Yet another 3rd grader did a Reading Plus (R) assessment today and it revealed his silent reading comprehension was at the 0.5 grade level. The school reading specialist had told his parents that he was reading on grade level.
There is a huge difference between reading fluency — how well a child reads out loud
Silent reading comprehension — how well a child understands what he or she reads
We have seen a number of cases where the parents spent thousands of dollars and in some cases tens of thousands of dollars on traditional dyslexia treatments and the students reading fluency was better, but the student’s reading comprehension was still well below grade level.
We have three strong beliefs about dyslexia:
– There are many different forms — but for the sake of argument we will use typical dyslexia and right-brain dyslexia. For typical dyslexia, the traditional dyslexia treatment might work. For the student who has right-brain dyslexia, where the student learns differently and has an eye-teaming issue, we would recommend a right-brain dyslexia treatment that focuses on improving reading comprehension — recognizing that phonics is important, but so are many other factors.
There are many schools of thought on dyslexia. The International Dyslexia Association has their very clear definition of dyslexia.
|Q: What Is Dyslexia?
A: Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and / or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
Adopted by the IDA Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002. This Definition is also used by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Others recognize that many students with dyslexia learn differently. As Dr. Linda Silverman wrote in her book “Upside Down Brilliance”:
“Phonics instruction does not need to be eliminated altogether, but sight word vocabulary needs to be built first. Then whole words or syllables can be compared and the pattern recognition capacities of the visual-spatial learner can be brought to bear”.
We label these students as right-brain learners — since their right-brain is activated when the student reads, and it is important for the student to create pictures for what he or she reads.
Dr. Paul Harris, a Baltimore based developmental optometrist reported that:
A study done of 6,000 students in New York State showed that while 23 percent had vision problems, 93 percent of those who were in some sort of special education program suffered from vision problems, said Paul Harris, an optometrist who practices vision therapy in Maryland and runs the Baltimore Academy for Behavioral Optometry.
While there has been no formal study of how many students with dyslexia have right-brain dyslexia, we suspect it is a very large number. As a parent, we would recommend screening to see if your child learns differently and whether or not your child has an eye-teaming issue.
For the child with right-brain dyslexia, we have seen the best results with a right-brain dyslexia treatment, visual skills training and phonics-based training — it it not an either/or, but it is giving the dyslexic child what he or she needs to improve reading comprehension.
We offer a Success Assessment that screens for a learning difference and attention and eye-teaming issues at www.3dlearner.com