Book Review: Thank you Mr. Falker

Thank you, Mr. Falker

Thank you, Mr. Falker book by Patricia Polacco

Thank you, Mr. Falker, by Patricia Polacco, is a book about a little girl who loves books with a great desire to read, but it doesn't come easy. Her strength of art keeps motivated through school. When the family moves to a new school, the girl's dislike for school grows, teasing begins, and so do the somatic complaints.  The new 5th grade teacher Mr. Falker connects with her and teaches her to read. The book never mentions that she has dyslexia, but it is implied.

See this book read by actor, Jane Kaczmarek.

Declaration of Independence From All Ineffective Literacy Methods for Students With Dyslexia

In CALIFORNIA, July 4, 2015

The unanimous Declaration of Independence

from all

ineffective literacy methods for students with Dyslexia 

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve an ineffective educational method connected by Dyslexia, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the Laws of IDEA entitle them, the decent respectful opinions of mankind requires a declaration cause which impel them to revolt.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all students are not created equal, but that all students are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are free, appropriate public education.

To secure these rights, the Educational system, deriving their powers from the laws governed by our state and country, that whenever an Educational method becomes destructive, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Educational methods, laying its foundation on such principles for students to seek Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that certain Educational methods for Dyslexia long established should not be changed for light and transient causes: and accordingly all experience hath shown, that students are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations occur within the educational systems, it is their right, it is the duty, to throw off such Educational practices, and provide new interventions to guard for their future.

The student who is suffering with Dyslexia; now it is necessary to alter Educational practices. The history of the California Educational system has a history of repeated injuries and usurpations for such students, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over their School Districts. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to to candid world.

Districts have refused to follow the IDEA related to Dyslexia, indicating that it does not exist; it needs to for the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

Certain educations organizations have forbidden his Legislators to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance in literacy

Districts have called together their administrative bodies in such a way that its effect, and seeming purpose of fatiguing families into signing IEPs in which they do not agree that meets their child’s needs

Districts have endeavored to prevent the families from feeling they have the right to evaluation and testing, or interventions for that matter

Districts who have evaluated students have obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing to qualify students for a myriad of unfounded reasons.

Districts have combined with others to subject us to:

Following unacknowledged rules, regulations and policies; such guidelines which do not exist and cannot be found in writing among their district writings

Blocking access to evidence-base multi sensory direct explicit structured and systematic intervention; Only allowing the use of ineffective curriculum that only frustrate our child, leaving them grades behind

Depriving our children of the opportunity to read

Depriving our children of the opportunity to write and spell that is on par with their intellect

Ridiculing our children’s efforts, by way of telling them to “try harder”

Stabbing and stealing their self esteem, a secondary effect of they Educational system’s inability to effectively remediate our children’s reading and spelling

Absconding with their desire to learn; dashing their hope they can learn beyond.

Imposing a financial burden upon our families because the California Education system has failed to teach our children the basic inalienable right to read and to write, leaving families who want their capable children with Dyslexia to be literate to employ tutors trained in evidence-base multi sensory direct explicit structured and systematic which should be and could easily be available at every educational institution in California

For segregating those children, who are fortunate enough to have the Educational system agree to help them, by placing them with peers who do not have such similar educational goals

For the stronghold that takes place when a family should speak out about such Educational rights, and declaring these families should be fought in the area of due process

We do not want the attentions that has been bestowed upon us. We have warned them from time to time of the attempts of unwarrantable erroneous literacy interventions. We have reminded them of the circumstance of our right to a free and appropriate public education. We have appealed to their humanity and have requested the disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our children’s education. They too have been deaf to the voices of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounced the efficacy of these Educational methods to teach our children with Dyslexia in literacy, and hold them as unknowing, unlearned in the ways, yet those we must over come for the sake of our Children’s livelihood.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the children with Dyslexia of California, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Legislators of California for the rectitude of our intentions, do solemnly publish and declare, That these children and students have at their disposal the evidence based and effective interventions at their disposal at each and every educational institute erected in the the state of California. Being absolved from all previous ill mannered and ineffective literacy programs for our children of Dyslexia shall be dissolved and abolished from their curriculum. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of IDEA, we mutually pledge to each other our Loves, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Written by Lisa Klipfel

Adapted from the Declaration Of Independence of the United States of America

 

United We Stand Against All Ineffective Literacy Methods for Students With Dyslexia

United We Stand Against All Ineffective Literacy Methods for Students With Dyslexia

Word Analysis: Is it gray or grey?

gray

Is it gray or grey?

After a long discussion and confusion about the spelling of whether it is <gray> or <grey> at the dinner table, we had to “look it up.” <Gray> started in use in 1863 as the color the Southern troops of the US Civil War.

The distinction between the two spellings is defined by location. The US spells the color <gray>, while in Britain it is spelled <grey>. I think some of the confusion comes from the word <greyhound>, a specific dog bread. Although most greyhounds are not necessarily gray, it has created some confusion about how the word <gray> is spelled. <Greyhound> came from the word <grew> which is a middle English word for <Greek>. There is reference to a saying, using <grey>, that was used by the Old Norse in Iceland which almost sparked a war between the pagans and the Christians. In this saying <grey> referenced a derogatory term for a female dog.

So, if you are in the US, it might be especially important to spell the color between black and white with an <ay> at the end. You wouldn’t want to offend an Icelandic person, or anything. If you don’t know anyone who is Icelandic, you do now.

California Dyslexia Bill AB1369 Goes to Senate

AB1369 the CA dyslexia bill goes to the sent

AB1369 the CA dyslexia bill goes to the sent

The California dyslexia bill, AB1369, passed the CA house of representatives this week. It will now go the the Senate. It is on it’s way to the Senate rules committee and expected to go to Senate floor at the end of August.

The current bill adds the description of “phonological processing” as an aspect that qualification can utilize. It states that the state superintendent will develop program guidelines for dyslexia that are evidence-based for school year 2017-2018 and this guide will be available online. The bill currently reads as follows:

SECTION 1.

Section 56334 is added to the Education Code, to read:

56334.
 The state board shall include “phonological processing” in the description of basic psychological processes in Section 3030 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

SEC. 2.

Section 56335 is added to the Education Code, to read:

56335.
 (a) The Superintendent shall develop program guidelines for dyslexia to be used to assist regular education teachers, special education teachers, and parents to identify and assess pupils with dyslexia, and to plan, provide, evaluate, and improve educational services to pupils with dyslexia. For purposes of this section, “educational services” means an evidence-based, multisensory, direct, explicit, structured, and sequential approach to instructing pupils who have dyslexia.(b) The program guidelines shall include, but shall not be limited to, characteristics typical of pupils with dyslexia and strategies for their remediation, as well as information to assist educators in distinguishing between characteristics of dyslexia and characteristics of normal growth and development.(c) In developing program guidelines pursuant to subdivision (a), the Superintendent shall consult with teachers, school administrators, other educational professionals, medical professionals, parents, and other professionals involved in the identification and education of pupils with dyslexia.(d) The Superintendent shall complete the program guidelines in time for use no later than the beginning of the 2017–18 academic year.(e) The Superintendent shall disseminate the program guidelines through the department’s Internet Web site and provide technical assistance regarding their use and implementation to parents, teachers, school administrators, and faculty members in teacher training programs of institutions of higher education.
The screening of dyslexia and teacher training was removed following pressure from the CTA to kill the whole bill. The opposition from SELPA currently is that it will cost more money to identify students with phonological processing issues. While it is true that there will be more costs in assessments, in the long run, it will cost less, because students can get remediation early which will take much less time. CSBA also opposed the bill. After amendments were made, CTA changed their position to neutral, neither opposing nor supporting.
Parents have asked what they can do. I would guide you to Decoding Dyslexia for legislative updates. Parents can sign up for email updates and learn how they can have their voices heard. In addition, we need to educate those agencies that are opposing this bill. It will not be long before another bill is submitted to bring back screening and mandatory teacher education. We would like these agencies on our side. The best position is for members of these groups: CTA, SELPA administrators and CSBA to write to their organization headquarters asking for them to support dyslexia, screening and teacher training. Although outside parents can do this, it would be more effective to have their own members to advocate within their own organization.
I am grateful that all three votes to this point have been unanimous. With over 5500 letters from parents, teachers, administrators and politicians in support of this bill, capital hill is hearing the roar of families who are asking for support their their loved one with dyslexia. I will share more information as the legislative process continues and grows organically.

Why the DIBELS is not a Complete Screening for Dyslexia

DIBELS

DIBELS

Screening for dyslexia should include several measures. It should screen for rapid naming, phonemic awareness and sound to letter correspondence at it’s minimum. Family history of learning to read can be a significant factor as well.

Phonemic awareness is a major problem with those with dyslexia. This is the idea of knowing what a particular letter, or set of letters, called graphemes sounds like. Much of the literacy tasks, book, shows that you see on the market focus on initial sound literacy. A “cat” starts with the sound /k/. The problem is that many dyslexic students struggle with middle and last sound phonemic awareness. This is why it is so difficult for them to rhyme. Phonemic awareness includes many other tasks such as phoneme isolation, phoneme segmentation, and phoneme deletion.

Rapid naming is the ability to state the name of an object quickly. It is a necessary school for reading and fluency of reading. Although the DIBELS screens for the accuracy of reading, rapid naming is a critical skills used in this task.

The question is brought before us. If the only screening tool is the DIBELS, who is getting left out? The DIBELS is a well normed test. It screens for nonsense words in first grade, but is not normed beyond 1st grade. There needs to be a more robust screening. We need screening that would involve phonemic awareness that involves isolation, deletion beyond just segmentation.

Moreso, we need to not just do screening but to look at the data and what it is telling us about what intervention needs to be put into place. Data without action is useless.

I’m providing a great article from Dr. Wolf which further explains these two concepts.

Advocating for Dyslexia Students

Writing letters

Writing letters to the education committee

California has a dyslexia bill at the education committee. Decided to write some letters to let them know that I think they need to help dyslexic readers with early screening, appropriate intervention, teacher training and define dyslexia. The CA education committee will be voting next Wednesday afternoon, April 22, 2015. We hope they support the bill and the children in need. If you can’t be at the capital on Wednesday, you can listen live here.

Does My Child Have Dyslexia?

Reading a picture book

Reading a picture book

“Does my child have dyslexia?” is a common question for parents who’s children are struggling in reading. Some parents have never heard of dyslexia. Some people have heard of dyslexia, “isn’t that seeing backwards?”  Children with dyslexia often have written difficulties associated with letter reversals, but that does not mean that a child reads backwards. Below is a list of things that can be seen in children struggling with dyslexia, that is beyond writing reversals.

Guesses at a word: Children may see the beginning letter is a b and guess any word that starts with b. In the beginning of their reading journey the guessed word does not make sense to the context – bat, ball, bag, bear when the word is bicycle. As they get more savvy, the guessed word could fit the context – boat, bat mobile, hot air balloon, or any other vehicle that goes. A child who is guessing is not decoding words.

Unable to Rhyme: Early reader books and many picture books are written to rhyme. Stop before the second rhyming word and ask the child to guess what word is next. They have to think of a rhyming word that fits the context. The cat in the ____. Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder where you ____. Up above the sky so high, like a diamond in the _____. Inability to rhyme is very common for children with dyslexia. They can often struggle with the end sounds of a word, which is what rhyming is all about.

Inability to read a word more than once correctly. A dyslexic reader reads inconsistently. When they are beginning, not tired, they do better, but after a couple pages (or paragraphs…or even sentences) they get tired and aren’t able to use their coping strategies as well. A student may be able to read a word on one page (or line) but on the next page (or sentence) they cannot, as if it is a foreign word they have never encountered before. There can be a few reasons for the this. It’s possible that at the first encounter of the word they guessed correctly and the second they guessed incorrectly. Another possibility is that they decoded the word properly the first time, but when needing to decode it a second time they have become tired from decoding all the words in between (and before encountering that first word).

Little words are skipped or stumping. Prepositions don’t contain content, such as for, that, with.  The reader is just skimming to the next important word to give context to what they are reading. Prepositions seem insignificant to them, especially if they are an irregular word that can’t be decoded such as “of.”

Blending strain. A reader may be able to sound each sound out, but not retain in working memory their sounds to blend all the words together. If the reader sounds out a blend, they may not see “pl” blends and sounds out each letter separately. This makes for a more exhaustive reading experience.  Another blending error that is common is to use a sound from the previous word into the current word. So if the phrase is “wild frog,” they might say “wild dog.”

Loving pictures in books. Looking at pictures in a picture book gives clues to the story. It is why picture books exist. Most dyslexic children prefer picture books and as they get older will gravitate to graphic novels and comics. It may also due to the fact that they are typically right brained processors as well. You may find that when you turn a page, they put their hands on the page over the words in order to look at the pictures. This could be unintentional or intentional. One may also find that even though all the words are read by the adult, the child insists on continuing to review the picture prior to turning the page. They are reading the story by picture and most likely be able to tell you the story without ever reading a single words.

There are so many other signs, but I find these to be huge in the initial phase of learning to read.

If you want more information about dyslexia or want your child to be screened for dyslexia, contact Lisa.

California Dyslexia Bill Radio Interview

On Air Radio

On Air Radio

On March 22, 2015, I was interviewed along with another parent and professional by We the People about the CA dyslexia bill 1369. The interview addresses how dyslexia is defined, the warning signs, as well as what the bill would do in our state. Our interview is an hour, and the second hour is an unrelated topic. Enjoy!

Listen here.  Additional information about the interview.

English Has Reason: the Structured Word Inquiry Approach

Does - does make sense.

Does – does make sense.

Often times, we say that English has not reason. It doesn’t make any sense. The truth is that English does have roots and does make sense. It takes the study of Structure Word Inquiry to understand our language.

The spoken language existed long before the written language. Language evolves in our words long before written words. When language was chosen to be written, it had to be decided how to be written down. Sometimes the our spoken language and pronunciation shifts which needs to be reflected in our written language.

For example, sign is connected to the word signal. In sign, the g is silent, but in signal, the g is audible. There are thousands of examples in our spoken translated to written language.

The Structured Word Inquiry allows a student to look at the history of a word, see how words are connected. A student can see how words are connected, even if they sound a bit different like- sign and signal.

The Structured Word Inquiry goes beyond syllable identification and decoding. It is perfect for the older student who struggles with words with schwas such as probably. It helps the student see etymology and morphology, which will help the student to understand the spelling despite an elusive schwa.

It can also help younger students, such as seeing the connection between goes/gone and does/gone. A student can see the written connection despite the seemingly odd pronunciation of these words.

Structured word inquiry does not replace the Orton-Gillingham approach, it is an enhancement. It is helpful for high frequency irregular words, as most of these words actually have a logical reason for their seemingly irregular spelling. Because students with dyslexia thrive on logic, they are more likely to remember the word’s spelling because of it’s logic.

If you would like to learn more on structured word inquiry, please contact Lisa at Level Up Dyslexia.

Appropriate Intervention Does not Include a Curling Iron

It's important that your teacher have the right tools

It’s important that your teacher have the right tools

When comparing tools, a mechanic cannot fix a car with a curling iron and a glue gun. A mechanic could try to glue on the fuel pump or the spark plugs, but they would not get very far. It is similar to a teacher not having the tools necessary to teach a child to read. A dyslexic child needs a highly specialized technique, called Orton-Gillingham, in order to read effectively. Without that technique, or tool, they will be ineffective, as the mechanic with the a curling iron.

It’s important that the intervention is evidence-based and Orton-Gillinghma has over 30 years over research and effectiveness. Ask your teacher about their training. See if there is the possibility that they can be trained, as this will be the most effective way for your child to have reading remediation.