Saturday, June 02, 2007

Dysteachia: The History and Science of the Code and Learning to Read and Comprehend it.

The History and Science of the Code and Learning to Read and Comprehend it.

I just found a really interesting and comprehensive website on the science of reading. It is chalk full of videos interviews with leading reading experts and researchers.

The contributors read like a who's who of reading experts, Engelmann, Moats, Hirsch, Whitehurst, etc... they literally have 30 to 40 interviews with just about any expert that you could name.

In this video called Dysteachia, the problem is summed up nicely by Dr. G. Reid Lyon, Former Branch Chief, National Institue of Child Health and Human Development.

When we look at the kids that are having a tough time learning how to read, we went through the statistics, 38% nationally, disaggregate that, 70% kids from poverty and so fourth hit the wall. 95% of those kids are instructional casualties... About five to six percent of those kids have what we call dyslexia or learning disabilities in reading. Ninety-five percent of the kids hitting the wall in learning to read are what we call NBT: Never Been Taught.
"Instructional Casualties" and "Never Been Taught" (NBT), I think those five words nicely sum up the problems that us parents have to deal.

My favorite interview is with Siegfried Engelmann, who gets quite passionate in his argument about the root cause of the problem.
...because in grade one, teachers did eminently stupid stuff, like have them look at the picture, discuss the picture, and then read the words. I am sorry Virginia, pictures do not generate specific words.
I will probably be blogging a lot more from this series in the coming weeks, but I highly suggest that you check it out.


Harry said...

The best method I've found for teaching reading is from the Riggs Institute - It's phonetically based. (surprise!) I've been using it (when I'm allowed since I teach in a public school) and the kids who do the work show great improvement.

It looks like theres a lot of interesting informations on Children of the Code. When I have more time, I'm going to check out more of it.

hayesatlbch said...

Another phrase that describes many dyslexics , rather than NBT , is situational dyslexia. I like situational dyslexia because it allows additional difficulties such as economic, broken home, and an assortment of factors that cause poor performance in academic skills that can mimic the results of dyslexia.

Sad to say ,dyslexia is in danger of becoming another ADHD where a label is easier to apply than any solution. The dilution of real dyslexics with NBT's and situational dyslexics is sure to also dilute the resources available or that might become available. The only way to fight back is with objective information and good analysis of that information.

The information on learning to read given in Children of the Code is of the highest quality. I haven't looked at the 2007 material yet but I was impressed with the material from 2006.

My little niche involves visual dyslexia and how to remove the visual problems that make reading difficult for visual dyslexics. Only about 20% of dyslexics can describe visual problems that make reading difficult and can benefit from my product at that removes described visual problems.

Dennis Fermoyle said...

Rory, I'm a lot more comfortable discussing what goes on in the upper than the lower grades, but here I am anyway. I just watched the video, and based on the generalizations "the experts" made, I would think that any of my high school kids who are doing poorly are the victims of "disteachia." That impression would be wrong.

Reading assignments are the most important part of my American History classes. If a student consistently does a good job on the reading, it's going to be hard for them to get anything worse than a B in the class. I wrote my own text, so the reading assignments are usually between two and three pages. I did that so that the assignments would be very doable.

I can't tell you how many times I've reached the conclusion that some kid has a major comprehension problem, and then I'll find out that's not the case. The student will be going along earning low score after low score on my reading quizzes, and then all of a sudden, he'll ace one. I'll call the kid up, and ask what he did differently this time, and he'll say, "This time I read the assignment." Well, surprise! I can honestly say that the sophomores I've found who really CAN'T read are rare.

I can only speak for my own high school, but I can say with confidence that our problem isn't that kids CAN'T read, it's that too many of them WON'T read. I'm not saying that the experts on the video are wrong, but I do suspect that they are underestimating the "won't read" problem.

Vic said...

Recalcitrance in anything comes from an inability or lack of confidence. Reading is no different. Those who won't read have an underlying inability that stops them proving to all around that they can't read.

Anonymous said...

I shouldn't read things like this because as the parent of an almost NBTer it makes my blood boil. The problem is the same in Australia. The whole language approach to reading (or lets not teach reading at all approach) completely pervades the education system. Fortunately I got hold of an excellent book "Parenting a Struggling Reader" and the light bulbs went on. I was also fortunate that when I jumped up and down about systematic phonics my daughters teacher humoured me by getting the Fitzroy Readers from the school library. Now my daughter is so proud of herself because she can read real books and I am very proud of her too.
You would laugh at the instructions we got at the beginning of the year for helping her "read"
1. encourage your child to guess the word from the pictures
2. encourage her to guess from the context
3. encourage her to guess from the first sound
4. reread the sentence
5. sound out the word

Of course after step 4, the child memorizes the sentence and there is no step 5. What would engelmann make of that???