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by Gwynne Kohl, Ph.D.
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by Cheryl Ward MS, CALP
Remediation for Struggling Readers is Possible
by Cheryl Ward, MS, CALP
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a term, coined in the early part of the 20th century that comes from medicine but is often used to describe a student who has reading difficulties. Many, however, remain confused about the term in spite of the fact that major advances in our understanding of dyslexia have been made through scientific research over the past 40 years.
The formal definition of dyslexia from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, which has sponsored the majority of recent research on dyslexia, which was adopted by the Board of the International Dyslexia Association in 2002reads:
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and / or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability and refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special education, special accommodations, or extra support services.
As a language-processing disorder dyslexia is characterized by difficulties sounding out and recognizing (decoding) words and with spelling. Dyslexia is on a continuum from mild to severe. Not rare, dyslexia affects 10-20% of our population; one or two of every 10 people and the most common reason a child will struggle with spelling, writing, and reading.
Children with dyslexia CAN read when the right instructional strategies are used.
Remedial instruction for students with dyslexia requires an effectively trained teacher with the capacity to provide skillful, explicit, systematic and targeted instruction at a pace that helps the individual student acquire grade level reading skills at a pace that ensures mastery. Because acquiring the basic skills required for accurate and fluent reading can be so difficult for children with dyslexia, their need for more positive emotional support in the form of encouragement, feedback, and positive reinforcement is critical.
Cheryl Ward M.S., C.A.L.P.
Certified Academic Language Practitioner
Orton Gillingham Multisensory Trained Reading Teacher