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Reading and Language

Home » Articles » A Primer on Dyslexia »

Resources on Dyslexia


Research in recent years has contributed to our knowledge about dyslexia. As a result, there is now a wealth of information about dyslexia designed specifically for parents. Explore these Web Sites, Books for Parents, Books for Children, Videos, Organizations, and Other Resources to learn more about reading difficulties. Also check out the Glossary of Terms to learn more about the language of dyslexia.

Web Sites

All Kinds of Minds
All Kinds of Minds is a private non-profit institute affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and founded by Dr. Mel Levine. This site explores different learning patterns and offers concrete alternatives to one-size-fits-all education.

Misunderstood Minds
Dr. Levine's companion site includes decoding and memory activities that simulate what reading is like for a person with a reading disability. It also includes basic information about reading problems and helpful tips for talking with children about their strengths and weaknesses. The site is based on a PBS TV series that profiled Dr. Levine's work.

Internet Resources for Special Children
A site dedicated to sharing recently published information, Internet Resources for Special Children allows users to search by disability to find news articles and books about reading problems and other special needs.

LD Online
This site contains a comprehensive index of useful information for parents about learning disabilities. A unique feature is an interactive bulletin board where parents can exchange information.

National Center for Learning Disabilities
This site includes information about referral services, educational programs and legislative efforts to help individuals with learning disabilities.

Books for Parents

The Dyslexic Scholar - Helping Your Child Succeed in the School System
Author: Kathleen Nosek
Publisher: Taylor, 1995
This book is an excellent guide for parents as they navigate the public school system and work with teachers and specialists to obtain educational evaluations, establish learning goals, and ensure appropriate accommodations are in place to help assist children with dyslexia.

Dyslexia: Theory and Practice of Remedial Instruction
Author: Diana Brewster Clark and Joanna Kellogg Uhry
Publisher: York Press, 1995
This book defines dyslexia and describes and compares eleven widely-used remediation programs. Readers gain information needed to make informed decisions about instruction and treatment.

Parenting a Struggling Reader
Author: Susan L. Hall and Louisa C. Moats
Publisher: Broadway Books, 2002
Acknowledging that a child can struggle to learn to read for years before her school system diagnoses and addresses the problem, this book provides realistic guidelines a parent can follow to identify a reading problem and help a child become a reader.

Smart Kids with School Problems: Things to Know and Ways to Help
Author: Priscilla L. Vail and Patricia Vail
Publisher: Plume, 1989
This book offers explanations of why some children excel in some areas, while struggling in other school subjects. Specific remedial techniques and strategies for improving reading and test-taking are included.

Straight Talk About Reading
Author: Susan L. Hall and Louisa C. Moats
Publisher: Contemporary Books, 1999
The book includes benchmarks to flag reading problems, explicit activities and games to support children's progress in reading, and discussion of ways parents can advocate for a child if a problem is suspected.

Books for Children

All Kinds of Minds: A Young Student's Book About Learning Abilities and Learning Disorders
Author: Mel Levine
Publisher: Education Publishing Service, Inc., 1987
This book contains five short stories, each depicting a child with a different type of learning disability. It is an excellent book to read and discuss with all children to raise self-esteem and increase sensitivity.

Josh: A Boy With Dyslexia
Author: Caroline Janover and Edward Epstein
Publisher: Waterfront Books, 1995
This is the story of Josh, a 10-year-old boy with dyslexia who moves to a new town and struggles to learn his way around his new neighborhood and trick his teachers into believing he can read. In the beginning, Josh is tormented by the school bully. By the end, he becomes a true hero by helping the pestering bully.

Thank You, Mr. Falker
Author: Patricia Polacco
Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group,  1998
Thank you, Mr. Falker is a beautiful picture book that is based on the real-life experience of the author. The main character starts the fifth-grade at a new school and her teacher uncovers her secret--that she cannot read. He brings in a reading teacher to help her make sense of the "wiggling shapes" and learn to read.

Videos

Ennis' Gift: A Film About Learning Differences
This film documents the lives of celebrities, athletes, scientists and many others, all with learning differences. To each of them, learning differences proved to be gifts and have made them more open to their strengths. Visit the Hello Friend Web site to watch a clip of this video.

Picture of Success
This 16-minute video, starring artist Pat Buckley Moss and Dr. Larry Silver, tells the life stories of two very successful dyslexics. It is a great video to use when talking with children about finding one's true talents.

Nobody's Perfekt: A Video Beginner's Guide to Learning Disabilities
Experts within the field of special education share basic information about learning disabilities on this video. Three families who have dealt with learning disabilities also share their experience.

Organizations

International Dyslexia Association
This organization provides access to an international network of people invested in advocating for people with dyslexia, including educators, diagnosticians, psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, tutors, parents, and individuals with dyslexia. Members can also become active in one of forty branch chapters serving the United States and Canada or a national affiliate chapter in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America.

Learning Disabilities Association of America
Dedicated to preventing learning disabilities and improving the ways learning disabilities are identified and treated, this organization supports research, disseminates information, and promotes the legal rights of people with learning disabilities.

Other Resources

Sibkids
This listserv provides brothers and sisters of children with disabilities a place to share information, support each other, and make friends with other siblings of children with disabilities. Sibkids@yahoogroups.com

Glossary of Terms

Accommodations
Techniques and materials that may help children with reading difficulties to complete regular curriculum. Examples of accommodations include books on tape and use of a word processor for writing.

Cognitive Testing
A testing process that determines a child's overall level of intelligence as well as a profile of relative strengths and weaknesses.

Compensatory Strategies
Techniques that children can use and develop to help them compensate for weaknesses. For example, a child with dyslexia may learn to use a computer spell checker to help him edit his work as a way of compensating for weak spelling skills.

Decoding
The ability to figure out how to read unknown words by using knowledge of letters, sounds, and word patterns.

Dyslexia
A condition in which children of at least average intelligence have extreme difficulty learning to read. Dyslexic children have difficulty learning to decode and spell words.

Encoding
Using one's knowledge of letters, sounds, and word patterns to spell.

Evaluation
A series of tests administered by one or more testers that determines the source of a reading difficulty and outlines effective strategies for remediation.

Individualized Education Plan ("IEP")
A plan developed by a public school team to help an individual child. An IEP outlines educational goals, specific services that will be offered to help a child achieve those goals, and a plan for how and when a child's progress will be assessed.

Learning Disability
Unexpected difficulty learning in one or more realms related to academics, such as reading, writing, mathematics, and social skills, in children with at least average intelligence.

Multisensory Approach
An approach to learning that involves more than one sense. Simultaneously tracing a letter made out of sandpaper and saying the letter's name is an example of multisensory learning.

Neuropsychologist
A psychologist whose evaluation focuses on the way in which a child's brain works.

Occupational Therapist
A professional who evaluates a child's fine motor skills, ability to perceive visual information, and ability to use visual and motor skills together smoothly. This professional can also help children with fine motor and perceptual difficulties.

Orton-Gillingham
A specialized technique for teaching children with dyslexia and severe decoding difficulties to read and spell. This technique is a multisensory program that provides direct instruction and repeated practice in decoding and spelling. One-on-one instructional techniques based on Orton-Gillingham include Alphabetic Phonics and The Wilson System, while adaptations designed for classroom use include Project Read and Slingerland.

Phoneme
The smallest unit of sound. The word "up," for instance contains two phonemes: "uh" and "puh."

Phonemic Awareness
The ability to hear similarities and differences among phonemes. Strong phonemic awareness results in the ability to rhyme, to list words that begin and end with the same sound, to break words into individual phonemes, and to blend phonemes together to make a familiar word. Phonemic awareness is essential for learning to read.

Phonics
The system of relationships between letters or letter combinations and sounds in a language.

Reading Comprehension
The ability to understand what one reads. Reading comprehension may be affected by the difficulty of the text, the vocabulary words used in the text, and the reader's familiarity with the subject matter, among other factors.

Reading Problem
Difficulty meeting reading milestones for a given age or grade. A child can have difficulty with one or more aspects of the reading process. A reading problem may also be referred to as a "reading difficulty."

Reading Disability
Another term for dyslexia.

Remediation
Specialized instruction that helps a child improve her reading skills.

Sight Words
Commonly occurring words that children are expected to recognize instantly as wholes.

Speech/Language Pathologist
A professional who evaluates children's speech articulation and language (speaking and listening) skills. This professional can also provide therapy to help children with speech and language difficulties.

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