Common Reading Problems
Read and Spell blog
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.

Touch typing for dyslexics
Read and Spell blog
Touch typing for dyslexics

Touch typing for dyslexics

For a significant number of children and adults, developing strong literacy skills requires overcoming the challenges posed by specific learning differences, such as dyslexia. Dyslexia impacts on reading, writing and spelling abilities but can also cause individuals to suffer from low self-esteem and lack confidence in the classroom.

While it is something people have for life, technology and strategy use can make language-based activities easier. For example, typing on a computer gives children and adults access to spell-checkers and helpful text-to-speech tools.

Mnemonic devices aid with learning the spelling of hard words. Memorizing high frequency vocabulary reduces the cognitive load involved in reading. Additionally, dyslexics who have had training in touch typing can reinforce phonics knowledge, use muscle memory to learn word spellings, and facilitate the translation of ideas into written language.

This renders the writing process less frustrating and makes composing written work more fluid and effective.

Orton Gillingham reading instruction
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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
Read and Spell blog
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.

teaching phonemic awareness
Read and Spell blog
Teaching phonemic awareness

Teaching phonemic awareness

One of the key skills children must develop before they learn how to read is phonemic awareness— being able to hear and manipulate the sounds that make up words.

Phonemes are the smallest units of sounds that can change meaning -- if you switch the middle vowel sound in hat, everything shifts from definition to part of speech and usage.

A child with phonemic awareness knows that sat is made up of three distinct sounds. They may also realize that sat and bat end in a similar sound and that hat and heart start with the same sound.

It is the recognition that language is made up of these sounds that is so important in reading.

What motivates students to learn
Read and Spell blog
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?

7 Tips for working with dyslexia
Read and Spell blog
7 Tips for working with dyslexia

7 Tips for working with dyslexia

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning difficulties affecting both children and adults. While no two individuals struggle with the same set of symptoms, most people with dyslexia must work harder than their peers to develop literacy skills.

They may need more time to read and write, and experience high levels of frustration navigating numbers. For students, this can pose a significant challenge. However, the situation can be just as stressful for working adults who have the added pressure of performance goals and feeling confident and capable at work, especially in front of clients, co-workers and managers.

How to find a good tutor
Read and Spell blog
How to find a good tutor

How to find a good tutor

When kids lack confidence in the classroom, are struggling to keep up with their peers, need help preparing for exams or are dealing with a learning difficulty, parents may arrange for them to see a private tutor outside of school.

Tutors provide the extra scaffolding that less able students may require and can also encourage gifted children by introducing them to more advanced topics not covered in a school curriculum. By working one-on-one, tutors are able to go over content at a pace that is right for every child.

They can also assist with school assignments and help enforce good study habits, including setting smart targets which are specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant in a given time period.

Motivating kids to read
Read and Spell blog
Motivating kids to read

Motivating kids to read

Reading is the key to success in almost every subject across the school curriculum and research has shown that it is the biggest driver of vocabulary acquisition. The more kids read, the more words they learn from context and the more texts they can access.

Understanding how different text types work also helps them improve their critical thinking skills and engage with the ideas presented, in addition to becoming better writers. So, if reading does so many wonderful things, how do you get children to pick up a book and start reading?

Self-confidence vs self-esteem
Read and Spell blog
Self-confidence vs self-esteem

Self-confidence vs self-esteem

The terms self-confidence and self-esteem are often conflated. Confidence is a measure of faith in one’s own abilities; esteem is about our sense of self. It involves both thoughts and emotions and influences how we perceive others and interact with the world.

When children have healthy self-esteem, they tend to be confident.

Similarly, if a child has a negative self-view, which is often the case for learners with undiagnosed learning difficulties, it can cause them to lack confidence in classroom activities, particularly in tasks that involve reading and writing.

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