Solving Literacy Problems – Case Study No.7

 

LUKE Blog 2

Having spent all of his early years in an Eastern European orphanage, Luke was adopted into an Irish family when he was nearly 4 years of age. As he progressed through the Irish educational system, he was eventually assessed in 5th year with a diagnosis of ‘Severe Specific Learning Difficulty / Dyslexia’. Luke’s parents had flagged their concerns to the school but were assured that he was ‘doing fine’. Due to the difficulties that were identified in the cognitive assessment, Luke obtained an exemption from learning Irish. He received learning support hours and was sanctioned special accommodations for his Leaving Certificate examinations, which included the use of a laptop. The psychologist also recommended a referral to my clinic and service.

Luke first attended my clinic for remedial therapy when he was 17 years of age and in 5th year in school. He presented with a severe reading accuracy disorder, an associated severe reading comprehension disorder and a severe spelling disorder. After only 7 one-hour therapy sessions (1:1) that were spread over 2 months and daily practice with the WordsWorthLearning literacy programme, Luke’s reading and spelling skills were reassessed.  His reading accuracy and reading comprehension skills were found to be advanced and his spelling skills were normal for his age group. Luke and his mother were very focused and approached every task in hand with enthusiasm and diligence. As Luke’s specific learning difficulty was now resolved, it was agreed to discharge him from my service.

Nearly two years later, I was contacted by his mother to inform me that Luke had not only obtained an A in his leaving Certificate honours English, but had also secured a place in the coveted university and course of his choice.  He is now in the final year of his honours degree course. Prior to literacy intervention, the leaving certificate points required for his course would have been far beyond his ability.  Well done Luke.

So what can we learn from this?:

  1. Luke was assessed by an Educational Psychologist at 17 years of age to be in the ‘average’ range of I.Q., although in reality his intelligence was far beyond that. It was only through appropriate literacy intervention that Luke was able to unlock his true intellectual potential and demonstrate that he was in fact a very bright young man.
  2. As I say to most parents, trust your gut instinct! – if you feel there is a problem and your child is underperforming, do get formal standardised assessments either via the school or privately.
  3. It is never too late to treat and remediate a literacy disorder successfully.
  4. Structured literacy intervention, using a phonemic (speech sound), rule based approach is essential for Dyslexic students.
  5. Ongoing revision at certain intervals is recommended, just to keep the reading and spelling rules and strategies fresh in the mind.
  6. For the WordsWorthLearning programme I cannot stress enough the importance of continually using highly visual flashcards for irregular or difficult words encountered in a text book. For those with dyslexia this is a skill for life!
  7. Luke’s determination and ambition to succeed helped him to be open-minded to intervention and he even reached goals beyond his expectation.

NOTE: To protect “Client Confidentiality” the client name has been changed.

Rita Treacy

Dyslexia Specialist – Speech & Language Therapist – creator of the online WordsWorthLearning programme for resolving reading & spelling problems.

A Great Way to Improve Reading and Spelling

Have a look at this great online article recently published about us – here’s the link  http://bit.ly/1TyV4eL

It’s about our pilot project that helps students that are underachieving because they have reading and spelling difficulties. It’s all about giving Learning Support teachers a ready-made program to “FLIP” the classroom and let the students learn selected lessons at home, in their own time, on their own tablet, at their own pace and with a little help from a parent/guardian.

Teachers can then reinforce in the classroom what has been learned at home, introducing classtime exercises, projects and discussions to give each student an even better and balanced understanding. This new approach helps to create a level playing field by achieving a more ‘common’ understanding in the class, rather than the old way where ‘some get it’, ‘some nearly get it’ and ‘some don’t get it’.

Solving Literacy Problems – Case Study No.6

BLOG 6 RORY

Rory has a history of speech, language and attention difficulties. Although never cognitively (I.Q. test) assessed, he presented as a very bright boy, who was reported to be particularly good at maths. Rory attends a Gaelscoil (all Irish school).

Rory had been assessed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) – Speech & Language Therapy (SLT) services for his speech and language ability and was already receiving therapy via this service. Rory subsequently attended my private practice for a literacy assessment when he was just 8 years of age and was found to be functioning at the pre-reading and pre-spelling stage of literacy development. This had been missed in school because he was able to learn his reading tasks ‘off by heart’ and was also able to learn his weekly spelling tasks ‘by rote’. The problem was that he didn’t retain these words in his long-term memory and as a consequence he wouldn’t remember the words that had been memorised a week or two later.

In a Gaelscoil the teaching of English literacy starts at a later stage, although even at that juncture single syllable and two syllable word recognition would still have been expected. From my assessment, Rory had not yet acquired a working knowledge of sound /symbol association, basic reading rules or adequate simple ‘word attack’ skills. Unfortunately, his reading accuracy was so poor that it was nigh impossible for him to comprehend the text in front of him. Rory was diagnosed with a severe specific learning difficulty / dyslexia. As a result of my assessment, Rory was included in a learning support, reading comprehension group in school.

Rory attended my clinic for 12 x 1:1 (half hour) therapy sessions over a period of 8 months, after which time he was reassessed to determine if further intervention was indicated. Rory’s reading skills were now found to be at age level, though perhaps not yet commensurate with expectation for his estimated level of intellectual ability. His speed of reading was laboured due to the effort required to break down and rebuild each of the individual speech sounds into words. This is to be expected at this stage of the process. Although improved, his spelling skills had moved from the severe to the moderate range of difficulty and would require further revision at home.

At the time of his reassessment, Rory’s mother reported that his reading and spelling in the Irish language was also becoming a major problem stating that his maths subject was now suffering because he could neither read nor comprehend the related Irish vocabulary. This was causing Rory some distress and his homework was taking a very long time to complete.

Following reassessment Rory was placed on review with a schedule of revision to be completed prior to his reassessment later this year.

So what can we learn from this?:

  1. Once the WordsWorthLearning Programme is completed, continued practice is required to help consolidate and generalise the rules and techniques taught.
  2. The use of the Programmes highly visual flashcards is essential to embed unusual spellings in visual memory. This effective technique should be used right through the education system.
  3. The WordsWorthLearning Programme has a very positive impact for reading and over time, the spelling of English. It has no impact for learning the Irish language which has a totally different rule system.
  4. Reading does improve much faster than spelling because it is an easier cognitive skill to acquire. My clinical experience is that over time the spelling catches up with the reading level so it will be interesting to see Rory’s spelling results on his next review.
  5. Students with a diagnosis of Dyslexia require frequent repetition to ensure that any of the rules and techniques taught become second nature. This rigorous intervention is not as necessary for students with a ‘reading or spelling disorder’ that is not dyslexic in nature.
  6. Parents and teachers must recognise and take action when a student that is attending a Gaelscoil and has been assessed (English language) with a moderate or severe Specific Learning Difficulty / Dyslexia with associated language deficits. There is a double jeopardy here involving two languages that can be resolved.
  7. A structured literacy intervention, using a phonemic (speech sound) and rule based approach not only brings literacy skills up to a good level, it also provides strategies for learning to read and spell more complex words while progressing through the academic stages.

NOTE: To protect “Client Confidentiality” the client name has been changed.

Rita Treacy

Dyslexia Specialist – Speech & Language Therapist – creator of the online WordsWorthLearning programme for resolving reading & spelling problems.

 

Solving Literacy Problems – Case Study No.5

Joseph Blog

Joseph comes from a bilingual family and is fluent in English even although it is his second language. Joseph was referred to my service by an Educational Psychologist because there was a discrepancy between his intellectual ability and his performance on language and literacy tasks.

Joseph attended my service for two blocks of therapy. The first when he was 81/2 years of age for a full language and literacy assessment. His overall language skills were found to be average, although he was presenting with a weakness in auditory memory and vocabulary knowledge. Having a depressed vocabulary repertoire is a very common pattern with poor or reluctant readers mostly because they do not have the same exposure to advanced vocabulary as their peers that are competent readers. Obviously the bilingual aspect can cause an issue, but to a lesser degree in this case.

Joseph then attended the first block for 8 X 1:1 half hour therapy sessions spread over 12 months, and the second block involved an intensive vocabulary enrichment group and a WordsWorthLearning revision course and he was then placed on review.

Joseph was then seen for a review assessment 8 months later in order to determine if further intervention was indicated. On reassessment, Joseph’s reading accuracy skills were above average, his reading comprehension skills were age appropriate, as were his spelling skills. Joseph is no longer presenting with language or literacy difficulties.

Prior to full discharge, in order to promote continuous academic success, Joseph is now scheduled to attend my clinic to learn a mind mapping technique that will further enhance reading comprehension and retention of facts. This will also help with revision and studying, as Joseph makes his way through the secondary and tertiary stages in education.

So what can we learn from this?:

  1. The WordsWorthLearning Programme is a very effective teaching tool for resolving literacy problems.
  2. As well as improving literacy skills it also helps memory and vocabulary development.
  3. After completing the WordsWorthLearning Programme continual practice is required to help consolidate and the rules and techniques that have been taught. Think of it like this, after passing your driving test and then driving with “N” plates – you will still encounter new situations before becoming confident and proficient!
  4. Spelling is always a slower skill to develop because it is a more complex task than reading. When you read a word, the word is in front of you to dissect and apply the rules. However, with spelling, there is no visual image or clue, so you have to think about the number of syllables in the word, what the sounds are, the sound sequence and what rules to apply. In my clinical experience, and from longitudinal case studies, spelling does catch up with reading levels over time.
  5. The Programme uses graphical visual flashcards that help to embed unusual spellings in visual memory. Students benefit from using this effective technique all the way through their education journey.
  6. The WordsWorthLearning Programme is a structured literacy intervention that uses a phonemic (speech sound) and rule based approach that not only brings the students skills up to a good level, it gives them strategies to read and spell more complex words as they progress through the academic system.
  7. Mind Mapping is a great technique for enhancing reading comprehension once literacy skills have been acquired.

NOTE: To protect “Client Confidentiality” the client name has been changed.

Rita Treacy

Dyslexia Specialist – Speech & Language Therapist – creator of the online WordsWorthLearning programme for resolving reading & spelling problems.

Solving Literacy Problems – Case Study No.4

Case Study 4

 

Following a cognitive assessment (I.Q. test) with an Educational Psychologist in Dyslexia Association Ireland (DAI) when he was 8 years of age, Andrew was diagnosed with a severe Specific Learning Difficulty / Dyslexia and was sanctioned a formal exemption from learning Irish.

Andrew first attended my clinic when he was 11 years of age for a full language and literacy assessment. His overall language skills were found to be within average on the CELF 4UK test, but he was presenting with a significant deficit in vocabulary knowledge. He was also presenting with an ongoing moderate specific learning difficulty / dyslexia.

Andrew then attended for 12 x 1:1 half hour therapy sessions over 8 months, after which time his progress was reassessed in order to determine if further intervention was indicated. As Andrew’s reading and spelling skills were found to be advanced for reading accuracy and they were within average for reading comprehension and spelling, he was placed on review to allow time to revise and consolidate what he had learnt.

As Andrew was deemed to be progressing well in school and I didn’t see him again for two years – by that time he was in secondary school at the age of 13 1/2 years. At this point in time his parents were once again concerned because Andrew wasn’t achieving academically, as they had expected for such a bright boy. His parents reported that since his last session with me no further work or revision had been undertaken on my WordsWorthLearning programme. As a result, without this required continuing practice, his skill levels had dropped in the area of reading accuracy and comprehension and his skill level for spelling was more or less the same since the last assessment. His reading accuracy and comprehension had dropped to the 10 1/2 to 11 year age range and his spelling was at the 111/2 year age range. These ongoing difficulties were now impeding his academic progress.

Currently Andrew has just completed a course of ‘mind mapping’ to improve his reading comprehension and retention of facts, which interestingly he took to “like a duck to water”! He will be revising the advanced levels of the WordsWorthLearning Programme in the near future and significant and rapid progress is anticipated.

So what do we learn from this?:

  1. When the WordsWorthLearning programme is completed, continued practice is required to help consolidate and generalise the rules and techniques taught.
  2. Students with a diagnosis of Dyslexia will require a reassessment at intervals to see if there are emerging or re-emerging difficulties so that they can be nipped in the bud.
  3. The use of our highly visual flashcards is essential to embed unusual spellings in visual memory. This effective technique should be used continually throughout the education years.
  4. The use of structured, detailed Mind Maps is a very useful aid for reading comprehension and for creating excellent revision notes.
  5. Students with a diagnosis of Dyslexia require frequent repetition to ensure that the rules and techniques taught become second nature. However, this rigorous intervention is not quite as important for students with a ‘reading or spelling disorder’, that is not dyslexic by nature.
  6. Structured literacy intervention, using a phonemic (speech sound) and a rule based approach such as the WordsWorthLearning Programme, not only brings the students skills up to a competent level, it also gives them strategies to read and spell more complex words, as they progress through the academic system.

NOTE: To protect “Client Confidentiality” the client name has been changed.

Rita Treacy

Dyslexia Specialist – Speech & Language Therapist – creator of the online WordsWorthLearning programme for resolving reading & spelling problems.

Solving Literacy Problems – Case Study No.3

Mark 1

 

Mark had a diagnosis of a Severe Specific Learning Difficulty / Dyslexia, a Severe Specific Language Impairment and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and had attended a special reading school for two years as a younger child before attending my service. He also received language therapy with the Speech & Language Therapist assigned to the school.

Mark first attended my service for therapy when he was 10½ years of age. At that time, he presented with a mild to moderate reading accuracy disorder, with average reading comprehension skills and a severe spelling disorder.

He also had a moderate receptive and expressive language deficit.  Mark attended 20 x 1:1 therapy sessions using the WordsWorthLearning literacy programme that were spread over 21 months. On reassessment Mark’s reading and spelling skills were a year ahead of his age level and it was agreed with his parents that he would be discharged.

Nearly six years later at 18 years of age, Mark was re-referred to my service because his parents were concerned about his academic progress. He was now in 6th year and would soon be sitting the Leaving Certificate Examinations. On reassessment his reading skills were found to be within the average range for his age. There were errors which mainly consisted of omissions and substitutions for word endings.  Very interestingly his ‘word attack’ skills for complex words was good, which demonstrated that he was still applying the WordsWorthLearning reading rules. His spelling scores on the reassessment had neither regressed nor progressed and were within three months of his scores from the previous assessment when he was 12 years of age.

Because Mark has a waiver for spelling and grammar for the Leaving certificate examination, it was thought that immediate intervention wouldn’t be required.  However, he is scheduled to do the advanced sections of the WordsWorthLearning programme after the exams, in preparation for third level education

So what do we learn from this?

  1. For Dyslexic students, don’t assume that once a competent level of literacy has been attained that this will be maintained or will continue to progress, because this is often not the case.
  2. In order to catch any difficulties emerging or re-emerging, it is highly recommended that ongoing reviews and re-assessments should be arranged at certain intervals during their education journey.
  3. Language difficulties persist if not treated. In Mark’s case, after language and literacy intervention his language difficulties had resolved over time.
  4. Structured literacy intervention, using a phonemic (speech sound), rule based approach such as the WordsWorthLearning Programme is essential for Dyslexic students and ongoing revision of the advanced levels of the programme at intervals is recommended to reinforce the reading and spelling rules and strategies.
  5. It is important to keep using the WordsWorthLearning flashcard technique for irregular or difficult words found in text books. This is a skill for life!

Solving Literacy Problems – Case Study No. 2

Sophie green Case 2

 

Case Study No. 2

Following an Educational Psychologist cognitive assessment (I.Q. test), Laura was diagnosed with a Specific Learning Difficulty / Dyslexia and although she was eligible for a formal exemption from learning Irish, this was not considered because she attended a Gaelscoil (Irish speaking school).

Laura attended my Speech & Language Therapy service for a full language and literacy assessment when she was 9 years of age. Although her language skills were found to be advanced on the CELF 4UK test, she presented with a moderate specific learning difficulty / dyslexia.

Laura initially attended for 11 x 1:1 therapy sessions over 7 months and was then put on review because her reading and spelling skills had reached her age level. Although it was recommended that she continue with the programme for specific revision, this work was not undertaken. She was retested 6 months later and although her reading had progressed marginally ahead of age level, her spelling had regressed by 20 months! When Laura was 10½ years of age, she attended an intensive WordsWorthLearning revision group over 5 sessions and was retested shortly afterwards. Her scores showed that her reading accuracy and reading comprehension was now over two years ahead of her actual age and her spelling, although not ahead of her age group was within the average band for her age.

Laura is currently on review while she revises specific spelling sections in the WordsWorthLearning programme and continues to make flashcards of irregular and difficult spellings.

So what do we learn from this?

  1. Students with a diagnosis of Dyslexia need frequent repetition to ensure that the rules and techniques taught become second nature to them. However, this rigorous intervention is not as necessary for students that have a ‘reading or spelling disorder’ i.e. a specific learning difficulty that is not dyslexic by nature.
  2. When the WordsWorthLearning programme is completed, continued practice is required to help consolidate the rules and techniques that are taught.
  3. This is particularly important for children who attend Gaelscoil (Irish school) because, for most of the school day, English is not the spoken or read language.
  4. Continued use of the highly visual flashcards used in the programme is essential for embedding unusual spellings in visual memory. This is a technique that can help all the way through the education process.
  5. Structured literacy intervention, using a phonemic (speech sound) and rule based approach, such as that used in the WordsWorthLearning programme, not only brings literacy skills up to a good level of competency, it provides strategies to learn to read and spell more complex words.

The WordsWorthLearning programme not only brings literacy skills up to a competent level, it provides strategies to read and spell more complex words as is required going through the education process. It was proven with Laura, that the initial foundation and improvement continued as she progressed through the primary school stages. 

NOTE: To protect “Client Confidentiality” the client name has been changed.

Rita Treacy

Dyslexia Specialist – Speech & Language Therapist – creator of the online WordsWorthLearning programme for resolving reading & spelling problems.

Solving Literacy Problems – Case Study No.1

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Case Study No. 1

Sarah had a dual diagnosis of a Specific Learning Difficulty and a Specific Language Impairment. She attended a special language class for a year before attending my WordsWorthLearning Private Practice. When she was discharged she then received short term language therapy with a Speech & Language Therapist and was later discharged because her skills were then in the mild range of difficulty and she was no longer deemed to be a priority case.

Six years later Sarah was re-referred to my WordsWorthLearning service because her parents were concerned about her progress in 1st year at secondary school. She was then 13 years of age and most interestingly her reading skills were at the 15:09 year range and her spelling skills were at the 15:01 year range; HOWEVER, her language skills were at the 10:11 year range which was a significant problem that was severely affecting her reading comprehension skills.

So what do we learn from this?

  1. Language difficulties will persist if they are not treated.
  2. Literacy difficulties will ensue and also persist if they are not treated.
  3. A structured literacy intervention, using a phonemic (speech sound), rule based approach is required in such cases.

 

The WordsWorthLearning programme not only brings literacy skills up to a competent level, it provides strategies to read and spell more complex words as is required going through the education process. It was proven with Sarah, that the initial foundation and improvement continued as she progressed through the primary school stages.

Note: To protect “Client Confidentiality” the client name has been changed.

Rita Treacy

Dyslexia Specialist – Speech & Language Therapist – creator of the online WordsWorthLearning programme for resolving reading & spelling problems.

Learn how to FIX Reading and Spelling problems

WW.COM_.jpgA one-day training course designed to give Speech & Language Therapists, Teachers, Tutors and SNAs a basic introduction and learn how to use the online WordsWorthLearning Program.                              

A FREE 1 year licence is included in the package!

The course will cover  the following:
• how the program works over 7 levels
• recommended process flow for the classroom
• materials and methods used
• unique formula driven rules explained
• tracking and measuring progress
• demonstrate using the online program
See attached details and booking form in this link: http://bit.ly/1MzubXp

 

 

The “Flipped Classroom” for Learning Support – A Good Idea

A GOOD IDEA:
WordsWorthLearning is an online program for remediating reading and spelling problems. It is a perfect fit for the “Flipped Classroom” model – where lessons are done at home and reinforced in school in the classroom.
It is particularly good for Learning Support groups in school – for those with reading and spelling problems.  So:
1. The Lesson: A parent/guardian (the facilitator) and the student, signin to the online WordsWorthLearning program at home  and watch the video lessons and do the interactive exercises, that have previously been set by the resource teacher.
2. The Reinforcement: Next day, the resource teacher will reinforce what has been learned at home by creating group discussions and activities involving all the students. This enhances what had been learned at home and creates a common “group” understanding, benefiting any students that may have experienced some difficulty understanding.
They are brought along by, and benefit from, working in the group. The resource teacher will set the next lessons to be facilitated by the parent/guardian and learned by the student.
However !
“GOOD IDEAS are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous impatience. Once implemented they can be easily overturned or subverted through apathy or lack of follow-up, so a continuous effort is required. Too often, important
problems are recognized but no one is willing to sustain the effort needed to solve them”. ( Admiral Hyman Rickover)
Help us to get this GOOD IDEA circulated and discussed.