When Reading isn't as Easy As ABC

"When Reading Isn't as Easy as ABC" by Kathryn Self Ransdell, PIE co-chair and parent of child with dyslexia

  • PIE: Partners for Inclusive Language, partnersforinclusivelanguage@gmail.com
  • Kathryn Self Ransdell: reverendkath@gmail.com
  • Eleanor Rolf, SLP, VSB: eroff@vsb.bc.ca
  • Denise Edwards, OT: edenise@hotmail.com
  • SLP for Gordon Elementary School: Anne Rodgers, SLP: arodgers@vsb.bc.ca

The go-to text when understanding a dyslexia diagnosis and setting a path forward:

Shaywitz, Sally, M.D. Overcoming Dyslexia (Second Edition, 2020). Shaywitz is the coordinator for the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity

  • pp132-138: "Judging your child's progress." This gives reading milestones beginning with grade 1
  • pp142-148: "Clues to Dyslexia in Early Childhood, Young Adults and Adults." This lists the problems that will begin to present at different ages beginning with preschool year.
  • pp419-429: "Anxiety, ADHD, and Dyslexia."

Learn more about the brain:

  • Brain Hemisphere Hat Project: To learn about (or review) the major lobes of the brain by making a paper hat to wear. Explore where things "happen" in the brain with graphics and words. based https://ellenjmchenry.com/brain-hemisphere-hat/"
  • Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It" by JoAnn Deak, PhD.

Central website for everything ADHD:

What is an SLP (Speech Language Pathologist)?

Books for Kids

  • "On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein." Picture book by Jennifer Berne (Does not specifically mention dyslexia rather it describes the out-of-the-box thinking happens in the mind with dyslexia.
  • "Here's Hank" chapter book series by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver. (Tales of a 2nd grade boy and his friends.)
    • "Here’s Hank, the bestselling series written by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, is the perfect series for the transitional reader. It features easy-to-read font, simple funny stories, and characters like Hank Zipzer. Hank may not be the best at spelling (or math, or reading) but he always tries his hardest, whether he’s helping out his younger sister, standing up to the class bully, or getting into—and out of!—trouble with his two best friends."
    • New York Times

  • "It's Called Dyslexia" by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos. Explains dyslexia in a format for older elementary-age kids.

Dyslexia Simulation workshop:

  • "How Hard Can This Be? Frustration, Anxiety and Tension" with Rick Lavoie. This workshop was recorded in the late 1980s/early-90s. Please note the video contains some language that is no longer used or accepted. This video is a product of its time, yet the simulations are eye-opening for those who do not have a learning disorder. Video recording of the workshop, "How hard can this be?" with Rick Lavoie. https://youtu.be/Q3UNdbxk3xs.
  • Video clips referenced:

Processing:  8:30-10:22

Cognitive simulation: 39:27-43:11

Reading and decoding simulation: 45:04-49:37

Distractibility & Attention Span inherent to dyslexia: 12:50-13:44

Participants' debrief: 1:01:08-1:05:11

For more on the Reading Wars:

"50 Years of SPELD Victoria Building on the Legacy of the Past." 2018.

A bit of background on SPELD Victoria (Australia): "In March 1968, The National Symposium on Dyslexia was hosted in Melbourne by the Australian College of Speech Therapists. At this time, professionals from across Australia gathered to discuss the hidden problem of Specific Learning Difficulties affecting so many in the community. From this meeting, a Victorian Committee for Dyslexia Children was created under the leadership Dr Dudley Hagger. This resulted in the establishment of SPELD Victoria Incorporated as an independent Public Benevolent Institution in August 1969."

Goldstein, Dana. "An Old and Contested Solution to Boost Reading Scores: Phonics." New York Times. Feb. 15, 2020

As test scores lag, there’s a growing debate between proponents of the “science of reading,” which emphasizes phonics, and traditional educators who prefer to instill a love of literature.

Hanford, Emily. "There Is a Right Way to Teach Reading, and Mississippi Knows It." New York Times. Dec. 5, 2019.

"The state’s reliance on cognitive science explains why."

"The Right Approach to Reading Instruction." Special section from "The New York Times." April 2014.

The student-led approach to reading and writing known as balanced literacy is making a comeback in New York City schools. But critics say students need closer instruction from teachers and more work on phonics and facts.

What is the right approach to improving student literacy?