Monday, October 28, 2019

Week 1 An overview of Supporting children with difficulties in reading in writing

Week 1 An Overview

Dr. Vincent Goetry went through the Uta Frith model of reading development: the LOGOGRAPHIC stage, the ALPHABETIC stage, and the ORTHOGRAPHIC stage.

The logographic stage means children can recognize words as pictures, such as STOP on a red stop sign, or the shape of their name.

The alphabetic stage requires that children understand that words can be broken up into smaller phonemic units. The child also needs to understand that the language spoken relates to the language written, and that the link as from oral phonemes to written graphemes.

The orthographic stage [look up definition of orthographic stage] allows the child to see the written symbols (graphemes) and immediately and automatically, wholistically, recode them in her brain as sounds (phonemes). After maybe the 10th or 20th time seeing the word “school,” for example, she might know without going through the several step process of recognizing the letters, recognizing the grapheme groupings, turning them into phonemes, then grouping the phonemes accurately into a word.

One entire lecture focused on the importance of automatization, and the importance of speed and accuracy. The recognition of the word needs to access phonological and orthographic representations immediately for fluent reading, and this is the part that is missing for individuals with dyslexia. This, Dr. Goetry said, is called a “double task”.

Dr. Goetry spent some time with the unique issues around bilingualism. For example, in an interesting study on the rejection of pseudowords by English-German bilinguals, researchers noticed that these individuals had two distinct groupings of orthographic sequences that could slow down how quickly they rejected the pseudorword. Specifically, if they saw a word that would be allowed in German that began with the legal “pf” combination, or a word legal in English but not in German – “tw” combination, for example – they had to take a moment to eliminate two sets of rules, instead of only the time monolinguals had to use. The difference in time was linear, though, which makes me think bilinguals should simply be given another moment to sift through a greater deck of possibilities. 

Summary of the Coursera Course Helping Students with Dyslexia

University of London, UCL Institute of Education & Dyslexia International

This course, offered by Dr Jenny Thomson and Dr Vincent Goetry with the University of London, gave me a semester's worth of actionable information on dyslexia and learners with dyslexia. 

I encourage everyone to attend this course. But it can be a sizable commitment, so I am writing a series of blog posts summarizing the contents of each week.

Brief description of what it took to complete this course: It took me approximately four months to complete. I had several policy texts, and one or two academic texts, to read as pdfs, as well as a short film re-enacting the experiences of dyslexic children in school in Europe (including the UK), an hour long discourse about the neurology of reading by Dr Dahaene, and a couple dozen hours of informative lectures by Dr Jenny Thomson and Dr Vincent Goetry of the University of London, UCL Institute of Education & Dyslexia International.

The course was broken up into five weeks, each with a theme:

Weeks 4 and 5 Practical teaching approaches

Week 6 Study skills, aids and accommodations