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Volume 1 • #7 • February 2002


Herewith our annual February newsletter:

Happy Valentine's day to everybody, and best wishes to those right hemispheres which made it all possible. I admit I spend most of my time thinking about the left hemisphere, since that is the one that gives the dyslectic reader the heebie-jeebies. But the right contributes heavily toward comprehending what you read. The left is literal and exact. The right supplies context, emotion, humor and visualization.

It's your right side that says, "Oh WOW!" when you look up from your book and see a spectacular sunset unfolding over the lake in Maine. Your right gives you that feeling you get when you look at a furry puppy, or a baby bear cub, or even a new-born hippo if its mom is there. Your left side says small hippo. Your right says "It's so cute!" even if it has a face that only a mother could love.

If the left side reads about a kitchen scene when a pot of stew falls on the floor and spills all over the place, its exact words describe the scene-- slippery slop on the floor, baby crawling over toward the hot mess, Daddy just coming home, nothing left for dinner. And from those words, the right inserts the feelings—which I won't describe, as you already know them.
Your right likes music, recognizes beauty, thinks puns are funny, empathizes and sympathizes with others, wants peace in the world, hates the idea that millions of kids are starving, enjoys the rush of skiing down a steep slope. It recognizes faces, loves to dance, laughs at jokes. It makes us human. It only gets us into trouble when it tries to usurp the job of the left side and take over deciphering written language.

The right side is notorious for not caring about left-right sequencing. If it is doing the reading about the above kitchen scene, and instead of reading POT, it read TOP-- The top fell on the floor-- .

So we need contributions from both sides for reading. But today belongs to the right hemisphere. It is love that makes civilization possible. The left side is clever. The right is lovable. Let's give it its day of respect!

Happy Valentine's day!

Teaching tip:

Kids often have trouble keeping the letter R in place when they read the syllables, dre, and der, for instance, or car, and cra. Get a black and a red pen and write these syllables from the phonics book using red for ar, or, er, ir, and ur and the short vowel at the end of, let's say, cra. Car, then would be black, red, red, and cra would be black, black, red. This visual difference can be very helpful. The really hard part is preventing your student from pronouncing the letter R as er, which is IS NOT. You don't erun after a errabbit or climb terees. The letter R is nothing more than a buzz between your lips, or a small motor sound. NOT /ER/!


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