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Volume 11 #11 November
I often get e-mails asking whether a student who is already being taught by a different program can simply have RfS added to what he is doing, as a sort of supplement. The answer is no. First of all, RfS is not a supplement (just a little extra phonics, maybe?) to anything else. It is a therapeutic treatment for a specific neurological problem-- a wiring anomaly that prevents the student from using the correct area of the brain for reading. If your kid had pneumonia and the doctor prescribed penicillin, you would not tell the doc that you already have some aspirin that brought down his fever the last time he was sick, and could you just maybe add a little penicillin to that?
The order in which the exercises are presented is an important part of the treatment, and the way the exercises are added in small increments in a pyramid fashion, providing the extra practice the dyslectic needs is critical to kids who have failed over and over because they were inundated with too much information at once. And of course, giving these specially planned exercises in isolation to the correct area of the brain is a large part of the magic that gives us results that are four times those of any other program.
But, you say, English is full of irregular words that he can’t sound out, and won’t he be using the wrong hemisphere for those? And how about just reading plain stuff? Yes, he will always process words like the, only, friend, many, and the like in his right hemisphere, but that is OK. RfS is exercises-- push-ups, scales, whatever-- that get the left hemisphere going. When it is comfortably master-minding the program, it can choke down a few irregular spellings (which I call bandit words because they don’t follow the rules).
As to connected reading, there is very little of that in the RfS program because he will get enough of that in school anyhow, and RfS is mostly about spelling rules. When you jam enough spelling rules into that left hemisphere, out comes good reading! But they must go into the left side, only.
When a student is printing, make him be sure each letter touches the line and that the oval letters like small a, o, etc. look like jelly beans. The letter K must have those right hand lines straight and pointed so they look like a sideways V. And make sure he puts plenty of space between his words. Otherwise he probably will not need handwriting exercises, although I must say, I do think they are wonderful. It is too bad that they have gone out of fashion.