Large Print Books for Dyslexic Students and Adults

Large Print Books for Dyslexics

Today I would like to talk about large print books for dyslexics. When we work with dyslexic adults or children we notice that reading small print is often difficult and tedious like slogging through mud.   They cannot track print on a page or see the individual words and letters.  They see all the text on a page as one entire image and cannot separate one word from the other.

Some dyslexics can read small text, but the process  of reading can be exhausting requiring all their mental energy and concentration to decode the words so comprehension becomes very difficult.  Often the dyslexic will read passages over and over trying to understand what they have read because their brain was concentrating on seeing and recognizing the words and cannot retain the information in their short term memory or move it onto long term memory.

So what can be done to help with this problem? One way is using large print books. They make it easier to see the words separately from each other and from other lines of text. The brain doesn’t have to concentrate so hard on decoding because the pictures of each word can be easily differentiated from other words. Comprehension and memory is improved and reading doesn’t feel like such a hard job.

Many children’s books are set in large print and should definitely be used with dyslexic students if at all possible. There are many websites that sell large print books for older children and adults. You can also find them in bookstores or libraries.

I have provided a couple of websites that I found that also sell large print books. www.largeprintbooks.com and www.amazon.ca/large-print-Books or www.amazon.com/Large-Print-Books

For more information and teaching solutions for dyslexia check out books on our homepage at www.dyslexiavictoria.ca

Thanks for listening.
Karen Hope
Co-founder Dyslexia Victoria Online

Karen Hope, Dyslexia Victoria Online

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The Five Steps to Learning for Dyslexic Students

Dyslexic Children in Classroom
This week we are going to talk about what a dyslexic student needs to learn new skill sets in the classroom and in their personal lives.

In the second chapter of our book “Dyslexia or Being Right Brained” we have listed a five step procedure called THE FIVE STEPS TO LEARNING.  (To check out the book click: Dyslexia or Being Right-brained)

THE FIVE STEPS TO LEARNING FOR DYSLEXIC STUDENTS

1. WHY? Why must I learn this? (Purpose)The student must first know WHY it should accept an assignment or do a lesson.

2. WHAT? What do you expect to find in my answer(s)? The student must be trained to take notes, choose appropriate materials, focus, organize and develop answers that present ideas in a logical sequence on the question or topic to be discussed.

3. HOW? How do I present my answers? Orally or written, single words, sentences, paragraphs or essays? How do I write each of these forms? The skills required are the basic rules of grammar, sentence structure, paragraph and essay formats. The student must be shown the full process of these language formats for organizing the ideas and answers either for visual, written or oral presentation.

4. WHEN? When do I start, finish and hand in the assignment? The student must be instructed when to start on the assignment, in class or at home and when it must be finished for correcting or handing in for marking. Without these instructions they don’t understand the time limits involved and may panic without them and may even be unable to do the assignment at all.

5. OUTCOME? What have I learned, how will I use this information in future? The student must perceive the whole picture, its outcome and future applications in lessons or assignments if the student is to do the work successfully.

These are questions that a parent or teacher should ask themselves when presenting a topic of study or project to be done like a science or social studies project, or anything for that matter. The teacher needs to make sure that the instructions are stated in a way that answers these 5 questions.

They refer to how information is best presented to a dyslexic or right-brained student. We can never assume that what appears basic, obvious and easy to understand to us is going to be so to every student in the classroom. In most instances, if the dyslexic student does not get answers to all their questions for an assignment they can be paralyzed into inaction.

Actually this format works well for all students, I’ll go into this in a little bit.  To begin with, these questions were created by Karen Hope, the co-founder of the TURNER-HOPE METHOD.  In earlier blogs, see Rants and Raves from Dyslexia Victoria Online “The Story of a Dyslexic Mother and Daughter” we have mentioned Karen’s struggles with getting her three dyslexic children taught in the regular school system in California. Her struggles started with Genevieve when she was 7 years old and was diagnosed with dyslexia. For the next 15 years Karen helped her children understand their learning styles and devised the teaching techniques demonstrated in our books.

Karen quickly realized that the right-brained learning style of her children put certain restrictions on how they learned. As is now obvious to any person aware of right-brained or dyslexic issues, the “Big Picture” is of huge importance. We have seen and read that every person who is a right-brained learner needs to see the limits of a task; they need to know what the end result is supposed to look like. They also need to know all the little steps that make up the big picture, which is the purpose of the 5 points listed above.

The over-all purpose of the 5 Steps list is to give you, the teacher or parent, an understanding of what the questions mean that these students are asking after you assign the task. Many teachers we have spoken to are left confused and overwhelmed at the number and manner of questions that some students ask after the teacher has assigned a topic. If you ask yourself if your instructions to the student answer the points of the 5 Steps, chances are that you have presented the assignment in a way that makes sense to the right brained students and the rest of the class as well. Here is an example of a method that worked for me in later life.

While taking some Civil Engineering courses about 10 years ago one of my classes was taught by a former highway maintenance foreman. Even though he was not in any way qualified to be a teacher or professor his class in highway design was one of the least difficult ones because of his “Chalk talk”.

He started the class with a 5 minute explanation of what we had learned the class before, what we were going to do that day, what we were going to learn and how we were going to do the tasks. He had all this information printed on the blackboard too. Unintentionally he had created a lesson format that worked for a right-brained student (me) and the whole class. The rest of the class really appreciated the way he did his classes and he told me that he had started all of his work crews with the same method.

So the lesson for today is all about perceptions, again. It really is hard to blame the teachers of the school systems here in Canada and America, most of the skills they need to recognize various learning issues are not taught very well during their training. And as long as these learning disabilities are dealt with as they have been in the past and up to now it is going to tough for us to deal with the solutions. If you look at the 5 Steps and realize that they are asking us to appreciate what the dyslexic student needs to know then we can be one step closer towards helping these individuals. It is of utmost importance that we not act with impatience or dismiss any of the questions of these students. It really isn’t a lot to ask and as long as the school districts can’t allocate the funds necessary then it’s up to us. Now that is a whole shift of perceptions of what can be done.

Happy Trails!

Howie deGraaf
Editor for Dyslexia Victoria Online

Seven Major Causes of Dyslexia

“When a dyslexic understands how they think and what information they need to learn a new task it is like finally getting the pieces of a puzzle to fit.”

First Major Cause:

Difficulty understanding any concept without starting with the “whole picture”. The right brain learner thinks and understands the world in whole concrete images. If the whole concrete image has not been presented first and is available when the student is starting to learn the parts, the parts will not make any sense and the brain will discard them. The right brain needs to start with and see whole images and whole concepts, not the separated parts.

Second Major Cause:

Difficulty with understanding the parts separate from the whole image of the word. If these students cannot see the parts within the whole and the whole image at the same time, they cannot make sense out of pieces or parts of information.
For example, demonstrating fractions. Use two oranges, keep one whole, cut the other up first into halves then into quarters, but always have the visual image of the whole orange present. The student must understand that the word fraction stands for the equal parts you have created from the whole.

Third Major Cause:

Difficulty with the skills of hand printing, spelling, reading and composing sentences correctly. This usually means that the right brain cannot transfer its concrete images adequately to the left brain which works with abstracts and uses the language of words and numbers.

The right-brain thinker cannot learn, analyze or work with what they do not understand or can process. This is a strong indication that although the students are taking in information and attempting to store it in whole concrete images, they are not using it for thinking or learning that requires abstract processing. Instead they are memorizing the image of the information and giving it back verbatim in their answers. They can do this easily if they are expected to give one word answers or complete a sentence, but thinking out cause and effect is next to impossible because it is an abstract task that means nothing to them and requires proper training to cope with it.

Fourth Major Cause:

Difficulty with sequencing (put in a logical order) numbers, letters, words, sentences, ideas, thoughts. If the students can neither see the “parts within the whole” in their correct sequence, they cannot spell, read, write sentences and paragraphs, nor do mathematical calculations.

Fifth Major Cause:

Difficulty understanding the abstract. The right-brain learner does not always understand the abstract words, thoughts and ideas they hear or read as they cannot easily turn them into whole concrete images they can visualize. If the dyslexic student cannot complete a thought in a visual image, they will have problems saving it and storing it in long term memory because it does not make sense.

The right-brain thinker attempts to understand what is being read or spoken by catching the concrete nouns and active verbs, or by using intuition to fill in the blanks or reason it out.

Sixth Major Cause:

Difficulty with building a memorized word list.It is very important for all students, including dyslexics,to have a memorized sight list of words that is appropriate to their grade level. These words must be memorized beforehand so the brain does not have to lose time during reading figuring out how the word is decoded, what it sounds like or means.

If the student spends too much time in decoding and recognizing the individual words, comprehension of the story is lost. The student is forced to reread the passage over and over to understand what they have just read. Their short-term memory can consequently dump the information when the right-brain has struggled too long to decode the words and find context in what they are reading. Therefore, the student will not be able to answer any questions about their reading assignment because the student has not processed the information correctly or stored it in long-term memory.

Seventh Major Cause:

Difficulty in following instructions. Dyslexic students need very specific and complete instructions on how to do an assignment, project, test or complete a lesson. Again this is about the necessity to see the whole picture.

They need to understand how the assignment starts and ends. They need to know: where to put their name, date and title; what kind of paper to use; pen, pencil or computer; the date to hand it in; how the answers should look (for example: one word answers, a paragraph or a page); and any other issues that may be of concern for the student.

Once the student has all the information they require they have the “whole picture” of what to do and can now see the parts so they are ready to start the assignment. Also the entire lesson or explanation must be given at one time on the same day.  If this does not happen, the students will forget everything they should have learned to be able to work on and complete the assignment.

Dyslexic students should always be allowed and encouraged to ask questions to fill in any gaps they have in understanding what they are required to do. The Five Steps to Learning“ for dyslexics (discussed in my next blog) shows how and why an assignment should be presented to the dyslexic students if you expect them to learn the material or do the assignment correctly.

Check our website for more info and solutions for teaching dyslexics: dyslexiavictoriaonline.com or dyslexiavictoria.ca

Cheers!

Karen Hope

What Words Mean to A Dyslexic

Many words in the English language are abstract and confusing for the dyslexic student. One major reason is that many words have multiple meanings. For instance, the word “back”. When you say “move back” or “stand back” are they the same thing? On a horse there is the physical positionback or backside of the horse” and then the “back of a horse” which is a part of the horse. The “back of a horse” is also the top. And just to be more confusing “we rode the horses back to the ranch”! How about the word “back” when it’s used in sports? “The “quarter-back” pulled his arm back to pass the ball back to the full-back” or to the “half-back“. Or body actions: “back hand”, “back flip”, “back step”, “backwards”. Then there is “back on track” and “back-track, “back from the dead” and “back the right man”.

The right-brained student must change words into concrete images first to understand them and then needs to know whether we are talking about a name, a direction, a position, an action, etc. So what do they see in each case of the word “back” given above? Do they understand the multiple meanings? If I asked you to stand in front of a chair and tell me which part of it is the “back” how do you know which meaning I’m looking for? Is it “the back of the chair” where you sit and lean back on or “back of the chair” (behind) or “the back of the front of the chair” or a “back rest”?

It is important to be clear with a dyslexic child or adult about the meaning of what we write or say. A right-brained person can interpret a statement or story in many ways and become easily confused and frustrated. So as a parent, teacher, tutor, friend or employer of a dyslexic be clear about what you are doing or asking them. They will be thankful, capable of understanding what is going on and consequently able to respond correctly.

What a crazy language we have! “Turn the clock back”, “back to the past”, “back-talk”, “backboard”, “back of the line”, “back to front”, “backing up”, “backer”.

Try other words such as “left” and play the game with a dyslexic person in your life. You will probably be surprised at how many you can think of.

Check us out at:  www.dyslexiavictoria.ca