Years ago, when Drs. Roger Sperry and Michael Gazzaniga did their work on the split brain in man, it was proven that the left hemisphere masterminds language processing. In 1972, when I first started teaching dyslectic students, Dr. Gazzaniga wrote me that if someone could find a way to increase the use of the left side of the brain in the dyslectic reader, it might develop "one final cognitive path" that would reduce the confusion and improve reading.

I devised a way to distract the right hemisphere during a phonics lesson so that I could exercise the left hemisphere by itself, and "Enhanced Lateralization" was born.

Exercising the left hemisphere requires specific tasks that force it to do the things it is the weakest in: phonics, phonemic analysis, syntax and grammar, and letter sequencing. Reading from Scratch grew out of these requirements, and is unique because it concentrates on the specialized problems of dyslexia.

Example:

Dyslexics usually have a degree of left-right confusion. Teaching "consonant digraphs" is unnecessarily difficult if the student has to distinguish quickly between "ts" and "st". Better to spell out a word like BUST with plastic letters and have him  move the S around until it forms STUB and BUTS. This becomes an exercise in sequencing and sound-symbol matching, both of which he needs.

Another example:

For the same reason (left-right confusion) it is wise to postpone teaching diphthongs until the student has had several months of exercises in short vowel sounds, the sounds of ar, or, and er, and long sounds formed with a silent e on the end of a word. By that time, his left hemisphere has kicked in enough so that he can handle ea, ei, ue, and so forth, without turning green.

 


 

 

Incidentally, since RfS is such a systematic presentation, it works unusually well for ESL students or slow learners in a remedial reading class. With these students you would use the material without EL, since their problem has nothing to do with the left hemisphere.

 

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