How Dyslexia Became the Child’s Fault

This post is going to unpack the point in history where psychologists and teachers decided that a deficit in phoneme skills to be ‘something wrong’ with your child, and why a child with dyslexia is treated as if he has a medical or developmental problem. This is a long read, but

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Dyslexia in Two Languages

We live in Quebec where bilingual education is mandatory. Our dyslexic daughter learns English half the day in grade 3, and French the other half, we have no choice, it’s the law. We are completely English mother tongue so she is drowning in French and struggling in English.  English is

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Try the Wordspinner

The free ‘Wordspinner’ is the simplest way to drill blending and segmenting skills. It runs on your PC, tablet, or phone.  Click here to load it.   Key out a word like ‘bat’ and you will see how it works.  The Wordspinner creates both real and nonsense words.  Practice blending by

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Types of Phonics

An alphabetic writing system is a code for converting the sounds of speech into text. For example the sounds /b/ /a/ /t/ can be coded as ‘bat’.  Spelling is a two-way code, a skilled writer can encode the sounds into a string of letters, and a skilled reader can subsequently

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The Challenge Mindset

We ask parents to teach their child, but it’s not that simple. Overcoming your child’s dyslexia is a marathon, a daily grind of drills, patient practice, slow progress, and frequent setbacks.  You need extraordinary resilience to succeed.  Your child is going to push back, there will never be enough hours

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What Else Do I Need?

My son will be 16 soon and reads about a 3rd grade level. I’m going to try teaching him myself starting with BLENDING.  What else do I need?   You need books that interest your son.  Your son is an almost-adult.  You must start reading with him every day.  And

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Leila Enrolls to College

“I am enrolling for phlebotomy class. I went to orientation and I filled out the forms for my class on my own. It was such an exciting experience for me because it was something I never dreamed I would be able to do.”   Need a miracle for your struggling

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Community Reading Project Newsletter #5

Newsletter #5.    22 March, 2017   MONTSERRAT REVIEW Welcome to our new members from Montserrat, a tiny, beautiful island with a tight-knit but welcoming community. The residents are working together to fight reading deficits, and we’re providing support and tools. This is our opportunity to review the theory, research,

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Sound of the Letters

Members of the Community Reading FB group asked “What is the proper way to teach the sounds of the consonants?”  For example, what is the proper way to pronounce the sound of the letter ‘b’? The quick answer is ‘b’ as in ‘bat’ or ‘bet’ or ‘but’.  But there’s a

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Community Reading Project Newsletter #4

Newsletter #4.    14 January, 2017   * NEW *  FLUENCY PROGRAM Researchers know that a student who overcomes a phonological deficit usually becomes an average or above-average reader, but often remains a SLOW reader.  This… is… important… because… slow… reading… reduces… comprehension. ‘FLUENCY is based on the technique of

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Tutoring towards Disability

Don’t assume your OLDER student can learn on the same path as a younger one. The key idea in the excellent book “Off-Track – When Poor Readers Become “Learning Disabled” is that readers who leave the standard path to reading KEEP LEARNING. The skills they learn might be compensatory or

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Goodbye ‘Dyslexia’

I recently got booted out of Facebook’s ‘Dyslexia’ group.  It was a daily parade of funny, sad, pointless, and heartbreaking stories.  I’m going to miss it. ‘Dyslexia’ is a huge group, almost 10,000 members sharing and promoting ideas that are exactly polar opposite to the Community Reading Project. In their

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Community Reading Project Newsletter #3

Newsletter #3.    14 December, 2016   UPCOMING MEETUP IN TORONTO The Community Reading Project is hosting a meetup for parents on February 21, 2017 at 7:00 PM, at our Bathurst St clinic.  You can learn more, RSVP, or even invite a friend by clicking here. Hopefully this meeting will be

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Community Reading Project Newsletter #2

Newsletter #2.    5 November, 2016   A THRILLING SUCCESS STORY Three months ago we met Adam and his mom Havah.  Adam was in grade-3 and couldn’t read at all.  Havah also struggled with reading, she could decode but her fluency and comprehension were very low. We showed Havah how

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Design of the BLENDING Program

This posting looks at our free BLENDING program; what it teaches, how it works, who it is for, and where it came from.  If you just want to get started, then here is a 9-minute quick-start video.  Click here for the sign-in screen, which you can bookmark for quick access

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Community Reading Project Newsletter #1

Newsletter #1.    25 October, 2016 OUR FIRST NEWSLETTER !! There are lots of new and exciting things going on at the Community Reading Project.  And one of them is this newsletter.  If you are on our mailing list, then we have already met, but let us re-introduce ourselves. We

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Sight-Recognition Words

“Readers read familiar words by accessing them in memory, called sight word reading. With practice, all words come to be read automatically by sight, which is the most efficient, unobtrusive way to read words in text.”  Ehri (2005)   Do not confuse ‘sight-recognition’ words with ‘sight-words’ (the irregular words that

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Matthew Effects in Reading

If you only read one paper on the theory of reading disability, find the one by Dr Keith Stanovich called “Matthew effects in reading: Some consequences of individual differences in the acquisition of literacy”. Its title comes from a paraphrase of the Gospel of Matthew: “The rich get richer and

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Haroun Gets the Last Word

Today was our last day of summer tutoring. Haroun wrote a short essay, and here it is in his own words.   It’s a ‘hamburger essay’, and I helped him organize his thoughts into point-form, otherwise it’s all his.  His spelling is phonetically plausible so spell-check helped a bit.   THE

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End of Summer

School is about to start, and Haroun and I are finishing our last days together.   He is now reading independently, and his comprehension, fluency, and stamina are improving daily. We have worked about  80 hours over this summer, averaging just under two hours per day through July and August.  Haroun

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Bonus Myth 13 – Dyslexia is hereditary

We reposted an excellent list of the 12 Myths of Dyslexia from the Promethian Trust here: http://communityreading.org/wp/the-dirty-dozen-12-myths-about-dyslexia/   Bonus Myth:  Dyslexia is hereditary. Dorothy Bishop, one of the leading researchers in the genetics of dyslexia outlines the faint evidence of a link between dyslexia and genetics in an excellent blog

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Visiting the Bookstore

Haroun is still reading Goosebumps, and will be for some time. We started a new book yesterday, and this morning he read 15 pages.  At this rate, it will still take him about 8 days to finish. That’s better than the last book – his speed is improving with daily

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12 Myths about dyslexia:

These myths are insidious. Some of these myths survive because they have a grain of ‘truthiness’.  Others intentionally confuse cause and effect. We believe some myths simply because other people believe them, or we find comfort in believing them. But each of these claims is a myth, a falsehood, a

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Really Reading

In the week since I last posted about Haroun, he has made steady progress.   He has solidified his ‘silent reading’ and improved his comprehension.  These skills need both practice and ‘soak in’ time, and our consistent daily two hours of practice is giving him both. We started a new Goosebumps

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Silent Reading Begins…

Until now Haroun and I have been reading together – typically he reads the right-side pages and I read the left-side. This morning as we settled into the backyard, he announced that he wanted to read to himself. Yes!!! I asked him to move his lips as he reads, to

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Curse of the Hardy Boys

I grew up with the The Hardy Boys. The writing was crisp and the stories were heart-pounding (to a 10-year-old). At the time there were about 40 titles in the series, and I think I read every one of them. I owned a few titles, traded others with friends, and

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Reply to a worried Mom…

“My son is going into grade-7, and reads at grade-2 level. His school provided phonics interventions over the years, but they didn’t help. We are very worried…”   I’m going to violate all the niceties and just tell you the answer.  My colleagues would be horrified – “How can you

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Revisiting BLENDING

Haroun’s word-attack skills are improving, particularly with longer compound words. He is more attentive to small function words like ‘a’ and ‘the’.   But I have been increasingly worried about single-syllable words which he mispronounces and then doesn’t recognize. We started the BLENDING program back in December in our intensive “Christmas

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Finished the 2nd Hardy Boys

We finished our second Hardy Boys today. Yippee. He wants to stay with this series, so I’m heading off to the bookstore to pick up another title. Haroun’s word recognition skills have gotten much better through this book, he seems to have figured out the suffixing tricks and regularly nails

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World Knowledge

Last week was shortened by Eid celebrations. Haroun and I are reading our second ‘Hardy Boys’ book, punctuated with repeated-reading exercises during our two-hour-per-day sessions. He is making steady but uneventful progress, his accuracy, fluency, prosody, and confidence gradually improving. Today I asked him to read silently, but moving his

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