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Monday, December 26, 2016

Remediating Dyslexia with Orton Gillingham Based Reading Games


Students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities often learn differently and require an alternative approach to learning basic reading.  What's more, these young learners are working full tilt while sitting in the classroom and by the time they get home and have to complete their homework, they are mentally spent.  As a result, tagging on remedial reading lessons to a cup that is already overflowing can be enough to turn these kids off to learning altogether.

How Do We Help These Students Learn the Core Skills Needed to be Successful Readers?
  1. First, use a remedial program that is backed by time, testimonials and research.  The Orton-Gillingham approach to reading is a well-established and researched approach that offers a multisensory, sequential, incremental, cumulative, individualized, and explicit approach.  There are many programs that are available.  Click here to learn about a selection of these programs. 
  2. Second, employ an individualized approach as each student has unique challenges and gaps in knowledge.  If you need to assess the areas that require remediation be sure to use an assessment tool such as the Good Sensory Learning Reading Assessment
  3. Third, the process needs to be fun and engaging.  Many programs required students to slog through boring lessons, complicated rules, and bland workbook pages. Many of these concepts can be instructed through cute memory strategies and fun activities.  You can find many fun supplemental materials here
  4. Fourth, integrate a student-created, colorful, language arts handbook or guide. Click here to learn more about this method. 
  5. Fifth, help students learn how to visualize what they are reading.  Many struggling readers do not have the cognitive space to use their mind's eye when reading, therefore, developing this skill to automaticity is key.  To learn about the research behind visualization and learning as well as how to teach this needed skill click here.  
  6. Sixth, and most important, supplement all reading programs with card and board games that allow students to practice the concepts they are learning.  This brings the fun factor into learning and can help to nurture a love for reading.
Where Can I Find Multisensory and Fun Reading Games?

At Good Sensory Learning, we offer a large selection of downloadable card and board games that work with any Orton-Gillingham or phonics based reading program.  In addition, we have many other supplemental multisensory reading activities and materials.  In fact, we just unveiled a new website. Let me know what you think!
 
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Free Text to Speech on macOS Helps Reading and Writing.

Apple has offered free accessibility tools with their personal computing devices for some time, but with each new operating system upgrade comes improvements and changes.  A few weeks ago, I did a blog and video on their Dictation accessibility tool, and this week I hope to educate you about the many benefits of their Speech accessibility tool.  So, if you read better when you can hear written text and could benefit from editing your papers by listening to your compositions, you are in the right place.

What is Speech?

Speech is a text to speech technology on macOS that allows users to quickly transform written text into audible words. Simply highlight a word, sentence, paragraph or a whole article in a document, email or online website, and once you select the designated command keys, your Mac will read the selection aloud. To top it off, you can choose from more than 70 male or female voices across 42 languages.

How Can This Free Speech Accessibly Feature Be Enabled?

  1. Be sure to upgrade your Mac to the new macOS Sierra.
  2. Choose Apple menu
    

  1. Select System Preferences



        


     4.  Click Accessibility
                                                        
5.  Click Speech
6.  Click the box “Speak selected text...” and select the white button that says “Change Key…”


7.  Select the keys you would like to use to enable this function.  I chose Option+S and then select OK.

 
8. Now you will want to select a voice.  To do this click on the dropdown menu next to “System Voice” and select your preference.  If you select the last option - “Customize…” you will be given additional voice options that can be downloaded for free.  My personal favorites are Alex and Tom.  You can listen to the voice by selecting the play button.  You can also adjust the speech rate by adjusting the white slider between Slow - Normal - Fast.  

A Few Key Pointers when Using Speech?

  1. By default, your Mac will speak highlighted text when you press Option-Esc.
  2. To stop your Mac from speaking, press the designated keys again.
  3. If no text is selected when you press the designated keys, available text items in the current window are spoken. For example, if Mail is open, an email message is read.

Why is Speech a Great Option for Individuals with Dyslexia?

Speech is a great option for individuals with dyslexia for two main reasons. First, many dyslexic learners find the process of decoding words to be arduous and tiresome. Speech allows them to listen to the words read aloud, so they can focus on comprehension. Second, Speech can be used to edit essays and self-generated documents. This can be a quick way to uncover misspellings, awkward wording, word omissions and more. Personally, I use it all the time to edit my work. For example, if I typed the word “from” when I meant to type the word “form,” in a sentence, I probably wouldn’t “see” the mishap. However, if I had the computer read it back to me, I would quickly hear the mistake.

Would like see my YouTube video on the free macOS Dictation tool?

I hope you found this blog helpful.  Please leave a comment and share it on social media.

Also, if you would like to learn more about my other videos on assistive technology and multisensory teaching, come on over and subscribe to my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/warrenerica1


Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY. To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz

Thursday, December 15, 2016

How to Teach Spelling: A Focused Remedial Approach

The brain is an extremely complex infrastructure of neural highways and byways, and each student has their own unique pattern of established pathways as well as cognitive based strengths and weaknesses.  As a result, defining the best remedial techniques for spelling requires a mindful approach that evaluates the cognitive based causes of the spelling difficulty and then tailors a specific remedial approach.

So How Can I Meet the Individual Needs of Each Student for Optimal Learning?
There is a four step process to meeting the needs of your struggling spellers.
  1. Rule out any vision or hearing problems by asking the family to pursue the needed testing. This is something that the child’s pediatrician can do.
  2. Understand the core cognitive based weaknesses or difficulties that can cause spelling struggles. These include:
    1. Auditory processing
    2. Visual processing
    3. Memory
    4. Optilexia
    5. Sequential processing
    6. Passive learning
    7. Inattentive learning
    8. Stress
  3. Know how to use prior testing to uncover the core difficulties or conduct an assessment.
  4. Tailor the best remedial approach based on the student’s unique profile.

Do You Have the Background and Training?
If you already have a background in school psychology and you are an active educational therapist or learning specialist, then you can probably work through this recommended sequence of steps.  If however, you don’t have the training or knowledge, I would be happy to help you.  



My New Course
I have just released a comprehensive course and assessment that will teach you all you need to know to meet the needs of struggling spellers. This includes about 50 minutes of multisensory video-based instruction that you can refer back to at any time, a comprehensive spelling assessment with remedial recommendations, and a companion journal that is packed with useful information such as a term dictionary, a comprehensive list of Orton-Gillingham based reading programs, and assistive technology ideas.

This is an evergreen course which means that it is updated as needed and you have lifetime access to the content.  If you would like to learn more, click on the image below.


This blog is also available as a video. If this is your preferred way of learning, select the video below:

You can also purchase just the assessment with remedial recommendations at my online store.  Click here to learn more.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY. To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Good Sensory Learning Coupon: Sharing the Gratitude Holiday Promotion

Dear Friends:

I wanted to do something special to thank you for your interest and patronage.  On my educational publishing site, Good Sensory Learning, I offer mindful and multisensory educational materials for learning specialists, educational therapists, teachers, homeschoolers and more.  In particular, you can find fun, educational lessons, assessments, and cognitive remedial tools to name a few.  I also offer bundles for specific areas of difficulty such as dyslexia, executive functioning, attention, visualization and working memory.  These bundles are already discounted.  However, until December 25th 2016, I am offering an additional 20% off all these bundles. I have never offered a promotion like this, but I want to make my already affordable products even more accessible for those that need to watch their pennies.

All you have to do is use the coupon code: gratitude during checkout.   You can click on the button below to learn about all my bundles.  
Wishing you a joyous holiday season filled with love and connection.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY. To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Learning Specialist Courses: Creating a Successful Learning Specialist Practice in 60 Days

  • Do you want the FREEDOM and INDEPENDENCE to make a difference?
  • Do you know what it takes to CONNECT with and EMPOWER students?
  • Do you want to be a part of a MULTISENSORY, TAILORED and PERSONALIZED method that you can deliver in your own private practice while having access to a support community of likeminded professionals?

You Don’t Have to Do It Alone!

Whether you would like to create a private practice from scratch, or you already have an established business, I would love to help you. You can now gain access to my secrets, expertise, methods, swipe notes and a support community of likeminded professionals as well as a growing selection of promotions from the best resources and companies. This and more is all available in my evergreen course Create a Successful Learning Specialist Course in 60 Days.




If you Answered Yes to Any of the Questions Above, Watch this Video to Learn More.
                            

How Can I Learn More about Dr. Warren's Teaching Style?
Come and read my testimonials, or if you would like to learn more about my teaching style, you can have 7-day access to my 3-part mini video series - Learning Specialist Secrets: a Free 3-Part Video Series! This will enable you to experience my own multisensory teaching approach and you can experience a sampling of my great content!  I will cover:
  • The 5 Key Benefits of a Learning Specialist Practice.
  • The 10 Most Common Rookie Mistakes.
  • The 7 Most Common Questions and Answers About Establishing a Practice.
About Dr. Erica Warren:
Aspiring to empower "out of the box" learners, I created a degree program that united coursework and research in School Psychology, Special Education, Psychology, and Adult Education. With a full assistantship at the UGA Learning Disability Center in assessment, I pursued a doctorate that focused on life-long issues in learning, the impact of learning difficulties across the lifespan, and comprehensive diagnostic evaluations. In addition, I earned a full assistantship with the National Science Foundation while working towards a Masters degree in Educational Psychology. I often refer to my bachelor’s degree in fine arts as my secret weapon as it brings joy, color and creativity into my sessions.
Now you can take advantage of my extensive training along with 18 years experience directing my own business, Learning to Learn. I have the tools and strategies for success and I would love to share them with you.


Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY. To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dyslexia Screeners: What's the Best Option?



Finding the best dyslexia screener can be a vital step for schools as well as parents, but sifting through the many options can be time consuming and challenging. I began the rigorous process of evaluating 13 different options and found the experience both interesting and surprising. While some instruments offer Likert scale questionnaires, others assess a student's cognitive or achievement abilities. The two screeners (which will remain nameless) that I thought would likely be the best, were disappointingly inadequate. A table below illustrates a summary of my findings, and I will let you come to your own conclusions.

The Table (below) Compares the 13 Resources by a Number of Factors:
  • Age: The age range of eligible participants.
  • Cost: The cost of the assessment/screener.
  • Administration Time: The time it takes to take the test.
  • Test Type: The format of the test.  
    • Questionnaires: About half of the instruments were Likert scales that obtain participant's preferences or degree of agreement with a statement or set of statements. These instruments result in a total score that reflects a likelihood of an individual having dyslexia.
    • Assessments: A handful of instruments are administered by a trained teacher or professional and given directly to the student or individual.
  • Who Takes Test?  Who takes the questionnaire or assessment? - the student/individual with dyslexia, the parent or a teacher.
  • Research: Whether there is reported research.  Some questionnaires and assessments offer documented clinical research on their sites.
  • What Does it Measure? What cognitive, achievement or other areas are measured by the instrument.  Not all the instruments reviewed are measuring the same variables.  Some look at risk factors, while others are look and key cognitive processing areas or specific areas of achievement.
  • No Required Training: Although some instruments require no training at all, others require instruction or specific qualifications to even purchase the materials.
  • Score Provided: Some instruments provide a specific score that is placed on a continuum and has a documented meaning.  Others just provide qualitative summaries.
  • Fun & Engaging: Whether the instrument is enjoyable for the test taker.
  • Monitors Progress: Whether the instrument monitors progress over time.  
  • Normed: Whether the instrument compares scores against the performance of a statistically selected group of test takers who already took the test.
What are the Features of a Great Dyslexia Screener for School-age Children?
After reviewing the 13 dyslexia screeners below, there were a few key features, I believe, are important to consider.  A screener should be:

  1. accessible to both parents and teachers.
  2. administered directly to the student - if they are old enough.
  3. fun and engaging so that a child can maintain attention.
  4. administered with ease.
  5. created by a reputable company.
  6. based on clinical research.
  7. offering a report of the findings.
  8. presenting a way to monitor progress.

My Personal Preference:

If you are looking for a simple questionnaire that discloses a suspected likelihood of dyslexia and provides a simple report of strengths and weaknesses, the Davis Dyslexia Screener is a decent option. But if you want a comprehensive assessment that is easy to administer, is backed by research, does not require training, is fun and engaging for the students, and investigates a student's abilities in the key cognitive areas that are impacted by dyslexia, Dyslexia Quest is by far the best option.

What do you think of dyslexia screeners? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

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