Read and Spell Blog

A how does a multi-sensory approach to reading work
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A multi-sensory approach to reading

A multi-sensory approach to reading

Traditional approaches to teaching reading rely heavily on visual and auditory stimuli, including workbooks and phonics activities. However, individuals who experience difficulties learning how to read may benefit from a multi-sensory approach that involves physical movements and lets them use their senses to engage on a deeper level.

In particular, dyslexic students who struggle to split words into their component sounds may respond positively to the Orton-Gillingham style of learning. It uses multi-sensory techniques to facilitate acquisition of phonics knowledge, decoding, and sight-reading skills.

Writing in all caps
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Writing in all caps

Writing in all caps

Capital and lower-case letters can look similar, like 'O' and ‘o,’ or they can look very different, like ‘A’ and ‘a.’ Nonetheless we still recognize that they are the same letter. This is because when children first start reading and writing they learn to associate two forms with the same sound. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that upper and lower-case letters are processed by the brain in the same way for everyone and incongruent capital/lowercase forms may be problematic for unskilled readers.

10 Fluency strategies for struggling readers
Read and Spell blog
10 Fluency strategies for struggling readers

10 Fluency strategies for struggling readers

Literacy skills are one of the most important areas of ability children develop in their first few years at school. They begin by sounding out words and learning to recognize common vocabulary from books and classroom materials. With sight reading and spelling practice comes greater fluency.

Reading speeds up and comprehension of more complex texts becomes possible as vocabulary knowledge grows exponentially. However, not all students find learning to read such an easy process. Struggling readers can quickly fall behind their peers and may develop low self-esteem and a lack of confidence as a result.

Because reading ability impacts performance across all areas of the curriculum, including writing skills, it’s important to provide adequate strategy training as early as possible. Ideally remediation is tailored to the individual student’s needs, particularly when a learning difficulty is involved.

Dyspraxia vs. apraxia of speech
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Dyspraxia vs. apraxia of speech

Dyspraxia vs. apraxia of speech

Dyspraxia is a fine and/or gross motor skills difficulty that may also impact on learning. Symptoms range in severity and can make it difficult for a child to dress him or herself, hold a pen or pencil and perform other daily activities. Estimates in the UK suggest that 1 child in every 10 struggles with some form of dyspraxia.

While apraxia is a related neurological condition, it represents a complete loss of motor skills impairing a person in a particular capacity. There are many kinds of apraxia but in the case of apraxia of speech, the muscles of the mouth including the tongue, jaw, cheeks, palate and lips cannot be coordinated to produce intelligible spoken language.

What is child-led learning?
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What is child-led learning?

What is child-led learning?

Child-led learning is a term used to describe education programmes in which children are responsible for deciding what to learn. In some cases, it extends to kids being in control of how long they spend on a particular lesson and the methods and materials used for study. Quite often it is undertaken in a home-school environment or in a private tutoring context.

While this movement typically stands in opposition to a fixed curriculum, some schools offer individual classes or after-hours programmes that take a more child-led approach. There are also situations in which giving a child a greater role in deciding how much and what to learn is more appropriate, such as sessions for kids who struggle with learning difficulties.

Developing spelling skills in learners
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Developing spelling skills

Developing spelling skills

Spelling skills are not something people are born with – we learn to spell at the same time as we learn to read and write. For individuals who struggle with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, spelling can pose a particular challenge as it requires the ability to split words into sounds and then match those sounds to letters and letter combinations.

This is easier said than done because in English there are many ways to spell the same sound. There are also plenty of silent letters, words that break the rules, and foreign words with unintuitive spellings.

Note-taking skills for kids
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Note-taking skills for kids

Note-taking skills for kids

Writing information down facilitates its transfer into long-term memory and provides an opportunity for learners to engage with content on a deeper level, including through review.

Common Reading Problems
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3 Common reading problems for students

3 Common reading problems for students

Developing strong reading skills in students is one of the key goals of every early education program. It is through reading that students expand their vocabulary and learn about the world. Reading is also the key to success in spelling and writing.

And while 6 and 7-year-olds are fluent speakers, they require instruction in how to navigate print. If a student is having problems with literacy skills, it can affect their performance across the school curriculum and have a negative impact on motivation to learn and self-esteem.

Orton Gillingham reading instruction
Read and Spell blog
Orton Gillingham reading instruction

Orton Gillingham reading instruction

The Orton-Gillingham approach is a multi-sensory way of teaching reading, spelling and writing skills to students who struggle with language-based learning difficulties, including dyslexia. Lessons focus on mastery of the smallest units of language first, including phonemes and graphemes, and then build to whole word, phrase and sentence level instruction.

Many current reading methods and courses are grounded in this approach, including Touch-type Read and Spell, and it can serve as a guide for tutors who offer literacy skills support for individuals with specific learning difficulties.

Because Orton-Gillingham focuses both on enhancing phonological awareness and teaching English language rules, it can also be useful for English Language Learner (ELL) students.

Encouraging children with learning difficulties to succeed at school
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Encouraging children with learning difficulties

Encouraging children with learning difficulties

Specific learning difficulties like dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia can make it difficult and sometimes impossible for a child to achieve the same results as his or her peers in a traditional classroom setting. Some children face a constant struggle with reading and writing and many are at risk for developing low self-esteem, particularly when their condition goes undiagnosed and/or untreated.

The thing to remember is that there are alternative learning approaches, strategies, and tools that can help students with learning difficulties achieve their full potential at school. Moreover, a positive attitude and plenty of encouragement from parents and teachers can do wonders when it comes to inspiring these children to stay motivated and persevere.

What motivates students to learn
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What motivates students to learn?

What motivates students to learn?

Teachers and parents recognize the power of motivation in enhancing learning outcomes and helping students to achieve their best at school. A motivated student might do his or her homework without being asked to, go above and beyond the requirements of assignments and participate in classroom discussions without being prompted.

More importantly, he or she may be more able to view a poor exam result as a learning opportunity instead of as an academic failure. So what motivates students to learn and how can we encourage them?