a "dyslexic millionaire"

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maizie
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Re: a "dyslexic millionaire"

Post by maizie » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:02 pm

I think, though, if he perceives spelling to be his main problem and resources were presented to, and used by, him as being for 'improving spelling' his reading would improve, too.

chew8
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Re: a "dyslexic millionaire"

Post by chew8 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:02 pm

volunteer wrote:I'm interested that you feel it would be verging on impossible for an adult to improve their spelling
I didn't say that he wouldn't be able to improve his spelling but rather that there might be only a slim chance of improving 'enough for him to be really confident'. I think adults can improve their spelling, but in my experience it always remains below-par. The reason is probably that in order to be a really good speller as an adult one has not just to know how the alphabetic code words but also to have had massive exposure to correct spellings through many years of reading. This man has missed out on that exposure.

Jenny C.

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Re: a "dyslexic millionaire"

Post by ealteacher » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:46 pm

Jenny says, "there might be only a slim chance of improving 'enough for him to be really confident'. I think adults can improve their spelling, but in my experience it always remains below-par. The reason is probably that in order to be a really good speller as an adult one has not just to know how the alphabetic code words but also to have had massive exposure to correct spellings through many years of reading. This man has missed out on that exposure."

Exactly - that is what gives me pause for thought. My intuition and experience is that good spelling relies on "massive exposure to correct spellings". I was always a good speller and noticed that in cases where I was not sure about the spelling of a particular word, it was almost always because there were two different spellings current and I had seen both.

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Re: a "dyslexic millionaire"

Post by FEtutor » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:05 am

chew8 wrote:Aren't we rather getting away from the fact that this man's main problem seems to be with spelling? ............I suspect that there is at best only a slim chance of improving this adult's spelling enough for him to be really confident.

Jenny C.
Although he identifies spelling, I think there's a fair chance that his original problem is that he does not understand the relationship between sounds, letters, correspondences: the way words are put together. I'll always remember the 55 yr old man, who had spent his life muttering "double you, eee, bee", saying incredulously, then with sudden understanding, " / w/ /e/ /b/ web??? It's easy for you, but it 's like climbing a mountain for me!".

I agree, he's got little or no chance of becoming a confident writer who knows he can spell everything automatically, and this can be explained to him honestly. But there is a chance that, as maizie says, he can improve to the point that he feels more confident in having a go, especially with the use of computers, and he may find this satisfying enough. Because his reading is better than his spelling, he may find in the future that he can use predictive text, computer spellcheckers or voice activated software such as Dragon Dictate as aids to writing. I'm not saying that a good spelling programme would be unnecessary- he would benefit greatly.

(written before the previous two replies)

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Re: a "dyslexic millionaire"

Post by volunteer » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:24 am

I'm very curious. Do tell us how things go. I originally was wanting to work voluntarily with adults who have significant reading difficulties (but not severe SEN as I am not trained in that area) but the only thing I could find were adult basic skills classes where the approach was reading and discussing current affairs texts etc. This is fine for adults who are wanting to develop their higher reading skills, but no-one who really could barely read would have shown up at these classes. No organisation could point me in the right direction and I live too far from any prison.

Maybe I should order some new curtains.

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Re: a "dyslexic millionaire"

Post by ealteacher » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:59 am

Hi Volunteer
Yes I will tell you what happens. To do anything with due respect to all the factors involved, I will have to get together a 'package' of resources and references for him and a description of why he cannot spell/read and a prediction of outcome.
But this whole thread has clarified an issue for me which may or may not be of interest or relevance to others.
It is that decoding and encoding are not mirror-image activities. As I write I am aware of how trite that sounds but as I remember from my teaching of synthetic phonics, this was not acknowledged fully.
Gosh - I am probably so out of touch and ill-informed.

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Re: a "dyslexic millionaire"

Post by kestrel » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:28 pm

When I was 17 I decided to teach myself shorthand. But being cocky and overconfident, i decided to ignore the advice in the book I bought, which was to work on encoding and decoding at the same time.
I learned to write it reasonably fluently - but could not read a word of what I had written!!!

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Re: a "dyslexic millionaire"

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:50 pm

ealteacher: You are right!

I can describe that this is built into our training events and described, and catered for resource-wise, in the phonics programmes I'm associated with. :grin:

Decoding and encoding can be taught within the same lessons - but I'm finding that many teachers are muddling the hand-routines.

Many do the 'tallying' action with thumb and fingers when they're actually modelling blending - rather than simply pointing under the graphemes from left to right as they sound out in response to the graphemes. We've had to build this into the training as well. :???:

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Re: a "dyslexic millionaire"

Post by chew8 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:40 pm

The difference between reading and spelling goes way beyond ‘hand-routines’. Encoding words is harder that decoding them and involves a lot more word-specific learning. ‘Tweaking’ is also possible in reading but not really in spelling. What makes tweaking feasible in reading is that the word being attempted is very often in the reader’s aural/oral vocabulary, so if it’s slightly mispronounced on the first decoding attempt, self-correction is often possible, even for young children. For the equivalent to happen in spelling, however, the correct written form of the word would have to be very familiar - but great familiarity with the written forms of words is precisely what learners don’t have and self-correction is therefore much less possible.

Jenny C.

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Re: a "dyslexic millionaire"

Post by chew8 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:15 pm

I should have added above that the difference between reading and spelling is particularly relevant in the case of the sort of adult we are talking about in this thread.

Jenny C.

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Re: a "dyslexic millionaire"

Post by ealteacher » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:26 pm

Jenny wrote:
What makes tweaking feasible in reading is that the word being attempted is very often in the reader’s aural/oral vocabulary, so if it’s slightly mispronounced on the first decoding attempt, self-correction is often possible, even for young children. For the equivalent to happen in spelling, however, the correct written form of the word would have to be very familiar - but great familiarity with the written forms of words is precisely what learners don’t have


Yes absolutely - a child can refer to his own spoken language and use that knowledge to tweak a word when reading. But perhaps there is more to it than this.

I once taught a boy who wrote 'chorderen' for 'children'. It turned out his encoding was perfect - he did say 'chorderen'. What was not 'correct' was his aural/oral vocabulary. (I use 'correct' in the sense of non-standard).
Children will decode from correct standard English but at first will encode from non-standard English.
It is also the case that written English shows word boundaries graphically by spaces and does not generally allow the elision or changing of phonemes at word boundaries.
A child's experience of language before learning the code will not have word boundaries so clearly marked and will include lots and lots of phonemes being affected by the surrounding phonemes. ( I remember Gillian Brown's transcription of 'the needs of the working people' Phonetically transcribed it appears more like 'the knees of the workim people')

Reading must have an effect on a child's language so that individual and varying pronunciations of words that are in a child's vocabulary are gradually brought into line with the norm. The integrity of word boundaries and the word as a stable set of phonemes is probably also learned along with reading. The extent to which this happens must rely on several factors among them the amount of written English the child is exposed to. Again a reason why spelling depends on reading.

Gosh I hope that made sense.
I love my new curtains by the way.
Pat

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Re: a "dyslexic millionaire"

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:59 pm

It's extremely common that schools we provide SP training for are more concerned about spelling in the school than reading. In fact, we are sometimes invited to train in schools where the standards of reading are already very high in the sense of their national end of key stage one and key stage two reading results.

These relatively high-performing schools, however, acknowledge that whilst they are achieving the reading results, they are not achieving comparable spelling results.

My personal interest is in how well we can support teachers in teaching spelling and I don't know what can be achieved in terms of objective test results.

I can also describe how primary schools rarely just expect their early years and key stage one teachers to receive the phonics training, they also want their key stage two teachers to know about the phonics teaching and how they can build on the work of their colleagues. This is very good to see. Hopefully, slowly but surely, we may see an increasing number of schools genuinely interested in raising levels of spelling even if these improvements are not tangible in league tables and in 'higher-order' literacy (e.g. genre writing - composition).

Whilst the government is focusing its attention on key stage one and 'reading', I do believe that Ofsted is encouraging ITT providers to train student-teachers for the secondary sector in phonics. Of course I think this is the right thing to do - and, as is well known on this forum - I think that secondary classrooms should have alphabetic code charts illustrating the notion of spelling alternatives - which then leads to learning spelling word banks as well as supporting the teaching of specific words. This, in my opinion, should take place in the wider curriculum, whenever writing is required.

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