Goals/Objectives for the Discussion
- Identify affective and cognitive issues for college students with suspected or diagnosed learning disabilities in meeting the reading demands of their college programs.
- Share information about needs and tools for improving student decoding, accuracy, and spelling for college work – including technological support and accommodations.
- Share information about needs and tools for improving student reading comprehension, including helping students understand what those comprehension demands are as well as technological supports and accommodations.
Susan Jones, M.Ed. (Learning Disabilities) has been teaching and tutoring secondary students and adults for over 25 years. She has also completed extensive graduate level work in gifted education, math education, and instructional technology. She was trained in Orton-Gillingham methods and was a language fundamentals teacher at The New Community School in Richmond, Virginia, where she also learned effective strategies and scaffolding techniques to help students comprehend what they read. She has written several articles for LDOnline and edited Dr. Steven Chinn’s Tools for the Times Tables for American Audiences, stories and lesson plans for the K-12 online reading curriculum, and has many of her teaching resources at her website http://www.resourceroom.net. She spends less time on that now that she is an “Academic Development Specialist” at Parkland College, where she has the delightfully challenging job of working with students, faculty, and staff to use, discover and develop tools to enable students to reach their learning and career goals. She is still determined to find ways to use technology to develop multisensory, interactive learning to build numeracy and literacy skills.
- How can we get students access to effective instruction – if that’s appropriate - and how can we convince them to do it?
- How can we help college students better understand what is expected from them, and understand the tools and services available to them?
- What are the tools and services we can provide college students to make reading less of an obstacle?
- What are the comprehension issues LD students face (other than the typical “oops, this is more abstract/unfamiliar/time-consuming than I’m accustomed to” issues?
- How can we teach students those issues (including ferreting out main ideas vs. details, understanding metaphors and other non-literal ideas, and generally making the printed words convey meaning)?
- Bob Armstrong – dyslexic but wanting very badly to just “work harder,” and he does – but his teachers don’t see the evidence of it because of the mechanical errors that they find ‘inexcusable,’ who is reluctant to use technology because somehow it’s “cheating.”
- Shawanda Nelson – she’s gotten by cutting and pasting for years, and still does for the most part. She spends far more time figuring out strategies to get around tasks than getting them done… and is sure she just “doesn’t test well.” Now, her Sociology teacher expects understanding…
- Greg tested into Pre-Calculus in the Math assessment – but was a “pink slip” student because of his reading score (below the lowest pre-college course) and won’t be allowed to take courses unless he can improve his test score. He was informally diagnosed as LD but nobody thought Special Ed placement was appropriate, so the small school simply made sure things were read to him.
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