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Volume 1 #7 February
I tested a child
the other day who turned out to be dyslectic. Her school
wanted to use the Reading from Scratch material to help
her, so I suggested that to save money they have some other
dyslectic child tutored at the same time with her since
their age and grade didn't have to match. The principal
agreed, and said that she was sure they could find another
child who was dyslectic to be the partner. I asked her
how many kids there were in the (large regional) school.
"About 2000," she said.
I didn't want
to shock the lady, but after swallowing hard, I did tell
her that according to the scientific community
five to ten per cent of any population
is dyslectic, and that I was sure there would be more eligible pupils in
her school. I don't think she believed me.
on earth don't teachers and principals find these kids?
It is not just the expense of testing and SPED
classes, although with SPED costs going through
roof, money has to be in the back of people's minds.
The real reason
is diagnosis on the basis of secondary symptoms instead
of an underlying cause. If a child is depressed, if he acts out (that's
for behaves like a brat) is truant, defiant, lethargic, doesn't pay attention,
violent, teased, or is stomach-sick often, he is apt to be referred to
ad justment counselor. His parents are told to be sure he does his homework,
gets to school, and behaves on the bus. Almost never does the counselor
test his IQ and reading level and see whether they match.
But all these
unhealthy behaviors can come from the frustration, despair
and embarrassment that go with constant school failure and from trying
up a lacerated ego without knowing what is the matter. Teaching a child
can eliminate emotional problems, but counseling for emotional problems
never taught a child to read. The brighter the dyslectic child, the
worse it is,
partly because he knows in his gut that he is intelligent, and partly
because his reading
level may be close enough to grade level so that nobody realizes he
is dyslectic. But the seventh grader with an IQ of 135
who is reading at
about sixth grade
level should be reading like a tenth grader. He has a real deficit
Does this mean
that every little creep in school is dyslectic? Of course
not. There are plenty of good readers who go bad for various reasons.
But it does
mean that any attempt to deal with serious misbehavior should include
a reading test and an IQ test.
Surely one of
the saddest things in the world is the preventable waste
of human potential. The undiagnosed dyslectic is a victim
politics, and the general cussedness of things, but we will get
into that in the next newsletter.
While you are galloping happily through your
phonics lessons, don't forget parts of speech. A speller
must know the difference between a noun and a verb and
be able to identify past-tense verbs, or he will never
know when to use a T or an ED on the end of a word. He
bold 120 to win the game? The banned played on? Besides
that, grammar and syntax are the province of that old
friend, the left hemisphere, which you are constantly poking.
the four biggies: phonics, phonemic awareness, letter
sequencing, and grammar and syntax.