Dyslexia Explained

dyslexia.png

In recent months there has been much discussion about Dyslexia and its existence. Some experts claim that it does not exist. Yet dyslexia does exist. It is the most common cause of reading problems.One common misunderstanding is that dyslexia is simply seeing or reading things backwards. Dyslexia is much more than reversing letters it is a processing problem that can affect both written and spoken language. The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as: “Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.” (1)

Difficulty reading and learning to read is the most common characteristic of dyslexia. The ability to distinguish individual sounds in words can be a difficult task for someone with dyslexia. This makes sounding out words a difficult if not impossible task for some. Difficult making the connection between letters and sounds can make learning sight words a cumbersome task. Letters are viewed as a shape or symbol and are no different than a triangle or square. Reading comprehension and fluency may also be troublesome for someone with dyslexia.Dyslexia is also language problem not just a reading problem. Delays in language development and vocabulary development are not uncommon manifestation of dyslexia. Simple tasks such as following oral directions can be overwhelming.

Written communication is often hindered by dyslexia. It is not uncommon for someone with dyslexia to be very creative yet unable to compose even a simple paragraph or story. Spelling and penmanship skills may be extremely poor as well.

The manifestations of dyslexia are not limited to language skills. Lack of coordination, impaired motor skills and poor organizational skills are other common side effects.

Dyslexia is a total language problem not a reading problem. Many people with dyslexia also have related disorders such dysgraphia and dyscalculia as well. Dysgraphia is characterized by poor handwriting and fine motor skills. Counting, number reversal, problems learning math facts and calculation errors are characteristics of dyscalculia.

For a more detailed explantion of dyslexia see the article I wrote for HomeschoolBenefits.org. Check out the The Learning Differances/Learning Styles archives for articles about dyslexia and other learning problems.


Notes: [1] International Dyslexia Association. “Dyslexia FAQ” [http://www.interdys.org/servlet/compose?section_id=5&page_id=95].

Funny Preacher Stories

church.jpgMy granddad was a preacher. Actually he was my great granddad. Granddad had a great sense of humor. Mealtimes were quite enjoyable especially when Granddad started telling stories. He had quite a collection of funny preacher stories. Usually his stories involved rookie preachers. By this time he had been a preacher for over 50 years. He was sort of a mentor for the rookie preachers. Most of the young preachers came from a nearby seminary and were also students.Granddad was a country preacher and many of the rookie preachers were from the city. One of my favorite stories involved one of these city boys. He had taken a new preacher to a little country church for services. It was summer and the church had no AC so all of the doors and windows were open.Well everything was going fine and the young preacher was doing well until in walked a skunk. The skunk paraded right down the aisle towards the pulpit. The young preacher noticed the skunk. He cautiously looked around the church for reactions from the congregants. To his surprise no one else seemed to even notice the skunk. Uneasily the preacher decided to ignore the skunk and keep preaching. Well the skunk kept on moving toward the front of the church. This plan seemed to be working until the skunk reached the platform and headed for the pulpit. Now the young preacher was really nervous. He scanned the audience for some sort of reaction. Surely someone in the congregation had noticed by this time. The audience appeared attentive but yet oblivious to the dilemma of the young preacher. The skunk moved closer to the preacher. Finally, the time for action had arrived and the preacher decided he had to do something immediately. He vaulted over the pulpit and ran out the back door.

Once outside he took a few minutes to catch his breath as he waited for others to follow. Several minutes passed and no one else followed. He decided to check out the situation. Cautiously he approached the door and peaked inside. What he saw amazed him, the congregation was still seated inside as if nothing had happened.

A few minutes later one of the deacons walked out of the church holding the skunk. By this time the young preacher was extremely nervous and very confused. The deacon looked at the preacher and said I guess no one told you about the neighbor’s pet skunk.

Basic Cat Care Tips and Other Rantings.

pets.jpgBuy a dog! A dog is a loyal pet. A cat thinks you are its loyal subject.

This short but humorous blog was originally posted on Helium.com. In its prematurely short life this little blog climbed to the top of the ratings. Obviously, other readers recognized and enjoyed the intended humor. Alas, one day it began to sink in the ratings until it was number 17 of 18. Yes, there was a serious post rated even lower. Then one tragic day its life was cut short and it was deleted.

Suddenly a mystery revolved around the disappearing blog. What caused this sweet little blog to be cut short in the prime of its life? Maybe the owner of the #18 blog acted out in despair and pleaded with the authorities to remove the little blog. Or maybe it was a conspiracy by the cat lobby to oppress dog lovers everywhere? Unfortunately we will never know for sure about why such a sweet little harmless blog was singled out for destruction.

This mystery has led me to the following conclusions. Lighten-up folks and learn to recognize a joke. Raise the bar of writing standards and remove the truly deserving offenders. You know the ones, the blogs that fail to follow even the most basic rules of grammar. Or the even more loathsome offenders WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS.

Oh, yeah one more thing . …

… BUY A DOG. — DH

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July. Hope you have a fun and safe 4th. The 4th of July has evolved in a time to spend with family and friends enjoying an extra day off. Fireworks and cookouts for some excessive drinking are associated with the 4th of July. This got me thinking about the 4th of July and its meaning.

Every year we celebrate our country’s independence from Great Britain. The Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence 4 July 1776 in Philadelphia. The first public reading of the Declaration occurred 8 July 1776 in Philadelphia. To learn more about the Fourth of July Celebrations check out Professor James R. Heintz on-line database about the 4th of July.

doi.jpgSo what about the signers of the Declaration of Independence? One organization promotes the idea that the majority of the Signers faced a life of hardship due to their willingness to take a stand. There is also an email that floats around this time of the year making several claims. According to my research this just isn’t true. TruthOrFiction.com has a nice discourse discussing the validity of the email. USHistory.org and ColonialHall.com have a biographies of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.


Have a safe and fun 4th. — DH

Distance Learning: A Substitute for College

books1.jpgCan distance learning be a substitute for college? The answer is both yes and no.Yes it is possible to get a quality education through an on-line institution. Many respected colleges have been offering distance learning for years. In fact the classes may be a duplicate of what is taught in a traditional college setting.However it is not possible duplicate the “college experience” through distance learning. College marks the transition from being a teenager into adulthood. College is time of exploration and discovery. Participating in extra-curricular activities provides an opportunity to try out new things and meet new people.

Distance learning limits the amount of direction interaction with professors. One comment I heard about distance learning is that it is harder to pick-up on the subtleties of the course through distance learning. Also, sometimes the lack of direct contact with the professor can make some assignments harder.

Distance learning programs cannot provide the opportunity to develop relationships with professors, mentors and peers. Some of the most important lessons I learned during college where the ones I learned outside the classroom: talking with professors and other mentors in the student center, participating in community projects, and even just hanging out in the dorm. These experiences cannot be available via distance learning.

Distance learning is a viable option for obtaining a college education. However it is not a substitute for the total college experience.

Want to learn more? Check out this series on Distance Learning.

DH

Must Read Books for All Ages

girlbook.jpgIn a recent conversation with my best friend, she mentioned that her two year-old loved poems and nursery rhymes. I decided to purchase a copy of A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a copy of this classic in the local bookstores. This got me thinking about my childhood favorites and other classics. Eventually my list of “must read” childrens books grew into a large list of books for all ages. This is sampling of those books.

One of my all time favorite books is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. Alexander has one of those days where everything goes wrong. This is a great book for helping children (and adults, too) deal with those bad days.

Dr. Seuss books should be an essential part of a child’s library. Dr. Seuss books are fun and silly. In my opinion every child should have at least one Dr. Seuss memorized. The rhyming in Dr. Seuss books prompts language development and phonemic awareness. Hop on Pop was one of my favorites as a child. I especially enjoyed hearing my Daddy read the book. My daddy had a deep base voice and was a DJ. When he read books to me he would use his “radio voice” and silly voices for the different characters. I enjoyed his reading to me that I refused to learn to read out fear he would stop reading to me (obviously my mom won that battle).

The 1986 Newberry Award winner Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan is quick and fun read. Sarah is a mail order bride from Maine who moves to frontier to become mother of Jacob and Anna. I also enjoyed the movie version.

Another must read pioneer story is Christy by Catherine Marshall. Christy Huddleston is a young school teacher who leaves her privileged life to teach in the Smoky Mountains. The book is quite different from the TV series.

Another of my favorites is To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. To Kill a Mocking Bird is about life in small southern town during the Depression. Lee won a Pulitzer Prize for this book. The book says a lot about race relations in the south at the time. I think the movie starring Gregory Peck might be as good as the book. My advice is to read the book first.

In my opinion The Indispensable Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson is a must read for anyone. Yes, I know it is a cartoon/comic book. I know that comic books are supposed to rot the brain and limit a child’s reading ability. I have always enjoyed reading comics and it did not hinder my reading abilities. In fact, reading the Sunday Funnies with my Daddy helped me overcome early struggles with reading. By the time I was in fifth grade I was reading on a post-secondary level and by sixth grade I read everything in sight including the cereal box.

One of my favorite authors is Bodie Thoene. She is one of the most creative writers I have read. One of the most amazing things about her writing is her ability to interweave her characters from 30 plus books. My favorite Thoene book is Twilight of Courage. It is a retelling of World War II that intertwines the stories of two American journalists’ escape from the collapse of Warsaw, with those of an orphaned baby’s journey to Jerusalem, a mathematician’s attempt to crack Nazi code, and more.

The above books are just a few books I consider required reading. For more on what I consider “must read” books see the series I wrote for HomeschoolBenefits.org. The series goes into more details and contains a listing of about 100 books. The selection process was subjective. Many of the books are considered classics or were award winners.

DH

My First Blog

cutepencil.jpgWell, I have finally been assimilated and decided to create my own personal blog. One my reasons for not creating one is that old my Geocities website was essentially a blog. Just felt it was a case of “been there done that and got the t-shirt”.

So what made me change my mind? For the past several months I have been posting on Helium and the editor of Homeschoolbenefits.org. All this writing as made me interested in having my own blog again.

What kinds of things can be found on The Dee Zone? I plan on writing about things I like or that interest me. That could be anything from education, religion, music, cooking, travel, or anything that sound interesting to me.

Stay Tuned For More,

DH