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Volume 1 #10 July
If you look
at any foreign language text book, on the first page you
will find the alphabet listed, together with the pronunciation
of each letter. Farther down the page there will be several
lines of vowel-consonant (VC) and consonant-vowel (CV)
pairs for you to pr0nounce. This makes sense, since you
must learn the new matches between letters and sounds.
You also need to remember which shape goes with which noise
(a real hoot in Russian) and to be able to pronounce them
together. If you think you can skip this step, open up
a book in an unfamiliar language and try to read it out
Teachers of dyslectic
students often make the mistake of thinking that you can
skip this step with English speaking pupils because all kids know the alphabet
and what sounds go with what letters don't they? Especially if they can read
at all, however badly?
Yes, even most
dyslectic students can tell you the sounds of the commonest
consonants like M, T, V, or B. But
in thirty-odd years of teaching I have yet
to find a
dyslectic student who could rattle off the short vowel sounds or tell you
that C, S and G each have two sounds, what X sounds
like, or that Y (good grief)
has four sounds! On top of that, when they put CV and VC letters together,
to have trouble starting with the one on the left or putting the two together
without a pause between them.
exercises with the plastic letters from the RfS package
form the backbone of any therapeutic program for dyslexia
because they cannot
by the right hemisphere. So even before you get near the earplugs and
tape recorder set up, you are already stimulating the left
language area. This
work is necessary
for all pupils, no matter what age or stage. If your pupil thinks they
are babyish, just tell him that they have nothing to do with age but
that precede all reading. Then get out a foreign language book and show
website has a FAQ section for Frequently Asked Questions.
We do, too, of course! I am tempted to put into the newsletters a new
category: FMM, or Frequently Made Mistakes. The prime candidate for
first place so
far is not to begin at the beginning. I get e-mails from people who
get the material,
glance at it briefly, decide to start some time next week, and in the
meantime, stick the workbook in front of the pupil to start him off.
Or, after not
reading ALL of the material per instructions, decide to "see where the child is
now" and maybe start from there! The same people wouldn't dream of covering
a wound without cleaning it first or of giving a child his first lesson behind
the wheel of a car in midtown Manhattan at 5 P.M.
BEGIN AT THE
BEGINNING, or FIRST THINGS FIRST, or START HERE. Well,
you get the idea.
I have a nine-year-old jumping jack who doesn't like the
glasses and can't keep the cardboard in place for more than
fifteen seconds. He does use the glasses because he has to,
but constantly lets them slip and has to be reminded. He
is quite a baseball player and one day solved the problem
himself. He always wears his baseball cap and one day put
it on backwards and twisted it arouond until the visor came
down over his left eye. Problem solved. Now we're both happy!