04 Oct

Hard Words: Why Aren’t Our Kids Being Taught to Read?

Recently, American Public Media (APM) released the documentary, “Hard Words: Why Aren’t Our Kids Being Taught to Read?” APM Correspondent, Emily Hanford, began her reporting on this topic back in 2017 with a documentary about why so many students with dyslexia have a hard time getting the help they need in school. She discovered that the kind of reading instruction students with dyslexia need is the same kind of instruction all kids need. But many kids are not getting this kind of instruction in school. Emily has come to think of kids with dyslexia as canaries in a coal mine, a warning sign that something is wrong with the way reading is being taught.

More than 60 percent of American fourth-graders are not proficient readers. According to Emily’s reporting, a big part of the problem is that many educators don’t know the science on how children learn to read, and they are not using approaches to reading instruction backed up by that science.

To listen to this podcast, click here.

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18 Sep

6 Ways Music Can Improve Child Literacy

6 Ways Music Can Improve Child Literacy

It may sound surprising, but music and literacy go hand-in-hand. Research has shown that music can have a profound effect on psychological and mental health. It can calm you down and help you focus. Music also can improve the imagination and expand the mind in new ways. Here are a few more ways how music can help your child become more literate.

It Establishes a Foundation of Practice

When your child is learning a new instrument, they’ll need to exercise good practice habits. Neuroscience shows that setting up a regular practice routine fundamentally changes the way our neurons fire. Practicing helps a person think in more dynamic ways, which can improve their learning instincts. It would be beneficial to create a space in your home for practicing, so find a spare room that allows for privacy as well as the ability to create a little noise without disrupting other members of the family. According to HomeAdvisor, it costs an average of $1,642 to soundproof a room in your home, so plan accordingly.

Music Improves Attention and Focus

According to The Guardian, certain kinds of music can help to reduce distraction. Musical training requires a high level of attention to detail and focused exertion. It’s especially helpful when listening to or playing music you like. When your child is playing music, help them find the beauty in the music they’re playing, or help them play music they’re interested in. This can be translated into reading, as reading itself requires some focus as well.

Memory Is a Key Part of Reading

Studies have demonstrated music is one powerful way to strengthen the connection between emotion and memory. This can improve cognitive function and build new links that further promote memorization. Memory is vital for literacy. Given how important it is to develop strong reading comprehension skills, music can help improve your child’s memory and give them greater understanding.

It Rewires the Brain to Listen in New Ways

Studies in neuroscience have found that active engagement with music enhances the neuroplasticity of the brain. This helps the brain change and adapt over the years. This kind of active engagement also helps the listener learn how to identify melodies, background music, and even different instruments and harmonies. This aids in literacy development as your child becomes more engaged with reading and develops and uses different parts of their brain.

Playing Music Helps the Brain Process Language

According to the Washington Post, research has shown that musical training can help to improve phonological awareness and also aids in the processing of complex auditory awareness. This can help your child with literacy as they understand words, their pronunciation, sounds, and meanings. These are important skills for anyone that is learning to read.

Expanded Vocabulary

Research has shown that music, especially music with lyrics, has the ability to expand an individual’s vocabulary. Exposure to music more frequently is associated with an even more powerful effect. Try exposing your child to music from all types, from classical music and jazz to classic rock and rap. There’s so much they can learn and apply into their own education.

Music is powerful and has the ability to expand your mind and enhance the neuroplasticity of your brain. It can give your child a soundtrack to their own life, along with the books they encounter. Music can pump you up and improve your empathy as well. Take time to help your child learn a new instrument and encourage them to read more. They’ll appreciate the benefits that come from the educational value of making music.

Author: Charles Carpenter created He believes in the power of music and sound as a healing tool. He is based in San Antonio, Texas.

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08 Aug

5 Tips for Parents with Children with a Disability

5 Tips on How to Prepare for Parenthood When You Have a Disability
by Ashley Taylor

Parenthood is a huge milestone that is both nerve-wracking and exciting. It’s made even harder when you’re suffering from a disability. There’s a lot on your plate that you have to get done before you bring your baby home from the hospital to make sure you and your baby are safe in your house. Here are some tips you can follow that will make the first few months of parenting a little easier for you.

Replace steps with a ramp

If you’re reliant on a wheelchair to get around, you should replace any steps in your home with ramps before you bring your baby home from the hospital. Ramps will help you reduce stress on your body, and you can use all the extra energy you’ll save spending time with your new baby. Ramps come in a variety of styles (like modular, lightweight, folding or rentals), and it depends on your level of mobility and your lifestyle.

Purchase expandable hinges for doorways

 One of the issues you might run into by being bound to a wheelchair is not being able to fit through doorways. Expandable hinges that you can install in the doorways in your home can make your life easier when you’re raising your child with a disability. These hinges provide an extra two inches of space in a doorway, which gives you more space to fit through the doorway in your wheelchair. With expandable hinges, you can move throughout your home without worrying about not being able to fit through your doorways easily.

 Install skid-resistant flooring

 Slipping on floors can be common when you’re giving your newborn baby baths. Your baby is going to splash around and It’s easy to get water on the floor. Prevent any slips or falls by installing slip-resistant flooring in your bathroom. This type of flooring will avoid any hazardous situations. Slip-resistant flooring comes in both rubber and vinyl options. Vinyl flooring is cost-effective, durable and can be bought in a variety of designs. Rubber flooring is easiest if you’re bound to a wheelchair and it’s low-maintenance and hypoallergenic.

Clean and meal prep

When you have a baby, household chores can fall by the wayside such as cooking and cleaning. It’s best to clean your home before you bring your baby home. This includes clearing your home of any clutter, vacuuming carpets, washing dishes and doing laundry. Preparing meals ahead of time and freezing them will help you create easy dinners when you’re too busy to cook. You’re going to be stressed trying to take care of your little one and meal prepping will provide you a little peace of mind.

Babyproof your house

You’ll want to babyproof your home before your baby is born. Even though your newborn won’t be able to crawl or walk for months, it will make you feel a little better knowing your home is safe for your little one. It’s easiest to begin in your kitchen by adding safety latches to your cabinets, and drawers. Next, move onto your bathrooms. In your bathrooms, put soft covers around the faucets in your bathtubs, so that when you’re giving your baby a bath, they don’t accidentally bang their head on the faucet.

Finally, take a walk through your home and look for any electrical cords that you can put away. Bolt all TV units to the wall, TV stands or armoires to prevent any accidents.

This is an exciting time in your life. Enjoy every moment of becoming a parent. Knowing that you have taken safety precautions beforehand will allow you to focus on your little bundle of joy.

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12 Oct

How American Schools are Failing Kids

How American schools fail kids with dyslexia

There are proven ways to help people with dyslexia learn to read, and a federal law that’s supposed to ensure schools provide kids with help. But across the country, public schools are denying children proper treatment and often failing to identify them with dyslexia in the first place.

Schools and Dyslexia

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12 Oct

Hilliard Families want Services

Some Hilliard families say their school district hasn’t been doing enough to identify and help children who struggle with reading disabilities, as federal law requires. Read more of the Columbus Dispatch Story on Dyslexia.

Hilliard families want schools to do more to help dyslexic kids.

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01 Oct

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

It’s Dyslexia Awareness Month. Will you help us spread the word? Wondering what else you can do to support children and adults with dyslexia? More on what you can do.

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27 Mar

Talking About Dyslexia

Speaking with One Voice: A Guide to Talking About Dyslexia

When we speak with a clear and consistent voice about the difficulties facing those with dyslexia, our message is far more likely to be heard and understood by education leaders, policymakers and others in a position to bring about change. Whether you are a parent advocating for your child, a teacher seeking more support for dyslexic students, an advocate working to change policy (or all three!), YCDC’s Guide to Talking About Dyslexia will help you dispel misconceptions and ensure all dyslexic children and adults have the support they need to succeed.

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27 Mar

Dyslexia and Medical School

How Should Medical Schools Respond to Students with Dyslexia?

Ignorance and misperception of dyslexia can result in bias against medical students with dyslexia. This article recommends a mandatory course for faculty that provides a basic scientific and clinical overview of dyslexia to facilitate greater understanding and support for students with dyslexia. Read the full article here.

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27 Mar

Morningside Elementary

Case Study:

Morningside Elementary: An Innovative Reading Program Helps Dyslexic Students and Earns School Blue Ribbon Recognition

Peek into a first grade classroom at Morningside Elementary School in Atlanta and there’s a good chance you’ll see students tapping out the sounds that comprise a word with their fingers or tossing bean bags in the air as they work to learn new words. In another classroom a group of third graders is decoding nonsense words while others sit in small groups engrossed in a discussion about a book they’re reading. This is what reading instruction looks like at Morningside.

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02 Feb

NPR Series: The Learning Disability

Dyslexia: The Learning Disability That Must Not Be Named

December 3, 2016 •
Many parents and teachers report that schools won’t use the word dyslexia. Why might this be? And what is the Department of Education doing about it?

Listen to the story.

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