Thursday, April 21, 2011


Really. I couldn't think of a clever sentence that starts with an R. Sorry. It's all Q's fault.

Okay, okay. I just needed some time to think a bit. And I've spent the entire day thinking and writing about reading. That starts with an R, so I'm good. I should at least get a few points for THINKING about the letter R, anyway. Wait--we aren't getting points for this? There's no grade? Crap.

Anyway, sometimes when I am testing a child, things don't add up. Most of your learning disabled kids, for example, will show weaknesses in working memory or retrieving what they've learned. I can see a direct connection between a weakness in retrieving information and math skills. Simple, and relatively easy to work on. Today I looked at some numbers for a student, and there were no weaknesses in memory. Instead, this child showed weakness in visual processing.

When one learns to read, we initially learn the sounds of things and we learn to put the sounds together to form words. Great. But it's not efficient to sound out every single word we are reading--it would take weeks just to get through The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. So the brain memorizes a picture of the word, and stores it away. That way, when reading is going on, the brain can "skip" those words it knows and focus on what the text is saying. Without this system, a child is stuck sounding out the same words over and over, no matter how many times they see them over the course of a lifetime. And that sight based system? Requires visual processing. To be a successful reader requires not only an auditory component, but a visual one.

I figured out the connection, and I am mentally patting myself on the back for spending the time to research all of this. Yay me. Now I know how to help this student, and that makes me very happy.

1 comment:

  1. So awesome!! That kid is lucky to have you on his team :)


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