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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