“Boxing Words” to help Dyslexics Learn to Spell

Gen, my dyslexic daughter who started my search for answers.

Gen, my dyslexic daughter who started my search for answers to understand Dyslexia and how to manage it.

When my daughter Genevieve and my other two children were assessed as having Dyslexia back in the 1980’s I began a long journey to find ways to teach them. The school system in California did not have any programs for their learning difference so I had to look else where for ideas.

Not much was known about Dyslexia at the time but I was fortunate to meet many interesting people in the San Francisco area who were studying Dyslexia and working with children and adults to help them with their learning problems. We tried all kinds of therapy; some worked, some worked a little and others not so much.

One surprising and extremely simple idea was given to me by a teacher from a school called New Horizon School and Learning Center in Santa Rosa, northern California for kids with learning disabilities. I had heard good things about them so I gave them a call. The person I spoke to suggested I bring my daughter in and they would see what they could do to help her (New Horizon provided assistance that provided insight to help me understand my daughter and taught me how to teach her successfully!). One idea she told me over the phone along with some tweaks of my own over the years became one of my best tools working with Dyslexic children.

"Boxing Words" to help Dyslexics learn to Spell

“Boxing Words” to help Dyslexics learn to Spell

Gen, a fifth grader at the time,  was a very poor speller. The lady from the school suggested trying an experiment to show Gen a different way to remember spelling words. She told me to get a yellow piece of paper and print a word on it in large thick letters in felt pen she didn’t know how to spell. Then she told me to have Gen sit looking straight ahead and hold the yellow paper with the printed word up and to the left of her head. Then as she is staring forward she moves her eyes up to the piece of paper. As she is looking at the yellow paper with her body and head sitting straight and eyes up and to the left she looks at the word, says it, and then reads the letters out loud right to left and then left to right (frontwards and backwards). Gen repeats this process 3 times. Then closes her eyes, imagines the yellow paper and word printed on it. She says the word aloud again and says the letters she sees in her mind frontwards and then— backwards!

I kind of scoffed at this but I thought worth a try. I had tried a lot crazier things with my kids. I decided to pick a  long multi-syllabic word because of course I didn’t believe it could work. I put Gen through the process that had been described to me and she did it – frontwards and backwards – easily. There is extensive research on eye movement and what it means as far as  memories and imagining things. However I haven’t found any conclusive evidence on what eye movement means but lots of speculation such as this article: http://www.livescience.com/1473-moving-eyes-improves-memory-study-suggests.html.

The lady I talked to from the school said memory could be aided by looking up to the left. This was back in the 80’s and I don’t know if this is true but what I learned, in my opinion, it is important to have Dyslexics visualize something as a picture with parts in order to retain it. So a word is a complete picture with parts (the letters). The colored paper helps them create an image of the word in their mind by providing a background and the colour helps the word stand out.

Over the years through research and experimentation I have found a way to accomplish memorizing words effectively with this method with a few changes and additions. This method has been called “boxing words” or “word boxing” by some teachers I have talked to over the years. I have been trying to find some information on the net about boxing and this article is as close as I have gotten so far:   http://www.visualspatial.org/files/app2spell.pdf

I describe my method in one of our manuals called “14 Steps to Teach Dyslexics how to Spell and Read”. All the Dyslexic children I have worked with have been able to visualize words this way. Boxing words for DyslexicsThe image here of the word “dog” on the blue paper is how we create  flash cards for “boxing”. This type of practice will help a Dyslexic visualize words in their minds so they can start to retain them. The 14 Steps has 13 other practice methods to help Dyslexics improve their spelling  and reading fluency.

14 Steps to teach Dyslexics how to Spell & Read

14 Steps to teach Dyslexics how to Spell & Read

Try it. If you have difficulties trying to do this exercise, email me at khope@dyslexiavictoria.ca
Karey Hope
Co-founder Dyslexia Victoria Online
Karey Hope deGraaf of Dyslexia Victoria Online

If you have a question, comment or suggestion for a future blog please fill in the contact form below:

“WHAT IS DYSLEXIA?” Dyslexia Victoria Online is introducing videos on Dyslexia Awareness, Teaching, Accommodations & Resources

We are introducing a series of videos about Dyslexia awareness, teaching and learning strategies, accommodations, computer programs and resources for children and adults. If you are interested please email us at: khope@dyslexiavictoria.ca”.

We are also planning to have some webinars and involve people in the discussion portions of the webcast.
We welcome you to join us!

Cheers! Happy New Year!
Co-founder of Dyslexia Victoria Online

Atten: Dyslexics – fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too

Only great minds can read this. This is weird, but interesting!…” is an amusing email attachment you will find at the end of this blog that makes the rounds on the internet – but for Dyslexics – this is how they identify words. They recognize the shape and letters of the word; not necessarily the order of the letters except as they say in the blurb below, the first and last letter of the word. Dyslexics tend to rely on this method for reading and this can cause them to read words incorrectly because they are trying to recognize the “look” of the word.

This reading style also creates difficulty for a Dyslexic person’s ability to comprehend and remember what they have read because all their attention is directed to decoding the words they are reading and not automatically recognizing them. This is due to their issue memorizing the correct letter order of words. When many people read the text in blue below they will notice that they feel tired and confused about what they read. This is caused by their excessive effort to decode the words. Their brain can read them but is slowed down by the additional work to identify the words.

Another problem for Dyslexics is difficulty seeing words in their minds. They primarily see images or pictures, not necessarily words. By teaching a Dyslexic how to see the words in their minds and the correct order of the letters besides the first and last letter, their reading fluency improves a lot!

If I ask you to picture the word “car” in your mind, what do you see?  Most people see a car first and then the word if I ask them to think of the letters. Some see the word first and then the car.  Right-brained or Dyslexic people tend to see the car and struggle to see the word, if they can at all.  So think about it; if you can’t see the word in your mind how do you learn to spell and read?

This is actually very easy to do if the Dyslexic is taught to see words in their minds. We are always able to get a Dyslexic child to do this task quickly and easily in an assessment. This becomes an important step for remembering and seeing words and letters in their minds in our teaching process. I love this exercise because the child instantly gets a boost to their self-esteem.

By the way, what colour is your car or cars in your mind? Most people say red. Let me know the colour of your car! I would like to know the psychological or physiological reason behind this.  Does anyone know?

Only great minds can read this
This is weird, but interesting!

“fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too
Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.”

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it

Cheers!
Karey Hope
Founder of Dyslexia Victoria Online

<strong>”</strong><strong>Only great minds can read this This is weird, but interesting!</strong><strong>…” </strong> is an amusing email attachment you will find at the end of this blog that makes the rounds on the internet – but for Dyslexics – this is how they learn words. They recognize the shape and letters of the word; not necessarily the order of the letters except as they say in the blurb below, the first and last letter of the word. Dyslexics tend to rely on this method for reading and this can cause them to read words incorrectly because they are trying to recognize the “look” of the word.

The RAD Prism Glasses for Dyslexics

Hi everybody, I just read an interesting bit of information about a solution for stabilizing text on a page. It involves a special set of lenses you read through. There are lots of ideas out there to help manage the many issues that arise from being Dyslexic and I recommend you look at this one.

The website is www.readfluent.com and it tells about a study Dr Robert Dahlem is doing to establish the effectiveness of his patented devise, the RAD Prism glasses. His explanation of why this devise works is very simple, that light is not coming into each of the eyes in the same manner with individuals with trouble reading. The “glasses” alter the way the light comes into the right eye and apparently this allows both eyes to read the text on the page in the same manner. According to the 300 participants so far these glasses work extremely well.

We are always happy to let our loyal readers in on new systems and methods out there that help with Dyslexic issues. Even though this new invention is in its early stages of development we think it looks valuable to many people. I do have a couple of things I would like to address about the website and the doctors definition of Dyslexia.

One of the links at the website I noted above is “Get the RAD Prism”. There they list a series of common symptoms of Dyslexia. Yes those are some symptoms of Dyslexia but not really the most common ones. They are the symptoms that most people hear about when they talk about Dyslexia and they are also seen by teachers and parents most often. However, of equal importance are the other indicators of Dyslexia that we see with the adults and students we talk to when we do our workshops, presentations and assessments. These other indicators include; difficulty understanding complex and abstract instructions, getting mixed up with directions, mixing up left and right, confusion over fractions and measurements, difficulty telling time or being on time, miscomprehending what a person has explained because the “Big Picture” wasn’t included in the explanation and more difficulties with concepts that the Dyslexic or right-brained individual considers as abstract. So rather than say the RAD Prism lenses cure Dyslexia lets just say it seems to help with the problems of instability of black text on the page.

On another blog I read earlier today I saw an interesting response to the RAD Prism that is something we actually do during our Assessment for Dyslexic Issues. It involves using different coloured clear transparencies over text. We have found the results to be instant and often very dramatic and costs next to nothing. Students report that the words stop moving and usually their reading speed and comprehension increase immediately.

Dyslexia is a very large and complicated topic and we will continue to bring more of the latest news about research and studies pertaining to Dyslexia. We always say in our presentations to parents, teachers, psychologists, service providers and care givers of all types, use as many methods as will work. There is no one single way to manage Dyslexia but there sure are lots of simple methods that can make a big difference.

Our books describe Dyslexia as a Learning Differenceand we have many teaching methods for various Dyslexic issues. We invite you to take a look – www.dyslexiavictoria.ca

Happy trails
Howie deGraaf
Editor for Dyslexia Victoria Online

If you have questions please email me at:degraaf@dyslexiavictoria.ca

Brad Elder – an Eloquent Dyslexic Spokesperson

Recently I was looking up some specific info for a client from our book “Assessments and Evalutions” for Dyslexics.  My mother and partner, Jan Turner put this book together outlining and detailing our methods for assessing for Dyslexia.  When I was going through the book I noticed an introduction that I had never paid attention to before.  It was an excerpt  from a Dyslexic gentleman named “Brad Elder” from one of his webpages about being Dyslexic.  I was fascinated, called Jan and asked her about him.  Jan said he and she had communicated for  awhile a few years ago about Dyslexia.  They had ideas in common and differences of opinion which she found really interesting.  She said he was a really fascinating  man to talk to in regards to Dyslexia, what it is to experience it and how to work with it.

I decided to track down his webpages and I found his home page and then other ones connected to it. I also Googled his name and found more.  I also found many commonalities in our beliefs and approaches to Dyslexia and his list of sources are helpful and his view of  the experience of  Dyslexia is very moving and enlightening for those trying to understand how it feels,  how to deal with it and to realize as Dyslexics we are not alone.

So I have quoted part of his home page and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  I strongly suggest you go to his other webpages and review Brad Elder’s information and sources.  Also, I am trying to find a good email address or phone number for Brad.  If anyone knows how to contact him, please let me know.  You can email me at: khope@dyslexiavictoria.ca

Thanks!
Karen Hope
Co-founder of Dyslexia Victoria Online

Brad Elder  and Dyslexia

Brad Elder and Dyslexia

So here is my tail.

Sorry but its a little cluttered.

by Brad Elder

I have left this un spell checked so that you can see my world a little better.

Like I said this is really hard to put into words.  Hard on the emotional level.  But I think it will help me to do it.  And I hope it will help you.

Ok,  where to start.  well I was diagnosed in the 6th graid.  That really helped!!!  It was the single biggest event in my life.  Suddenly there was a name for my problem.  I wasn’t lazy, or didn’t cair, or was………  what ever they called me that week.  It was like the unevers was lifted off my sholders.  I think I know what it must be like to slowly sufficate.  I don’t know really how to describe it to you but i’ll try:

Imagen that nobody could see their hands.  Everybody in the world.  Nobody can see anything from the elbo down.   Also assume that everybodys  hands work just like thay do right now today.    Now what if your hands didn’t work like “the normal hand”?   What If you didn’t have any fingers?  Everyone else can type, turn keys, scrach an ich, dress them sleves, tie there shoes, and feed them sleves.  Every one but you.  No one can see why you can’t “Do what everyone else can”.  You don’t know  why you can’t do what “normal” kids can.  You just know you can’t.   you walk and talk just like every one else.  there is no way to see an obvous reason why you can’t do it.  Adults don’t know.  How could they.  All they can see is a kid that isn’t doing what they were told to do.   And they lable you lazy, slacker, rebbel, and what ever they can come up with…….They my even point you out to your class mates and tell them not to be like you.

Rember You Have NO Idea Why You Can Not Do What The Normal Kids Do.

None.

All you know is that no matter what,  nomatter how hard you try,  you just can’t do it.   You will,  as your only choise, beleave the adults.  You must be lazy.  You must really be a slacker.  How could anyone be as worthless as you? the other kids susceed.  They must be trying.  You, there for, are not trying.

I want you to stop here and think about this senario.  Where does a Child go from here?  where does a Child go when they KNOW, becaues everyone tells them, they beleave with all there heart,  they are worthless?  Who does a Child turn to when everyone (even your parents) give up on you?

I really  want you to think hard about that.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?   YOU HAVE NO REASON TO DOUBT WHAT ANYONE IS TELLING YOU.  YOU HAVE NO ONE TO TURN TO.  NO ONE IS TELLING YOU ANY THING POSITIVE ABOUT YOUR SELF.

This was me at ten years of age.  I wanted to die.  Not because I was depresed (though I’m shure I was) but because I was imbarsed to be alive.  I was imbarsed for my parents,  for my sisters, for my teachers.    I loved them all and respected there openions.  After all they could do what I could not.  How could anyone deserve the burden of putting up with me?

Don’t you quit!!!

How are you going to get help?  no one, not even you know the truth.  you have no fingers!!!  thats it.  Nothing sinester about your behavior.  you just don’t have any fingers!!
Your only chance will be if someone actualy sees you.  and says to them self “what a nice kid.  shurly if they could have tied their shoe thay would have.  I wonder why they don’t?”  If your luckey they will have heard of a handy cap called “nofinger” that has symptems like yours.  And they will sugest that you get testing.

To parents reading think about this.  How can a Child get help if the parents don’t want to help?  “My Kid Is Normal!”  “Not My Son!!”  “My Daughter Is Just Quiet”.  the world cann’t help unless you allow it.  I don’t know what self centered fears parents have about children,  But try and rember “a rose by anyother name would smell as sweet”.  your child is alive and suffering and is a rose by any name.  Any help you can give them will help them bloom.  Many of my friends in the LD classes I have through out my life never were alowed to sucesed because their parents refeusd th help.

Don’t you quit!! (eather of you)

Now suppose all the politics required in getting parents, teachers and famly menbers involved come togeather and you are going to get tested.
You probably won’t know or cair about whats going on.  You have spent 10 years being told and fearmly beleaving that you are just dumb and lazy.  And lord knows you have seen your shair of tests.  The test is a new fangled machane that takes a picture of your hand and can see what we can’t.  after the test you are shown the results and have them explained to you.

BINGO!!!!!
you are not lazy.  you just don’t have any fingers!!!!!!!
Of corse no one could tie there shoes if they didn’t have fingers!!!
Of corse no one could dress them selves if they didn’t have fingers!!!
Of corse no one could type if they didn’t have fingers!!!!!!!
Of corse!!!!!!!!

I hope that helps you under stand.   I finaly knew why I couldn’t tie my shoes.  There was a reason.  and it wasn’t because I was lazy!

I really got mad after that.  I was mad at all my teachers.  mad at everyone who was trusted with my life and failed!  I soon (longer for others) forgave them all as They  did’t know anymore than I that there was aproblem (execpet that they did’t lisson to me.  But who lissons to a 10 yr old who doesn’t do what he is told).  I thought that that was it!  I’d  just show the teachers “look here are my test results, look no fingers!  I can’t type.  but I can tell you the answer.”
well that didn’t happen. All, most all, of them didn’t buy it.  and a few were determind to show the class and the world that I was a faker.   My math teachers were indeferent.  They didn’t cair about it at all. and they didn’t change anything.  but at least they didn’t fight me.  a few of my english teachers realy let me have it.   I couldent rember the alphibet, (and still can’t!!) but had to sit in on recesse and after school to look up the spelling of words.

Now if you have no fingers how can you type?   how comical would it be if you were held in the class room during recess and after school because you didn’t finish or didn’t do your typing corectly?  I wasn’t laughfing then and can only find sad hummer in it now, but that was my life in the sixth grade.  Dyslexiecs generaly can’t spell or do math because we revers letters and numbers.  I still (as you can see) can’t spell. K through 12th grade and I was punished for not being able to spell through it all.  Just as if I had no fingers and was being punished for not being able to type.  The logic behind it is insane!!!  I was going to flunk remadal english in the 6th grade.  remeadial english is nothing but spelling. its the spelling class from hell.  my teacher would make me stay in from recess and after school EVERYDAY!!!!! correcting the spelling on my test.  How do you spell a unknown word?  you look it up?

For more of this entry from Brad Elder please follow this link:

Welcome to Brad (Darb) Elder’s Dyslexia page

Also Google his name Brad Elder for other pages related to him.

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Dyslexia Victoria Online’s Approach to Teaching Spelling to Dyslexics

Dyslexics Learning to SpellSpelling is the most difficult skill for the right brain but it is the most important. More time should be given to spelling and building a reading and writing vocabulary than any other learning skills.

The Dyslexia Victoria Online Approach to learning to spell is through “drawing” words and understanding them in wholes, not in their separate parts or separate letters or phonic sounds.

It provides an easy method for changing the concrete picture images formed in the right brain into letters and words (the language of the left brain) and then sending them to the left brain for use in thinking and analyzing.

Training should begin with using concrete word images that form whole pictures.  The right brain easily understands word images as it sees and understands the world in wholes: whole sentences, whole paragraphs, whole essays, whole stories, whole lessons, whole concepts and whole assignments. The right brain understands word images it can turn into pictures in the mind’s eye.

We start with learning what a concrete image is and what letters represent. Then we work with concrete words from a story that describe strong images familiar to the student such as pictures of a horse, a man, a child, a house, a barn, an animal, and object such as a table, a book, ruler, eraser, car, truck, box, etc. When the pattern of a concrete object, sound of its name and a concrete word image are understood, we move on to abstract words that are needed for putting sentences together such as  and, for, too, which, why, who because, through, under, beneath, second, third, although, however, whole, whenever, rather, everything, etc.

For more information about Dyslexia and our teaching solutions check out our website at: www.dyslexiavictoria.ca

If you have questions we would love to hear your feedback!  You can email me at:  khope@dyslexiavictoria.ca

Karey Hope deGraaf
Co-founder of Dyslexia Victoria Online

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Dyslexia Friendly Schools in the UK Benefit all Children

New Zealand 4D Dyslexia ProgramIn England they have Dyslexia Friendly schools that use teaching systems suitable for  Dyslexics and they have found that not only are the Dyslexic students doing better, the “normal”  students are achieving higher grades.  A reality check that might cause educating bodies to take a hard look at our teaching methods in general especially with literacy scores in many western countries dropping every year.

Educational programs across the world should take the possibility of dyslexic students into serious consideration. A recent US News & World Report article indicates that as many as one in five college students may suffer from some form of dyslexia. Top-notch traditional schools and the best online college programs should ensure that their curriculum is conducive to students suffering from dyslexia. Neil MacKay, an international  dyslexia consultant who has worked with the British Dyslexia Association,  Education Authorities and departments in the UK, Hong Kong and Malta has much to say about the benefits of  Dyslexia Aware and Friendly Schools.

From data collected by Neil MacKay, dyslexia-aware schools in the UK are recording improvements in arrange of measurable indicators, including attendance, attainment (measured through data), achievement(measured through assessment for learning), student and parental confidence, not just for dyslexic students,but also for a wide range of vulnerable learners.

This data, collected from schools engaged in the UK Quality Marking initiative – which recognizes schools for the quality of their inclusive practice – shows improved attendance and punctuality once teaching  styles, methods and materials are modified with a dyslexia-aware focus. This focus enables teachers to pull together a range of approaches into a coherent response, and head teachers comment that once they get it right for dyslexic students, this seems to enhance the learning of a majority of pupils in the school, with or without specific learning needs. For those with dyslexia, significant gains towards closing the learning gap have been made, with improvements recorded specifically in writing, reading, maths and science following targeted support.

Quoted from: “4D is For Dyslexia (a Guide for New Zealand Schools
www.dyslexiafoundation.org.

I strongly suggest you check out their websites and informational pdf files on their progress with getting Dyslexia Awareness Programs into the schools and recognized by the New Zealand government.  Very exciting stuff and a positive hopeful note for the future of all Dyslexics.

power to the dyslexic people“Power to the Dyslexic People”

(Okay, maybe I’m getting a little too enthusiastic.  We do need to start working together to overcome a world that doesn’t understand our special way of thinking and unlimited talents)

Cheers till next time.
Karen Hope
Co-founder of Dyslexia Victoria Online

Karen Hope- Co-founder of Dyslexia Victoria