Archive for the 'Literacy' Category

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Update: NJ gov. signs law creating dyslexia task force.

As reported earlier on LD Blog under the headline “New Jersey task force on reading disabilities created, seventh-grader Samantha Ravelli, of Ocean City (NJ, US), is having effects on public policy. The Associated Press reported 17 January 2010 that the law she lobbied her legislators to pass has been signed by the Governor of New Jersey.

Legislation inspired by an Ocean City girl who overcame severe dyslexia has been signed into law in New Jersey.
The measure creates a reading disabilities task force, which would help determine the best methods for diagnosing, treating and educating special needs students. The 13-member panel will include the state commissioners of education and human resources, four legislators and seven members of the public.

Now that this panel is law, let’s hope the folks who become members of the panel will take the sensible step of drawing from evidence-based practices in making recommendations for reading instruction in New Jersey. Read the Associated Press story, “ N.J. measure will benefit reading-disabled students.”

New Jersey task force on reading disabilities created

Seventh grader Samantha Ravelli, of Ocean City (NJ, US), is probably one of the youngest lobbyists who ever tasted success. According to Diane D’Amico of the Press of Atlantic City, Sammie (and her team, including her mother and sister) convinced their legislature to form the New Jersey Reading Disabilities Task Force.

Sammie has substantial reading problems, and her contacts with legislators inspired them to draft legislation creating the task force. Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Matt Milam and state Senator Jeff Van Drew collaborated to get it passed. It cleared the assembly in February and the senate in December 2009.

As a part of their efforts to promote awareness of dyslexia and to encourage legislators to create the task force, the Ravellis created Sammie’s Mission. Visit it and also read Ms. D’Amico’s blog post How Sammies’s dyslexia inspired a law and her news story, State Senate approves bill to form reading disabilities task force, about the events. Finally, snag a pdf of “An Act establishing the New Jersey Reading Disabilities Task Force.”

Remediation changes brain structures

Writing in the journal Neuron, Timothy Keller and Marcel Just reported that they have found changes in children’s neural anatomy that appear to be a consequence of improved reading performance. Whereas previous studies, many of which I’ve mentioned in these posts, have shown changes in the blood flow in children’s brains as a consequence of reading instruction, the findings from Keller and Marcel showed that there are changes in the physical tissue in the brain following remedial reading instruction.

Continue reading ‘Remediation changes brain structures’

Promoting reading comprehension

Sheri Berkeley and colleagues reported the results of a meta-analysis of research on reading comprehension interventions for students with Learning Disabilities in a forthcoming issue of Remedial and Special Education. Although their results echo findings from earlier meta-analyses and narrative reviews, they were able to add refinements to educators’ understanding of ways to promote students’ understanding of what they read. They propose that the common element in successful interventions was “teach[ing] students to attend more carefully or to think more systematically about text as it was being read.”
Continue reading ‘Promoting reading comprehension’

DLD conference sessions filling

Although registration continues for the Division for Learning Disabilities conference, “Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice,” some of the sessions are reaching their limits and will be closed. As a part of its emphasis on creating workshop settings where participants learn how to implement evidence-based practices, DLD caps the number of participants in sessions.

Linda Siegel has put together a very impressive line-up of presenters and topics. As one can see here, the agenda for the meeting in San Diego 23 & 24 October 2009 is chocked full of good sessions by internationally renowned presenters.

Presenter


Title


David F. Bateman How to Prepare for and Survive a Due Process Hearing
Jenny Sue Flannagan & Lucinda S. Spaulding Best Practices for Inclusive Science Instruction
Steve Graham & Sharlene Kiuhara Writing Problems and Writing Solutions
Paige C. Pullen Phonological Awareness Assessment and Instruction: A Sound Beginning
Karen R. Harris, Karin Sandmel, & Mary Brindle, “The Magna Carta Provided That No Free Man Should be Hanged Twice for the Same Offense”: Self-Regulated Strategy Development for Writing
Charles A. Hughes Two Recent SIM Writing Strategies: The Essay Test-Taking Strategy and the Editing Strategy
Erica Lembke & Todd Busch Using Curriculum-Based Measurement for Data-Based Decision Making within a Response to Intervention System
Maureen W. Lovett Multiple Component Intervention to Improve the Outcomes of Struggling Readers: Remediating Reading Skill Deficits and Misguided Beliefs About Effort and Achievement at the Same Time
Marjorie Montague Improving Mathematical Problem Solving of Middle School Students with LD
Brian Bottge Teaching Mathematics to Adolescents with LD in Rich Problem-Solving Contexts
Rosemary Tannock Understanding and Engaging Children’s Wandering Minds
Karen J. Rooney Adolescent Literacy: Putting Research into Practice to Develop the Literacy Skills of Older Students
Deborah C. Simmons Integrating Vocabulary Strategies into Social Studies Instruction
David Scanlon The ORDER Routine: For Comprehending Content-Area Concepts
José Luis Alvarado & Anne Graves RTI for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners: Supporting Teachers to Implement Tier I and Tier II Literacy Instruction for Older Struggling
Susan P. Miller Building a Strong Numbers and Operations Foundation to Enhance Mathematics Success
Nicole Ofiesh “Got Accommodations?” Implications for Planning Instruction and Transition from Secondary to Postsecondary Settings
Rollanda E. O’Connor Successful Tier 2 Interventions in Reading: Grades K-4
Kimberly Bright & Paul Riccomini I THINK: A Real-Life Problem-solving Strategy for secondary students with Learning Disabilities

Link to the conference page at TeachingLD.org to register.

JLD on professional development


JLD cover

The Journal of Learning Disabilities for September-October 2009 features a special series of articles about the teaching of reading teaching. Issue editors R. Malatesha Joshi and Anne E. Cunningham put together a set of articles by stellar authorities in the area of reading to examine “Perceptions and Reality: What We Know About the Quality of Literacy Instruction.”

Moats, L. (2009). Still wanted: Teachers with knowledge of language. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 387-391.

Joshi, R. M., Binks, E., Hougen, M., Dahlgren M. E., Ocker-Dean, E., & Smith, D. L. (2009). Why elementary teachers might be inadequately prepared to teach reading. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 392-402.[Link]

Podhajski, B., Mather, N., Nathan, J., & Sammons, J. (2009). Professional development in scientifically based reading instruction: Teacher knowledge and reading outcomes Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 403-417. [Link]

Cunningham, A. E., Zibulsky, J., Stanovich, K. E., & Stanovich, P. J. (2009). How teachers would spend their time teaching language arts: The mismatch between self-reported and best practices. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 418-430. [Link]

Spear-Swerling, L. (2009). A literacy tutoring experience for prospective special educators and struggling second graders. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 431-443. [Link]

Kaiser, L., Rosenfield, S., & Gravois, T. (2009). Teachers’ perception of satisfaction, skill development, and skill application after instructional consultation services. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 444-457.[Link]

Joshi, R. M., Binks, E., Graham, L., Ocker-Dean, E., Smith, D. L., & Boulware-Gooden, R. (2009). Do textbooks used in university reading education courses conform to the instructional recommendations of the National Reading Panel? Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 458-463. [Link]

Stotsky, S. (2009). Licensure tests for special education teachers: How well they assess knowledge of reading instruction and mathematics. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 464-474. [Link]

Lyon, G. R., & Weiser, B. (2009). Teacher knowledge, instructional expertise, and the development of reading proficiency. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42, 475-480.[Link]

Dyslexia in Science

Professor John Gabrieli of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a paper in the current issue of Science discussing dyslexia. Here’s the abstract.

Gabrieli, J. D. E. (2009). Dyslexia: A new synergy between education and cognitive neuroscience. Science, 325, 280 – 283

Reading is essential in modern societies, but many children have dyslexia, a difficulty in learning to read. Dyslexia often arises from impaired phonological awareness, the auditory analysis of spoken language that relates the sounds of language to print. Behavioral remediation, especially at a young age, is effective for many, but not all, children. Neuroimaging in children with dyslexia has revealed reduced engagement of the left temporo-parietal cortex for phonological processing of print, altered white-matter connectivity, and functional plasticity associated with effective intervention. Behavioral and brain measures identify infants and young children at risk for dyslexia, and preventive intervention is often effective. A combination of evidence-based teaching practices and cognitive neuroscience measures could prevent dyslexia from occurring in the majority of children who would otherwise develop dyslexia.

Link to the article

Preschool attention predicts early literacy skills

Christie Walcott and colleagues reported that children whom preschool teachers rated as having attention problems had lower scores later on phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, and rapid naming. Here’s the abstract.

Objective: The link between significant attention problems and reading difficulties among school-age children is clear, but few have examined the impact of early inattention on preliteracy development. This longitudinal study examines this link. Method: A total of 47 children had repeated measures of teacher-rated attention problems and three key preliteracy skills (phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, and rapid naming) in both preschool and kindergarten. Results: Teacher-reported attention problems in preschool significantly and negatively predicted both phonemic awareness and letter naming scores 1 year later, even after controlling for initial language ability and preschool performance on these tasks. Levels of preschool inattention did not significantly predict rapid automatic naming 1 year later. Likewise, preschool preliteracy scores did not predict attention problems in kindergarten. Conclusion: Early attention problems may interfere with the acquisition of certain preliteracy skills. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are presented.

Walcott, C. M., Scheemaker, A., & Bielski, K. (2009). Research brief: A longitudinal investigation of inattention and preliteracy development. Journal of Attention Disorders, 13, [online first, so no page numbers yet]. doi:10.1177/1087054709333330