This week's Food For Thought comes from school co-founder and designer behind the Personalized Education Group, Tamra Excell.
I am often asked about resources or strategies for dyslexia when people learn that my oldest daughter is dyslexic. Dyslexia presents itself in many ways, and the goal is to find what works for each individual child. This is usually a combination of three things:
1. Gathering strategies and resources to help each student in dealing with the challenges of dyslexia.
2. Recognizing the strengths that can often come with dyslexia (one possibility is being artistically talented in specific ways). This is important for a sense of self-worth, and also because strengths can often be harnessed in bridging gaps toward higher learning.
3. Developing the ability to create and make meaning from text. This is not usually going to happen with more - and yet even more - phonics, but instead some phonics, combined with other holistic approaches matching the student’s strengths and ideal learning modes.
With the above in mind, here is a short list of resources providing a general overview of what dyslexia is, along with some common ideas and approaches. From this foundation, a more personalized approach to online school education can then be developed with the student.
Professor Johnson’s Articles and Videos. Andrew Johnson is a professor of literacy at Minnesota State University, and he does a great job of breaking down concepts to make understanding dyslexia easier. Here are two articles, each with a list of videos at the end, to get you started:
An Overview of Dyslexia from a Neurological Perspective -- Don’t let the title scare you; this is a short, simple article that provides foundational information that is immediately useful for most parents and teachers helping a child with dyslexia.
Two Approaches to Phonics Instruction -- Here Professor Johnson provides an excerpt from his book, 10 Essential Instructional Elements for Students with Reading Difficulties: A Brain-Friendly Approach.
HBO – The Big Picture Rethinking Dyslexia – This can be found in public libraries, and a search on Google or YouTube might yield results for online versions. The HBO page also has a list of recommended resources.
Tests for Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities, The University of Michigan has provided a list of assessments, and they annotated the list to provide a description of each one.
If you want to take it to the next level in learning about the potential gifts of dyslexia, a popular book is aptly titled The Gift of Dyslexia and likely available through most public libraries.
I hope that these resources will be helpful to you and can be shared amongst our online school community to help empower students with dyslexia. At CMASAS, we believe students with dyslexia simply need to be encouraged, treated with respect, and given the freedom to learn in their own ways. Our instructors and Personalized Education Coaches will always go above and beyond to serve the student as an individual and empower them to meet all of their educational goals.