of it. They also need
appropriate methods that take their underlying processing problems into
account." Mary so true!!!!!!

Ms. Gary
Bartolina, Program Manager

Adult Education Basics

NYS & CSEA Partnership for Education & Training

Corporate Plaza East - Suite 502

240 Washington Avenue Extension

Albany, NY 12203

Phone: 518-473-4990 / Fax: 518-473-9457



Disabilities 2449] Re: O-G research with adults

Hello List,

It makes me so
sad to read most of the posts on this list. "My students love it," "I
know it works!" and "You've got to be kidding" are comments that
prevent our field from being taken seriously.

Here's what I
think we know about Adult Literacy:

  1. We do not
    know for sure why approximately 4% of the adults in America did not learn to
    read. Most people who went to terrible schools, grew up in print-deprived
    homes, and have learning disabilities DO learn to read, by the way.
  2. We do not
    know enough about the capacity of that 4% to learn to read. Is there a reason
    they never learned that still exists and will prevent their success?
  3. There is
    virtually no research on which ways to teach adults are most effective. And,
    how do we even define success for adults learning to read anyway? There is more
    research on children than adults. That research, however, is not conclusive.
  4. We know very,
    very little of the lasting impact of literacy instruction on adult nonreaders.
    Where are they at two years after their last post-test in terms of reading,
    employment, self-confidence, and other areas?

If we could
admit those truths, we could maybe get started on answering the hard questions.
Maybe "your" approach IS the best. Maybe your gut IS right. But, I
wish we could sound a little bit more like thoughtful open-minded professionals
and a little less like angry religious zealots.

Bruce Carmel

Turning Point, Brooklyn



Disabilities 2450] Re: O-G research with adults

Hi Mary—

Some years ago I
took a course with a college professor who used to teach teachers about
OG--then she switched to Wilson. Following her example I have used Wilson; when
I talk about this approach I say OG and it's derivatives, meaning programs like
Wilson. The program starts with the most regular aspects of English. Teachers
MUST KNOW the basics of English. As you say, it can't be out of a cookbook, the
approach requires that teachers can think and invent curriculum strategies.

Andrea Wilder



Disabilities 2451] Re: O-G research with adults


Don't be sad!

1. The 4%--do
you see the 4% as all the adults in your classes, or is 4% represented by 4% of
the adults you teach?

2. Do you assess
your 4%? What do you find?

3. What have you
found to be most effective in teaching adults? How do you measure success?

4. What are your
guesses about the long-term impact of your literacy instruction? This suggests
that you teach adults IN ORDER TO get employment, improve self-confidence, get
out of poverty? Does your program offer counseling, job preparation?

Andrea Wilder



Disabilities 2452] Re: O-G research with adults

Thank you Mary!

My thought has
always been that any adult of normal intelligence would not have spent their
entire life "not wanting to read, or not wanting to learn to read!"
If a person reaches adulthood, with English as a native language, and attended
school at least part of their childhood, is reason enough to understand that
something is amiss! This is not a "decision" people have made to not
learn to read! Many are obviously intelligent. In most cases, in my own personal
experience, it HAS been an inability to decode and encode the language and/or
understand its structure. Many people develop these skills easily and will
learn to read no matter what system is used, but these kinds of people ( I
would venture to opine) do not reach adulthood unable to read! Another question
is why are so many stilted at around 4th grade level? My hypothesis is that up
until that approximate grade level, many are able to develop a sight vocabulary
of elementary words that are repeated over and over in the early years of
school. When language becomes more "academic" (literature, science,
social studies), the words used in textbooks are more rare, NOT those they have
seen over and over again, or that they use in their own oral vocabulary. If
they have no clue how to "decode " these words either by syllables,
or morphological word parts, they fail to progress. Once they learn HOW to do
it, many that I have taught, take it on their own to progress very rapidly!
Wilson is a great methodology to teach this type of word structure..... I whole
heartedly agree with Mary that TRAINING is a critical element. The teacher has
to be trained and understand and believe the rationale behind it! This goes for
ANY of the OG adaptations. The program is only as good as the teacher who knows
it, understands it and believes in it!

Maureen Carro



Disabilities 2453] Re: O-G research with adults

On Oct 21, I am
going to a presentation by MGH--Mass General Hospital-- about dyslexia. They
have trained many professionals and they also coordinate their work with information
from brain imaging. I'll report back what I find.

Andrea Wilder



Disabilities 2454] Re: O-G research with adults

It bothers me
when some educators say they have found IT, the method or program which works.
This made me rethink my own "training" (education) and the education
I provide to prospective teachers/adult literacy instructors re teaching
reading and writing. The focus was not on a method or program. The focus was on
integrating five areas of knowledge: knowledge of how the brain works, and the
implications for learning, knowledge of reading/writing, knowledge of
child/person development; knowledge of the socio-economic-political context in which
a child/adult lives, and knowledge of a range of methods and programs. The
learner came first. From observing and interacting with the learner in a
reading or writing situation, based on the first four areas of knowledge, the educator/instructor
could choose a method/program and then through monitoring, shifting, adjusting,
substituting, etc. the educator/ instructor watched for signs the child/adult
was learning. The learner and educator/instructor "drove" the
method/program, not the other way around.

Will Fagan



Disabilities 2455] Re: O-G research with adults

Some list
members may be interested in the following interview of Dr. Guinevere Eden from
Georgetown University. She has been doing empirical research with fMRI's and is
using a group of 7-12 year olds as well as adults in her research. Lindamood-
Bell is partnering in this research. In any case, it is a good interview and
discussion of dyslexia. Dr. Eden will present a workshop at the International Dyslexia
Association Conference in Seattle October 29-Nov 1. http://www2.ku.edu/~masc/IntheKnow/sciencearticles/Eden_interview.html

Maureen Carro



Disabilities 2456] Re: O-G research with adults

is partnering in this research - 'nuff said!

Will Fagan



Disabilities 2457] Re: O-G research with adults


Since the focus
of the research is to determine whether or not specific interventions work or
do not work, and if you read the entire interview, one of the goals is to help
determine WHICH "canned" interventions are effective, SOME programs
have to be involved ( Lindamood Bell in this case). Other universities ( as is stated
in the interview) are doing similar research ( they are trying to replicate),
and I have rattling around in my mind that one may be using Wilson, but I
cannot put my finger on it.... so not sure about that. I know some colleagues
of mine have tried to get Slingerland into a study, but there are no
"canned curriculum materials" and so I think that was the stumbling
block. The funding for Dr. Eden's research comes from NIH I believe. Before
dismissing it, it might be useful to read the interview and I am quite sure the
funding sources are documented. 'Nuff said!

is even reference, I believe to our conundrum that we as clinicians teach
"from our guts" using things that have proven effective over a couple
of decades. BUT.... as someone has brought up here..... there is no empirical
evidence.... that it is effective. The two things are quite different, and isn't
this what we are looking for.... Empirical studies that validate what we have
been doing for decades and already know work??!!! Of course, we know these
methods are not needed by ALL!

By the way, I
have been trained in Lindamood Bell and it is a good program. I do not espouse
the "sidewalk, strip mall variety" of delivery, but used judiciously
by a trained clinician, it is GOOD!

Maureen Carro



Disabilities 2458] Re: O-G research with adults

I encountered
Lindamood about 30 years ago. I still stand by my "training" and start
with the learner/learning/context.

Will Fagan



Disabilities 2461] Re: O-G research with adults

derives from learning the 44 sounds, six syllable types, and knowing how to
write and spell, and sound them out. As Jonathan Swift said about good writing:
it's just putting the right words in the right place. An experienced, intuitive
teacher will hit the mark with O-G tools. That method - explicit instruction
using kinesthetic modalities - conforms with neuroscientific evidence. Wilson,
and many other valuable programs, derive from O-G, and the basic premise.


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