The end of dyslexia?

Moderators: Debbie Hepplewhite, maizie, Lesley Drake, Susan Godsland

chew8
Posts: 4161
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:26 pm

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by chew8 » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:47 pm

Re. the link given by Debbie:

http://www.baverstock.bham.sch.uk/index.phtml?d=215496

My understanding is that the literacy work we see outlined there is for mainstream students, for most of whom it's surely appropriate. I haven't found any details of the basic skills work done with the LEAP students who need it. Has anyone? I think we have to avoid suggesting that because some secondary-school students need instruction in the basics, all do. The same is also true at junior-school level.

Jenny C.

User avatar
Debbie Hepplewhite
Administrator
Posts: 3653
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:13 pm
Location: Berkshire
Contact:

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:52 am

Jenny - did you look through the pdfs provided for the mainstream students, then?

Look at the spelling ones, for example.

Not great whether for mainstream or otherwise.

This discussion is focused on those pupils who are older who may need teaching/support with basic skills - such as the girl in question who was not sufficiently fluent or confident to access the questions well enough in her exams (we don't really find out the details of her difficulties with reading).

We have to think beyond the box - because the indications in the documentary are that the LEAP pupils are capable of achieving GCSEs at grade C - but that there are various reasons why they were unable to function well-enough or happily in a mainstream situation.

For some of these pupils at least, it is clear that they are not confident with reading/writing - or proficient enough - and that could be contributing to their behaviour and lack of self-esteem.

That is why, as things stand currently in the country, I suggest that all teachers should be knowledgeable and trained in the field of reading and spelling instruction.

We did hear one teacher encouraging some form of 'breaking it up' (or equivalent wording) - but how much more helpful it would be if all teachers spoke the language of 'spelling alternatives' as code for the sounds - using adult language of 'code for' instead of 'what sound does that letter make' - and using full Alphabetic Code reference charts as the norm.

I am referring to 'incidental phonics' teaching which all secondary school teachers regardless of subject should be able to supply in an adult way - making it clear that the English language has the most complex code in the world.

Whilst you frequently raise your concern that pupils who are very able in literacy should not receive any teaching in 'basic skills', I am suggesting that there should be a culture, a 'back drop' of all teachers being equipped to teach them and to support them - and to change the perception of phonics as 'baby stuff' to 'adult stuff' - because it is adult stuff.

We use phonics for lifelong reading and spelling - and many adults are not 100% proficient at spelling - and pupils should appreciate that this is not about 'them' and 'their difficulties' or 'their dyslexia' - or 'their behaviour which impeded their learning' - but about our very complex alphabetic code and its fascinating history.

User avatar
Debbie Hepplewhite
Administrator
Posts: 3653
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:13 pm
Location: Berkshire
Contact:

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:59 am

This seems relevant - we have just completed a two-day training event open to all-comers:

Attendees included two teachers from a SIXTH FORM COLLEGE who described extremely low levels of reading and writing in their students - so much so that they had great difficulty accessing the texts.

These were amazing teachers who had sought out possible solutions so that they could address their students' needs.

Recently I spoke to a senior HMI who described to me her worries about levels of literacy - and need for phonics - in secondary schools.

On the very first talk I gave years and years ago, one of the attendees was then the principal of a local college, he told the audience that they had to spend the first term attempting to address basic skills before they could proceed with the course contents.

A few years later I was giving a talk/training event at the local college for local teachers and early years providers and the people who had liaised with me to arrange the event told me that they could do with Phonics International to support at least some of those students who attend the college.

It is looking like we still have a big problem beyond primary - and I suggest it is high time that teacher-training for all teachers included information about the English alphabetic code in an organised way - and not presented in an 'infant' fashion.

This change of perception is at the heart of my work.

kenm
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: Berkshire

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by kenm » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:57 am

Debbie Hepplewhite wrote:It is looking like we still have a big problem beyond primary - and I suggest it is high time that teacher-training for all teachers included information about the English alphabetic code in an organised way - and not presented in an 'infant' fashion.
But it's only a problem beyond primary because it has been such a widespread one within primary. What this thread shows is that detection and correction of illiteracy are deficient at all levels (though not at all schools) from c. Y1 onward.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

JIM CURRAN
Posts: 3127
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2003 7:18 am

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by JIM CURRAN » Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:00 am

I agree with almost everything you say Debbie.I have spent a lifetime working with pupils who were unable to access the secondary curriculum because of poor Literacy skills.Subject teachers do not see it as their job to teach something as basic as the Alphabetic Code and although teaching children to read may not be rocket science it still requires a high level of knowledge.People like ourselves have the passion to do this and most good subject teachers have a passion for their subject not teaching reading.All of this is too little, too late.

chew8
Posts: 4161
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:26 pm

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by chew8 » Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:34 pm

I'm about to go away for a few days so can't respond in detail now. I'll try to do so when I get back.

Jenny C.

kenm
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: Berkshire

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by kenm » Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:32 pm

JIM CURRAN wrote:People like ourselves have the passion to do this and most good subject teachers have a passion for their subject not teaching reading.
Yes, I would sympathize with a maths teacher who thought it was none of his business. There could usefully be someone in the English team with the necessary expertise.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

User avatar
Debbie Hepplewhite
Administrator
Posts: 3653
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:13 pm
Location: Berkshire
Contact:

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:12 pm

It's very simple to upskill secondary teachers.

All they really have to know is that they use phonics routinely for spelling and reading new and challenging words - often without realising it as it can be fairly subconscious.

This is even the case when 'typing' - very often one thinks through 'the sounds' when typing words which are longer or not the ones you routinely type.

It's about making this very explicit - that phonics is adult stuff applied routinely to reading and writing as required.

Thus, a change of perception goes a long way to enabling all subject teachers to support weaker readers and spellers in lessons without it being a big deal.

Then, if Alphabetic Code Charts became the norm in classrooms, everyone could simply refer to it for spelling alternatives - rooting the spelling alternatives in example words.

We have such a complex spelling system in the English language that it is high time that phonics was thought of beyond it being infant stuff and just about infant teaching.

In different subjects, then, the teachers could break down longer words when writing them on boards, or when sharing reading of texts - pointing out any particularly unusual parts of the spellings for students to 'take care with' and/or talking about the origins of words (for interest and so on) where possible.

In different subjects, there could be more emphasis on topic-specific spellings with good quality visual display to support spelling (large font, neatly hand written or pre-prepared typed words).

It doesn't matter that many pupils/students may already be fully competent with spelling, many others are not - but it doesn't take that much to make support for spelling a matter-of-fact in a routine way - not a 'big deal' in a dramatic way.

This would also support teaching assistants who are designated to help with pupils/students with weaker basic skills.

Whilesoever so many people keep reporting to us that there are so many young people slipping through the net, something should be changed - the status quo has not addressed the situation well enough - or the situation would not be as it is.

volunteer
Posts: 755
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:46 pm

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by volunteer » Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:47 pm

maizie wrote:I didn't see the programme, Jenny, so didn't know that bit. However, we routinely tested all new entrants to the school, whatever their year group. It's common sense really. Information from previous school always turns up far later than the child does, if at all. From what I am reading on this thread I suspect that the move from another school was possibly because of her behavioural problems. All the more reason for thorough assessment when starting at a new school.
kenm wrote:If they had known what the problem was, how many of them would have known what to do about it
Most schools have some sort of SEN support provision which, as poor reading is a major 'cause' of children being labelled as SEN, should have had some expertise in helping children with poor reading skills.

I first taught in a secondary school over 25 years ago. The SENCO was nutty as a fruitcake I decided after one visit to her. I was a maths and science teacher but I had a visually impaired boy in my class whose reading and writing I felt was not as good as it could be. He had a screen to enlarge everything but clearly he had lost time in the past. I wanted to see if there was some "catch-up" that could be done during my daily tutor time. She told me he was getting overweight and should go cross-country running. He had an eye condition where his vision was worse in bright sunshine and he was actually banned from this kind of thing as a consequence.

Two decades later I found myself volunteering under an equally nutty primary SENCO whose answer to assessing and solving all forms of reading, writing and maths difficulties seemed to consist of making a shape on the pupil's back with her finger and seeing if they could identify it. I can barely do this myself. She was qualified. It is worrying!

Derrie Clark
Posts: 1174
Joined: Sun May 01, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Kent

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by Derrie Clark » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:18 pm

Sounds like the well known luffa test volunteer.

User avatar
maizie
Administrator
Posts: 3121
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 10:38 pm
Location: N.E England

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by maizie » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:23 pm

volunteer, didn't you know that the ability to recognise a figure drawn on your back is a vital element of succcessful reading. Especially if you are 'dyslexic'.

'luffa' test, Derrie?

volunteer
Posts: 755
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:46 pm

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by volunteer » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:58 am

There is a Chinese variety. Is this how Chinese parents teach their children so many characters so young? Every phonics classroom should have one.

Why do we think that having difficulties with reading, writing and maths was given a scientific sounding label but being bad at cooking, remembering jokes, tidying up, netball and gardening was not?

I keep on pondering about how many years on we are from when elements of the media picked up on the "dyslexia myth" but how widespread the myth still is among all categories of people. There must be a way of getting the message across to the world at large.

The notion of dyslexia seems to tie people's hands so much. More parents seem to have some idea what to do if their child struggles with basic arithmetic than with basic reading. Learning to read still has more of a mystique for more people it would seem. Perhaps it is because more people have heard of the notion of dyslexia than dyscalculia!

geraldinecarter
Posts: 990
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:40 pm

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by geraldinecarter » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:52 am

Volunteer - would you mind if I tweeted this:
Why do we think that having difficulties with reading, writing and maths was given a scientific sounding label but being bad at cooking, remembering jokes, tidying up, netball and gardening was not?
Such a simple way of showing that it's not the 'difficulty' which nearly everyone has with some area of learning but the pseudo-scientific label.

volunteer
Posts: 755
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:46 pm

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by volunteer » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:56 pm

:smile: That's fine Geraldine.

User avatar
Susan Godsland
Administrator
Posts: 4973
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2003 11:10 pm
Location: Exeter UK
Contact:

Re: The end of dyslexia?

Post by Susan Godsland » Sun Sep 07, 2014 6:27 pm

http://thinkingreadingwritings.wordpres ... r-reading/
We advocate whole school screening for all students, with subsequent one-to-one assessment for the weakest 35%. This ensures that we can identify whether the problem is decoding, comprehension, a combination, or poor performance due to test motivation. If students are away, we wait until they return and then pull them out of class to screen them. No subject is more important than reading. We can’t help students to overcome difficulties if we don’t know who has a problem. When everyone is screened, we don’t have to worry about students who fall through the cracks. The results are often surprising.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests