*NIH(National Institute for Health) research has repeatedly demonstrated that lack of phonemic awareness is the root cause of reading failure and poor spelling. Phonemes are the smallest unit of spoken language, not written language.
Children who lack phonemic awareness are unable to distinguish or manipulate most sounds within spoken words or syllables. They would be unable to do the following tasks:
• Phoneme Segmentation: What sounds do you hear in the word hot ? What's the last sound in the word map ?
• Phoneme Deletion: What word would be left if the /k/ sound were taken away from cat ?
• Phoneme Matching: Do pen and pipe start with the same sound?
• Phoneme Counting: How many sounds do you hear in the word cake ?
• Phoneme Substitution: What word would you have if you changed the /h/ in hot to /p/?
• Blending: What word would you have if you put these sounds together? /s/ /a/ /t/
• Rhyming: Tell me as many words as you can that rhyme with the word eat .
If a child lacks phonemic awareness, they will have difficulty learning the relationship between letters and the sounds they represent in words, as well as applying those letter/sound correspondences to help them “sound out” unknown words. Thus, comprehension of sentences and stories may be difficult for them.
So children who perform poorly on phonemic awareness tasks via oral language in kindergarten are very likely to experience difficulties acquiring the early word reading skills that provide the foundation for growth of reading ability throughout elementary school.
Phonemic awareness skills can and must be directly and explicitly taught to children who lack this awareness in order for the child to experience success in the area of reading and spelling.
The Reading Center focuses on phonemic awareness and body brain intergration which places information from short term memories into long term memories.
*Warning Signs of Dyslexia:
If a child has THREE or MORE of the following warning signs, encourage that child's parents to learn more about dyslexia.
In Preschool • delayed speech • mixing up the sounds and syllables in long words • chronic ear infections • stuttering • constant confusion of left versus right • late establishing a dominant hand • difficulty learning to tie shoes • trouble memorizing their address, phone number, or the alphabet • can’t create words that rhyme • a close relative with dyslexia.
In Elementary School • dysgraphia (slow, non-automatic handwriting that is difficult to read) • letter or number reversals continuing past the end of first grade • extreme difficulty learning cursive • slow, choppy, inaccurate reading: - guesses based on shape or context - skips or misreads prepositions (at, to, of) - ignores suffixes - can’t sound out unknown words • terrible spelling • often can’t remember sight words (they, were, does) or homonyms (their, they’re, and there) • difficulty telling time with a clock with hands • trouble with math - memorizing multiplication tables - memorizing a sequence of steps - directionality • when speaking, difficulty finding the correct word - lots of “whatyamacallits” and “thingies” - common sayings come out slightly twisted • extremely messy bedroom, backpack, and desk • dreads going to school - complains of stomach aches or headaches - may have nightmares about school.
In High School All of the above symptoms plus: • limited vocabulary • extremely poor written expression - large discrepancy between verbal skills and written compositions • unable to master a foreign language • difficulty reading printed music • poor grades in many classes • may drop out of high school.
In Adults Education history similar to above, plus: • slow reader • may have to read a page 2 or 3 times to understand it • terrible speller • difficulty putting thoughts onto paper - dreads writing memos or letters • still has difficulty with right versus left • often gets lost, even in a familiar city • sometimes confuses b and d, especially when sick or tired.
Why is evaluation important?
An evaluation is the process of gathering information to identify the factors contributing to a student’s difficulty with learning to read and spell. First, information is gathered from parents and teachers to understand development and the educational opportunities that have been provided. Then, tests are given to identify strengths and weaknesses that lead to a diagnosis and a tentative road map for intervention. Conclusions and recommendations are developed and reported.
When should a child be evaluated?
It is possible to identify potential reading problems in young children even before the problems turn into reading failure. Screenings should be used with all children in a school, beginning in kindergarten, to locate those students who
are “at risk” for reading difficulty. Preventive intervention should begin immediately, even if dyslexia is suspected. How the child responds to supplementary instruction will help determine if special education services are justified and necessary.
Where to start? This is a good place to begin a brief unofficial dyslexia at home screening.
Please read each statement and decide how well it describes the child. Mark your answer by circling the appropriate number. Please do not leave any statement unmarked.
Add up the circled numbers and record that as the Total Score _______________
The following cutoffs apply: Total Score <16 = Minimal Risk Total Score 16-21 = Moderate Risk
Total Score >21 = Significant Risk
See below for details for each Risk Group.
Minimal Risk: The score indicates that there is little in the child’s developmental history to indicate that he/she is at risk for a reading disability (dyslexia). However, if there are concerns about the child’s reading progress, an evaluation with a certified screener at The Reading Center is recommended to examine the nature of these difficulties.
1- Never/ not at all
2- Rarely/ a little
4- Frequently/ quite a bit
5- Always/ a great deal
1. Has difficulty with spelling 1 2 3 4 5
2. Has/had difficulty learning letter names 1 2 3 4 5
3.Has/had difficulty learning phonics (sounding out words) 1 2 3 4 5
4. Reads slowly 1 2 3 4 5
5. Reads below grade level 1 2 3 4 5
6.Requires extra help in school because of problems in reading and spelling 1 2 3 4 5
Moderate Risk: The score indicates that there are features of the child’s developmental history (e.g. difficulty learning letters, required extra reading help) that may be consistent with a reading disability (dyslexia). Reading disability constitutes a very common learning disability, affecting approximately 5% of the United States population. Reading disability is characterized by slow or effortful reading, difficulty sounding out new words, and problems with spelling. If there are concerns about the child’s reading progress, an evaluation with The Reading Center is recommended.
Significant Risk: The score indicates that there are several features of your child’s developmental history (e.g. difficulty learning letters, required extra reading help) that are consistent with a reading disability (dyslexia). Reading disability constitutes a very common learning disability, affecting approximately 5-10% of the United States population. Reading disability is characterized by slow or effortful reading, difficulty sounding out new words, and problems with spelling. The results of this questionnaire indicate that your child may be experiencing some or all of those symptoms. A evaluation with The Reading Center is recommended, so that your child can get the reading support he/she needs, if appropriate.