Understanding Dyslexia

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“It’s frustrating that you can’t read the simplest word in the world.”Thomas Lester grabs a book and opens to a random page. He points to a word: galloping.

“Goll—. G—. Gaa—. Gaa—. G—. ” He keeps trying. It is as if the rest ­­of the word is in him somewhere, but he can’t sound it out.
“I don’t … I quit.” He tosses the book and it skids along the table.

Despite stumbling over the simplest words, Thomas — a fourth-grader — is a bright kid. In fact, that’s an often-misunderstood part of dyslexia: It’s not about lacking comprehension, having a low IQ or being deprived of a good education.

It’s about having a really hard time reading.

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in the United States. It touches the lives of millions of people, including me and Thomas. Just like Thomas, I spent much of my childhood sitting in a little chair across from a reading tutor.

Today, Thomas is working with his tutor in an office building in northwest Washington, D.C. The suite they’re in is an oasis of white couches and overstuffed pillows. In the waiting area, a kid is curled up sucking her thumb, and a mom reads a magazine quietly.

In the back of the suite — a Lindamood Bell Reading Center — Thomas fidgets with everything in arm’s reach.

“All right, I am going to give you some air-writing words,” the tutor says to Thomas, speaking rapidly as if daring Thomas to keep pace. She spells the first one out loud: “C-O-R-T.”

With his index finger, Thomas writes the letters sloppily in the air.

Then his tutor asks a question: What sound do the two middle letters make? “Eer? Aar?”

Thomas squints at whatever visual memory he can retain from the letters he has just scribbled in the air. Then, with a burst of enthusiasm, he stumbles on the answer: “Or!”

“Good job!” his tutor replies, with what seems like genuine excitement, before moving on to her next question about the letters.

I also have a question for Thomas: What’s it like to have dyslexia?

Thomas stops his fidgeting. “It’s hard,” he pauses. “Like, really hard.”

Thomas, 9, has trouble reading, but he likes books. Just give him the audio version, he says, and he’ll “listen to the book on Audible like 10,000 times.”

“His comprehension is that of a 13-year-old,” says Geva Lester, Thomas’ mom. “He can understand Harry Potter, but he can’t read it.”

Before they started coming to this Lindamood Bell Reading Center, Lester says, she’d watch with alarmed confusion as her son struggled with the most basic text: “See Spot run.”

She remembers trying to read with him. “On one page he would figure out the word: ‘There.’ And on the second page, he would see it and he would have no idea what it said.”

Sitting there with Thomas and his mom, I remember doing that myself — and in some ways, I still do.

As a child, my dyslexia was a closely guarded secret. In kindergarten, I’d leave class to work in a tiny closet, with a space heater and a reading specialist. Walking there, down the locker-lined hallways, I’d avoid eye contact, hoping nobody would notice me.

In middle school, I struggled to read even picture books. In class, I’d pretend. Then, at home, I’d listen to my books on cassette tapes — at double speed. And during the summer, I’d go to Lindamood Bell, just like Thomas. (The reading centers, which offer tutoring and reading programs around the world, also provide financial support for NPR.)

Over the years, I survived by memorizing words. It started with boxes and boxes of index cards. I’d practice each night, looking at a word and saying its sound as quickly as I could. I memorized hundreds and hundreds — maybe a few thousand — words this way.

I’ve never been able to sound out unfamiliar words. And I still can’t.

Dyslexia causes difficulty in recognizing words.

When I come across a word I don’t know, I freeze. It’s often a last name or a street name that never made it onto those index cards. It takes a great deal of focus for me to clump the letters into groups, link those groups with sounds and, finally, string those sounds together.

Since dyslexia is not something you outgrow, I have learned to work with it, and work around it. It’s always there, but it is rarely the focus of my thoughts. That was true through college and graduate school, but when I became an education reporter, it changed.

As I returned to elementary school classrooms and interviewed parents and teachers, dyslexia kept popping up in places I didn’t expect. I saw teachers who were mystified by their students’ struggles and parents whose stamina and empathy were tested.

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Dyslexia is so widespread that it forces schools and parents to take action. And yet, it is deeply misunderstood. Even basic questions don’t have easy answers.

Exactly how many people around the world have dyslexia? Well, it’s complicated. Estimates vary greatly, partly because it depends on what country or language you are talking about (English speakers may be more likely to have it than, say, Italian speakers) and partly because many people who have dyslexia never get a formal diagnosis. However, most estimates in the United States put it at somewhere between 5 and 17 percent of the population.

Many people think that dyslexia is seeing letters in the wrong order, or getting b and d mixed up. Not true. Researchers, experts and people with dyslexia dismiss these as common misconceptions.

So, if dyslexia isn’t any of those things people think it is, then what is it?

“It’s basically like looking at a foreign word,” says Jonathan Gohrband. He’s a videographer in Chicago and, at 31, he says dyslexia is still part of his daily life.

When reading, Gohrband says, his eyes often lurch to a stop in front of a word that looks utterly unfamiliar. His best solution, he says, is to turn to his girlfriend, asking a now familiar question: “What’s this word?” And as she answers, he almost always has the same response: “Of course that’s what it is!”

Here’s the thing: There’s nothing wrong with Jonathan Gohrband’s vocabulary. Or 9-year-old Thomas Lester’s vocabulary. They know what “galloping” means. And they can use the word in spoken English 20 different ways. They just can’t read the word.

That’s why dyslexia used to be called “word blindness.” People with dyslexia don’t naturally process the written word. They don’t easily break it into smaller units that can be turned into sounds and stitched together.

Dyslexia causes many obstacles for reading.

This makes reading a laborious — even exhausting — process. Writing, too. Gohrband remembers when his former boss pulled him aside after she’d received emails littered with spelling mistakes.

” ‘Hey, I know it’s the weekend, but don’t email when you’re drunk,’ ” he recalls her saying. He was, of course, perfectly sober — just dyslexic. Now, he can spend hours scouring emails he’s drafted, looking for typos. “It’s very time-consuming and very exhausting.”

Consuming. Exhausting. There’s an emotional dimension, too. Gohrband recalls that when he was a child he would fantasize about not “being broken.” He would avoid telling people about it: “If they know that you’re dyslexic, they’ll think you’re dumb.”

Yet, he says, there came a turning point when the shame faded. For him, it was when he found videography. There he discovered a “language” that came easily, and suddenly his talents were visible to others.

“I felt so much more confident,” he says.

And with time, Gohrband says, he has found benefits hidden inside his struggles. He thinks that being pushed outside his comfort zone by dyslexia has made him more creative and less judgmental.

I’ve felt that myself, and as I’ve talked with many others, I heard one thing again and again: When things don’t come easy, you learn to try new things and work hard at them.

SOURCE

N-n-n-n-nervous about day one? Check out 14 fun activities for that first day of class.

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Whether you’re a first-time teacher or a seasoned educator, getting the year off on the right foot is certainly something to shoot for.
Day one often sets the tone for things to come, so it makes sense to kick-off the year right with entertaining and suitable activities. pencils and-stuff.
With that in mind we asked fellow teachers on Edmodo how they’ve approached the first day of class. Naturally we received lots of eye-opening suggestions for activities. Some were insightful. Some creative. Some just plain hilarious (a big thanks to Alejandra Guzman for her idea, which may not apply to everyone, “Snowball fight!”)
Here are a few other suggestions that help break the ice, without requiring snowfall:
“I’ve used several over the years, but my favorite is to get them to seat themselves in birthday order from January 1 to December 31 without my help.”
Vanita Vance
“Give Me 5 – I ask students to share 5 things about themselves.”
Merewyn Patrick
“Anything that gets them up and moving around.”
Michelle Touceda
“Have them interview their elbow partner, turn that interview into a paragraph, then have the partners stand and introduce one another using those paragraphs.”

Mrs. Touceda
“I like to start the year with world’s worst actor. The kids aren’t expected to be good which is very freeing and lets me see a bit about their performance comfort level.”
Jody Urbas
“I love art and other things where students create. This collaborative drawing ice breaker is fun.”
Carrie
“2 truths and a lie.”
Cristin Miller
“Brainstorming a great school year, and creating a poster wall to get to know students and help them get to know one another.”
Stella Maris Berdaxagar
“We share our favorite book.”
Rory Morse
“I like to have them answer a fun survey, or do a share out, sometimes will use some tech games to have fun with them, learn who they are.”
Rachelle Poth
“Play the game where the teacher asks a question and kids move from one side of the room to another based on their answer. For example, the teacher says, “Pizza is one of my favorite foods.” Kids move to the right of the room if they agree and the opposite side of the room if they disagree. It’s a get to know you activity without a lot of risk.”
Sandy King
“I always start out with a Science mystery hunt! Gets the kids up and active and meeting new people.”
Linwood Starling
“Shoot selfies and show them in the interactive whiteboard while students describe themselves.”
Jose Angel Morancho
“Here’s my favorite way to start the school year off! I like to have students make a one-minute Animoto video about themselves to introduce themselves to the class. I then have them post the video to an Edmodo small group and have them comment and say nice things to each other.”
Mr. Fairfield
As you can see, the approaches are varied but most have a common theme: Get all of your students participating so they each feel involved, and let everyone get to know each other.
With that you’re sure to have a great first day that leads to a magical year.

Source: EDMODO BLOGS

 

Ten (10) Things You Should Not Share With Your Teachers

“Teachers are the spiritual parents”. I pretty much believe in this quote. If you have got teachers, you have got a big treasure. You can discuss things with him, explore the world with him and attain maximum knowledge from him. All these practices are in your favor. But there should always be line between your discussions with the teacher. And if you cross that line, everything can turn against your favor.
So, here are some things you should never ever discuss with your teachers. No matter how close or attached you are with your professor. This list of 10 things you should not share with your teachers is a must read for every student. By adopting these simple procedures you can save yourself from turning the relationship with your teachers into a disaster.

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10. Sharing Notes

Some students have a habit of writing random things on the notes during the lecture. It is very convenient to talk to your fellows by writing while the monotonous lecture is going on. If you lie in this category of students, then never share your notes with your teachers. You never know what you have written which your teacher must not read.


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9. Studying Routine

Teachers have a habit to give long lectures. And they will never skip any chance to lecture you on any of your habit which they feel is wrong. If you study late at night or at odd times, then prefer not to tell this thing to your teachers. They will try hard to force you to change your routine. They may be telling you right, but somehow they are missing the element due to which you have adopted the particular routine.



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8. Other Favorite Teachers

It is not very wise to tell any particular teacher about your favorite teacher, if he is not the one. If you do so, then it can provoke jealousy amongst the teachers. This can further have bad consequences. Teachers can get into competitions, and students would be pissed off. Although this is not professionalism, but teachers are also humans and there can be negative emotions inside them.

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7. Feelings of Hatred

It is very natural if you start hating someone for a reason (If you hate without a reason then you have a brain fault). And if you tell your teacher you hate him, then your brain fault is crossing the limits. There is a possibility that your teacher may develop a feeling of grudge against you. That grudge can turn into bad grade of yours. Again this does not comes under the banner of professionalism, and every teacher is not a professional.

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6. Despised Teachers

You should never tell any of your teachers about the ones you hate. As all the teachers in an institution mostly know each other, therefore, there is a possibility that they tell those teachers about your views. A professional teacher must not adopt this behavior, but you have to play safe. So keep your feelings to yourself.

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5. Dad’s Number

If your dad is a strict bud, then refrain giving your dad’s number to your teachers personally. They can call him on and off which can become a tedious thing. And if it is necessary, then give your mom’s number. Dads are mostly impatient and do not deal things mostly with tolerance while on the other hand, mothers have the ability to deal things more wisely. In your case if the situation is opposite, then do vice versa.
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4. Discussing Other Class fellows

You might be very close to your teacher and discuss everything with him. This is not a bad thing. But it would become bad if you will start discussing things about your other class fellows, whether it is their daily dealings or personal life. You must respect the privacy of every other student. Teachers may develop negative impression about their other students because of you which is not right ethically.

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3. Family, Friends or Cousins

If there are any of your cousins or family friends studying in the same institution as you are, then you are advised to hide this knowledge from your teachers. The reason is very obvious. Teachers can easily contact them to tell about your behaviors and all. They can brag those things in the family making a bad image of yours. In a longer run you can face consequences. So it is better not to tell your teachers about your relations in school and college.
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2. Classroom Secrets

A class of students is like a body. And everyone knows that the class always has some secrets. The mischief of students must remain confidential. For example if someone has hides the wire of the projector, then you would be the biggest goof of the world revealing the name to the teacher. Rest of your class fellows would become your rival. And teachers won’t trust your class anymore.

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1. Nick Names
Giving nick names to the teachers has become more of a tradition now. Although it is not a very good habit, but students do it for fun. And if this fun does not turn into abusive fun, then it is acceptable.

So, here the point is that never ever share any of the teacher’s nick names with your teachers. No matter how close you are to your teacher.Your teacher may not get a good impression of yours’. As overall it is not a very impressive thing. Keep every nick name as a secret between your friends.