Friday, March 13, 2009

Shout Out for Spelling

In my daily business of trying to meet the needs of various students with a variety of learning issues, I am continually learning something new, whether it is about a specific disability or product. Today I am in a sharing mood, so I want to share with all of you a great learning tool I discovered.

About a year and a half ago I was working with a young student who's mother was fairly certain her daughter was dyslexic...and I have to say, that after a bit of research on my part, I concurred. So I set out to find a way to work with her. Now, contrary to popular belief, dyslexia is not just the reversal or transposing of letters. Actually, it's much more than that. And there is evidence that approximately 80% of children diagnosed with reading disabilities are likely to be dyslexic. Unfortunately, the schools are not equipped to deal with diagnosing, let alone working with, dyslexia.

I started scouring the internet looking for a way to work with this child. The program I found is the Orton-Gillingham method of teaching what is basically phonics to dyslexic students. The simplistic explanation is that in the dyslexic child, the brain doesn't recognize the sound/letter relationship. So this program approaches the teaching of phonemes (sounds) and phonics (using the sounds to connect to letters) by utilizing visual, auditory, and tactile learning styles simultaneously. It is very impressive, very successful, and very spendy. There just was no way I could afford it. 

Back to the internet looking for something comparable and affordable.  And, Voila, I found it. It's called All About Spelling, and my students and I love it. It is a leveled spelling program that teaches ALL the spelling and phonics rules, ones you probably didn't even know existed. The program is scripted, easy to implement, and affordable. I can't recommend it enough. The author of the program has even started an online community for users of her program. It seems that there are a lot of homeschool moms and a few tutors like myself that use this program. But if you have a child who seems to be really struggling with spelling and getting the print up off the page, so to speak, it would definitely be worth your while to take a look at this program. And to get an even better insight into the how-tos and benefits of the program visit this on-line community.

Thanks for letting my share! And seriously check it out.


Maile said...

Wow, that is really cool that you went to the effort to help that student. Love the internet for great finds like this.

Phil said...

I've heard my wife rave about this program so it must be worth it...It's interesting how some adults just have no problem with spelling (like me, but don't ask me a technical computer question)but other adults struggle. I work with a guy that cannot spell anything...squat! I, as his supervisor, always tell him I am his "manual spellcheck".