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Go Dyslexia Episode 7: Rapid Automatic Naming and Multisensory Methods with Guest Dr. Michael Hart and Host Dr. Erica Warren

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I’m so pleased to announce my seventh Go Dyslexia video podcast: Rapid Automatic Naming and Multisensory Methods with Guest Dr. Michael Hart and Host Dr. Erica Warren. URL:  https://youtu.be/PfwxcU2B3-U

This video podcast shares my most recent video podcast, featuring dyslexia expert and advocate, Dr. Michael Hart. This is the seventh of many, free video podcasts for Go Dyslexia!   

Dr. Michael Hart is a child psychologist and dyslexia expert who offers 25 years of experience in parent and teacher training, educational technology, learning differences, and diagnostic assessments. He is the founder/owner of www.doctormichaelhart.com and is currently providing online webinars and courses that focus on dyslexia.  

During the video podcast, Michael and I talk about rapid automatic naming (RAN) and its impact on dyslexia and more specifically reading.  In addition, we discuss the importance of using the Orton-Gillingham approach, multisensory methods and paying attention to the individual needs of learners.  

URL to Video Podcast: https://youtu.be/PfwxcU2B3-U

What is Rapid Automatic Naming?

Rapid Automatic Naming or Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) is the ability to quickly verbalize a series of familiar items including letters, numbers, colors or things.  This a cognitive skill that has a major impact for many struggling readers.

Important Links Mentioned in this Video Podcast:

Let us know what you think!! Please help us spread the word by liking, commenting and sharing the video as well as this blog.

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Dr. Erica Warren
Learning Specialist, Educational Therapist, Author, Podcaster, Vlogger and Course Creator.

Slow and Labored Reading: Causes and Solutions for Dyslexia and More

Slow and labored reading can make schooling a drag for many bright students, and in order to truly help these struggling learners, teachers and support personnel need to understand the root causes. The problem is that each student has their own unique contributing factors.  As a result, the best way to serve each student is to begin with an investigation.  

What are the Three Main Causes of Slow and Labored Reading?

Three main causes of slow reading.

1) Cognitive – Deficits or weaknesses in key cognitive processing areas can point to a root cause of slow and labored reading.  Common areas of deficit that can impact reading speed are:

  • Auditory processing 
  • Visual processing
  • Memory
  • Processing speed
  • Executive functioning and attention

2) Physical – Discomfort in the physical process can also make the process of reading difficult and it can minimize the practice needed.  For some learners, the reading process is: 

  • Exhausting: Some report that reading is wearisome for the eyes and can even make them feel sleepy.
  • Uncomfortable and annoying: Others find the reading process boring, tedious and aggravating.
  • Overwhelming:  Many individuals complain that they are visually overwhelmed by small or dense text.

3) Emotional – The pairing of negative emotions with reading can also impact one’s reading.  

  • Learned helplessness: When students feel a sense of learned helplessness from repeated failure, they can give up and avoid reading altogether.
  • Adversity: When reading becomes associated with adversity, students can experience the 3 Fs. 1) Fight – They will refuse to read. 2) Flight – They will walk away or even hide books. 3) Freeze – They seem unable to process the written word.
  • Feelings of inadequacy: When students feel that they are deficient readers, they can become passive learners and their fear of failure can become as self-fulfilling prophecy. 
Once Difficulties Have Been Uncovered, Also Look at each Student’s Strengths:

By defining a student’s strengths, it can help to uncover the needed tools that can be used to help each student work around challenging areas.  Like a detour, students can often learn to use other parts of the brain to assist them.  For example, a student may have poor reading comprehension but a a strong mind’s eye.  Some explicit instruction can assist them in applying this talent to reading.


Whose Responsibility is This?

Many teachers and parents do not have the time and resources to provide this detailed analysis for each of their struggling learners, but support personnel such as special education teachers, and psychologists can help.  In addition, if students are working with an outside educational therapist or learning specialist, they too can be a valuable resource.  

Once Contributing Factors and Strengths are Defined, What Can Teachers and Parents Do?
Once deficits and strengths are defined, teachers and parents can help these learners develop and utilize the needed strategies.   Here is a comprehensive list of possible methods to choose from:

  • Be patient and provide a supportive, appealing learning environment.   To read more CLICK HERE.
  • Help students to develop their capacity to visualize.  This can assist students in maintaining focus and improving memory.
  • Teach students mindfulness, so they have greater control over their concentration while reading.
  • Use assistive technology.
    • Text to voice or books on tape can be used in one of two ways.  Students can listen and make a conscious effort to visualize what they are hearing, or they can scan words while listening to improve whole word recognition.
    • Tracking devices help the eyes to move in a fluid, forward motion from one line of text to another.
    • Color overlays or lenses can change the background color so that the visual process of reading is less agitating. 
    • Color and font type adjustments can make the reading process easier to decode words.  Students can select and adjust the text to meet their own preference.
  • Provide remedial reading instruction.  Some students need alternative, multisensory reading instruction using an Orton-Gilllingham based reading program.   One of my favorite OG reading programs is Nessy.
  • Do cognitive remedial activities that help to strengthen weak areas of cognition.  You can find a large selection of these tools at Good Sensory Learning.
  • Provide reasonable accommodations:  When students have diagnosed learning disabilities, they can pursue a 504 or IEP designation that can provide mandated assistance.  Some options include:
    • Readers for tests
    • Books on tape
    • Tracking software
    • Extended time
  • Offer pages with fewer words for those that get visually overwhelmed.  Limiting the amount of text on each page can be very helpful.
  • Present instruction on higher order language such as inferences.
  • Make reading fun by integrating reading games.
  • Start each student at the right level, so they can experience success.
  • Help students discriminate between important and unimportant details.
  • Improve sight word recognition.
  • Improve vocabulary by exposing students to more words, so they can be easily recognized when reading.
  • Teach skimming strategies so that students can quickly find main ideas and details when reading.
  • Help students read with the mind instead of subvocalizing each word.
I hope you found this helpful!  I would love to hear your thoughts!


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  

A Multitude of Resources for Dyslexia at Dyslexia Reading Well

I am so pleased to feature an interview with Michael Bates: the creator of the Dyslexia Reading Well website and the Dyslexia Reading Well Parent Guide 2014-2015 (Click here to view more details). As a parent of a dyslexic son, Michael has created a wonderful and heart-felt site packed with valuable resources for individuals with dyslexia, parents, teachers and more.

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Erica: Why did you create the Dyslexia Reading Well website?

Michael: Because there is overwhelming need for it. There are literally millions of parents with kids who struggle to read, many dyslexics themselves.  I am convinced that most of those parents (and many teachers) desperately want to help their children, but are not finding the kind of information and advice they need; my website is intended to help them.  I know for fact that many parents are struggling, because I was one of them. I wish we had caught the dyslexia in kindergarten or grade one instead of grade 5—it could have made everything much easier for my stepson. 

Michael Bates


As a parent, community and even a society, we have to take the problem very seriously. Lives can be derailed and destroyed by reading disabilities. For example research shows that our prisons are full of struggling readers.   While there are some good websites out there already, they are tiny compared to the scale of the problem and the need.  I felt that reaching even a few parents would make the site worthwhile; but today, seeing the number of daily visitors, and the kind emails I receive every week, I know that many people are benefiting.  This feedback is extremely rewarding.      


Erica: Why did you create the Dyslexia Reading Well Parent Guide?

Michael: Even though I try to make the website easy to navigate, I recognize that parents have very limited time and can’t get to every page that may be of interest.  So I pulled together what I thought to be the critical information parents need and assembled it into one easy to read guide.  It’s not a short guide at 80+ pages, but I think it is very easy to navigate and as an e-book, very portable.  To be sure, there is more that parents need to know beyond the guide, but if I had been referred to this guide when we first discovered that my stepson was struggling to read, it would have put us on the right path, helping us avoid false starts, unhelpful programs and wasted money. That’s what I hope it can do for other parents.  

Erica: What types of resources can parents find in the Dyslexia Reading Well Parent Guide?


Michael: The guide is meant to present the essential information: definitions, lists of symptoms and signs and an explanation of causes.  There is also some information on assistive technology since that is now so important for every student. But where I think the real value of the guide lies is in the resource lists. First there is a table of reading programs that work best for dyslexic students and an explanation of why they work (the critical content and methods).  This can help parents find a reading program that will make a real difference.  
Sample pages from DRW Parent Manual

Second there is a state by state list of schools, tutoring centers and community groups. This table will point parents to local resources.  For example, I had no idea that there are so many schools for dyslexic kids until I started building my website.  Also most parents don’t know that there are very active support groups such as Decoding Dyslexia and the International Dyslexia Association that have branches in most every state. My guide helps parents discover those critical links and connections which in turn will lead to more information and support. Finally there is a state by state list of legislation relating to dyslexia. In some states there is legislation requiring schools to assess young readers for dyslexia or laws requiring teachers to be trained for teaching dyslexic students. By knowing ones state mandates (and other states) parents are in a stronger position to assess how their school is performing or where their child might be better served.   

Erica: Will you be updating the guide yearly or creating other guides?


Michael: My plan is to make minor updates on an ongoing basis (two already since October) and then make one major annual overhaul before releasing the next edition each October in conjunction with Dyslexia Awareness Month. 


One of the benefits (and challenges!) of authoring an e-book is that it can be kept current with the latest science, news, product releases and policy changes that are going on.  I am also currently working on a guide for U.K. parents and after that one for parents right here in Canada.  Finally, I am thinking about creating other guides for teachers and students.
Erica: What kind of feedback have you received about the Dyslexia Reading Well Parent Guide?


Michael: The feedback from my Facebook page and through the website has been very positive and encouraging.  It’s not yet on Amazon, where it will be publicly reviewed, but it should be soon.  Of course as an author, I see room for growth in future editions. For example, I look forward to adding content on Individualized Education Plans, homeschooling, and new assistive technology, which is always in a state of flux.  
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If you are interested in viewing a free sample or getting the guide,  Click here to view more details! You won’t be disappointed.


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 www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com www.learningtolearn.biz  

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Eight, Dyslexia Games Make All Reading Programs Fun and Memorable

Do you ever have to bribe your students with candy or stickers to entice them to read through long lists of words or complete workbook activities?  There are a multitude of phonics and Orton-Gillingham based reading programs available on the market, but so many of them place struggling readers through boring drills and activities.  I experienced the same problem.  What could I do?

I Created Games to Bring the Fun Factor into My Lessons:
Over the past few years, I created a system to make any reading program fun and motivating.  I designed and published board and card games to weave into reading lessons.  Now, my students can’t wait for their sessions, are reading more, have increased stamina and they are mastering concepts at a faster pace.  A series of three reading game publication bundles have been available and selling like hot cakes, but upon popular request, I have released a new title, Reading Games Primary.  This publication offers new games that help students master basic reading concepts such as syllables, rhyming words, short vowel sounds, ending sound blends and sight words by playing super fun and engaging card and board games.  

Tell Me More About the 8 Games:

  1. Sight Word War:  

    Sight Word War is a card game
    that helps students master sight words and practice basic alphabetizing
    skills.  

  2. Syllable Sort:  Syllable Sort is a card game that helps students master syllable divisions in words.
  3. Switch-A-Roo Reading: Switch-A-Roo Reading is a reading/writing game that helps students learn beginning, middle and ending word sounds
    as well as rhyming words. 
  4. Sole Survivor:  Sole Survivor is a board game that helps
    students master breaking words into syllables as well as beginning and ending word
    sounds.
  5. Animal Party:  Animal Party is a board game that helps students learn beginning, middle and end sounds of simple three letter words.
  6. Animal Bingo:  Animal Bingo is a board game that helps
    students master breaking words into syllables as well as beginning and ending word
    sounds.  It also develops tracking and
    counting skills.
  7. Three of A Kind Beginners:  Three of a Kind is a card game that
    helps students learn rhyming words, beginning sounds, middle sounds and ending
    sounds of simple three letter words. 
  8. Three of A Kind Intermediate:  Three of a Kind Intermediate is a card game
    that helps students master rhyming words, beginning blends, middle sounds and
    ending sounds of simple four to five letter words.  
Are There Other Reading Games?
Yes.  Reading Games Primary is my fourth bundle of reading games to be published.  In fact, I have created more than 50 different games for all levels of reading remediation.  To learn more about all of these games and even download a free sample game,  click here.


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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Tailoring Reading Remediation for Faster Results.

There are thousands of reading remediation programs out there as well as reading specialists that can help learners master the complex task of learning to read.  However, the process can be taxing, time consuming and expensive.  In fact, many students are placed into slow and boring programs that force them to wade through a sequence of lessons, many of which are not needed and not fun.

How Can Reading Remediation be Tailored to Meet Individual Needs?
Assessing each students’ needs is imperative so that time can be used efficiently and positive results can abound quickly.   This will allow the instructor to individualize remedial goals for maximum results.

How Can Individual Needs be Assessed?
There are a number of areas that need to be evaluated to see where there are gaps in proficiency. Once you know where the problem areas lie, you can focus remediation.  Here are the areas that should be assessed.

  1. Letter: name/sound recognition
  2. Rhyming words
  3. Syllable divisions
  4. Word Blending
  5. Beginning sounds
  6. Middle sounds
  7. Ending sounds
  8. Words to sounds
  9. Drop the first sound
  10. Drop the last sound
  11. Sight words
  12. Closed syllables
  13. Open syllables
  14. Silent-E syllables
  15. Consonant LE syllables
  16. R-combination syllables
  17. Vowel combinations
  18. Syllabication
  19. Beginning blends, digraphs and trigraphs
  20. Ending blends
  21. Compound words
  22. Prefixes
  23. Suffixes
  24. Compound words

Is There A Publication That Assesses These Needed Areas?
The Good Sensory Learning Reading Assessment offers a comprehensive, 27-subtest evaluation that helps to tailor any phonics based or Orton-Gillingham reading program.  It was designed to offer reading specialists, teachers and parents an easy assessment.  The score sheet, pictured to the right, allows administrators to highlight instructional goals, and the re-administration (post-intervention) provides comparative information about the success of the intervention as well as additional needs.

If you would also like to use remedial materials that bring the fun factor into lessons, consider Reading Games, Reading Games 2, and Reading Board Games.  In addition, you can also find other great multisensory, fun reading materials at 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.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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