Dr. Warren’s blogger articles on strategies.

Quick Individualized Solutions for Struggling and Dyslexic Readers

There is no single reading program or method that will address all the needs of struggling readers, because each learner has his or her own unique strengths
and weaknesses.  In fact, there are
many cognitive processing weaknesses that can effect young learners and if you
want quick and optimal results, it’s important to pursue a comprehensive
evaluation.  A good assessment will
help uncover the areas of difficulty.  Then educational professionals, such
as an experienced reading specialist or educational therapist can focus on
strengthening those specific areas of cognition. 
What Are Some of The
Cognitive Processing Areas That Impact Reading?
There are many cognitive processing areas that can impact
reading.  Here are the most common:
Tracking: is the
ability of the eyes to follow the
movement of an object in motion or follow words across the page from left
to right.
Visual Synthesis
– is the ability to pull the pieces together to create a visual whole.
Visual Closure – is
the ability to identify or
recognize a symbol or object when the entire object is not visible.
Visual Discrimination  is the ability to discriminate
between visible likeness and differences in size, shape, pattern, form,
position, and color. 
Visual Reasoning – is the ability to understand and analyze visual
information. 
Visual Memory  is the ability to recall what has been seen.
Visual Sequencing   is the ability to recall the sequence
of symbols, letters or numbers that have been seen.
Attention to Visual
Details
  is the ability to attend to and recognize all the information and
fine points presented in an image.
Auditory
Discrimination 
 is the ability
to detect differences in sounds.
Auditory Memory – is the ability to remember the details
of what is heard.
Auditory Sequencing  is the ability to remember the
order of information in which it was heard.
Auditory Closure  is the ability to “fill in the gaps” and
decipher a word or message when a part is distorted or missing.
Sound Symbol
Association –
is the ability to connect a sound with a symbol or letter.
Word Retrieval  is
the ability to rapidly and precisely
express ideas into specific words.
Receptive Language  is
the ability to accurately understand language that is seen or heard.
Mental Flexibility – is
the ability to shift our thoughts
in order to respond effectively to any given situation.
Comprehensive Reading
Programs Work, But Are They The Best Solution?
No one would suggest a whole body workout, if you just had a weak
bicep.  Although a whole body
workout would help in many ways, it will be a long process and your bicep may
never receive the intensive work it needs to catch up with the rest of your
body.  Likewise, a reading program is always beneficial, but it will probably take time and it may
never strengthen the specific cognitive areas that need the most
attention. 
How Can Specific Cognitive Areas Be Strengthened? 
To strengthen specific areas of cognition, it is important
to do repeated activities that exercise those areas of the brain.  For example, if you need to improve a
student’s tracking abilities, he or she would need to do a lot of activities
that would require their eyes to follow from left to right and follow objects
in motion.  Likewise, to
improve visual discrimination, a student would need to complete a lot of
activities that would require the processing of similar images.  They would need to learn to practice and uncover likenesses
and differences. 
What Are Some
Specific Tools Professionals, Teachers and Parents Can Use?
To help make this process easier, I have designed a series of specific cognitive activities and games in a series of publications called
Reversing Reversals.  The first
publication in the Series, Reversing Reversal Primary, offers cognitive training materials for young
learners that are struggling with letters and numbers, as well as those that
are showing signs of dyslexia or other learning disabilities.  This
product includes fun activities and games that use animals which will truly please and
entice students.  Young learners will not even realize that they are working on the foundational skills that are
necessary to learn basic math and reading.  The next product is Reversing Reversals.  This integrates letters and numbers
into the activities and games. 
Finally, Reversing Reversals 2 continues to offer more activities which work with letters, numbers and even symbols.   Free samplings of the
activities are available for all three of these publications.  To learn more and try
the free samples, go to dyslexiamaterials.com.  Another
comprehensive tool that addresses many of the cognitive processing areas is Audiblox: http://www.audiblox2000.com/  For
visual processing issues, I also like the MiniLuk system, and for Visual Discrimination and reasoning, I like Visual Discrimination by Jean Edwards.  See the links below:
                 

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.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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10 Easy Ways to Strengthen the Weaknesses Associated with Dyslexia

Dyslexia
is the new, hot topic in education around the globe, and it is
frequently featured in educational conferences, news articles, YouTube videos, and
even movies.  New estimates suggest
that as many as 1 in 10 children have this difficulty, making it the most common
type of learning disability.  Although dyslexia is common, many with this condition remain
undiagnosed.  Furthermore, many others who have received this diagnosis don’t
fully understand it and never receive the needed remediation.  So, how can
we help this underserved population? 
Here are some suggestions:
1. Because black text on a white
background can be visually uncomfortable for many with dyslexia,
provide them the option of using color overlays or nonprescription glasses with
color-tinted lenses.  You can make your own overlays by taking
transparent, colorful pocket folders or report covers and slicing them into
strips that can also be used as bookmarks.  You can get a selection
of tinted glasses that your students can use on sites like Amazon.com.  The most popular color seems to be yellow. 
2. Similarly, if changing the
color of the background is helpful for reading, it is likely that your learners
will also benefit from changing the background color when typing.  On a
Mac, using Word, this can be done by clicking on the Format drop down menu, and
then selecting background.  Here you can select another background
color.  Please note, this will not impact the background when printing
documents.  On a PC, this can be done by selecting the drop down menu, Page
Layout, then Page Color.
3. Play search games with letters and words that are challenging.  For example, if a
learner is having trouble discriminating between the letters “b” and “d,” give them
a magazine, newspaper or other print out and have them circle all the “bs.”  They don’t have to be able to read the text; they will just be
searching for the designated letter or word.  If you instruct a student to scan
one line at a time, you will also be strengthening his or her tracking skills.
4. Purchase a
book of jokes, or find some on the internet.  Go through each joke and
talk about what makes it funny.  Discuss double meanings, and make a list
of words that have multiple meanings.  Finally, encourage the learner to
make their own joke book.
5. If spelling
is a real problem, make a list of the student’s commonly misspelled words.  Use a
notebook and place one word on each page.  Have fun coming up with memory
strategies that will help the learner remember the correct spelling.  For
example, if a student is having difficulty with the word “together,” he or she may
notice that the word is made up of three simple words – to, get and her.  As
another example, one may notice that the word “what” has the word “hat” in
it.  The student might draw many hats in their notebook and then write down
the question, “What hat?”
6. Play fun, free internet games and videos that review basic phonics, such as Star Fall, BBCs Syllable Factory Game, Phonics Chant 2 and Magic E.
7. Make difficult letters, numbers and words with the learner out
of wet spaghetti, pebbles, raisins, pipe cleaners, a sand tray, shaving cream,
or clay.   You can also place challenging letters, numbers or words
on a ball or a balloon and play catch. 
Every time a participant catches the ball or balloon, he or she reads the first symbol or word seen.  Integrating a tactile and kinesthetic modality into lessons will make
them more enjoyable and memorable.
8. Use books on
tape or read aloud.  While listening, ask the learners to close their eyes so they can image the story in their head.  Many learners with
dyslexia never fully develop their capacity to envision or visualize a story,
because reading is so mentally overwhelming.  Helping these learners to
develop the ability to utilize their mind’s eye aids in reading
comprehension and memory.  Another option is to have the learner read
along, so they can begin to see and recognize whole words and phrases.  A great organization that offers books on tape
for struggling readers is Learning Ally. You can also purchase Franklin’s Anybook Anywhere so that books can be recorded at your convenience, yet played anytime – anywhere!
9. Have fun creating a
special reading area.  Make sure to come up with a fun name for this
place, such as “the book nook.”  Decorate it together.  You can
fill it with pillows, stuffed animals, blankets and other comforting
objects.  You can hang drapes around it, get a large bean bag, hide it
under a tall table, or build it around an indoor chair swing or hammock.  Have
books, highlighters, colored pencils and paper within reach.
10. Create a consistent
time every few days where the whole family  grabs a book and reads.  All
family members should congregate and read in a common room.  Make sure to
have munchies and other comforting objects at hand.  This is a time
to relax and enjoy the company of one another, so make this a cherished and
special time.

If you are interested in
purchasing some products that help students with dyslexia, consider downloading
a free sample of Dr. Warren’s Reversing ReversalsFollowing Directions, Making Inferences the Fun and Easy Way, or Reading Games.  These and more great publications are
available at www.dyslexiamaterials.com

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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Can Hemisphere Integration Exercises Help Students with Dyslexia?

It is common knowledge that the brain has two hemispheres and that they are bridged by a bundle of nerves that travel across the corpus callosum.  However, because this overpass exists, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is always used.  In fact, you will often hear of people claiming to be right or left brain dominant, and many people function quite well using predominantly “half a brain.”  But if we could learn to unite the power of both hemispheres and assimilate experiences for optimal learning, wouldn’t that be great? 
Image 2
Brain Gym by Dr. Paul E. Dennison and Smart Moves, by Dr. Carla Hannaford offers just these tools, as well as some scientific research to back these claims.  What they have uncovered, by uniting the fields of Applied Kinesiology, Educational Kinesiology, Developmental Optometry, Biology and Neuroscience, are movements or exercises that enhance communication across the hemispheres.   Many of these activities continually cross the midline (an imaginary line that descends down through the body from the corpus callosum) so that both hemispheres are activated, and they must communicate for proper execution (See image 2).  Other movements involve procedures that help to relax and refocus the mind and body by using acupressure or trigger points and other simple motions.  

The authors claim that the activities can help improve academics, focus, memory, mood, and even remediate learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dysgraphia.  The bottom line is that many students remain physically inactive in classrooms for much of the day, and integrating simple movements between lessons, can provide the needed physical release. 
I would love to share some specific exercises, but they are protected under copyright laws. 
You can learn more by purchasing their books linked 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.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 



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Student Mind Maps: Revealing the Remedial Needs of Struggling Writers

Having
an understanding of how each student processes information and conceptualizes
ideas is key in the remedial writing process.   Students can think in a sequence of images, a series
of words, webs of pictures, an outline of phrases, a collage of imagery, a
patchwork of terms, movie-like scenes and more.  By evaluating the ways your students conduct the process,
you can help them to tweak their method so that writing can become a fluid and
enjoyable process.  This can be
done through discussion, but what I find to be most helpful is having your
student(s) conduct a drawing of how their mind works – a mental mind map.

I
discovered the utility of this mindful approach when working with a student,
JT.  Time and time again, JT
struggled to get his ideas on paper, and beginning the process was always a
chore.  What’s more, first drafts
tended to be a hodgepodge of overlapping ideas.  We often referred to JT’s difficulties as road blocks, and
when I finally asked JT to draw what it was like in his mind to write, we
discovered a very different issue. 
JT didn’t suffer with writers block, he experienced more of a writer’s
bottleneck.   The
term bottleneck is a metaphor that is often used to describe the traffic
congestion created when construction takes a multilane road and limits travel to
a single lane.  Soon traffic gets
backed up and travel becomes slow and frustrating.  It comes literally from the slow rate of liquid outflow from
a bottle, as it is limited by the width of the exit – the  bottleneck.  JT’s challenge was not a result of a lack of words and ideas as we once
thought.  Instead, he was
overwhelmed with competing and overlapping ideas as represented in the image on
this page.  JT drew a complex web
of lines that was dotted with what he described as both good and bad
ideas.  Also, he remarked that
darker lines represent stronger ideas. 
Once I saw the image, it all made sense.  JT is highly intelligent, but he also has ADHD as well as
dyslexia.  Now it is clear how these
diagnoses impact his writing.  JT
is bombarded with a plethora of ideas and he has difficulty funneling and
organizing his thoughts into an ordered sequence of words.  When he writes, he too becomes frustrated
with the slow and labored process of writing in a linear fashion.  What’s more, his dyslexia, which
impacts his spelling, is an added hurdle and annoyance that distracts him
during the writing process.
So
now that I know JT’s challenge, what can I do to help him?
1) From the very beginning, I can help JT to define
the main ideas and topic sentences. 
2) I can also encourage him to use graphic
organizers or programs such as Inspiration to help JT to categorize his supporting
details and examples.
3) I can offer JT a computer with a spell check and
word prediction software.
4) When conducting research papers, I can help JT
define each main idea on a different colored index card.  Then, JT can organize each nugget of
information onto the best colored index card so that all the supporting details
and examples are categorized under the same color as the most appropriate main
idea.  Then, I can let him sequence
the supporting details and examples in an orderly fashion by arranging the
cards.  Finally, when JT is ready
to type his paper, he can alter the font color to match the colored index cards
so that he can be sure to get all the correct details and examples under the
best main idea.   Once the
paper is complete, JT can select the whole document and change the font color back
to black.
I
hope you will try having your students draw their own mental mind maps.  Allowing them to show the workings of
their inner mind will not only help others remediate areas of difficulty, but
it will help each individual have a better understanding of and power over his
or her own ways of processing.
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.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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11 End of the Year Activities Using Balls and Balloons

http://learningspecialistmaterials.blogspot.com/

Balls and balloons offer a
cheap and fun way to complete your school year.  What’s more integrating balls and balloons brings a tactile,
playful, and kinesthetic modality into the classroom.  Balls and balloons can be used to review the academic
content, as well as mindfulness activities and keepsakes.  Below is featured a variety of entertaining,
multisensory ideas.

Reviewing Key Topics from
the School Year
These games can be played
with an entire class in a large circle facing one another, or you can break the
students into small groups or pairs. 
1) Parts of Speech Game:  Place the parts
of speech on a balloon or ball.  Have
the students pass the balloon or ball to one another.  Instruct them to say aloud the first part of speech they
see.  Then ask them to provide a
word that is an example of that part of speech.  Players can not repeat a word that has already been used.  If they do, they are out of the game.
2) Figurative Language Game:  Place the figurative language terms on a balloon or ball.  Have the students pass the balloon or
ball to one another, and instruct them to say aloud the first figurative
language term they see.  Then ask
them to provide a phrase that is an example of that type of figurative
language.  Players can not repeat a
figurative language example that has already been used.  If they do, they are out of the game.
3) Types of Syllables Game:
www.learningspecialistmaterials.blogspot.com

Place the syllable types on
a balloon or ball.  Have the
students pass the balloon or ball to one another, and instruct them to say
aloud the first syllable type that they see.  Then ask them to provide a word that is an example of that
type of syllable.  Players can not
repeat a word that has already been used. 
If they do, they are out of the game.

4) Vowel Combinations or Vowel Teams Game:
Place the vowel combinations
on a balloon or ball.  Have the
students pass the balloon or ball to one another, and instruct them to say
aloud the first vowel combination that they see.  Then ask them to provide a word that uses that vowel
combination.  Players can not
repeat an example that has already been used.  If they do, they are out of the game.
5) Types of Sentences:
Place the types of sentences
on a balloon or ball.  Have the
students pass the balloon or ball to one another, and instruct them to say
aloud the first sentence type that they see.  Then ask them to provide a sentence that illustrates that
sentence type.  Players can not
repeat a sentence that has already been used.  If they do, they are out of the game.
6) Main Ideas and Details:
Place main ideas on a
balloon or ball.  Main ideas could
include transportation, colors, vacation spots and so forth.  Have the students pass the balloon or
ball to one another, and instruct them to say aloud the main idea that they
see.  Then ask them to provide a detail
that would be properly categorized under that main idea.  Players can not repeat a detail that has
already been used.  If they do,
they are out of the game.
Mindfulness Activities and Keepsakes
7) What I Learned:  Have the students sit in
a circle facing one another. 
Explain that the only person who can speak is the one holding the
ball.  Toss the ball to one of your
students and ask them to share the most important thing they learned over the
school year.  When they are
finished talking, have them toss the ball to another student.  Continue until all the students have an
opportunity to share their thoughts.
8) My Favorite Lessons:  
Have the students sit in a
circle facing one another.  Explain
that the only person who can speak is the one holding the ball.  Toss the ball to one of your students
and ask them to share their favorite lesson from the whole school year.  Ask them to also share why they like it
so much.  When they are finished
talking, have them toss the ball to another student.  Continue until all the students have an opportunity to share
their thoughts.
9) What I Like About Me and You:
Have the students sit in a
circle facing one another.  Explain
that the only person who can speak is the one holding the ball.  Toss the ball to one of your students
and ask them to share one thing that they like about themselves and one thing
that they like about the person who tossed them the ball.  When they are finished talking, have them
toss the ball to another student. 
Continue until all the students have an opportunity to share their
thoughts.
10) Memory Balls: Give each student a blank inflatable ball, such as a beach ball.  Provide permanent markers and let the
students go around and sign each other’s balls.  They can leave short messages too.  Be sure to say that all messages must be positive. 
11) Why I’m “Special” Balls:  Before
you begin this activity, ask your students to help you create a list of
positive adjectives that can describe people.  Place this list where all the students can see it.  Now, give each of your students a blank
beach ball or balloon.  Provide
permanent markers and have the students go around and write a positive
adjective that describes the person on the ball or balloon to whom it belongs.   Encourage the students to come up
with unique adjectives by looking at each ball and coming up with something
new. 
If you would like to learn about some
of my other popular games.  Go to: http://goodsensorylearning.com
There, you can even download freebies on some of my product pages.
I hope you enjoy these games!!  I
would love to hear you 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.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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Using Simple Imagery to Help Students Learn Mathematics

Utilizing imagery and visual memory can be very
helpful when learning mathematics. 
A single picture can help a student define and remember a concept, or it
can even help them to recall the steps required to compute a problem.  What’s more, it often brings the “fun
factor” into the learning environment as students can pull out their crayons,
colored pencils or magic markers to complete the activity.
I recently learned about the Palm Tree Method from
one of my students. I scoured the internet to find its origin, but came up
empty handed.  So, although I did
not come up with this idea, it is still one of my favorites for solving
proportions.  Here is a sample
problem and the steps to follow.
  1. Write out the proportion.
  2. Draw a green oval around the numerator of the first fraction and the denominator of the second fraction.
  3. Draw another green oval around the denominator of the first fraction and the numerator of the second fraction.  
  4. Notice how the crisscrossing ovals create a multiplication sign.  This will remind students that they will be multiplying the numbers circled. 
  5. Draw the trunk on the tree as a brown rectangle.
  6. Write out the problem:  100·x = 60·80  (placing the equals sign in the trunk of the palm tree).
  7. Solve the next step 60·80=4800 (again placing the equals sign in the trunk of the palm tree).
  8. Then divide the two sides by 100 to solve for x.

If you would like to learn about other imagery activities
to help your students learn math concepts, you might like my products,
Measurement Memory Strategies or Why We Should Learn about Angles.
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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Main Ideas and Supporting Details Instruction, Activities and Games

Many students struggle with main ideas
and supporting details.  What’s
more, they often find the instruction and activities associated with these
abstract concepts to be boring.  I
have just finished a new, main idea and supporting details product that offers
engaging, multisensory, and mindful lessons, handouts, activities and
games.  A charming, cartoon-like
character, Main I-deer, will walk your students through the process in a fun
and memorable way.  To top it off,
I have included two card games (beginners and intermediate) that can be used
for group work, learning centers or individual remediation.  
Come check out a free image as well as
a preview document.
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 

Helping Students to Record and Turn in Assignments

Recording assignments and turning in the finished product may
seem like a “no brainer” for many teachers, but did you know that executive
functioning, a key cognitive component in planning and organizing, is not fully
developed until many reach their early 20s?  What’s more, many young students are not allowed to use
modern technologies, such as smart phones and Ipads while at school to help
them with this process.  Furthermore,
many students are overwhelmed by the countless distractions in a busy classroom
and miss what appear to be clear directives.  So, what can we do to help students remember to record as
well as turn in assignments? 
Create a Structured,
Reliable Classroom Routine
:
   1)  
Plan assignments for the whole week.  This will save a lot of time and
trouble for everyone.
   2)  
Post assignments and reminders at the beginning
of class in a location that is easy to see. 
   3)  
Review new assignments as well as those that are
due, verbally, once everyone is settled down.
   4)  
Make sure that all the students record
assignments and check agendas for accuracy. 
   5)  
Print assignments out onto labels that students
can place into their assignment pads. 
This is great for students that have graphomotor weaknesses.
   6)  
Make a document or take a picture of written
assignments and email it to the students and students’ parents with a simple
email list.  
   7)  
When students hand in their assignments, give
them a sticker of a hand to place into their assignment pad.  This way they will know that they turned
it in. 
   8)  
To make sure everyone turned in their
assignments say, “Raise your hand if you turned in your assignment.”  Be specific about which assignment and
hold up a sample for all the students to see.
Offer a Consistent
and Planned Approach
for Missed Class Work and Assignments:
   1)  
Post assignments on the internet.  However, do not use this approach
unless the site is reliable and you can always post the assignments before the
end of the school day.
   2)  
Require that each of your students share their
contact information with at least 5 other students (Study Buddies).  This way students can contact one
another as needed. 
   3)  
Suggest a plan for how and when students can
make up the work.
   4)  
Email assignments to students and their parents.
   5)  
Allow students to email you finished assignments
when they are not able to attend class. 
   6)  
Communicate all missed work with students,
parents and any service providers.
If
you are looking for structured ways to help your students with planning,
organizing and time management, consider purchasing Planning, Time Management
and Organization for Success.  It
offers over 100 pages of graphic organizers and handouts that can help your
students with reading, writing, test prep, planning for long term assignments,
memory, active learning, motivation and more.  Click here or on the image to learn more.
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 

11 Steps to Writing an Outstanding College Essay

Wouldn’t you love to hear from a college admission’s counselor that they thought your college admissions essay was great?  Perhaps it was the deciding factor that
got you into your number one college. 
I have heard this story a number of times from my students, and I
wanted to share some strategies that can help you to also achieve this goal.
1: Take your
time. 
This is one of the most
important essays you will ever write, so give yourself the attention and
resources to make it one of your best compositions.
2: Allow others to
help you throughout the process. 
Share
your thoughts, ideas and written work with your peers, parents, counselors, and
teachers for feedback and ideas.
3: Make sure that you
find the best college for you. 
Many
students select a college based on reputation or peer influence, but reviewing the
college website and marketing materials as well as talking with their students,
admissions counselors and alumni is important to assure that it is the right place
for you! 
4: Make it clear that
you are the type of student that the college wants.
  Look back through their website and
marketing materials and note key words that resonate with you.  Next, write down any buzzwords that
reflect the qualities they are searching for in prospective students.  You may want to use some of these words
in your essay.
5: Read sample
college essays from books or online resources
. Make a list of ideas as you
read through the essays and start a list of what works and what doesn’t work.
6: Find a topic or
passion that will communicate your essence. 
Make sure that you select a subject that tells the
college about your strengths and unique qualities in a creative and engaging
way.
7: Make sure you
enjoy writing about the topic you select
.  If you select a focus that excites and empowers you, this
energy is often reflected in your writing.
8: Find a creative
way to write your essay.
  Selecting
an imaginative strategy and tone is imperative. College counselors read
thousands of essays and you want yours to be unique and memorable. 
9: Write a catchy
opener and introduction.
  It is
extremely important that the beginning of your essay grabs the readers
attention and makes them want to learn more about you. 
10:  Make sure the introduction and body of
your essay addresses the question.
 
Many colleges ask prospective students to write an essay on a particular
topic or theme.  As you write, make
sure that you stay within the parameters of the question.
11: Edit, edit, did I
mention editing?  
Throughout
the process, revise your work for content, mechanics, and spelling. 
If you would like more guidance and materials that will walk
you through the process, with checklists, forms, and detailed handouts consider
purchasing – Writing The College Essay Workshop.  
I hope you found this helpful!  If you have any questions or thoughts, please share them.
Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren
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 

Free Reading and Spelling Game for the TCH or CH, DGE or GE, CK or K Rules


The English language is packed with confusing rules that can make decoding and reading difficult tasks to master.  What’s more, many of the workbooks and activities are boring, and even if students complete the lesson, it doesn’t mean that they can apply the content in a different learning situation.  However, presenting the same content in a game-like format can make a lesson memorable and engaging even for struggling learners.

Here is a fun game that my students love to play.  It’s great for literacy centers or reading centers, and it will also assist students with spelling.

Materials:

  • 1.5 -2.0 hole punch or round object that can be traced
  • Craft paper
  • Laminating sheets and laminator or 
  • Round wooden discs from the craft store and glue
  • Playing cards:  You can purchase blank playing cards on Amazon:  see link at the bottom, or use laminated craft paper and then write the letters on the blank side with a permanent marker.

How to make the game – using TCH and CH:

  • Place the word beginnings onto playing cards.  I make a stack of at least forty cards.  Twenty cards should illustrate the beginning of TCH words such as MA, WI, DU, and STI. The other twenty cards should illustrate the beginning of CH words such as MUN, HUN, BEA, and BEL.  Many lists can be found on the internet.
  • Make the spinning disc with the two word ending options on either side.  You can glue craft paper and colorful letters onto wooden discs, or glue two, thick, round pieces of craft paper together and laminate.

Instruction:

  • Teach the students the spelling rule:  TCH is usually used after a short vowel sound, and CH comes after a consonant or long vowel sound.
  • Teach the students the spelling rule:  DGE is usually used after a short vowel sound, and GE comes after a consonant or long vowel sound.
  • Teach the students the spelling rule:  CK is usually used after a short vowel sound, and K comes after a consonant or long vowel sound.

How to play:

  • At the beginning of each turn, the player spins the round disc with the word endings on them.  Hold the disc with one finger as illustrated and flick the edge with another finger.   
  • When the disc falls to the table, select a card with the word beginning.
  • Put the word beginning and word ending together to see if it forms a word with the correct spelling.  
  • If it does, the player gets to keep the card.  If not, the card is returned to the bottom of the stack. 
  • The winner is the first player to collect 10 cards.
If you would like to learn about some of my other popular reading games, go to: http://goodsensorylearning.com/reading-games.html  There, you can even download another fun, free game for learning the short vowels! 
I hope you enjoy this game.  I would love to hear you 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.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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