Dr. Warren’s blogger articles on strategies.

10 Ways to Release Worries in the Classroom

With stringent
common core demands, burdensome homework, and competition for high test grades,
many students spend a lot of time worrying about school performance.  However, many of these children do not
know how to manage stress, and it can lead to sleepless nights, panic attacks, temper
tantrums, health concerns, a case of learned helplessness, and even clinical levels of anxiety and depression.  So, what can we do to help children manage the academic load
while keeping a level head?
Help your Students Understand the
Negative Side Effects of Worrying:
1)   Worrying Interferes with Learning and Makes
it Hard to Concentrate:  
If
students are worrying, they are easily distracted and will likely miss
important directions and academic content. Here is a great NY Times article on this: Click Here
2)   Worrying has a Negative Impact on Memory:
Research
suggests that stress and worries make it difficult for the brain to access
memories.  In fact, prolonged
stress can cause an excessive amount of cortisol production in the brain which can even shrink the hippocampus – the memory center of the brain. To learn more about this go to: Click Here
3)   Worrying also Makes us Stressed, Unhappy and
Unhealthy: 
Negative emotions can harm
the body and lead to illnesses and diseases.  Harvard News and WebMD offers more on this.
Help your Students Manage their Worries:
1)   Integrate Movement into the Classroom:  When your students’ attention wanes,
offer short kinesthetic brain breaks. 
Also, encourage your students to get involved in sports and other
physical activities.  Exercise has
been shown to reduce stress.  In
fact, children that exercise regularly are better able to cope with
stress.  Come read more in this NY Times article.  
2)   Manage the Homework Load Across Classes:  Be sure to communicate with other
teachers so, each day, homework loads are manageable for your students.

3)   Give your Students “Personal Days” with
No Homework: Once a week, offer your students a day with no homework.  Brainstorm with them how they can best
use this free time.

4)   Create a Worry Box: Many students are not
able to share their worries because they are embarrassed or they are afraid
that their fears will be criticized. 
If you offer your students a worry box, where they can write down and
submit their concerns, it will allow you to address the issues individually or
as a class.

5)   Teach Time Management Skills:  Break long assignments into manageable
chunks with clear expectations and deadlines.  Also discuss time management with your students and brainstorm with them ways to prepare for assignments, projects and test in advance.
6)   Offer Short Mindful Meditations: Before
tests and other stressful events, offer your students the option of
participating in a short mindful meditation.  Here are two free meditations offered on YouTube that focus on stress relief: Meditation 1  Meditation 2.  
7)   Offer an Organized System for Catch-up:  When a student misses a day or more of
school, it can be difficult for them to manage the work load when they return.  As a result, create a system where
missed content, handouts, class notes and homework can be available on the
internet, through email or attainable from a peer or advisor. 
8)   Return Assignments and Tests ASAP:  After your students turn in homework,
classwork and completed tests, be sure to return the graded material as soon as
possible.  Also, offer them the
opportunity to learn from their mistakes by providing comprehensive comments or setting
up a one-on-one session with you or support staff.
9)   Provide Extra Credit for Test
Corrections:  Encourage your
students to learn from their mistakes by offering extra credit or additional points on
their test grade for completing comprehensive test corrections.
10) Set an Example:  Students
can learn how to let go of their worries if you too exhibit this behavior.  Think aloud and let them
hear how you can take a stressful situation and manage your own worries. 
Share the Following Statistics with your Class and Discuss Them:

If you have any other ideas, I would love to hear your thoughts!
Cheers, Erica
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Reading Comprehension Strategies for Stories

Helping your
students to develop excellent reading comprehension skills can help them to succeed
in academics as well as life.  But
simply decoding words is not enough. 
Successful readers must remember content, understand inferences, maintain
focus and make connections. It is a comprehensive process that requires mindful
pre-reading activities, reading activities and post-reading activities.
Pre-reading Strategies
1.     Reading a summary of the chapter helps students
to conceptualize main ideas so that they can read deeper and prepare to
visualize the content.
2.    Questioning prior knowledge about the topic
can help students make connections and it can capture their interest.
3.    Skimming a prior chapter or reviewing personal
notes can help to bring back the story line or main idea for the reader.
4.    Predicting what will happen in the story can
help to engage learners imaginations and creativity.
Reading Strategies
1.     Underlining important characters, settings
and events can help the reader document important details.
2.    Annotating or taking notes in the margins
can help students to document their thoughts and focus on important events or
ideas.  Symbols such as S for setting and Þ for important event can help students to
be mindful of key features and actions.
3.    Pretending to be a movie director and trying
to make the characters and setting come alive can help students remain engaged
and can improve memory for the story.
Post-reading Strategies
1.     Using a notebook or sticky notes to record
3 to 5 bullets that summarize each chapter can help the reader pull the story
together.  In addition, this
strategy can also be used to help students to write a summary of the book.  Furthermore, jotting notes can also
offer a preview when the student returns to read another chapter.
2.    Drawing a picture or more for each chapter
that summarizes the events can help students to develop their visualization
capacity.
3.    Creating a timeline as the reader progresses
through the story can clarify the structure and the sequence of events.  Colorful drawings can also be added to
the timeline to help students imagine important details.
4.    Making marks in the book where there are
descriptive sections or character descriptions can be a good strategy for students
that have trouble visualizing while reading.  When they reach the end of a page or passage, they can go
back and visualize the events and scenes.
I hope you found
these strategies helpful.  I would
love to hear your thoughts.  If you would like a free handout of these strategies click here.

To learn more
about academic strategies as well as other helpful learning tools, consider purchasing Planning Time
Management and Organization for Success
. This publication
offers methods and materials that teach learning strategies, time management, planning and organization (executive functioning skills).  It
includes questionnaires, agendas, checklists, as well as graphic organizers.  You
will also find advice and handouts for math, memory, motivation,
setting priorities and incentives programs.  What’s more,
the materials accommodate learners of all ages.  Lastly,
I offer a free sample assessment from the publication too, as well as a free video on
executive functioning.  To Access this Click Here

Cheers, Erica


Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Free Vowel Combination Game

Using games to teach students the vowel combinations or vowel teams can be a wonderful way to entice your students and brings the fun factor into your lesson.  
Here is a free game, Voweleos, that I created that is similar to the game Dominoes.  

            For two to five players (for 3-5 players make two or more sets mixed together).
The vowel combinations can be:
  1. Copied onto 3” by 5” index cards that are cut in half horizontally 
  2. Written onto rectangular tiles 
  3. Printed on card stock and cut  
            Directions: Play on a surface with a lot of cleared space or play on the floor.  Shuffle the deck or tiles.  Decide which player begins and play proceeds in a clockwise rotation.  Each player or team should be dealt ten cards or tiles.  You can play open or closed handed.  Beginners should always play with their vowel combinations visible to everyone, so that the teacher or parent can assist them.  Place the rest of the deck/tiles face down and turn one card/tile over and display it in the middle of the playing field (the beginning card).  The first player must select one of their cards/tiles that makes the same sound as one side of the beginning card/tile and then place it aside the beginning card/tile.  Like dominoes, you can only play off the ends.  If a player cannot make a move, they must select from the card deck or remaining tiles until they can.  The winner is the first one to use all of his or her cards. 
Please note that you can color-code the cards/tiles to remind students the number of sounds that each vowel combination can make: red = 1 sound, blue = 2 sounds, green = 3 sounds.  For example, ai is red because it only makes one possible sound, whereas ea is green because it can make three possible sounds.  If you would like to play this game before you have introduced all of the vowel combinations, you can make two decks of the red cards/tiles and play with the vowel combinations that make a single sound. 
Here is a list of all the playing cards/tiles.
To learn about other reading games, consider purchasing one of my Reading Games publications. These digital downloads offer a large selection of reading card games and board games that are wonderful for any phonics or Orton Gillingham reading program.  Finally, look on the page for a blue button for a free sample of one of my board games too. If you like this game, please share it with your friends and leave a comment below. 

Cheers, Erica


Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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12 Memory Strategies That Maximize Learning

Most students have had the experience of
knowing an answer, but they are unable to access the information in a stressful
moment. This is a common difficulty when students are taking a test, as anxiety can block recall.  In fact, one may
be able to recall the first letter of a name they are trying to conjure from
memory but fail to retrieve the whole word.  In addition, they may be able to describe the word or concept but only
call to mind similar words or concepts. 
The brain is much like a filing cabinet,
storing information that you have learned, and if a student quickly packs information into their head in a
random or disorganized fashion, uncovering the needed material can be a
challenge.  Like finding a favorite
shirt in a messy room, a student may waste a lot of time searching for the right
word, or even worse, they may not be able to demonstrate their knowledge when
called upon in class or when recording answers on a test.  This can be frustrating and
discouraging.  However, if students
take the time to sort the novel information and make connections, recollection
can improve significantly. 
Memory strategies are tools that help
students organize information before they file it away in their minds.  The following will
introduce you to a variety of memory strategies that can assist students with
the learning process, so that they can save time, achieve better grades and
gain improved confidence in their ability to demonstrate their knowledge.

  1. Make Connections: Making connections between new information and prior knowledge
    can help students learn and encode novel material in an organized fashion.  
  2. Chunking: Chunking
    allows students to organize material into manageable units.
  3. Looking For Patterns: Looking for patterns in new material can
    also aid in some learning situations.
  4. Tell a Story: Creating a story about the information to be learned can help with both memory encoding and
    retrieval.  If stories are
    humorous, it’s even better.
  5. Rhymes: Rhymes
    use a poem or verse that has a pattern of sounds, especially at the ends of
    lines.  Creating rhymes with academic content embedded can make recall an easier process.
  6. Create a Visual Association: Visual associations allow students to connect a
    mental or drawn image with the information memorized.  
  7. Create an Auditory Association: Auditory associations can help with
    learning vocabulary.  A word may
    sound like something that reminds you of it’s meaning. 
  8. Graphic Organizers: Graphic organizers are also called Mind Maps, Concept Maps and
    Flow Charts.  They are all
    illustrative ways to organize information and thoughts. They are powerful tools
    that help students make connections and see the big picture. 
  9. Acrostics: Acrostics
    are short sentences that use the initial letter of each word or phrase to be
    memorized. 
  10. Hooking: Hooking
    is a method that helps students connect the question to the answer so that
    information is stored in the same location and can be easily accessed.  This is a great strategy for
    remembering vocabulary words because the answer is embedded in the question.
  11. Verbal Rehearsal – Teaching Material:
    Some students are assisted when they are able to process information
    aloud.  Many individuals do not
    really know what they are thinking until they have had the opportunity to
    articulate it.  Being able to
    discuss new topics, or even teach the material to others, can be an effective
    way of securing information into one’s memory.
  12. Songs: Songs
    are wonderful tools that can assist students in memorizing mundane facts.
For a full free document that goes into greater detail on the above memory strategies and provides examples Click Here.

To learn more about these memory strategies as well as other helpful learning tools, consider purchasing Planning Time Management and Organization for Success.  This publication offers methods and materials that guide, and support students in the areas of learning strategies, time management, planning and organization (executive functioning skills).  It includes agendas, questionnaires, checklists, as well as graphic organizers.  You will also find advice and handouts for reading, math, memory, motivation, setting priorities and incentives programs.  These materials were created over a ten year period for my private practice.  What’s more, the materials accommodate learners of all ages from elementary to college.  Finally, I offer a free sample assessment from the publication too, as well as a free video on executive functioning.  To Access this Click Here

Cheers, Erica



Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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How to Find the Right Graduate Program

It is always a difficult process to find the
right graduate program.  There are a plethora of options out there and
locating the perfect place can be tricky and time consuming. I wanted to
share my own personal anecdote as well as some recommendations.  I hope
that you find this helpful!  
What inspired this post was a question by one of
my followers.  Below you will find their question in blue and my answer in
red. 
I am a special education
teacher and have been for 20 years +.  I also work as an adjunct professor
for several Massachusetts colleges.  I have my masters +60 additional
graduate credits, but have yet to commit to a doctoral program because I cannot
find one that really interests me. I really want to focus on the impact of
movement and exercise, cross-body exercises and increased heart-rate on
learning.  How did you go about tailoring a degree program to meet your
unique interests?  I’m not sure where to even begin!  Any help or
advise you could give me would be so appreciated!    
Thank you,  Karen
Dear Karen:
Thanks so much for your question.  I’m
happy to share my experience and some advice.  
When I was looking at graduate programs, I too
had trouble finding a single college that allowed me to acquire the needed
coursework and education I desired.  I did not plan to have an undergraduate,
masters degree and doctoral degree in different areas.  I also did not
plan to switch doctoral programs three times.  It all seemed so chaotic, but
as I traversed this path, it gave me an unusual insight.  I could see that
each department lay isolated, there was little to no communication between the
fields, and each provided their own perspective, objective and strategies. To
my delight, combining the methods and paradigms was an amazing journey and it
offered a unique expertise that has allowed me to bridge some important
gaps.  For instance, having a comprehensive understanding of learning,
cognition and assessment allows me to qualitatively evaluate the needs of my
students.  Also, having an artistic background enables me to bring color,
images, illustrations and design into my student sessions which ignites
excitement and sparks creativity.  This diversity has become
my tool box and continuing education in areas such as mindfulness and nutrition
continue to expand my multisensory approach.  So,
don’t be afraid to mix coursework from numerous departments and look for a
school that offers graduate work in all your areas of intrigue.
I love the fact that you want to combine
coursework in the mind-body connection.  It is such an important
issue and I can tell you that integrating mindful movement can be magical for
many students.  It can also help individuals with disabilities to break through
difficult barriers.  
To start the process, make a list of the
research articles that you find most inspiring.  Note of
the institutions that feature their research.  If
possible, contact the author.  Find out what schools
they attended, and ask them if they know of any programs that would enable you
to expand on your interests.  If they are faculty members themselves, find out more
about the possibility of working with them in a doctoral program.  The
college matters, but the mentors you encounter in the program far supersedes
the reputation of the school.  Check out the backgrounds
and interests of all the faculty in each department and if at all possible meet
them.  For my masters program in educational psychology, I picked the
University of Northern Colorado over New York University as well as Columbia.  My
friends and family were shocked, but I never doubted this decision.  The faculty were outstanding at UNC and
the assistantship they granted me as well as the individual attention and small
class sizes were a perfect fit.
I hope this has been helpful.  If I
can be of further assistance, please let me know.  I wish
you great luck and fortune on your quest for higher learning.

Cheers, Erica
If any of you have additional advice for Karen, please leave a comment below!


Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Natural Strategies that Can Help Students Academic Abilities and Behaviors

More and more children are being medicated for school based problems related to attention and learning issues, and families are concerned
about the short term and long term effects.  In addition, most caregivers don’t want to mask the presenting symptoms.  Instead, they want to get
to the root cause of the problem.   
What are Some
Possible Causes that can be Addressed Naturally?
There are three possible causes that can addressed
without medications.  First, there are
increasing amounts of toxins and unhealthy, synthesized substances in our environment that have
impacted our food chain and water supplies.  For
instance, toxic levels of mercury are often reported in many types of fish and
professionals are continually warning us about the dangers of pesticides and
genetically modified foods. 
Second, many available foods contain preservatives, additives and other
chemicals that can negatively impact on our bodies and brains.  A common additive, monosodium glutamate or MSG, is used by restaurants to make patrons feel full.  However, this substance can also cause headaches, intestinal distress and other unpleasant symptoms. Third, in our fast paced society, many
kids do not have a well balanced diet and therefore struggle with nutritional
deficiencies.  An imbalanced diet can impact
physical development, organs, and because the blood feeds the brain, poor
nutrition can affect cognition. 
What are Some Common
Symptoms that Indicate Nutritional Deficiencies?
     1.    
Rough dry skin
     2.    
Cracked lips
     3.    
Dry or dull hair
     4.    
Pasty skin
     5.    
Excessive thirst


What are Some Common
Symptoms that Indicate Toxins are Present in the Body?
     1.    
Rashes
     2.    
Irritability
     3.    
Intestinal issues
     4.    
Mental fog
     5.    
Inflammatory conditions
     6.    
Head aches
     7.    
Sinus problems
     8.    
Difficulty sleeping
What Can We Do?
     1.    
Use natural cleaning products without synthesized agents and heavy
perfumes.
     2.    
Clean your house with hot steam instead of
chemicals.
     3.    
Drink
plenty of clean water.
     4.    
Eat
organic produce and meat.
     5.    
Eat detoxifying foods, like fruits and vegetables.
     6.    Take a high grade fish oil supplement.  Here is a great video on the benefits of fish oil http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ477yo1IXY
     7.     Take high quality vitamins.
     8.    
Avoid
processed foods – particularly white flour and sugar.
     9.     Exercise your body 3-5 times a week.
    10.    Allow
your body to have some down time.
I hope you found this helpful!  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Mathemagic: Multisensory and Mindful Math Strategies Tailored for the Individual

Many students struggle with the steps required to complete
mathematical problems.  They may
forget the concept, miss a step, mis-sequence the steps, misread a sign, or struggle
with writing out or lining up the numbers.  In fact, even if a student has understood and executed a
problem with precision, it doesn’t mean that they will retain that information at a
later time.  So what can we do to
help these students to encode, into long-term memory, the steps required to complete math
computations? 
The 3 Key Components
for Effective Math Instruction
1.     Go multisensory: Integrate as many of the
12 Ways of processing as you can into your instructional plan: Visual, Auditory, Tactile, Kinesthetic,
Sequential, Simultaneous, Reflective, Verbal, Interactive, Indirect Experience,
Direct Experience, and Rythmic
Melodic.  To learn more about this
click here 
2.    Teach metacognitive and mindful strategies:
Metacognition refers to
the act of thinking about thinking, or the cognition of cognition. It is the
ability to control your own thoughts. 
Mindfulness refers to being completely aware of the present moment, as
well as maintaining a non-judgmental approach. It
helps to develop emotional intelligence and it instructs students to pay
attention on purpose.  What’s more, mindfulness can help improve memory, test
scores, classroom behaviors and stress management.  To learn more about this click here
3.    Integrate creativity:  Integrating creative lessons and
assignments into the curriculum allows students to incorporate their imagination
and encourages active participation. 
Creative assignments also increases motivation for many students. 
Creating a Math Manual:
One of the most effective strategies I have ever employed
with students is creating a “math manual.”  This assignment or project unites the three components of
effective math instruction and also brings the fun factor into the
classroom.  This can be completed
throughout the academic year and checked for accuracy, so that students can use this resource for tests,
midterms, finals, and even state exams.
What Format Should be
Used?
Students can create the manual by hand or on a
computer.  It can be presented in a
photo album, a blank book, a binder, or a notebook.
Creating the Cover:
I encourage all of my students to come up with their own
unique, creative name and cover for their math manual.  In my illustration at the top of this blog, I called it
Mathemagic: A Magical Math
Manual. 
Create a Sequence of
Color Coded Steps:
Each student should write out the required steps to complete
the problem.  This can be done in a
linear fashion, a numbered list, a web or flow chart.  I also encourage students to color code the steps as this can also enhance memory.
Use Mnemonics:
Memory strategies are
tools that help students organize information before they file it away in their
memory banks.  I encourage my
students to create their own memory strategies and to use both visual and auditory mnemonics.
Complete a Sample
Problem:
Ask the students to provide a color coded sample problem
that illustrates the needed steps to complete a problem.
Other Options:
Ask your students to create
a song, poem, or rhyme with or without a dance routine to define the steps.  Integrating songs, rhymes and kinesthetics offers further modalities that will help to encode computation skills. 

Sample Math Manual Page:
I hope you you found this helpful!  If you would like a free copy of this division strategy, click here or on the image above.

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Teaching Metacognitive Skills: A Fun, Free Illustration and Download

Many students plod through schooling as passive learners and
they rarely learn to take control of their own cognition.  In contrast, others learn to be active
participants in the learning process and develop metacognitive skills.  Metacognition is the awareness of one’s
own cognition or thought process and it involves higher order thinking that enables understanding, analysis and control.  For many concrete learners, as well as
those that struggle with attentional issues, this notion can be difficult to
grasp.  However, the process can be
taught through visual aids, demonstrations, discussions, group work, and graphic
organizers.  In fact, the more
multisensory the instruction, the greater the likelihood that all your students
will master this skill. 
A Scaffolding Illustration:
The Process:
After a lesson or reading, I
like to summarize important details, main ideas, and then I make connections by
sharing my own thought processes.  I
explain to the students that I will be thinking aloud so that they can
understand how I use my brain.  Then,
I describe the concept of metacognition and I define it for my students.  To make the metacognitive process
multisensory, I integrate visual metaphors, as I find that the images and
comparisons help students to recall the meaning and the steps of
execution.  Then, through guided
instruction, I like to have students share their own thought processes.  Finally, I ask them to use this method
independently, or in small groups, at the end of future lessons.
A Specific Example:
1.   I project the attached image for all the students to see.
2.   I begin in the middle of the image and define the knowledge nuggets
or the important details highlighted in the lesson.   I explain that these are gold nuggets because they are
the most valuable details and they are the ones that we need to remember.  Then, I think aloud and fill in the knowledge
nuggets.
3.   I suggest that all of those knowledge nuggets can be melted
down and what results is the main golden message or the main idea of the
lesson.  It defines what the lesson
is trying to teach.  I then provide
the main golden message and write it on the lines at the top of the graphic
organizer.
4.   Finally, I illustrate to the students how to make golden connections.   I call them golden connections
because attaching new information to prior knowledge is another very valuable
tool that helps memory. I might connect the lesson to a personal experience or
a prior class topic.  I often begin
these examples with, “This reminds me of…”
5.   When I’m finished, I pull away the image with my thought
processes and put the same blank illustration back up for everyone to see.  Then, I ask the students to share their
own thought processes.  I ask for
student volunteers to fill in the suggested knowledge nuggets, main golden
message, and golden connections.  With
incorrect responses, I always thank the participant for sharing his or her idea
and then I express that they are, “almost there or almost golden.”  Then, I guide them to the correct
answers with questions and hints. 
·     
Step 5 can also be
completed in small groups that later present their ideas, or you can also print
the graphic organizer for each student to fill out individually. 
If you would like a copy of this
graphic organizer, so you too can use it for teaching metacognition, go to the
following page where you can find a copy of this blog and a free link
button.  Here, you can also get a
free copy of my Passive vs. Active Learning Assessment. http://www.dyslexiamaterials.com/free-advice-strategies.html 
Cheers, Erica
Dr.
Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory
educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.
 She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To
learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com
www.dyslexiamaterials.com and www.learningtolearn.biz  

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Auditory Discrimination Deficits Can Result in Funny Misunderstandings

As a child, I was often
teased by my silly misunderstandings of expressions, phrases, words and even
lyrics to songs.  Although my hearing
was excellent, I struggled with auditory discrimination difficulties.  As a result, I continually confused
sounds that were similar and often misconstrued what people were telling me.   For instance, after a year abroad
with my family living in England, we returned to the United States and I
entered the first grade.  On the
first day of school, when my teachers and peers detected my British inflections
they asked me about it.  To my
dismay, my explanation resulted in laughter.  When I got home I complained to my mother, with a big frown
on my face, that the students and teachers had laughed at me.  I just couldn’t understand why they chuckled
when I told them I had an “English accident.” 
One of my current
students, Ben, and I are both members of what I like to call, “the dyslexia
club.”  For the two of us, the
primary weakness that resulted in our diagnoses was auditory discrimination
deficits.   In particular, we
had fun sharing our misunderstandings of song lyrics and had a good
giggle.  A week later, Ben came
into my office and said, “I’m
so confused.  For years I thought it was, ‘play it by year,’ and recently
found out it was ‘play it by ear.’  Is that my dyslexia?”  I nodded.  He
looked at me with his head cocked and his brow furrowed and said, “Play it by ear doesn’t make any sense.”  He had a perfect understanding of the
saying and felt that his misinterpretation was a better fit for the meaning.  
Here are a couple of other cute
misunderstandings that my students have made:
“Challenge words are my worst
emeny.”
“It happened in a half hazard
manner.”
Do you have any to share?
Remember that the kids that
struggle with this cognitive processing weakness are not aware of their
misunderstandings, so make an effort not to laugh at them and gently guide them to the correct
pronunciation.

If you want to learn more about the research behind this, check out this article from the NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/02/health/research/02dyslexia.html?ref=dyslexia

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author,
illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory
Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn,
in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can
go to 
www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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The Different Types of Dyslexia: Targeting Intervention

Although reading disorders were recognized back in the late 1800s, the term dyslexia didn’t become a recognized condition until the 1970’s-1980’s.  Since then, it has received an
enormous amount of research and professional based attention.  However, many educators and clinicians
are still mystified about how to best pinpoint the specific needs of each student
with dyslexia.  
The primary
underlying cause of this confusion is the fact that there are many cognitive
weaknesses or deficits that can trigger a diagnosis of dyslexia.  So much like a dart board, if service
providers continue to aim interventions at the wrong place, they may play a
frustrating game and they will certainly never hit the bull’s-eye.  As a result professionals have begun to
propose subtypes that categorize dyslexics based on common symptoms, so individuals with dyslexia can be understood and service providers can target
the needed areas of attention. 
What are the different types of
dyslexia?
The three most commonly defined subtypes of dyslexia are Dyseidetic Dyslexia
or Visual Dyslexia, Dysphonetic Dyslexia or Auditory Dyslexia and Dysphoneidetic or
Alexic Dyslexia. 
1) Dyseidetic
Dyslexia or Visual Dyslexia: 
is when a learner struggles with the
decoding and or spelling of words because he or she has great difficulty remembering
or revisualizing the word, particularly irregular sightwords (also known as
eidetic words).  These learners tend to have good auditory processing
skills as well as an understanding of phonics, but they struggle with visual processing, memory
synthesis and sequencing of words.  Word or letter reversals when reading, as well as writing and spelling difficulties are also common.
2) Dysphonetic
Dyslexia or Auditory Dyslexia: 
is when a learner struggles with the
decoding and or spelling of words because he or she has great difficulty
associating sounds with symbols (also known as phonemic awareness).  These learners tend to have good visual processing skills, but they
have deficits in auditory processing as well as linking a sound to a
visual cue.
3) Dysphoneidetic or Alexic Dyslexia: is when a
learner struggles with both visual and auditory processing deficits.  This subcategory is known as Mixed
Dyslexia or Dysphoneidetic Dyslexia 
What about the Other
Cognitive Struggles that Are Often Associated with Dyslexia?
Although the above designations are somewhat helpful, they do not
address all the areas that can be associated with dyslexia such as difficulties with handwriting, oral language, math, motor planning and
coordination, organization, orientation to time, focus and attention, spatial
perception, and eye movement control. As a result, Mattis French and Rapin proposed
a different breakdown based on a study they conducted of 113 children with
dyslexia. They proposed three very different classifications:
1) Syndrome I: Language Disorder 
These learners experience anomia, comprehension                deficits, and confusion with speech and sound discrimination.
2)  Syndrome II: Articulatory and Graphomotor Dyscoordination – These learners exhibit gross and
fine motor coordination deficits, as well as poor speech and graphomotor
coordination.
3) Syndrome III:
Visuospatial Perceptual Disorder 
– These learners have poor
visuospatial perception and difficulties encoding and retrieving visual stimuli.
But What About Those That Learn to Compensate for Their
Dyslexia?
Although dyslexia presents
significant challenges, many learn to compensate and become successful and
celebrated professionals.  Dr.
Fernette and Brock Eide coined yet another term, Stealth Dyslexia, to describe gifted dyslexics who learned to
compensate for reading difficulties with great analytical and problem-solving strengths.  However, these learners still experience significant difficulties with writing and spelling.  Because they are so smart, the difficulties these individuals experience are often characterized with inappropriate labels such as careless or lazy.  As a result,  many with stealth dyslexia can feel a sense of learned helplessness.

So, although these new ways of
breaking dyslexia down into subcategories is helpful, clearly they still need
to be refined.  I am dyslexic
myself and feel that none of the subcategories or designations captures my
profile.  Perhaps the solution lies
in allowing each individual diagnosis to list the specific areas of cognitive
deficits that impact learning so individual students can receive tailored interventions.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

If you are looking for multisensory and mindful materials for dyslexia remediation, come check us out at www.dyslexiamaterials.com 

Cheers, Erica
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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