Tag Archives: social-emotional learning

18 Common Misunderstandings of Dyslexia

“1. Students benefit from waiting until after second grade to provide reading intervention (False). Early screening and intervention provide opportunities for targeting reading needs and reducing the the likelihood of long-term reading difficulties.

2. Dyslexia requires specific and unique screening and identification approaches (False) Psychometrically sound approaches currently used to screen and identify students with reading problems are useful for screening and identifying students with dyslexia. Layering additional screening measures onto already psychometrically sound screening approaches is an unnecessary burden.

3. Providing more opportunities to read books will resolve their reading problem (False). All students benefit from increased opportunities to read a variety of text levels and types. However, additional reading practice for students with dyslexia is an inadequate approach to improving their reading outcomes. These students also require comprehensive approaches to reading instruction that include decoding, opportunities to practice for fluency, and comprehension instruction.

4. Colored lenses or overlays help improve reading for students with dyslexia (False). Though the issue of colored lenses and overlays continues to appear in a range of professional guides, there is no evidence to support their effectiveness. Similarly, multisensory instruction is not necessary for students with dyslexia. However, there are many systematic approaches for improving reading outcomes for students with dyslexia.

5. Students with dyslexia primarily have reading comprehension problems (False) Students with dyslexia have word-level difficulties that are manifested in difficulty reading text accurately and proficiently. These word-level difficulties result in reading comprehension problems, but teaching reading comprehension strategies alone will not resolve the reading problems of individuals with dyslexia.

6. Many educators have not had opportunities to develop the knowledge necessary to provide evidence-based screening, assessment, and interventions for students with dyslexia (True). There is considerable research documenting the need for educators to have improved knowledge and skills for better identifying and teaching students with dyslexia and other reading problems. Many reading teachers perceived that they lack the confidence to teach students who are identified as dyslexic.

7. Dyslexia is rare, and most individuals grow out of it (False). Dyslexia is a universal condition that occurs across writing systems, not just the alphabetic system, with prevalence rates of approximately 5-15 percent depending on the threshold for poor reading. While the manifestations of dyslexia can dissipate because of effective instruction, most individuals with dyslexia who show intractability to effective instruction have slow and labored reading throughout their lives.

8. Dyslexia operates on a continuum in which the severity can be represented as mild to severe (True). Dyslexia does not look precisely the same for all learners, and the range of reading difficulties because of dyslexia also vary, but reading is normally distributed in the population (i.e. a small percentage of people are excellent readers, most are average or close to it, and a small percentage are very weak readers), and dyslexia is at the lower end of this distribution.

9. Many students with dyslexia display difficulties with spelling and handwriting (True). Students with dyslexia often have difficulties not only with reading words but also with spelling and writing words. Effective instructional approaches target word reading, spelling, and writing.

10. Dyslexia has a familial and genetic association (True). There is a much higher rate of dyslexia in families with a familial history of dyslexia–as high as 45 percent in most studies.

11. Improving home literacy will resolve dyslexia (False). It is not useful to consider the home environment as the causal factor for dyslexia. While opportunities to read are beneficial to all learners, improving home literacy will not resolve reading challenges for individuals with dyslexia.

12. Brain training can improve reading outcomes for students with dyslexia (False). Many approaches to improving dyslexia falsely claim that they can ‘train’ the brains of individuals with dyslexia resulting in improved reading outcomes. Cognitive training in isolation of a reading program does not generalize to improve academic outcomes.

13. Only certified language therapists are capable of providing effective reading interventions for students with dyslexia (False). Educators with extensive knowledge of the science and practice of reading instruction who are using evidence-based practices are prepared to meet the needs of students with dyslexia.

14. Students with dyslexia see letters and words backwards (False). Perhaps one of the oldest and most persistent myths regarding individuals with dyslexia is that they see and write letters and words backwards or upside down. Many young children reverse letters when beginning reading and writing; with instructional practice and feedback, this issue is remedied.

15. Vision therapy is an effective approach for students with dyslexia (False). The faulty idea that dyslexia is a result of a vision disorder of some type has been very slow to go away. Many vision training approaches exist and have not been associated with any improvements in reading for individuals with dyslexia, including a recent randomized trial that showed no effect of optometric exercises on reading skills.

16. Dyslexia can be addressed with medications (False). There is no medication that will remedy word reading difficulties. While many students with dyslexia also demonstrate difficulties with attention and may be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, medications appropriate for these students are aimed at their attention problems, not their reading difficulties per se, and the medications do not lead to improved decoding.

17. Students with dyslexia are more creative, gifted, and talented than other students (False). There are many highly skilled and capable individuals with dyslexia who have gifts and talents. Just like in the population as a whole, not all individuals with dyslexia would be identified with extraordinary gifts or talents.

18. Classroom teachers can be a valuable asset to remedying difficulties for students with dyslexia (True). Classroom teachers may be the most important and valuable resource for students with dyslexia. Classroom teachers are their primary reading teachers as well as the educators who have the most influence on their self-worth. Classroom teachers can be a tremendous source of social-emotional and educational support for students with dyslexia. Armed with the knowledge and skills, classroom teachers can alter the learning and life trajectories of students with dyslexia.”

Excerpted from: Vaughn, Sharon, and Jack M. Fletcher. “Identifying Students with Significant Reading Problems.” American Educator 44:4 (Winter 2020-2021): 4-8. Print.

4 Degrees of Attachment

“Secure * Anxious and Preoccupied * Avoidant and Dismissive * Disorganized

These human characteristics, which can already be assessed by the time a child is 18 months old, are based around four major observational themes: Proximity, Maintenance, Safe Haven, Secure Base, and Separation Distress. At their root they are but measures of the successful exchange of comfort, warmth, and pleasure between an infant and its parents that was first conceived by Sigmund Freud and greatly extended by the work of John Bowlby.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Common Errors in English Usage: Sensual (adj), Sensuous (adj)

The minute I started writing this English usage worksheet on the adjectives sensual and sensuous worksheet I worried that I had waded into dangerous waters–and I expect I don’t need to explain why. In any case, these are a couple of frequently used words in English, do it’s up to us to find, uh, a suitable way to present them. As you will see, sensual, which as the worksheet’s reading tells students, …”often has a slightly racy or even judgmental tone lacking in ‘sensuous,’” caused me some problems when writing cloze exercises for it.

As with just about everything else at Mark’s Text Terminal, this is a Microsoft Word document, so you can alter it to suit your circumstances and needs.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The 4 Cardinal Virtues

“Wisdom * Bravery * Temperance * Justice

Plato considered that the ideal state should be governed by ‘the wise, brave, temperate, and just.’ These virtues—often listed as Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, and Justice—were popularized by Christian apologists and combined with the three theological virtues (Faith, Hope, and Charity) to create a group of virtues to stand in opposition to the Seven Deadly Sins. Wisdom (or its feminine archetype, Prudence) is often depicted with a book, mirror, snake, and compass. Bravery (fortitude) may be found standing next to a Greek helmet, a spear, shield, Samson’s pillars or a Herculean club and Nemean lion skin. Temperance may be spotted holding a sheathed sword, a torch, a clock, or mixing water into wine. Justice remains a familiar modern figure with her blindfold, an upheld sword in one hand and a pair of scales in the other.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.


Perseverate (vi)

OK, this context clues worksheet on the verb perseverate, exists because the word popped up on Merriam-Webster’s Twitter feed and I perseverated about it until I sat down to write this document. In the sentences on this worksheet, the context clues are written to help students arrive a this definition: “to exhibit perseveration : to show especially by speech or some other form of overt behavior the continual involuntary repetition of a mental act.”

It’s the “continual involuntary repetition of a mental act” that I wanted to expose for students. I don’t know if you’ve worked with troubled or traumatized kids, but if you have or do presently, you know that anxiety is a challenge for these kids. Perseveration comes with the territory when you are an anxious person. I know this is a big word, but I have found in every case that when kids learn words to explain their feelings and thoughts to themselves, they profit both emotionally and intellectually. Moreover, they are then have the tools (words) to describe the thoughts and feelings they experience. This can supply a variety of clinical benefits to other people working with the same kids–and again, to the kids themselves.

If you have kids who perseverate, and you teach them this word, don’t be surprised if they ask you something like “You mean there is a word to describe this feeling?” They may want to learn others.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Albert Camus on Politics and Greatness of Character

“Politics and the fate of mankind are formed by men without ideals and without greatness. Those who have greatness within them do not go in for politics.”

Albert Camus

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Term of Art: Repetition Compulsion

“Repetition compulsion: In psychoanalysis, a type of compulsion characterized by a tendency to place oneself in dangerous or distressing situations that repeat similar experiences from the past. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) introduced in 1914 in an article on ‘Remembering, Repeating, and Working-Through’ (Standard Edition, XII, pp. 147-56) and discussed it at length in his book Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920). In analysis, the transference often contains elements that involve recreations of past conflicts with parents and other family members. Also called a compulsion to repeat.”

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Word Root Exercise: Mania

You’ll find it in a number of very commonly used words in the English language, so here is a worksheet on the Greek word root mania, which means excessive desire and mental aberration. For any students interested in psychology or work in the health care professions, understanding of this root is de rigueur; but, again, this is such a productive root in English that all students really ought to know it.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Term of Art: Schema

“Schema: A plan, diagram, or outline, especially a mental representation of some aspect of experience, based on prior experience and memory, structured in such a way as to facilitate (and sometimes to distort) perception, cognition, the drawing of inferences, or the interpretation of new information in terms of existing knowledge. The term was first used in a psychological sense by the English neurologist Sir Henry Head (1861-1940), who restricted its meaning to a person’s internal body image, and it was given its modern meaning by the English psychologist Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett (1886-1969) in his book Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology [1932, p. 199] to account for the observation that errors in the recall of stories tend to make them more conventional, which Bartlett attributed to the assimilation of the stories to a pre-existing schemata. The concept of a frame, introduced in 1975 by the US cognitive scientist Marvin (Lee) Minsky (1927-2016), is essentially a schema formalized in artificial intelligence. A script is a schema of an event sequence.”

[From Greek schema a form, from echein to have]”

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003

Personal Identity

Let me start with the documents, to wit this reading on personal identity and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. The more I think about the conceptual and personal issues attached to personal identity, and how self-identifying has empowered oppressed communities, the more I think I would like to build either a short unit or a long lesson around these documents. If that interests you, please read on.

It’s one of those big philosophical and psychological concepts, but in the realm of the classroom teacher, individuation means that students have begun the process of discovering the self, or themselves, if you prefer. In any case, identity is important. To whatever extent we can, I think we are intellectually and morally obliged to abet this process in kids.

Especially now, when social media appear, as an emerging scholarly discourse indicates, to erode individuation. If you’re interested, this stylish and literate blog post from The Literary Blues supplies a nice basic outline of the means by which social media diminishes individualism. A lesson or unit on personal identity would proceed most effectively, I submit, if it addressed these critical issues of identity and social media.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.