Monday, December 10, 2012

Teach Dyslexic Students to Read the Finnish Way!

Teaching Dyslexic Students to Read | Teaching Dyslexic 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Grade students to Read | How to Teach Dyslexic Students to Read the Finnish Way!

Teach Dyslexic Students to Read the Finnish Way!

How do you teach dyslexic students to read, that can’t use phonics or just seem unreachable? Most teachers will try anything once, reading software, boxed reading interventions, resource help. special education services or sadly they just assume after trying, some students will never learn to read!They are beyond any help if the Software and Special Education programs fail. My own bad memories learning to read, and 14 years of experience have shown me that, there are no students beyond help!

One Finnish method is put a really good book in the dyslexics students hand, and read with them for a very long time. We are talking about two or three hours a day, five days a week, for many months! You may say, I can’t justify that, or my schedule is only 45 minutes a day with the student, my school won’t allow that, but what is really important, the student learning to read! Learning to read always trumps the schedules and the rules, that is the Finnish way. Give students the time they need to learn to become sight readers. The Finnish way is do what ever works without worrying about rules or schedules. The only real secret to this method, is spending a very long time on task reading great books, and the student must track each word with their finger as their partners read to them to speed the process of becoming a sight reader. Teachers and staff can hand over the read-athon to students and just keep up the marathon of reading. I have used this with students that everyone gave up on, the method has never failed. The students of course go to specials, participate in all enrichment activities, have snacks, go to recess but all academic time is spent reading books with a partner, books like Hatchet or The Giver for my sixth grade boys. The students also play lots of board games, I make copies of all the rules and read them with the students having them track each word with their fingers or a book mark. The best methods are try everything and never give up!  Sean

How can a Dyslexic Reading Teacher HELP 95% of all at-risk students pass the EOG Reading Test? 10 Consecutive Years!

"Mr Taylor who annually starts with a class of fourth graders, 2/3 of whom are below grade level, and ends the year with most of the class at and above grade level. He gets results by emphasizing reading and writing, and holds students responsible for the work assigned. All the students read the same challenging books, stories and poems; they spend a lot of time on vocabulary, take notes, identify the main chapter idea and write a chapter summary every day. They read about six challenging books a year...Fortunately for his students, he puts them first and is determined that every student will make at least one year of progress in his class. Some students make spectacular gains in reading, writing or math. The average student this past year made about three years academic progress....His Title I students perform as well as students in the nearby "rich" area with all top-rated schools."  Robert Cherba 
  • 107 words make up over 50% of the words you read, speak and hear!
  • 1,000 words make up 75-80% of the words you read, speak and hear!
  • 2,000 words make up 80-90% of the words you read, speak and hear!

My diagnosis of severe dyslexia and dysgraphia was a sentence of low expectations from my family and almost all my teachers.

"Sean will never learn to read or write proficiently" Special Education Teachers, Gen Ed Teachers and my Parents.

Many students over the last 13 years have come back and said
thanks, for not giving up on them, showing them that books are filled with magical stories and reading is possible and fun. I learned to read and overcame severe dyslexia because I wanted to read books like the Hatchet and The Cay, I had to find out what happened to Timothy and Phillip, if they were rescued. I wanted to read the Dungeons and Dragons books my uncle gave me, filled with monsters, magical lands and endless possibilities for my imagination. This world was closed to me for many years because I could not read! I spent so many years trying to learn to decode, I never understood what I was reading because all my concentration was on trying to understand the 44 phonemes. Sean Taylor The Dyslexic Reading Teacher 

Raison d'etre 

Raison d'etre is French for "reason for being," and students who can’t read feel they have no reason for being in school. Students will start thinking school is a prison and will behave and act institutionalized towards teachers, peers and academics. Students get more cynical when the gold stars lose their luster, and teachers' mendacity about their performance start showing through the
insight of their poor skills and inability to perform academic tasks. It’s a small death suffered every day by these students, as they see their dreams crashed on the rocks of reality. We ask students to come to school daily and give 100% to what they believe is an intolerable humiliation, and we get angry when they don’t smile and take school more seriously. We scratch our heads, wondering what we can do when half of our kids drop out of school. If students can’t read, every thing else is moot. Reading Boot Camp is not a
twenty day miracle; it’s a way of being a teacher. My raison d’erte is to never let a student pass through my class without teaching them to read period. Twenty days may not do the job; you may need forty or eighty to get the job done. We can use the One Star Fish analogy, but that sacrifices too many students to a devastating future. Students are not going to change unless we devise an effective way to change their outlook. The idea of doing nothing in
class for twenty days except reading may appear bizarre, ludicrous, like child abuse, impossible, or asinine; yet, it works for my kids. Students see it as perfectly logical and 'buy in' almost immediately when they see their reading progress or realize they can actually read. Give a child the most complex video game and they will go without food, sleep, bathing, and talking to master the first level. They will spend the next day, week, and month with the singular preoccupation to master the game.
Why Students Drop Out of School!

Students don't drop out of high school at the age of 16 because they feel socially or academically lost... Students start dropping out of school in the first and second grade, just pretending they are students, when they can't read or write. Students pick up a litany of bad habits (coping mechanisms) from peers as a way to deal with the stress, fear, humiliation, and embarrassment of being a "Loser, Stupid, or Dumb". Students act institutionalized after twelve years of forced school participation (Failure). Always having to be on the defensive is a sure fire way to get burned out to drop out.

I spent most of my time in public school feeling dumb, embarrassed, scared, humiliated, lost, and stupid because of my severe dyslexia and dysgraphia! Sean Taylor

More to Come! 

Teaching Dysgraphic Students to Write and Spell the Finnish Way!

"I finally learned to write words by learning cursive?!."  Sean

Please take a moment and read about a Finnish model of teaching at-risk students! 

The Literacy Model and Schedule I use the First 20 Days of School!

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