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Supporting the Dyslexic Child in the Montessori Environment Alison Awes Alison Awes is the Director of Elementary Training at the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota. In addition to Orton-Gillingham Level I training, Ms Awes holds AMI diplomas for Primary and Ele- mentary levels, a B.A. in Art History from Smith College, an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University, and an M.Ed. in Montessori Education from Loyola University Maryland. She has taught in both six-to-nine and nine-to-twelve classrooms. Ms Awes is an AMI examiner and has presented a number of workshops, including those on making books with children and supporting the dyslexic child in a Montessori environment. She has served on the boards of private and charter Montes- sori schools and other organizations, including the AMI Elementary Alumni Association. Ms Awes attended Montessori school until the age of twelve. introduction Language, one of the greatest gifts of humanity, is central to the culture and col- lective intelligence of human beings. Collab- oration and communication created the lan- guage humans currently use, a language which continues to evolve each day. In the words of Maria Montessori, ‘Language is the expression of agreement among a group of men, and can be understood only by those who have agreed that special sounds shall represent special ideas.’ 1 Rather than a particular language, chil- dren inherit the potential for language. Because the sensitivity to language is uncon- scious, acquisition is virtually guaranteed (barring a developmental or auditory prob- lem). Through exposure to speech while the vocal mechanisms develop, through com- munication with others, and through some knowledge of the symbols and sounds of language, all typical children, regardless of culture, will at a given moment come to speak their native language. Also, children generally take in the structure, sentence pat- terns, and word order of spoken language. Through observations of human develop- ment, Montessori found that the absorbent mind, sensitive periods, and human tenden- cies assist in this acquisition. In contrast, written language does not come naturally to human beings. Children will not develop writing and reading without some degree of direct experience, prepara- tion, and instruction. The amount and type of experience required varies among individ- ual learners. Eventually, the child must real- Communications 2012/1-2 page 54

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Page 1: Supporting the Dyslexic Child in the Montessori Environment · Supporting the Dyslexic Child in the Montessori Environment Alison Awes Alison Awes is the Director of Elementary Training

SupportingtheDyslexicChildintheMontessoriEnvironment

AlisonAwes

Alison Awes is the Director of Elementary Training at the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota. In addition to Orton-Gillingham Level I training, Ms Awes holds AMI diplomas for Primary and Ele-mentary levels, a B.A. in Art History from Smith College, an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University, and an M.Ed. in Montessori Education from Loyola University Maryland. She has taught in both six-to-nine and nine-to-twelve classrooms. Ms Awes is an AMI examiner and has presented a number of workshops, including those on making books with children and supporting the dyslexic child in a Montessori environment. She has served on the boards of private and charter Montes-sori schools and other organizations, including the AMI Elementary Alumni Association. Ms Awes attended Montessori school until the age of twelve.

introduction

Language,oneofthegreatestgiftsofhumanity,iscentraltothecultureandcol-lectiveintelligenceofhumanbeings.Collab-orationandcommunicationcreatedthelan-guagehumanscurrentlyuse,alanguagewhichcontinuestoevolveeachday.InthewordsofMariaMontessori,‘Languageistheexpressionofagreementamongagroupofmen,andcanbeunderstoodonlybythosewhohaveagreedthatspecialsoundsshallrepresentspecialideas.’1

Ratherthanaparticularlanguage,chil-dreninheritthepotentialforlanguage.Becausethesensitivitytolanguageisuncon-scious,acquisitionisvirtuallyguaranteed(barringadevelopmentalorauditoryprob-lem).Throughexposuretospeechwhilethe

vocalmechanismsdevelop,throughcom-municationwithothers,andthroughsomeknowledgeofthesymbolsandsoundsoflanguage,alltypicalchildren,regardlessofculture,willatagivenmomentcometospeaktheirnativelanguage.Also,childrengenerallytakeinthestructure,sentencepat-terns,andwordorderofspokenlanguage.Throughobservationsofhumandevelop-ment,Montessorifoundthattheabsorbentmind,sensitiveperiods,andhumantenden-ciesassistinthisacquisition.

Incontrast,writtenlanguagedoesnotcomenaturallytohumanbeings.Childrenwillnotdevelopwritingandreadingwithoutsomedegreeofdirectexperience,prepara-tion,andinstruction.Theamountandtypeofexperiencerequiredvariesamongindivid-uallearners.Eventually,thechildmustreal-

Communications 2012/1-2 page 54

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izethatthelettersshereadsrepresentthesoundsshehearsinspokenlanguage.Whenachildrealizesthatawordcanbebrokenapartintosmallerpieces(sounds),shedevel-opsphonemicawareness.Thisistheabilitytonotice,identify,andputtousetheindi-vidualsoundsofspokenwords.

national reading panel

In1997,theUnitedStatesCongressdirectedtheNationalInstituteofChildHealthandHumanDevelopmenttogatherapanelofexpertstocomprehensivelyreviewexistingresearchontheteachingofreading.ThetaskofthisNationalReadingPanel(NRP)wastodeterminetheevidenceforspecificandeffectivereadinginstructionalmethodsandapproaches.Thepanelpresentedfind-ingsinareporttoCongressin2000,2pro-vidingaguideforparentsandteacherstothemostsuccessfulandscientificallyprovenapproachesfortheteachingofreading.Thereportaddressedfivekeycomponentsofreadingimportantforearlyliteracy:(1)pho-nemicawareness(soundsofspokenlan-guagewhichworktogethertomakewords);(2)phonics(thepredictablerelationshipbetweenphonemesandgraphemes,whicharethelettersandthesoundsofwrittenlan-guage;sometimescalledthealphabetic princi-ple);(3)readingaccuracyandfluency(theabilitytoreadwithexpressionandeffi-ciency);(4)vocabulary;and(5)readingcom-prehension.

Amongotherthings,theNRPfoundover-allthatspecificinstructioninreadingisbothimportantandeffective.Programmeswhichteachphonicsinasystematic,orga-nized,explicitmannerarethemostsuccess-ful.Theseprogrammesprogressivelyintro-ducethechildtodifferentsounds,beginningwiththesimplest,mostconsis-tent,andmostfrequentcombinations.Later

researchersfoundteachingchildrentomanipulatesoundsandwordstobehighlyeffectiveunderavarietyofteachingcondi-tionswithvariedlearnersinarangeofagesandgrades.3

Themostimportantphonemicawarenessskillsappearedtobethoseofblendingandsegmenting.Ratherthanteachingmanytypesofmanipulation,instructingchildreninblendingandsegmentingphonemesinwordsgenerallywillhavethegreatestimpactontheirlearningtoread.4Significantbenefitsofthisknowledgewerealsofoundforchildrenthroughthesixthgrade(ageelevenortwelve)whowerehavingdifficultylearningtoread.Oncethereaderlearnsthedifferentpatternsofthelettersandthesoundstheyrepresent,theresultisthatsheappliesherexistingknowledge(gainedthroughexperience)whensheanalysesnewwords.

AnimportantpointmadebytheNRPwasthatwhilephonemicawarenessisnecessary,itisnotenoughforlearningtoread.Inaddi-tion,fluencyisanimportantnextsteptowardsthegoalofreadingcomprehension.Guided,repeatedoralreadinghadapositiveimpactonfluencyandcomprehensionacrossarangeofages.Incontrast,theresearchonindependentsilentreadingwasinconclusiveinregardtofluency.5Finally,theNRPreportedthatvocabularyinstructionplaysacentralroleinincreasingcomprehension.Ifchildrendonotdevelopvocabulary,theydonotlearnnewgrammaticalconstructions.

ThefindingsoftheNRPwerenotwithoutcontroversy.6Questionsaboutwhethertheresultsofvariousstudiesconstitutedscien-tificevidence,apprehensionabouttheviewsofindividualsonthepanel,andconcernsabouthowtheinitialquestionwasframedhavebeenraised.Somescholarshavetrepi-dationthatresearchbasedonstandardizedtestsprovidedbiasedorinaccurateresults.

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Mostproblematicisthatmuchofwhatwasrecommendedassumesawhole-classteach-ingtechniqueinwhichallofthechildrenlearnthesamething,atthesametime,inthesamemanner.

Theinitialquery,tofindthemosteffec-tivemethodtoteachreading,assumesthatthereisonebestwaytoteachallchildren.Yetthisviewdismissesavarietyoflearningstyles,strengths,andweaknesses.Instead,perhaps,theinitialquestioncouldhavebeenframedaroundhowchildrenlearntoread,focusingonthechild’sdevelopmentratherthanonateachingmethod.

OnepromisingresultoftheNRPresearchwastheimplementationofthethree-tieredResponsetoIntervention(RTI)model,usedinsomepublic(state)schoolsfortheidenti-ficationandsupportofstrugglingchildren.7Thefirsttierinvolvescarefulprogressmoni-toringforallchildrenbasedontheirchang-ingneeds.Thisincludesclassroominstruc-tionwhichcoversatleastthreeofthefivekeyareasnotedbytheNRP.Childrenwhoarenotsuccessfulatthisfirsttiermovetothesecondtier,whichincludessmall-groupworkwithmoreintensiveintervention.Chil-drenmovetotierthree,thespecialeduca-tiontier,whenmoreintensiveinstructionspecificallytailoredtotheindividualisneeded.WiththeRTImodel,ideallychildrenaresupportedbeforetheyfailandarenotrequiredtoscorepoorlyinordertoreceivetheadditionalservicestheyneed.

definition of dyslexia

Childrenwhoconsistentlystrugglewithreadingtasksdespitebeingprovidedreadinginstructionneedfurthersupport.Dyslexiaisadifficultywithlanguageinwhichintelli-genceisnotaproblem.Forlearnerswiththisdifficulty,anunexpectedgapexistsbetweenthepotentialforlearningand

schoolachievement.Theymayhavediffi-cultywithreading,spelling,processingauditorylanguage,orexpressingthemselvesclearlythroughspeakingorwriting.

Priorto2002,definitionsusuallyexplaineddyslexiabyarticulatingwhatitwasnotratherthandescribingitscharacter-istics.However,newscientificdiscoverieshavemadepossibleamoreprecisedefini-tion,suchasthisonefromtheInternationalDyslexiaAssociation:

Dyslexiaisaspecificlearningdisabilitythatis

neurologicalinorigin.Itischaracterizedby

difficultieswithaccurateand/orfluentword

recognitionandbypoorspellinganddecod-

ingabilities.Thesedifficultiestypicallyresult

fromadeficitinthephonologicalcomponent

oflanguagethatisoftenunexpectedinrela-

tiontoothercognitiveabilitiesandtheprovi-

sionofeffectiveclassroominstruction.Sec-

ondaryconsequencesmayincludeproblemsin

readingcomprehensionandreducedreading

experiencethatcanimpedethegrowthof

vocabularyandbackgroundknowledge.8

Toexplainfurther,dyslexiahasabiologicalbasisandischaracterizedbyavarietyoflan-guagedifficulties.Ratherthanatemporarystruggleinreadingdevelopment,dyslexiaisachroniccondition;thecharacteristicsareunchanging.Thereisnotasingleformofdyslexia.Thestrugglescanbewithwordrecognition(suchasreadingasinglewordbyitself),withspelling,orwithdecodingorsegmentingwords(suchassoundingwordsoutorbreakingawordintosyllables).Aphonologicalcomponentexists,meaningthedyslexicpersonhasdifficultywithsounds.

Additionally,thedyslexicgenerallyhasatleastaverageoraboveaverageintelligence,andanunexpectedgapoccursbetweentheabilitydemonstratedandthepotential.So

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thechildhastohavesomecognitivestrengths,notonlyweaklanguagefunc-tions.Further,apersoncannotbeconsid-ereddyslexicifheorshehasnothadade-quateclassroominstruction.

Otherconsequencesofimpairedphono-logicalawarenessarerevealedindyslexicchildren.Readingcomprehension,whileproblematicinsomecases,isgenerallyasecondaryconsequenceofweakphonemicability.Theresultofthisdifficultywithcom-prehensioncansignificantlyimpedevocabu-laryacquisition.Theaveragechildlearnsabout2,700wordsperyear,oraboutsevennewwordsdaily,9andreadingisasignifi-cantinfluenceonthisdevelopmentofvocab-ulary.Atthesametime,alargevocabularyisanimportantelementinreadingcompre-hension.Booksoffermorecomplicatedwordsthandoeventhemosteducatedspeakers.Goodreadersspendmoretimereadingeverydaycomparedwithpoorread-ers,sotheyendupreadingmorewordsinayear.Asaresult,theconsequencesofpoorreadingextendfarbeyondthereadingpro-cess.

Forthedyslexic,theweaknessinthelan-guagesystemoccursatthebasiclevelofphonology,withtherestoflanguagebuild-ingonthisweakfoundation.Semantics(vocabularyandwords),syntax(thestruc-tureofgrammar),anddiscourse(howsen-tencesareconnectedandused)allrelyupontheinitialunderstandingandawarenessofsounds.Indyslexics,thebrainareadedi-catedtoprocessingparticularsoundele-mentsoflanguageiscompromised.Theseelements,thephonemes,arethebuildingblocksofallspokenandwrittenwords.Indifferentcombinationsthesesoundspro-ducethemanywordsinaparticularlan-guage.Beforewordscanbeidentifiedandstoredinmemory,theymustbeisolatedintotheirparticularsounds.

Dyslexicchildrenandadultsmayhaveahardtimeselectingtheparticularphonemewhichcorrespondstoawrittensymbolormightorderphonemesincorrectly.Asaresult,sound-basedconfusionsinspokenlanguageoccur.Forexample,achildmightsayemenywhenshemeansenemyorAprilinsteadof Rachel.

Theselearnersarechallengedwhendevel-opingawarenessthatspokenandwrittenwordsarecomposedofthesespecificpho-nemes.Researchonphonologicallearningdemonstratesthatmanychildrenwithread-ingdisabilitiesdonotperceiveormanipu-lateindividualsyllablesandphonemesinthesamemannerastheirpeers.10

Threepathwayshelpthebraintolearninformation:visual,auditory,andkinaes-thetic(musclemovement).Childrenwithstrongvisualmemoryreadwellandwilllearnthroughmostconventionalforms.However,dyslexicchildrenneedsystematicmultisensoryavenuestolearn,astheyhavepoorvisualmemory.Allthreeoftheseave-nueshavenocorrelationtoI.Q.

Childrenwithspecificreadingdifficultiesdemonstrateproblemssummarizingormakinginferencesfromreadingatextbutdonothavethesamedifficultieswhenlis-teningtothetext.Theymaymisreadmanywordsorreadwordsaccuratelythoughrequiremuchtimeandefforttodoso.Thesechildrenneedadditionalworkonphonologi-calawareness,decoding,andfluencybutgenerallydonotneedadditionalsupportincomprehensionbeyondregularclassroomstrategiesforvocabulary.

br ain imaging

Relativelyrecentlythroughfunctionalimag-ing,scientistsareabletoviewandrecordimagesoftheneuralsystemsatworkinthehumanbrainwhileapersonreads.11These

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imagesprovidethephysicalevidenceofthedifficultieswhichdyslexicreadersencounterandconfirmthatthecoredifficultyfordys-lexicsoccurswhentranslatingprinttosound.Scientistsseeevidenceofafaultinthebraincircuitryonlyinthisisolatedpartofthereadingprocess.

Recordingthebrainactivityofbothnor-malanddyslexicreadersrevealsdifferentbrainactivationpatterns.Goodreadersacti-vateboththebackandthefrontofthebrain,whiledyslexicreadersshowanunderactiva-tionofparticularneuralpathwaysinthebackofthebrain.Atallages,goodreadersshowconsistentbrainactivationpatterns.Incontrast,thebrainactivationindyslexicschangeswithage:OlderdyslexicchildrendemonstrateanoveractivationinBroca’sregion,afrontalregionusedforreading.Itisthoughtthatstrugglingreadersuseaddi-tionalsystemsinthefrontofthebraintotrytocompensateforthedisruptioninthebackofthebrain.

Everytimeoneacquiresanewskill,groupsofneuronscreatenewconnectionsandpathwaysamongthemselvesinthebrain.Scientiststhinkthatafterachildhascorrectlyreadawordseveraltimes,heformsanexactneuralmodelofthatword,whichreflectsitspronunciation,meaning,andspellingandisstoredinaparticularlocationofthebrain,theoccipitotemporalsystem.Formostreaders,seeingthisfamiliarwordinprintactivatesthewordmemoryautomat-ically,withouteffort,andcallstomindallthecontextualinformationabouttheword.Forskilledreaders,imagingduringreadingshowsthiswordformationregionofthebrainactivatingaloneandincombinationwithotherbrainareaswhichhelpwithwordanalysis.

Theinformationfromimagingisconsis-tentwiththereadingstyleofmanydyslexics.Becauseofthedeficitinthewordformation

area,dyslexicsrelyonaccurateyetslowerprocessesinthebrain.Inparticular,theselearnersoftenvocalizequietlyduring“silent”reading.Inthismannerthedyslexiccanhearandfeelthewordssaid,aprocesswhichutilizesBroca’sregion.Thisappearstobetruefordyslexicsofalllanguagesandages.12Brainimagesalsoshowdyslexicreaderssoundingoutwordsthroughsec-ondarypathwaysinthebrain.Onealternaterouteincludessystemslocatedontherightsideofthebrain.Thisexplainshowbrightadultdyslexicreadersimproveaccuracyeventhoughtheirreadingremainsslow.

Becausebrainimagesprovideconcreteevidenceoftherealityofthereadingdiffi-culties,dyslexiaisnolongerahiddencondi-tionwithoutphysicalproof.Oneresultisthatthespecificdeficitcanbemorecarefullytargetedwithevidence-basedinterventions.Infact,someimageshaveindicatedbrainrepairafterinterventionforphonemicawareness.

Brainimagingalsoshowsthatthebrainisorganizeddifferentlyinpeoplewhousedifferentwritingsystems.Inthe1930s,abilingualmanproficientinChineseandEnglishlosttheabilitytoreadChineseduetoastroke,yethecouldstillreadEnglish.13Thisrevealstheuseofdifferenthemispheresfordifferenttasksinthebrain.

Presentinmanylanguages,includingnonalphabeticones,dyslexiamanifestsdif-ferentlydependingontheemphasisinanygivenlanguage.14Asaresult,differentpre-dictorsofreadingfailureoccurinGerman,alanguagewhichemphasizesfluency,orChi-nese,alanguageinwhichspatialmemoryiscentral,ascomparedwithEnglish.Spanishreaderswithdyslexiasufferfromfewercom-prehensionproblemswhencomparedwithEnglishspeakerswhohavedyslexia.Inthiscase,itseemsperhapsthattheshortertimerequiredtodecodeinSpanishallowsaddi-

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tionaltimeforcomprehension.Whilelessfrequentnowthatbrainimag-

inghasmoreclearlydocumentedproofofdyslexia,somescholarsmaintainthatthereisnosuchthingasareading,language,orlearningdisability(shortofmentalretarda-tion).Theyarguethatifthereweresome-thingwronginthebrainsofthesechildren,remedialinstructionwouldnotbesuccess-ful.Someofthesescholarsconcludeinsteadthatchildrenarenotcorrectlytaughttoreadinschool.Inthisview,theschoolsystemsareatissue,notthebrainsofthechildren.15Additionally,referringtothelearner’sexpe-rienceasadisability,ratherthanadifferenceinlanguageprocessingorlearningstyle,isatissueamongsomescholars.AccordingtoMontessorian,paediatrician,andspeech-languagepathologistSylviaRichardson,‘Publiceducationviewsitasadisabilitybyfailingtoprovideappropriateinstruction.Societyasawholeviewsitasadisabilitythroughlackofunderstanding.’16

the prevalence of reading difficulties

Anestimatedfifteentotwentypercentofthepopulationhassymptomsofareadingdisability.Dyslexiaisthemostcommoncauseofreading,writing,andspellingdiffi-culties17andaffectsaboutoneofeveryfivechildren,abouttenmillionintheUnitedStatesalone.18In2001,8.9percentofUSstudentsagedsixthroughtwenty-onewerereceivingspecialeducationservices.19Evenif,asSallyShaywitzofYaleUniversityesti-mates,eightypercentofthesestudentshadareadingdisability,20itwouldseemthatchildrenwithreadingdisabilityingeneral,anddyslexiainparticular,arevastlyunder-served.

Additionally,becausedyslexiaexistsonacontinuumfrommilddisturbancetosevere

limitation,readingdifficultiesareoftendeterminedatanartificialcut-offpointbyeducatorsandgovernmentofficials.Soachildwhoneedshelpmaynotqualifyforitwithintheschoolsystem.Evenmoredis-turbingisthatchildrenwhoreadpoorlyinthethirdgrade(ageeightornine)continuetohavereadingproblemsinhighschoolandbeyond.Inonestudy,seventy-fourpercentofchildrenwhowerepoorreadersinthethirdgraderemainedpoorreadersintheninthgrade(agefourteenorfifteen).21Inotherwords,theyoftenstillcannotreadwellwhentheybecomeadults.22Thismayindi-catethattheneuralsystemsresponsiblefortransformingsymbolsintolanguagemightbecomelessresponsivetointerventionaschildrengetolder.23

Dyslexiaaffectsfemales,males,andpeo-plefromdifferentethnicandsocioeconomicbackgroundsequally.Inaddition,somereadingproblemsaregeneticallyinfluenced.Betweentwenty-fiveandfiftypercentofchildrenborntoadyslexicparentwillalsobedyslexic.Andinone-thirdtoone-halfofthecaseswhenachildisidentifiedasdys-lexicandhisparentsarethenevaluated,oneorbothparentsturnouttobedyslexicaswell.24Forthesereasons,achildwithadys-lexicsiblingorparentshouldbemonitoredmorecloselyearlyonforindicationsoforallanguagedifficulties.Still,althoughdyslexiarunsinfamiliesandiscarriedasagenetictrait,itisnotentirelygenetic.

Althoughthereisnocurefordyslexia,childrenandadultscanlearnhighlysuccess-fulstrategiesforcompensation.Researchshowsthatcompensatingdyslexicshaveadistinctadvantageovernondyslexicsintheirabilitytoreasonandconceptualizeandthatthephonologicaldeficitmaskswhatareoftenexcellentcomprehensionskills.25

Despiteclearandconsistentresearch,mythsstillexistaboutdyslexia.Dyslexiais

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notadiseaseandcannotbeoutgrownorcured,althoughindividualswithdyslexiacanlearnhowtolearnmoreeffectively.Aspreviouslystated,dyslexiaindicatesalan-guageproblem.Visualimpairments,lackofintelligence,laziness,ornotcaringonthepartofthechildallhavenobearing.Fur-ther,scientificevidenceislackingtosupportclaimsforimprovingtheacademicabilitiesofdyslexicswithtreatmentbasedonvisualtrainingorneurologicalorganizationaltraining(suchasbalanceboarduse).26

Attentionproblemsmightaccompanydyslexia,buttheymightnot.Theneurobiol-ogyandeffectivetreatmentsdifferforspe-cificsymptoms.Dyslexiaisdifficultyaccess-ingthebasicsoundsoflanguage;attentiondeficithyperactivitydisorder(ADHD)isdif-ficultywithattendingtoanactivity.Some-timesthedisorderscanclearlygohandinhand.Othertimes,itmightlooklikeadys-lexicpersonisnotpayingattentiontoread-ingbecauseitissodifficultforhertodecodethewords.Readingrequiresasignificantamountofattentionforthedyslexic,morethanfortheaveragereader.

indications and evaluations

Asaresultofrecentresearch,healthcareprovidersareabletoidentifywithahighdegreeofaccuracythechildrenwhoaremostatriskfordyslexia,evenbeforetheydevelopreadingdifficulties.Theycanalsodiagnosedyslexiaaccuratelyinchildren,youngadults,andadults,andthedisordercanbemanagedwithextremelyeffectiveandproventreatmentprogrammes.

Earlydiagnosis,joinedwitheffectivetreatment,canhelpdefinethestrengthsratherthanthechallengesofthechild.Par-ticularattentionshouldbepaidtoprotect-ingthechild’sself-concept,asdyslexicchil-drenareespeciallyvulnerabletoweak

self-esteem.Whenachildisaccusedofalackofmotivation,notworkingtoherfullability,beinglazy,ornotbeingsmart,shebeginstodoubtherself.Theseaccusationsaremorecommonthanwemighthopebecauseoftenthepotentialinthechildisclearerthanherability.Thechildneedstheknowledgethatshecancountonherparentsandteachersforunwaveringsupport.

Alsonotableisthatbrightchildrenwithdyslexiacanescapenoticebecausetheypos-sesssomanyotherstrengths.Theyoftenlearntocompensatefororcoveruptheirdifficulties.Theselearnersareoftenquitetalentedinpredominantlyright-brainedskillslikethevisualarts,music,mechanicalaptitude,andmathematicalreasoning.27Sci-entistsarestilltryingtoexplainthesignifi-cantamountofcreativitypresentinmanypeoplewithdyslexia.Onespeculationisthatperhapsthebrainwasforcedtousetherighthemispherebecauseofproblemswiththelefthemisphere,sotherightside’sconnec-tionswerestrengthenedinuniqueways.Orpossiblytherighthemisphere’screativecon-nectionsbeganasdominant,leavinglessroomforotheractivities,suchasreading.28Furtheranecdotalevidencesuggeststhatdyslexicsappeartorepresentthemostcre-ative,uniquethinkersofsociety,andonemighthypothesizethisisbecausethedys-lexiccannotsimplymemorizebutmustunderstandtheconceptatafundamentallevelinordertoremember.

Teachersandparentsmayprovideimpor-tantobservationsforhealthcareprofession-als,butteachersareusuallynottrainedtomakeadiagnosis.Keepingthatinmind,andrecallingthatdyslexiawillpresentdiffer-entlyindifferentchildren,earlyredflagsincludeadelayinspeaking;difficultyinpro-nunciation;adecreasedsensitivityforrhyme,alliteration,andassonance;ortrou-blelearningnurseryrhymes.Later,achild

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mighthavedifficultyrecallingoraccessingaparticularphoneme.Andaschildrengetolder,theymighthavedifficultyunderstand-ingthatwordscomeapart,asinacom-poundword,andthatwordscanbeisolatedfurtherbytheirsoundsandsyllables.Thesechildrenalsohavedifficultyassociatinglet-terswithsounds.Ortheymaymakeerrorswhenreadingthatarenotrelatedtosound,suchassubstitutingafamiliarwordforadifficultonethatappearsinthetext.Addi-tionally,thechildmaycomplainabouthowdifficultthetaskofreadingisandmightavoidreading.

Inonestudy,preschoolers’phonologicalaptitudepredictedreadingprogressthreeyearslater.Childrenwhoreceivedtrainingbasedonsounds—identifyingthebegin-ning,middle,andendsound—showedthemostimprovementinreadingandspelling,ascomparedwithchildrenreceivinggenerallanguagetrainingwhichemphasizedthemeaningofwords.Thestudyalsoshowedthatthekindsoflanguageexperiencesthechildhasbeforehegoestoschoolinfluencehisabilitytoreadyearslater.29Additionally,avarietyofstudiesdemonstratethatphono-logicaldifficultiesarethemostsignificantandconsistentmarkersofdyslexiainchild-hood.30

Inconventionalkindergarten(nurseryschool),whereletternamesaretaughtpriortosounds,thechild’sabilitytosuccessfullynamethelettersofthealphabetisthemostsignificantreadingpredictor.Inthefirstgrade(aboutagesix),thechild’sknowledgeoflettersounds,taughtafterletternames,becomesthemostimportantindicatorofsuccessfulfuturereading.31Controversyexistsoverthebenefitoftheknowledgeoftheletternameforlearningtoread.Infact,teachingletternamescanbeconfusinganddetractfromthechild’sabilitytosuccess-fullylearnthesoundsofeachletterorletter

combination.32I.Q.testsarenotstrongindi-catorsorpredictorsoflaterreadingdifficul-tiesinyoungchildren.33

Thedyslexicelementary-agedchildmightusenonspecificlanguage,likethewordsstufforthings,ordescribearoundawordratherthanusingtheworditself.Further,shemayconfusewordswhichsoundalike,likelotionforocean.Thischildmighthavedifficultyrememberingisolatedpiecesofinformationwhichuserotememory,likedatesorrandomlists.

Additionally,thisolderchildmayhaveanextremelyslowprogressionwhilelearningtoread,withaparticularlydifficulttimereadingneworunfamiliarwordswhichmustbesoundedout.Thechildmayomitpartsofwordswhenreading,substituteormispronounce,andreadinadifficultorlabouredfashion.Thechildmayoftenrelyonthecontextorpicturestounderstandthemeaningofthepassageandhaveaverydif-ficulttimeunderstandingisolatedsinglewords.Thechildmightsubstitutewordswiththesamemeaningforawordinthetexthecannotpronounce,likerainfor thunder-storm.Thechildbecomestiredfromtheeffortofreadingandoftensuffersfromlowself-esteeminthisarea.

Yetthechildwilllikelyexhibitstrengthsinthethinkingprocess,suchasadeepimagination,curiosity,andexcellentaudi-torycomprehensionwithasophisticatedlis-teningvocabulary.Whenastoryisreadaloud,sheshowsgoodunderstandingofnewconceptsandtakesjoyinnewideas.Sheoftenexcelsatreasoningandabstractionandcanlearnbestthroughcontextualmeaningratherthanmemorization.Higher-levelcomponentsofthinkingremainsuc-cessfulsincephonologicalawarenessisnotrelatedtoI.Q.Strengthsincriticalthinking,reasoning,problemsolving,vocabulary,andcomprehensionmayallsurroundaweak-

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nessinphonologicalability,aweaknessintheabilitytodecode.

Tohelpchildrenwithlearningdelays,itisessentialtoobserveandtracktheirstrengthsaswellastheirweaknesses,becausethesecharacteristicscanoftenbeusedtohelpbypassthechallenges.Thestrengthsensurethechild’ssuccessinlearn-ingevenifthelearningtakesplaceoveralongerperiodoftime.

Afterrulingouthearingorvisionprob-lems,anadultobservingachildforsomeofthesechallengesshouldbesuretonotethefrequencyofthedifficulties.Mostchildrenwillexhibitallofthesebehavioursatonetimeoranotherastheylearntoread.Buttheconcernariseswhenthesymptomsrepeatinaregularpatternovertime.

Whenobservingachildwithreadingchallenges,oneshouldnotwaittoolongtoseekexpertassistanceifthereareconcerns.Ratherthantimeorthematurityofthechild,itisspecificreadinginstructionwhichleadstobetterreading.Teachersneedtocommunicatewiththechild’sparentsandwithschooladministratorsaboutanycon-cernsandaskforhomeobservationsaswell.Additionally,theschoolshouldmaintainafileofresourceswithinthecommunityfortheparentsandteachersandprovidesup-portinseekingfurtherevaluationforthechild.

Onceastruggleissuspectedorobserved,apsychologistorotherhealthcareprofes-sionalmakesevaluationsfordyslexia.Addi-tionally,thisprofessionalwillrelyonthecarefulobservationsofteachersandparents.Theprofessionalwilladministeravarietyoflanguagetests,includingoral,written,audi-tory,andmemoryassessments.Oneparticu-lartestscoredoesnotsignifythechildisdyslexic.Rather,thehealthcareproviderlooksforaphonologicalweaknessaffectingothercomponentsofthelanguagesystem,

combinedwithanestablishedreadingprob-lem,accordingtotheeducationandageofthechild.Thediagnosiswouldbesupportedbyevidenceofahighlearningcapabilitywithsomeglitchinthelearningprocesspreventingthechildfromperformingbet-ter.34

Unfortunately,dyslexicchildrenaregen-erallyinthethirdgradeorolderwhentheyareinitiallyidentifiedasdyslexicbytheirschools.Readingdifficultiesdiagnosedafterthirdgrade(ageeightornine)aremuchmoredifficulttoremediate.35Oneoftherea-sonsforthisisthattheinitialdisadvantageiscompoundedovertime.

Ifadiagnosisismade,anadultshouldexplaintothechildherreadingprobleminawaythatshecanunderstand.Ifachildhassomeunderstanding,thatcangivehercom-fortassheisnotsodifferentfromotherchildren.Withoutthisconversation,achildmaybequicktolabelherselfasperhapsstu-pidordumb,ratherthanunderstandingthatherbrainfunctionsdifferentlyfrom,yetjustaslegitimatelyas,herpeers’.

Thechildwithdyslexianeedsanadultwhocansupportandchampionher.Thisadultwillbelieveinherstrengthsandefforts,understandthenatureofherreadingdifficulties,andactivelyworktobesurethatshegetsthelearningandemotionalsupportsheneeds.Thisadvocacymightinclude(butnotbelimitedto)helpingherschoolunder-standherneedsandperhapsdirectingthemtoherrightsprotectedbylaw,suchas(intheUnitedStates)theAmericanswithDisabili-tiesAct(ADA).Withproperdocumentation,shemaybeentitledtoacademicaccommo-dationsincludingextratimeforspecificactivities,individualsupport,orbeingabletodemonstrateknowledgeinavarietyofways(e.g.,orallyinsteadofthroughwrit-ing).

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successful intervention for the dyslexic child

Dyslexicpeopledonotprocesslanguageinthesamemannerasotherlearnersdo.Spe-cifically,theidealcurriculumforchildrenwithdyslexiaismultisensory,structured,cumulative,andsequential.36Thismethodofdirect,unclutteredinstructionbenefitsmostnon-dyslexiclearnersaswell.

AccordingtotheNRP,theessentialsofaneffectiveearlyreadinginterventionpro-grammeincludesystematic,sequential,explicitinstructioninphonemicawareness.Inparticular,thechildneedstheabilitytonoticeandmanipulatethesoundsofspokenlanguage.Sheneedsexplicitinstructioninphonics(howthelettersandgroupsoflet-tersrepresentthesoundsofspokenlan-guage),decoding,sightwords(non-phoneticwords),spelling,vocabulary,andreadingcomprehensionstrategies.Additionally,thechildneedsregularpracticeintheapplica-tionoftheseskillsinreading(aswellaswriting)towardsfluency.Furtherlanguageexperiencesshouldincludetelling,listeningto,anddiscussingstories.37

Systematicphonicsinstructionhelpschildrenincreasetheirabilitytocompre-hendwhattheyread.Oncethechildreadswordsautomaticallyandaccurately,heisabletofocusonthemeaningofthetext.Phonicsinstructioncontributestocompre-hensionskills,ratherthaninhibitingthem.38

Unfortunately,traditionalteachertrain-ingatthecollegeoruniversityleveloftenfallsshortofprovidingfutureteacherswiththeskillstheyneedeithertoeffectivelyrec-ognizedyslexiaortoteachlanguageskillsinastructured,sequential,multisensoryfashion.39Infact,DrRichardsonpointsoutthat‘university-basedteacherpreparationprogramswerefoundtobeinadequate’to

prepareteacherstoaddressreadingdifficul-ties,dyslexia,andotherlearningdisabili-ties.40

the montessori method

MariaMontessorirelieduponhertrainingasamedicaldoctorandscientistforherinves-tigationsintothedevelopmentofthechild.Sheconsideredobservationtobetheinte-gralsupportivefoundationofhermethod.Montessori’sprinciplesarebasedonwhatthechildrenrevealedtoher,andthroughobservationshefoundthekeytotheeduca-tionaldilemmaofhertime.

AnessentialcomponentoftheAssocia-tionMontessoriInternationaleteachertrain-ingateverylevelisthatofcarefulobserva-tionofchildren.Teachersstudyobservationtheoryandpractisespecificobservationtechniquessothatonceleadingtheirownclassroom,theyarepreparedtoconsiderdif-ferentlearners’approachesincontextanddevisestrategiesbasedontheirknowledgeofthedifferentwaysinwhichlearningcanwork.Teacherslearnaboutthenatureofthechild,includinghersensitiveperiods,psy-chologicalcharacteristics,andhumanten-dencies.Inthismanner,Montessoriteach-ersalreadyhavepreparationfornoticing,andthenmeeting,thespecificneedsofanyindividuallearnerintheircharge.

MariaMontessoribeganherteachingswiththegreatsuccessmentallychallengedchildrenexperiencedbyusingthesensorialmaterials.Sofromthebeginning,DrMon-tessoriobservedthatchildrenwithlearningdisabilitiescouldbequitesuccessfulinherclassroom.Shealsofoundthatbyisolatingthedifficultiesofeachtaskandbybreakingthewholetaskdownintoitsconcrete,smallerparts,allchildrencouldworkpur-posefullytowardstheirownself-construc-tion.However,theMontessorimethodisnot

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exclusivelyaimedatlearningdisabledchil-dren;rather,itisparticularlysuitedforavarietyoflearners.

Childrenwithdyslexiabenefitfromtheprimary(agesthreetosix)Montessorienvi-ronment,whichmeetstheirspecific,indi-vidualneeds.Dyslexicchildrenneedsequen-tial,multisensory,andexplicitexperiencewiththesoundsandsymbolsoftheirlan-guagetoreadfluently.Theintroductorypho-neticapproach,combinedwiththeemphasisoncontext,functionsofwords,andanalysisofsentences,particularlysuitsstrugglingreaders.Amongotherthings,thisenviron-mentincludesregularexperiencewithlan-guage,activitieswhichencouragetheaware-nessofsounds,andvocabularyenrichment.Further,unlikeaconventionalkindergartenorpreschool,Montessorigivesthechildthreetofouryearsofregularlanguageactiv-itiesinschool,ratherthanoneortwoyears.Thisfurtherrepetitioncanmakeasignifi-cantdifferenceinthefoundationforastrug-glingreader.

TherecommendationsfromtheNRParequitecongruentwiththeobservationsmadebyDrMontessori.Thesecomponentsbenefitallchildren,includingdyslexics.Alreadysequentialandmultisensory,thetotalread-ingpathofMontessorinotonlyincludesalloftheNRP-identifiedcomponentsbutcaneasilybeadjustedwithincreasedrepetition(asneeded)tomeettheneedsoftheindivid-ualdyslexicchild.Inthisway,so-calledremediationtakesplaceforat-riskreadersintheregularMontessoriclassroomsidebysidewiththerestoftheclass.

Readingmustbeginwithexplicitatten-tiontotheprincipalcharacteristicsoforallanguage.So,fromthebeginning,soundgamesareimportantpreparationforreadinganddevelopingphonologicalawareness.Theteacherholdsanobject,stating,‘Thisobjectinmyhandbeginswiththesound/f/.What

amIholding?’Additional,regularrepetitionisnecessaryforthechildtogainpracticewithinitialsounds,finalsounds,middlesounds,discriminatingdifferentsounds,soundingoutwords,andeventuallyselect-ingthesymboltogowiththespokensound.Inthiswaythechildbuildsthefoundationtodevelopanawarenessofandabilitytomanipulatethesoundsinwords.

Lettersoundsareintroducedwiththesandpaperletters:Theadultsaysthesoundandtracesthesymbol,andthechildrepeats.Thismultisensoryexercisecombinesvisual,auditory,andtactilelearningtohelpthechildcommittomemorythesound-symbolassociation.Thisinstructioninhowthelet-ters(andlater,groupsofletters,thephono-grams)representsoundsofspokenlanguageisessentialtothesuccessofthechild’sread-ing.Thethree-periodlesson,inwhichthechildgetsvaried,directedrepetition,helpshertosolidifytheconcept.

Thedyslexicchildwillgenerallyneedadditionalandmoredirectworkwiththesoundgamesandthesandpaperlettersbeforeshecanapplytheirconceptstowordbuilding.Further,anincreasedsecondperiodofrepetitionwillbebeneficial.Addi-tionally,itmaybenecessarytopreciselyordereachnewpresentationandrepetitionofthesounds,fromsimpletocomplex,basedontheorderoftheOrton-Gillinghammethod41orsimilarprogramme.

Asthechildneedsmoreexperience,sepa-ratingwordsintosyllablesandclappingeachsyllable(likeclappingthreetimeswhilesayingA-li-son)helpshertofurtherhearandmanipulatesounds.Inaddition,achildcanplaceaconcreteobject(suchasabean)onthetableforeachsoundheardinaword(placingtwobeansforeat:/ee/+/t/).

Especiallyfordyslexics,occasionallyworkinginasmallgroupofchildrenonphonemicawarenessmaybemoreeffective

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thanindividualorwhole-groupinstructionbecausethesechildrenoftenbenefitfromlisteningtotheirclassmatesinadditiontoreceivingindividualizedfeedbackfromtheteacher.42

OneofMariaMontessori’sgreatestdis-coverieswasthatgenerallyreadingcomeslaterthanwriting.Shewrote,‘experiencehastaughtmetomakeacleardistinctionbetweenreadingandwriting,andithasshownmethatthetwoactsneednotbeabsolutelycontemporaneous.’43Shefoundthatreadingtypicallybeginssixmonthsafterwritingwiththemovablealphabet,andfairlyindependently.

However,thiswillonlyhappenbecausethechildhasbeenindirectlypreparedinboththehandandthemindwiththekeystolanguage:thesandpaperlettersandthespeechsounds.Montessorieducationpre-paresthemindthroughspokenlanguage(vocabularyenrichment,storytelling,poems,etc.)andpreparesthehandthroughexercisesofpracticallife,tracingmetalinsets,theartofhandwriting,themovablealphabet,andotheractivities.Thedyslexicchildalsorequiresthisimportant,repeatedindirectpreparation.

Ratherthansimplytechnicalskill,Mon-tessoricalledtotal readingthegoalforthechild,noting,‘achilddoesnotreaduntilhereceivesideasfromthewrittenword.’44Thechildmustreadforunderstanding,graspingtheemotion,nuance,andintentoftheauthor.

TheMontessorimethodpreparesthechil-drenfortotalreadingthroughtheactivitiesofspokenlanguageinalinguisticenviron-ment.Oftenthegreaterthechild’sexposuretoculture(suchasart,music,geography,poetry,etc.),thehigherherreadinglevel.Additionally,readingstoriesandpoemsaloudtochildrenhelpstostimulateaware-nessofaspectsoflanguagesuchasrhyme.

Practicewithgraceandcourtesyalsodeep-ensachild’svocabulary.

Inaddition,teachersinMontessorienvi-ronmentspreparethechildfortotalreadingwiththemechanicalskillsandreadingpracticeacquiredthroughthephoneticobjectbox,phonogramwork,puzzlewords,readingclassification,andreadinganalysis.Herethesynthesisanddecodingtakeplace.Formoreinterpretivereading,Montessorioffersfunctionofwords,wordstudy,books,andalsoreadinganalysis.‘Thechildofthisagelearnsmanynewwords’,wroteMontes-sori.‘Hehasaspecialsensitivenessforwords;theyattracthisinterest,andhespon-taneouslyaccumulatesaverygreatnum-ber.’45Thechildalsorepeatsmuchofthisworkwithinterestandvariety.

Similarly,theNRPnotedthatlisteningto,telling,anddiscussingstories(vocabu-laryenrichment),inadditiontoreadingcomprehension,areessentialforreadingfluency.Further,directinstructionwithsightwords(alsocallednonphoneticor,inMontessori,puzzlewords)andothervocab-ularyareimportantcomponentsforsuc-cessfulreaders.Regularpracticewithalloftheseskillswasalsonotedasessential.

DyslexicreadersinMontessorifollowthissamelogicalprogressionastheirtypi-calpeers,thesimple-to-complex,parts-to-wholeapproachtototalreading.Theselearnersneedincreasedrepetitionandtimewiththeseactivities.Coupledwithregularobservation,readingaloudmakesimpor-tantfeedbackfromtheadultpossible.Itisduringthistypeofreadingthatfurtherinstructionindecodingcansupporttheindividualchild.Thesetimesshouldbepos-itiveandconstructiveforthechild.Whenamistakeismade,thechildcanalterthepro-nunciationverballyandstorethecorrectneuralmodeloftheword.Repetitionwillreflecttheexactpronunciationandspelling

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oftheworduntilitbecomesautomatic.46Achildmustbeableaccuratelytoperformatwo-stepprocess—readingtotakethewordinandcodingitforstorageandretrieval—beforethatwordcanbereadfluently.

Smalldecodablebookscangiveconfi-dencetotheemergingreader,ashewillbeabletoreadonhisown.Oftenchildrenliketoreadthesesimplebooksbecausetheycan.Ifthechildcannotreadaboutninety-fivepercentofthewordsonthepagecorrectly,thebookisprobablytoodifficultforhimtoreadonhisown.Resourcesareavailabletohelpaccuratelygaugeabook’slevelofreadingdifficulty.47

Other,moregeneral,Montessoriprinci-plesarejustasapplicabletothedyslexicchildastothetypicallearnerandsupportherindividualdevelopment.Theenviron-mentandlessonsaresequential,theclass-roomisorganizedandlogical,andmulti-sensorydidacticmaterialsareused.TheMontessorimaterialsaredesignedwithcon-troloferrorandcanbeaperfectdiagnostictool.Theadultgainsmanyindicationsofthechild’slearningabilitiesthroughobserva-tion.Thematerialsarebeautiful,givingonlythenecessarykeysforthechild’sexplora-tion,repetition,andsynthesis.Insomecasesthematerialsalsoallowthechildtoself-correctherwork,thusbuildingindepen-dence,confidence,andrespect.

Montessorisawtheneedforthechildrentohavefreedom—tochoose,torepeat,andtomove—coupledwithnecessaryresponsi-bilityintheenvironment.Oftenthechildknowsherownneedsand,withfreedom,willchooserepetitionofaskillwhensheneedsit.Repetitionisprovidedforinthedesignofthematerialsandactivities.Fur-ther,brainimagingtechnologydemon-stratesthepositiveeffectofpractice,asthebraincreatesaneuralcircuitwhenexpertiseorskillisdeveloped.48

elementary reading support

JustaswiththeMontessoriprimaryenviron-ment,CosmicEducation(theplanfortheelementary-agedchild,agessixtotwelve)canbeanexcellentfitforthedyslexicchild.ThefundamentalMontessoriprinciplescon-tinuetooperateandtheteacheriswellpre-paredtoobserveandmeettheneedsoftheindividual,includingthestrugglingreader.

MostchildrenwhohaveattendedtheCasadeiBambiniforthreeyearscometotheele-mentaryenvironmentalreadyreading.Ifachilddoesnotread,theteachershouldpro-videdailysupport,combinedwithregularobservationofthespecificdifficulties(e.g.,‘missesendblendsoundsregularly’),tocor-rectthisdeficit.Thisdoesnotnecessarilymeanthatthechildisdyslexic,butaplanofactionwhichincludesmultisensory,repeti-tive,smalldosesofsoundawarenessandreadingpracticeshouldbeprovided.Thereisnotimetoloseforthissix-year-old;ifchil-drenwhoaredyslexicgeteffectivephono-logicaltraininginkindergartenandfirstgrade(agesfivetoseven),theywillhavesig-nificantlyfewerproblemslearningtoreadatgradelevelthandochildrenwhowerenotidentifiedorhelpeduntilthirdgrade(ageeightornine).49Thisisalsothetimetoemphaticallyprotectthechild’sself-esteem,aslikelyshewouldlovetoread,cannot,andissurroundedbythosewhodo.

Ideally,remediallessonsshouldbegivendailytoprovideconsistency.50Further,thescheduleofinstructionshouldnothindertheotherregularschoolactivities.Inthisway,theteachermeetstheuniquepaceofthechild’slearningandthechildcanfurtherdevelopautomaticity.TheMontessorienvi-ronmentperfectlymeetstheneedofthischild,assmall-grouporindividuallessonsareregularlygiven,basedonthechildren’sneeds,everydayintheMontessoriclass-

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room.Remediationispossibleinamixed-ageenvironmentwithoutthepotentialstigmaorwork-cycledisruptionofkeepingregularappointmentswithaspecialist.

Asthechildenterstheelementaryclass-room,theteachershouldassessthevariouscomponentsofherreadingskills.Eventhemostcareful,unbiasedobservershouldkeepinmindthatcognitivephenomenacannotbedirectlyobserved.Onesimplycannotseeintothemindsofchildren.Facialexpres-sionsandbodylanguagecangivesomecluestothestrugglesofachild,ascanlisteningtoherreadingaloud.Whenachildhasdiffi-cultiessegmenting(pullingapartawordintoitssounds,usuallyobservedwhilespell-ing)orblending(pushingsoundstogethertoformawordwhilereading),andhasbeenphonologicallywellprepared,furtheranaly-sisshouldbedone.

Oralconversationswiththechildmayrevealanawareness(orlackthereof)ofsoundcomparison,segmentation,andblending.Tocheckcomparison,theteachermighthavethechildpronouncetheindivid-ualsoundsheardinawordorcountthem.Tosegment,thechildbreaksthewordapartbysoundsorsyllables;toblend,shejoinssounds.Achildwhohastroublehearingsyl-lablescanplaceherhandunderherchin;eachtimeshefeelsherjawdrop,asyllableisbeingspoken.Fordyslexicchildrenwithblendingdifficulties,presentingmanywordswiththesamesoundtogether(asa“family”)canbemoreeffectiverepetition.51(Forexample,thechildreadsalistcontain-ingwordsbeginningwith/sl/suchasslip,slam,sled,etc.,orwordswiththerootport,suchasreport,portable,transport,etc.)

Theteachercanalsoperiodicallypointoutaparticularwordandchecktoseeifthingsmakesensetothechild.Inthisway,thechilddecodesanunknownwordandtheteacherverifiesthatthepronunciationiscor-

rectbyrepeatingthatword.Also,thisfos-tersthechild’sindependenceasareaderbybuildingherconfidence.Forexample,whensheisabletoarticulate/d//o//g/andcanblendthesesoundstoformdog,theteachermayask,‘Doesdogsoundrighttoyou?Doesthismakesenseinthestory?’

Fluencywillchangeforthechilddepend-ingonwhatsheisreadingandwhethershehasfamiliarityorpracticewiththetext.Childrenneedpracticewithfluency,whichiscloselylinkedwithreadingcomprehension.Whenchildrenreadpassagesorallymultipletimesandreceivefeedback,theybecomebetterreaders.Childrenwhoreadandrereadtextrepeatedlyorrelyontheuseofaudio-tapesorpeerguidancefororalreadingalsoincreasetheirfluency.52Parentscanalsoreinforcefluencybysupportingtheirchildwithreadingaloudathome.Repeatedlyreadingthewordcorrectlydevelopsanincreaseinaccurateneuralrepresentations.

TheMontessoriadultshouldconsultthepublicschoolcurriculumforanunderstand-ingofreadingrequirements.Forexample,insomeMinnesotadistrictsitisnotuntilfourthgrade(agenineorten)thatchildrenareexpectedtoreadmultisyllabicwordseas-ily,yetchildrenareexpectedtodevelopintofluentreadersbytheendofsecondgrade(ageeight).Fluencyconnectsthedecodingskillsandbringsthechildtocomprehen-sion.

gener al support through cosmic education

Basedonextensiveobservationofnaturalhumandevelopment,Montessoricreatedpreparedenvironmentstosuitthecharacter-isticsofchildren.CosmicEducationappealstothepsychologicalcharacteristicsofthechildfromsixtotwelve.Duringthistime,thechildmovesfurtherfromtheconcrete

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towardsabstraction,experiencinggreatintellectualgrowthanddemonstratingthecapacityforgreatwork.Sheconcernsherselfwithjustice,fairness,andmoralityandformssmallsocietieswithherpeers,seek-ingheroestoemulate.Asaresultofthesecharacteristics,theMontessorielementaryclassroomofferstheuniversetothechildandshereadilyaccepts,usingherreasoningmindandimaginationtoexplorethehowandwhyofeverything.Theseregularcom-ponentsoftheMontessorielementarypro-grammesupportthelearningofthedyslexicchild.

CosmicEducationisanaidtolife,offeredfortheentirehumandevelopmentofthechild.Animportantaspectofthechild’ssuc-cessistheuseoflanguageinaconstructiveandproductivewayforthebettermentofsociety.Language,wroteMontessori,‘mustnotbeconsideredmerelyasasubjectinschools….Itis,rather,a characteristic of civi-lized man.’53Thechilddiscoversthatlan-guageisahumancreationthathelpspeoplesatisfytheirneeds.Languagetransmitshumancultureandcontinuestoshapeandchangethehumanworldeachday.

DrMontessorireferredtotheintegratedspokenandwrittenlanguageworkoftheelementarychildaspsychogrammar,createdtosupportthecharacteristicsofthechild.Ratherthanteaching,theadultlinksthechildrentoavarietyofavenuesofexplora-tion,offeringopportunitiestorecognizepatterns.Withenthusiasm,theMontessoriadultbringslanguagetolifewithenticingquestionsandexcitingexamples,leadingthechildrentowardsdiscoveriesmadethroughreason.RenownedMontessoriteachertrainerMargaretStephensonsaidelemen-taryteachers‘makelanguageworkadetec-tivestoryadventureoftheimagination.’54

Therichlypreparedelementaryenviron-mentprovidesaplethoraoflanguageexperi-

encesforthechild.TeachersconveytheworkingsoftheuniversethroughspokenlanguageintheGreatStoriesandfurtherstories,beginningwiththewholeandmov-ingtotheparts.Withconcretematerials,thechildisolatesnewideas.Multisensoryexperiences,includingregularmovement,providerepetitionthroughvariety.Further,thechildexploresthroughreading,writing,andspeakinginmanyways.Forachildwhostruggleswithreading,thenatureofCosmicEducationanditstransmissionthroughkeys,impressions,andstoriesprovidesameaningfulandthoroughexperience.Insum,thenonreaderhasmuchpurposefulworktodointheMontessorielementaryenvironment.

Theelementarychildacquiresbroadersocialexperiencesthroughgoingout.‘Herequirestogooutintotheworldtomakewidercontactswithbothnatureandhumansociety’,Montessoripointedout.55Inthisway,thechildhaspracticeinsocietyandhecanseefirsthandtheworkingsofhiscul-ture.Further,thechildrenhaveagreatdesiretoviewpertinentexamplesoftheirstudiesinnatureandthecommunity.

Thedyslexicchildlearnsthroughactivityevenmorethanhispeers,whichprovidesaframeworkformemory.Inthisway,goingoutfitstheneedsofthisindividual.Hemustfullyunderstandthetopic,asrotememorywillnotworkwellforhim.Concepts,real-lifeexamples,andexperiencesprovideopportunitiesforpractice,andthusthechildcanmakeconnectionswithinandbetweencategories.Hands-onexperiencesarevitaltothedyslexic.56Theseexperiencesarefoundwiththemanipulativematerialsintheclassroomandthewidersocietyoutsideoftheclassroom.

Inthepreparedenvironmentoftheclass-roomandthroughthegoingoutpro-gramme,thechildrendevelopsocialskills.

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Theypractisehowtoformagroupwithaleader.Theycollaborate,delegatingtaskstoeachindividualwhilejointlymakingacon-tributiontothewhole.Theyworkunderthedirectionofeachotherandeachhasanopportunitytolead.Theyexperiencehowtodiscussanddisagree.Thechildrensettheirownguidelinesfortheclassroom,theirownsmallsociety.

TheMontessorienvironmentprovidesthechildthefreedomtospendasmuchtimeassheneeds,inanextended,uninterruptedworkcycle,tocompleteatask.Thereisnopressuretomoveontoanothertopicataprescribedtime(e.g.,thirtyminutesforwriting,thirtyminutesforhistory),noemphasisonrotememorization,notesttak-ing,norarethereregularteacher-imposedassignments.Withthestateschoolcurricu-lumasaguide,thechildisfreetofollowherowninterests.

Becausetheenvironmentconsistsofagroupofchildrenofmixedages,thestrug-glingreadergenerallyhasapeergroupatherlevelatanygiventime.Lessonsandmaterialsarespecificallyplannedbytheteachertofitwhateachchildneeds,andbecausethechildrentendtowardstheirpeers,grouplessonsarefrequent.Inthisway,bothchildrenbenefitwhenabuddingdyslexicreadermentorsanotherchildwhoneedsmoreguidance,regardlessoftheirages.

CosmicEducationintroducesthechildtotheimportantaccomplishmentofhumanbeingsthroughthefourthGreatStory,Com-municationinSigns.Likemanystoriesele-mentaryMontessoriteacherstell,thisoneinspiresgratitudeinthechildtotheanony-moushumanbeingswhocontributedtoourlivestoday—inthiscase,gratitudeforthepreciousgiftofthealphabetandothersym-bolsystems,andthecreationofwrittenlan-guage.Becauseofthoseamazingearly

humans,notonlydocontemporarypeoplehavethepossibilitytothinkclearly,theyalsohavethepossibilitytowriteandspeakclearly.

Asthechildworkstowardsthemasteryofsound-symbolassociationsinEnglish,otherspecificmaterialscanreinforcethosepat-ternsandgivefurtherpractice.Afluentreadercanalsoworkwithanonreader,help-ingorreadingduringthatportionofthework.

BuildingontheworkoftheCasadeiBambini,thechildexploressinglewordsandwordmeaningsintheelementary.Thechildlearnsprogressivelyhowwordsarebuilt,learningaboutsuffixes,prefixes,andwordfamilies.Inonecase,thechildusessmallmovablealphabetstoinvestigatewordsbybreakingthemintoparts.Differentaffixesaddedtothesamerootchangethemeaningofthewordandsometimeseventhepartofspeech.Theisolationofthepartsthroughthedifferentalphabetcolourshelpsthechildtounderstandcompoundwordsandwordfamilies,whichgivesreadingprac-tice,strengthensvocabulary,andaidsinspelling.Deliberatewordstudyisessentialasphonologicaltrainingtransferstothereadingofbothnewandfamiliarwords.Ifteachersencouragechildrentofullyanalysewrittenwords,theycanapplytheirknowl-edgetothenewwordsencountered.57Onlytwentyprefixesaccountforninety-sevenpercentofallthewordswithprefixesfoundinEnglish-languageschoolbooks,andnineoftheseprefixesaccountforseventy-fivepercentofallprefixes.58

Becausethesecond-planechildlikesrea-sons,Montessoriteachersgiveetymologyinmanystoriesandlessons.Besidesjustgivingthemeaning,theetymologyoftenhasthecharacteristicembeddedwithintheword.Forexample,aflowerwithpartsbelowtheovaryiscalledhypogynous.Thewordcomes

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fromtwoGreekwords,hypo,meaning‘under’or‘below’,andgynous,meaning‘female’.Also,thechildmightstudytheori-ginorclassificationofotherwords,suchasEnglishsurnames,forexample,whichcanbedescriptive,occupational,patronymic,orgeographical.Knowingtheetymologyorhistoricaloriginofawordisanimportantsupporttoreadingandfluentcomprehen-sion,asitgivesinformationabouttheword’spronunciation,spelling,andmeaning.Also,byknowingthehistoricalbackgroundforlanguage,childrencometobetterunder-standhowmanyofourbasicAnglo-Saxonwordshaveevolvedfromtheiroriginalmeanings.

Additionally,olderelementarychildrenexplorethehistoryofmanyLatin,Greek,andFrenchprefixesandsuffixes,discover-ingthatoftenaffixesarenotofEnglishori-gin.Whenchildrenmoveontomiddleschool(agestwelvetofifteen),thereadingmaterialchangesfrompredominantlyAnglo-Saxonwordstoamixofwordsofeveryorigin,soastrongfoundationinwordstudyhelpstoreinforcereadingskill.Inpar-ticular,towardsmiddleandintohighschool,textscontainlargenumbersofwordsfromLatin,French,andGreek.59

Englishissurprisinglyorganizedandsensiblyingenious,whichappealstothesec-ond-planechild’spsychology,aschildrenenjoytheimaginativeexplorationanddis-coveryofavarietyoflanguageconstruc-tions.Astheydevelopmorality,notonlydotheyenjoyrulesandputtingthemtouse,theyrelishthediscoveryoftheexceptions.Moreover,oftenthereasonsforthestructureofthelanguageappealtothechildandcansupportreadingcomprehensionbygivingcontextualclues.

Evenwordswhichcannotbecompletelydecodedbasedonsoundandlettercorre-spondenceareoftenpredictable,basedon

phonics.Soteachersshouldnottellearlyreadersthat‘Englishisirregular’,becausethatsendsamessageofnegativityandisnotreallycorrect.60Infact,thebrainisquiteskilledatdeterminingpatternsandregulari-ties.Muchofthepredictabilityoccursintwo-letterspellingunits,andchildrenshouldlearnallofthemostfrequentspell-ing-phonemecorrespondences.

Increasedvocabularysupportsreading,fromdecodingtocomprehension.Theinter-pretivereadingcards,sequencedbycom-plexity,canhelpthechildtodecodejustasmallamountoftextandexplorethemean-ingsofwords.Workwiththecommandcardsandgrammarboxes,inwhichthechildactsoutthewordsonthecards,givesincreasedpractice.Also,avarietyofmaterialexistsintheclassroomwhichrequiresthereadingofonlyasinglewordortwo,suchastheanimalstorymaterial,geographycom-mandcards,mathwordproblems,andnomenclaturecards.

Manyopportunitiesalsoexistforthebuildingofvocabularythroughliterature.Acollectionofcarefullychosen,limitedbooksintheclassroomofdifferentgenres(fiction,nonfiction,poetry,reference,etc.),authors,andtimeperiodssupportsthisdevelopment.Readingalouddailybytheadultalsoexposesthechildrentogreatvarietiesoflit-erature.Theadultcanpausetoexplainordiscussparticularwords,oraskavolunteerforadefinitionasneeded.

the montessori adult’s role in sup-porting the dyslexic child

Becauseitisessentialtoidentifythechild’sreadingproblembeforehefails,avarietyofassessmenttoolsforphonologicalskillscanhelpidentifychildrenwhoareatriskforreadingdifficulties.61Forthestrugglingreader,wordandsoundassessmentshould

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besystematicandregular.Theerrorpat-ternsinanolderchild’swritingprovidecon-creteguidancefortheadultaboutsoundsthechildmaynothearandthereforedoesnotrecord.62Thesechildrenmayhavebecomesightreaders,relyingexclusivelyonmemorizationtoreadwords.Theteacherorlearningspecialistisbestequippedtoadministerthistypeofreviewwhenneeded.

Usuallychallengesarenotinitiallyrevealedthroughconventionalachievementtestsordiagnostictools.63Rather,aregularclassroomteacherwhohassomeexperienceobservingherchildren’sworkandhabitsnoticesthesechildren.Basedonherobser-vations,atthatpointtheteachercanhelpanindividualinthelearningprocess.Amajor-ityofdysfunctionscanbemanagedsuccess-fullyintheregularclassroomwithoutdirectspecialeducationservices,whilethepsy-chologistsandspecialeducationteacherscanserveasconsultantstotheclassroomteacher.

Ifahealthcareprofessionaldiagnosesthechildasdyslexic,explainingthenatureofthedifficultytothechildcanbeanimpor-tantstepforbothherunderstandingandhersuccess.64Herparentorteachercanletherknowthat‘Dys-means“problems”and-lexia means“words”,sodyslexiameansproblemswiththewordsyouspeak,thewordsyouhear,andthewordsyousee.’Whentellinghistorystories,theadultcanpointouttothechildthatbeforepeoplelearnttoreadorwrite,dyslexicswereregardedaspowerfulandwereoftentheleadersoftheirtribesbecauseoftheirstrengthsofobservationandcreativity.Thegroupswiththedyslexicmembershadanincreasedchanceofsur-vival.65Additionally,anunderstandingoftheconditioncanbeliberatingforchildren,whofinallyknowthereisanactual,under-stoodproblemwithlearning.Childrenwhocannotreadalreadymayknowintheir

heartsthatthereisaproblempriortoadiagnosis.Yetthesechildrenneedtoknowthattheyarecapableandbrightpeoplewholearndifferentlyfromothers.

WiththeimplementationoftheAmeri-canswithDisabilitiesAct(ADA)intheUnitedStates,conventionaleducationallowsfor‘specificaccommodations’tosupportdyslexicchildren.Theseaccommodations—includingaspacetoworkwhichisindividualorquiet,extratimetocompleteataskortest,and/oranalternativemethodtodemon-strateknowledge—arealreadyprovidedeverydayinaMontessoriclassroom.Otheraccommodationscouldincluderegularsmall-grouporindividuallessons,increasedrepetition,supportontheorganizationoftasks,andremovalofdistractions.Again,thetrainedMontessoriteacherregularlyprovidesthissupportforanyofherchildrenwiththeseneeds,includingthedyslexicones.

Someteachersareconcernedthatextratimeontestsgivesanunfairadvantage.However,collegestudentswithandwithoutdisabilitieshavebeenstudiedontimedandnon-timedstandardizedtestswithconsis-tentresults.Onlydiagnosedlearning-dis-abledstudentsshowedasignificantimprovementintestscoreswithadditionaltime.Anadvantageisnotgiventothedys-lexicstudentwithextratime;ratheritisanattempttoleveltheplayingfield.66

Insomecases,adyslexicchildmaybene-fitfromtutoringafterschool.Thesetypesofservicesoutsidetheclassroomrequirecare-fulcommunicationbetweentheclassroomteacher,thetutor,andtheparents.Ideally,additionalpracticeortutoringshouldrein-forcetheskillsthechildhaslearntinschool,ratherthanintroducenewonesortaketheplaceofthechild’sclassroomteacher.

Inmiddleschoolandbeyond(aboutages

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twelveandup),theuseofacomputerfornotetakingmaybeofbenefittothechild.Also,asthechildprogressestoconventionalschoolsystemswhichusetextbooks,organi-zationssuchasLearningAllyinPrinceton,NewJersey,USA,canprovideaudiobooksupport.67Inthiswaythechildcanpartici-pateincoursesathislevelofunderstandingratherthanbeheldbackbyslowreading.Thiscanallowthechildtoreadmoreactivelybyunderliningortakingnoteswhilelistening,therebyreinforcingthecontent,whichmaynothavebeenpossiblepreviouslywhenhewastotallyfocusedondecipheringthewordsonthepage.

conclusion

Dyslexiaisalanguagedisorderwithabio-logicalbasiswhichischaracterizedbydiffi-cultywithreadingandotherlanguagepro-cessing.Typically,thechallengesresultfrompoorphonologicalawarenessandareunex-pectedascomparedwiththeotherabilitiesofthechild.Dyslexicchildrenrequirespe-cificinterventionandsupportandcanbehighlysuccessfulthroughoutschoolandinamultitudeofcareers.Theseare,inJaneHealy’swords,‘youngsterswhomightbeacademicstarsinaculturewithadifferentsetofintellectualpriorities.’68

Formostchildren,readingdifficultiescanbeaddressedverysuccessfully,thuseradicatingreadingfailureasapublichealthproblem.Bothidentifyingchildrenbeforetheyfallbehindandprovidingthehelpthattheyneedareimportantcomponentsneces-saryforthestrengthofouryouth.Thecycleoffailurecanbeavoidedbecauseeducatorsnowknowhowtoidentifychildrenatriskforreadingfailurebeforetheybegintoexpe-riencethattypeofdifficulty.

TheMontessoriclassroom,inboththeCasadeiBambiniandtheelementary(ages

sixtotwelve)environment,isdesignedtomeettheneedsofeveryindividualchild,includingthedyslexiclearner.ThetrainedMontessoriadultobservesthechildandpro-videsherwithwhatsheneedsforsuccessnotonlyinlanguagebutfortheblossomingofallofherhumanpotentials.Asaliteratememberofsociety,thechildfeelsempow-eredtocontributetoothers,pursuehercos-mictask,andsupportthebuildingofapeacefulworld.The‘humanteacherscanonlyhelpthegreatworkthatisbeingdoneasservantshelpthemaster.Doingso,theywillbewitnessestotheunfoldingofthehumansoulandtotherisingofaNewManwhowillnotbethevictimofevents,butwillhavetheclarityofvisiontodirectandshapethefutureofhumansociety.’69

notes

1 MariaMontessori,Education for a New World

(Madras,India:KalakshetraPress,1946),

p.41.

2 NationalReadingPanel,Teaching Children to

Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific

Research Literature and Its Implications for Reading

Instruction(Bethesda,MD:USDepartmentof

HealthandHumanServices,NationalInsti-

tutesofHealth,NationalInstituteofChild

Health&HumanDevelopment,2000)<http://

www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/nrp/small-

book.cfm>[accessed16October2012].

3 PeggyMcCardleandBrettMiller,“WhyWe

NeedEvidence-BasedPracticeinReadingand

WheretoFindThatEvidence”,inImplementing

Evidence-Based Academic Interventions in School

Settings,ed.byVirginiaW.BerningerandSyl-

viaRosenfield(Oxford:OxfordUniversity

Press,2009),pp.19–48(p.27).

4 BonnieB.Armbruster,FranLehr,andJean

Osborn,Put Reading First: Kindergarten through

Grade 3(Jessup,MD:TheNationalInstitutefor

Literacy,2000),p.7.

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5 McCardleandMiller,p.27.

6 NicholasMeier,“ReadingFirst?”,Critical Liter-

acy: Theories and Practices,3.2(2009),

pp.69–83.

7 BarbaraWise,LauraRogan,andLouannSes-

sions,“SharingResearchKnowledgewith

Teachers:TheStoryofLinguisticRemedies”,

inImplementing Evidence-Based Academic Interven-

tions,ed.byBerningerandRosenfield,

pp.443–477(p.448).

8 InternationalDyslexiaAssociation,“Defini-

tionofDyslexia”,2002<http://www.interdys.

org/ewebeditpro5/upload/Definition.pdf>

[accessed16October2012].

9 MarcelAdamJustandPatriciaA.Carpenter,

The Psychology of Reading and Language Compre-

hension(Boston:AllynandBacon,1987),

p.107.

10 MaryanneWolf,Proust and the Squid: The Story

and Science of the Reading Brain(NewYork:

HarperCollins,2007),p.174.

11 Fordetaileddescriptionsofthebrainimaging

process,seeSallyShaywitz,Overcoming Dys-

lexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program

for Reading Problems at Any Level(NewYork:

Knopf,2003).

12 Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,pp.78–84.

13 Wolf,p.61.

14 Wolf,p.190.

15 DianeMcGuinness,Why Our Children Can’t Read

and What We Can Do about It(NewYork:Simon

&Schuster,1999),p.203.

16 SylviaOnestiRichardson,“ResearchValidates

MontessoriApproachtoTeachingLanguage”,

Montessori Life,16.3(Summer2004),pp.46–48

(p.48).

17 InternationalDyslexiaAssociation,“Dyslexia

Basics”,2008<http://www.interdys.org/

ewebeditpro5/upload/BasicsFactSheet.pdf>

[accessed16October2012]

18 Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,p.6.

19 USDepartmentofEducation. Twenty-Fifth

Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of

the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,

2003<http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/

annual/osep/2003/index.html>[accessed16

October2012].

20Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,p.29.

21 Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia,p.121.

22InternationalDyslexiaAssociation,“Dyslexia

Basics”.

23Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,p.256.

24Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,p.99.

25SallyShaywitz,“Dyslexia”,Scientific American,

275.5(November1996),pp.98–104(p.104).

26PriscillaL.Vail,Smart Kids with School Problems

(NewYork:Dutton,1987),p.53.

27Vail,pp.7and117.

28Wolf,p.201.

29L.BradleyandP.E.Bryant,“Categorizing

SoundsandLearningtoRead:ACausalCon-

nection”,Nature,301(1983),pp.419–21

(pp.420–21).

30Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,p.55.

31 Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,p.147.The

researchthatDrShaywitzcitesstudiesonly

childreninconventionalreadingprogrammes

inthekindergartenandfirstgrade.Wemight

considerthatwhenchildrenlearnthesounds

thatthelettersmakepriortolearningthelet-

tername,astheydoinaMontessorienviron-

ment,alackofknowledgeofthenamesofthe

letterswouldnotbeanindicatoroffuture

readingdifficulties,asthenamesofthelet-

tersarenotnecessarytoread.Rather,a

knowledgeofthesoundsisnecessaryfor

reading.

32McGuinness,p.331.

33Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,p.136.

34Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,p.133.

35Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,p.30.

36GavinReid,Dyslexia:A Practitioner’s Handbook,

4thedn(WestSussex,England:Wiley,2009)

<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/

book/10.1002/9780470745502>[accessed16

October2012](p.160).

37NationalReadingPanel.

38Armbruster,p.16.

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Communications 2012/1-2 page 74

39DianaHanburyKing,“AConditionRightly

Named:WhyDyslexiaIsaUsefulTerm”,Per-

spectives on Language and Literacy, 34(Winter

2008),pp.17–19(p.19).

40Richardson,“ResearchValidates”,p.47.

41 TheOrton–Gillinghammethod,collaborated

uponbyamedicaldoctorandateachermore

thanonehundredyearsago,systematically

introducesthephonemesinamultisensory,

repetitivemannerbeginningwiththemost

commonsoundsthatfollowthemostcom-

monrules.

42Armbruster,p.8.

43MariaMontessori,The Discovery of the Child

(1948;NewYork:RandomHouse,1967),

p.229.

44Montessori,Discovery of the Child,p.229.

45MariaMontessori,The Absorbent Mind(1949;

NewYork:Holt,1995),p.174.

46Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,p.232.

47TheDegrees of Reading Power(DRP)programme

listsliterature,textbooks,andpopularbooks

onaCD-ROM,rankingthembyreadability

(see<www.questarai.com>).Alternatively,

Children’s Booksin Print indicatesrecommended

gradelevelforbooks(at<www.booksinprint.

com>).

48Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,p.188.

49InternationalDyslexiaAssociation,“CanIndi-

vidualsWhoAreDyslexicLearntoRead?”

<http://www.interdys.org/FAQLearnToRead.

htm>[accessed16October2012].

50AnnaGillinghamandBessieW.Stillman,The

Gillingham Manual: Remedial Training for Children

with Specific Disability in Reading, Spelling, and

Penmanship(Cambridge,MA:EducatorsPub-

lishingService,1997),p.12.

51 JoyceS.Pickering,“MontessoriansHelping

ChildrenWhoLearnDifferently”,The NAMTA

Journal,33.2(Spring2008),pp.76–99(p.93).

52Armbruster,p.21.

53MariaMontessori,The Formation of Man

(Madras,India:KalakshetraPress,1991),

p.109.

54MargaretE.Stephenson,“HomoLoquens:

LanguageintheContextofCosmicEduca-

tion”,The NAMTA Journal,26.2(Spring2001),

pp.83–97(p.88).

55MariaMontessori,“The Four Planes of Educa-

tion”(FromlecturesgiveninEdinburgh,1938,

andLondon,1939;Amsterdam:AMI,1971),

p.7.

56Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,pp.283–84.

57VirginiaW.BerningerandToddL.Richards,

Brain Literacy for Educators and Psychologists (San

Diego:AcademicPress,2002),p.236.

58ThomasWhite,JoanneSowell,andAlice

Yanagihara,“TeachingElementaryStudents

toUseWordPartClues”,The Reading Teacher,

42.4(January1989),pp.302–308.Thisarticle

includesalistofthesemostcommonprefixes,

p.303.

59BerningerandRichards,p.233.

60BerningerandRichards,p.227.

61 Onepossibleapproach,DIBELS(Dynamic

IndicatorsofBasicEarlyLiteracySkills),pro-

videsabrief,individuallyadministeredsetof

taskslastingjustafewminutesandmaybe

administeredfrequentlytomonitorprogress

andenabletheteachertomakethenecessary

instructionalrefinementsforastruggling

child.Thisapproachassessesthefiveaspects

identifiedbytheNRP.<https://dibels.uoregon.

edu/>.

62LouisaMoats,“KnowledgeFoundationsfor

TeachingReadingandSpelling”,Reading and

Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal,22.4(April

2009),pp.379–399(p.392).

63MelLevineandMary-DeanBarringer,

“GettingtheLowdownontheSlowdown”,

The NAMTA Journal,33.2(Spring2008),

pp.178–185(p.182).Theauthorsdiscusshow

classroomteacherslearntoobservechildren

andidentifystrengthsandweaknessesin

academicfunctioning.

64King,p.18.

65King,p.18.

66Shaywitz,Overcoming Dyslexia,p.337.

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67Thisorganization,formerlyknownasRecord-

ingfortheBlindandDyslexic,maybefound

at<http://www.Learningally.org>.

68JaneM.Healy,Endangered Minds: Why Children

Don’t Think—And What We Can Do about It (New

York:Simon&Schuster,1999),p.146.

69Montessori,Education for a New World,p.3.

additional resources

Adams,MarilynJager,Beginning to Read: Thinking

and Learning about Print(Urbana–Champaign,

IL:CenterfortheStudyofReading,University

ofIllinois,1990)

Henry,MarciaK,Unlocking Literacy: Effective Decod-

ing and Spelling Instruction(Baltimore:Brookes,

2003)

Moats,LouisaCook,andE.D.Hirsch,“Overcom-

ingtheLanguageGap”,American Educator,25.5

(2001),pp.8–9

Montessori,Maria,From Childhood to Adolescence

(1948;Oxford:Clio,1994)

Montessori,Maria,To Educate the Human Potential

(1948;Oxford:Clio,1998)

Pickering,JoyceS.,“SuccessfulApplicationsof

MontessoriMethodswithChildrenatRiskfor

LearningDisabilities”,Annals of Dyslexia,42.1

(December1992),pp.90–109

Richardson,SylviaOnesti,“TheMontessoriPre-

school:PreparationforWritingandReading”,

Annals of Dyslexia,47(1997),pp.241–256

Torgesen,JosephK.,“CatchThembeforeThey

Fall:IdentificationandAssessmenttoPrevent

ReadingFailureinYoungChildren”,American

Educator,22.1–2(Spring–Summer1998),pp.

32–39

Wilkins,AngelaM.,andAliceH.Garside,Basic

Facts about Dyslexia: What Every Layperson Ought

to Know(Baltimore:TheInternationalDys-

lexiaAssociation,1993)