Reading problem and/or dyslexia


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difficult child # 1 is still struggling through school(5th grade now). I've been involved constantly because she's having so many social issues regarding her learning disabilities. She does have a significant processing disorder. All through this, I can't help but feel that there is something "obvious" right in front of us that we're not seeing (regarding her Learning Disability (LD)). Here we are finishing up the first quarter and she hasn't progressed one bit. I brought up "dyslexia" to the CSC chairperson because a lot of difficult child's problems are with comprehension, reading sentences in her "adapted" way (what she reads most times doesn't match what's on paper), she's ALWAYS losing her place when reading or working, having to spend more time "regrouping" where she left off (maybe having to re-adapt what she just read?)...her testing last year revealed signifcant auditory delays as well.

Well, last week the principal called and said he would "administer" a "left-right" test, but that they didn't have a specific test for dyslexia--and that it was generally a "catch-all" for Learning Disability (LD)'s when they can't be explained. He said she does have confusion with left/right, but minimal scores on that test to really raise any red he doesn't feel she's dyslexic. (so in his mind, we're moving on to swapping her entire schedule around so she can get more help in each subject).

Personally, I don't feel comfortable with his assessment. First, he's the principal and I don't know if he's qualified to assess for Learning Disability (LD)'s (he's also now my boss--i'm a substitute teacher at the school). I've done a little research on the subject on the internet and quite frankly, see my daughter in a lot of the criteria. I get the impression that dyslexia isn't just reading backwards or transposing numbers or letters, but deals with comprehension as well, which does affect the "outcome" of how they perform.

I'm curious to hear everyone's thoughts. Should I ask for more testing or give the new schedule more time?


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Dyslexia is a broad term that indicates that a student cannot read. The diagnosis itself really doesnt' give any information to indicate WHY the student can't read.

In my experience a full evaluation that includes a standard psychological tests, such as the WISC, is more helpful in helping tease out other processing issues. If there is a specific test for DYSLEXIA, i'm not aware of it.

Your principal may be feeling that your daughter is experiencing somesort of tracing issue---which you seem to indicate by stating that she frequently loses her place---sort of gets lost on the page. I don't really know what he means by a "left/right" test.

Some students who have reading problems benefit from some exercise-like practices that are meant to strengthen the eye's ability to move across that page in an organized manner. Some of these kids also experience success by using color acetate overlays on their page. This is all somehow related to they physiology of the eye-brain connection and can easily be attempted to see if it works or not.

BUT, if your daughter is experiencing other processing difficulties it could be that she has a more comprehensive type of learning disability that is interfering with her ability to read fluently.

If your school is providing small group instruction in a resource room, you may want to look into increasing her minutes there, Does your sd have a reading specialist who works with students who are struggling?

I don't have a lot of experience with dyslexia per se, but you may be able to find some resources to either confirm or deny your suspsicions by looking up the Orten (sp?) dyslexia society. I'm sure that they have a website.

I hope that this is helpful. Unfortunately it can be really difficult to tease out why a kid can't read. You didn't metion it, but how does your daughter do with writing skills? Does she also experience delays in written expression? By 5th grade most of the typical letter reversals and common errors should be gone. But some kids who have expressive language issues also have difficulty with written expression.

In regard to your principal's ability to test----a lot of skill specific tests can be administered by people who learn to administer the test properly. Higher level tests, such as psychological tests like the WISC---must be administered by trained/licensed psychologists who have had formal testing.

I don't know what type of test he'd like to administer, but he is probably qualifed. You might ask him what the actual name of the test is. Maybe someone on the board is familiar with it.



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Very helpful info, thanks!
Her writing skills are very low--she spells almost everything phonetically. There is no organization in her writing pieces..."I like dresses. I like dolls. My cat is funny. I like ice cream..." (except, interchange the phonics). This is what she would write if told to write about her summer. This from a 5th grader.

I'm really not looking towards dyslexia as the magic bullet that is the root of her problems (you know, the "ah-hah!" moment)...but moreso to using some strategies that dyslexic kids learn by. In reading about it, I was just seeing my daughter in the criteria. So my question is also, if the dyslexia stratagies DO work, does that mean she was dyslexic? Even without the tests, I may still incorporate some of the teaching methods (the color overlay for example). If ANYTHING can help her, the that's fine with me. In fact, her Special Education. math teacher from last year used colored pencils to teach multiplication to her...a different color for each row of numbers. It kept her organized and focused and she was catching on! She has a new math specialist this year, so I think I need to have a sit down with her.

She does attend the "Read 180" class for the slower readers. I need to get more involved in that class because they're adament that she did improve, but I have yet to see it. They've finally realized though that in the small group setting such as that class, she's STILL not getting the help she needs--which is a one to one tutor almost all day. I know that's not going to happen, so we'll have to work with what they do have.

I just wanted to explore the possibities and find hope for the impending middle school years...I hope we make it!


I pushed up a thread in girlfriend for you regarding Concept Imagery and reading comprehension. I have some other info for you, and will post it later.

This red hot minute, you may find these links helpful.

Rethinking Learning Disabilities (has good info on reading)

Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read

The Dyslexia Handbook: Texas Education Agency Procedures Concerning Dyslexia and Related Disorders


Before I forget, you may want to give consideration to having your daughter evaluated by a Pediatric Occupational Therapist. An Occupational Therapist (OT) can evaluate for things like sequencing praxis, visual-motor integration, etc., which can impact reading skills.


New Member
Thanks! I found the other post.

I will have another pow-wow with the CSC teacher when i'm at school next week. I now have several things I can pose to her. My fear is that we're just now discovering that difficult child's Learning Disability (LD) is probably worse than we knew. I guess this first grading period will tell us. I will see what I can do about the Occupational Therapist (OT). I doubt the school has one we can see...and being military, we have to jump through hoops to see any type of specialist. But, I will try though and do what needs to be done. Thanks again!


From Chapter 19, Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking
by Nanci Bell

The book can be purchased at .

Ms. Bell writes:

I cannot leave this encounter with you without discussing my circles and my favorite topic of the reading process. Reading is the one area in school that cuts across all other areas. Reading is critical to science, social studies, health, English, etc. Therefore, the reading process gets an entire chapter of specific discussion and analysis. First, it is important to recognize the only reason to read is to get meaning from print. From that premise we can proceed. What are the elements of the process underlying what we term reading?

For many years the various camps in the discipline of reading have disputed the critical aspects of reading. These disputes could even be likened to religious wars. Some professionals advocate primarily teaching phonics. Some advocate primarily teaching a look-say approach for the sight recognition of words. Some don't teach phonics and place very little emphasis on teaching the recognition of words. Instead, they advocate teaching the use of context clues with a "guessing" strategy. These camps debate whether phonics should be taught or not taught. Or they debate which is more important -- phonics or context cues. Or they debate which is more important -- phonics or sight words.

The reading camps have been correct concerning the critical reading elements of the reading process. Phonics, sight words, and contextual constraints are necessary ingredients in the process of reading. However, not just one element is critical -- all are critical for independent reading skills. Reading is a complex integration of process, with comprehension the concluding process.

The reading process requires the integration of four primary functions: 1) phonetic processing, 2) sight word recognition, 3) contextual constraints/oral vocabulary, and 4) imagery for comprehension. The first three parts are labeled auditory, visual and language -- shown in three circles. The fourth and the most critical part is comprehension. The following diagram presents my paradigm of the reading process."

A description of the paradigm is the best I can do. You'll have to visualize three medium sized circles. They overlap each other -- about 20% of each circle overlays into the others. They are labeled "auditory," "visual," and "language." A larger circle overlays and encompasses the interlocking 3 circles. The large circle is labeled "comprehension."

Quote resumed:
In the diagram above:

1. The auditory circle represents phonetic processing. This is not "spit and grunt" phonics, but confident and accurate word attack skills. The ability to sound out a word, accurately and fluently, is critical because we cannot memorize all the words in the English language. Good readers -- decoders -- have good word attack skills.

2. The visual circle represents sight word recognition. This is the ability to recognize a base of words instantly, without the need for phonetic processing. It is critical to have a well-established sight word base or we would have to phonetically process each word as we read. Hence, slow, laborious contextual reading.

3. The language circle represents vocabulary and use of context. This is the ability to understand the meaning of isolated words orally and use context cues based on the semantics (meaning) and syntax (grammar) of the written material. We can anticipate words based on context. Good readers have this ability. This circle does not represent comprehension.

The Auditory Circle

Auditory processing is a critical function in the process we have termed reading. It is the ability to sound out words based on their individual sounds. We term this ability word attack. It is only logical that phonetic processing is a necessary ingredient in the reading process. It is not possible to memorize all the words in the English language nor is it possible to accurately guess at all of them based on contextual cues. It is important to decode accurately since decoding errors can change imagery and thus change comprehension.

In the extreme, years ago, the linguists preached that all one needed to be a good reader was the ability to phonetically process words. Rudolph Flesch wrote in his book, Why Johnny Can't Read, that American's reading problems would be solved if only schools taught more phonics. The teaching of reading became enamored with phonics instruction and minimized the importance of getting meaning from print. Some linguistic reading series were produced that taught students to phonetically process words without concern for comprehension of the content. Comprehension was assumed.

Phonetic processing is not the only element in the reading process, but it is critical to reading. Unfortunately, at least a third of our population cannot respond to phonics instruction. These individuals can usually learn sound/letter associations in isolation, such a P = /p/, T = /t/, K = /k/. But, they have an auditory conceptual dysfunction and cannot perceive those same sounds when they come in a syllable -- a word. Usually, bright, these individuals cannot perceive the NUMBER of sounds in a syllable, the IDENTITY of the sounds in a syllable, or the ORDER of sounds in a syllable. Therefore, thorough they have been taught phonics, they might look at the word "stream" and say "steam." They might look at "immigration" and say "imagination." They cannot auditorily judge their error. They also might spell gril for "girl," eqetment for "equipment," or make speech errors such as "baf" for "bath," "subduce" for seduce." All these errors -- in reading, spelling and speech -- are examples of what is termed auditory conceptualization dysfunction. Simply stated, individuals with an auditory conceptual dysfunction cannot perceive sounds within words.

The issue of auditory conceptualization deserves much space here due to the critical relationship between decoding skills and auditory conceptual processing. Both educators and laymen have found it difficult to understand an auditory conceptualization dysfunction. Parents and teachers have asked, "Does it mean that the students don't hear well?" The answer is no , usually the students hear the whole word very well. Auditory acuity is usually not impaired. The impairment instead is in not being able to perceive each of the sounds that are in a syllable/word. Individuals cannot auditorily segment the word into "parts." They perceive the "whole" of the word but not the separate "parts." This is the exact reverse of individuals with a language comprehension dysfunction, who perceive a few "parts" but not the "whole." Interesting.

As one would expect, individuals with this specific auditory conceptual dysfunction have difficult decoding words. They usually tract the initial or final sounds in a word but the interiors of words scramble or wash for them -- auditorily not visually. For example, when Johnny looks at "stream" and says "steam," he sees each letter correctly but he does not perceive that he has omitted the /r/ sound. His teacher or parent may even point to the letter r and ask what letter he sees and what sound it makes. He verifies accurate visual processing by noting that he sees the letter r and he also knows the sound of it -- then reads the word again as "steam." Although surprising to many people, Johnny did see the letter r and he knew the sound...and he thought he included it when he said "steam." His auditory system didn't monitor, especially in the interior part of the word, whether what he said matched what he saw.

Another diagram: Imagine the same 3 interlocking medium-circles above, but this time the auditory circle is much smaller than the visual and language circles.

Resume quote:
Individuals of all ages and background may have an auditory conceptual dysfunction which impairs their ability to decode words. The treatment to develop auditory conceptualization focuses on another modality to support and ultimately develop auditory segmentation. This modality is the source of sounds -- the mouth. Individuals can be taught to perceive sounds by experiencing the motor movement of those sounds. This procedure begins with isolated sounds -- consonants and vowels -- and moves to the syllable and multisyllable level. Moving through a series of specific steps, all students of all ages can develop their auditory conceptualization, thereby developing their word attack and decoding skills. In using the Lindamood Auditory discrimination in depth (ADD) Program, I have had significant success with every student and have seen dyslexic adults gain two to four years in decoding skills in one to six months of auditory conceptual tutoring.

In summary, the auditory circle is critical to the reading process but not possible without well-developed auditory conceptual processing.

The Visual Circle

The visual circle represents the ability to recognize a large base of words instantly. This is the sight recognition of words, without phonetic processing. Years ago this type of reading instruction was termed the Look-Say method. Words were simply flashed to students, over and over, until they were recognized and remembered. When the Look-Say method was implemented fully, no phonetics were taught. Many individuals today still lament that they were not taught phonics just because they happened to be caught in that particular period of our educational history.

The visual circle is not addressing visual tracking or visual perception. Students with poor visual perception can still be excellent decoders and comprehenders. Although weak visual tracking may interrupt fluency, neither of these is a primary contributor to the reading process.

When an individual has weak auditory processing and thus weak decoding skills, he has to attempt to compensate by memorizing massive amounts of words. For example, at a Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes Center we worked with a neurosurgeon who had a sever dysfunction in auditory conceptualization. His spelling was very weak and he recounted having to memorize hoards of medical terminology for both reading and spelling. He worked hours and hours memorizing words based on their orthography, not their sounds. He did manage to compensate -- memorize lots of words -- better than most people, but he never managed to compensate completely. He resisted reading orally because people laughed at his mispronunciations. He had written numerous medical papers that he never presented orally because of his insecurity with oral reading.

Sight word recognition is an important element in the reading process. Without the ability to quickly and accurately recognize words by sight, the individual would have to phonetically process each word and/or guess from context. Both of which may impair reading rate and comprehension.

The Language Circle

The language circle represents both oral vocabulary and the use of contextual cues. The reading process requires a good oral vocabulary to understand the meaning of each word that is decoded and also requires the ability to anticipate content from context cues.

The use of contextual cues is currently a popular reading strategy. Psycholinguists feel the use of context to be the most crucial strategy to independence and comprehension in reading. They believe that reading words is not a critical element in the reading process and that the major emphasis in reading instruction should be on developing the language background and ability to hypothesize (guess) at a word based on the context of the material. In pure form they do not believe in teaching phonics or sight words. The expect students to anticipate context based on the students' language experience and background. In other words, Johnny is to guess at words based on the semantics (meaning) or syntax (grammar) of the sentence.

Many individuals ...can anticipate context in sentences. Catherine could self-correct based on the syntax and semantics of sentences not the overall content of the paragraphs. She still couldn't comprehend.

Good readers can anticipate context, but what of poor readers? Can poor readers us context cues? It is true that for many poor readers, their primary reading strategy is to guess at or skip words -- use context cues. However, it is also true that many poor readers are also not able to hypothesize accurately from context because they cannot decode enough words to wager a good guess. For example, if they can only read a few words in a sentence they won't be able to guess at the other words and get meaning. Or, they may have numerous decoding errors that cause them to hypothesize inaccurately the next word or words. Often their word-guess fits both the semantics and syntax of the sentence, but is not the correct word and thus interferes with imagery and comprehension.

It is important to remember that although good readers do anticipate context, good readers also have well developed word attack and word recognition skills. Poor readers do not and the use of context cues is often the only strategy available to them. Unfortunately their reading level depends on knowing enough words to guess at the other words. Very bright individuals may read years below their potential because a memorized sight vocabulary and the use of context cues are the only reading strategies available to them. I have met, diagnosed, and remediated many high school, college, and adult dyslexics who read at the third- and fourth-grade level because they have weak auditory processing and have compensated to the maximum level with visual memory and content.

The language circle is a critical element in the reading process but it does not guarantee comprehension. Reading is an integration of processes and all circles must be developed to be a good reader.


In the first years of my clinical experience, I believed that when I had developed all three areas of auditory, visual, and language in the reading process, the student would be an independent reader. I was accurate in that the student would be an independent decoder, but not necessarily an independent reader. The most critical element in the reading process is the ability to connect to and comprehend language.

The comprehension surrounds the other three circles to illustrate the significance of meaning. It cannot be considered just a part of the language circle. It is separate and significant. As the previous chapters in this book have discussed, there are many individuals who can read the words well -- have the three circles well developed -- but cannot comprehend or get meaning from what they have read. The outer circle, of fully connecting to print through images, is not available to them. When they read, the information goes in one ear and out the other, with just a few parts recalled. They don't process a gestalt, and consequently have no base of interpretive comprehension and critical thinking. It is my hypothesis that visualizing is the basis for language comprehension. Since this entire book has been devoted to discussing the comprehension circle, nothing further will be said here.

Classification of Reading Disorders

Once we understand the process involved in reading, we can classify reading disorders and remediate accordingly.

The only reason to read is to get meaning from print and mouthing sounds is useless, of course. Any interference with comprehension is a reading disorder. There are three primary types of reading disorders;

* Decoding disorder
* Language comprehension disorder
* Combination of a decoding and a comprehension disorder.

Decoding Disorder
A "decoding disorder" means that the individual has a weakness in word recognition and word attack, and/or oral vocabulary preventing understanding of each decoded word. One or all the three circles may not be well developed, but usually the primary weakness is in the auditory circle.

Individuals with a decoding disorder are usually classified as dyslexic -- reading below their oral language potential. They cannot decode words accurately. They may look at "was" and say "saw," "brook" and say "book," "destroy" and say "destory," "malignant" and say "malijent," "marriage" and say margin," etc. A decoding disorder interferes with comprehension of content because individuals cannot accurately read enough words to process the content.

I have observed an interesting phenomenon, alluded to previously. Individuals with a decoding disorder frequently don't have a language comprehension disorder. They are able to connect language and have good comprehension if they can read enough of the significant words in the text. I have noted both children and adults struggling with decoding the words, but able to comprehend well at the completion of a paragraph. They don't have the comprehension problem of not connecting to language. If they have comprehension difficulty, it is only the result of poor decoding, not poor imaging/language connection.

An individual with a decoding disorder also may have good listening comprehension and good vocabulary, but poor decoding skills, and poor auditory conceptualization for sounds within words. As stated earlier, although other areas may be weak, the primary weakness is usually in auditory segmentation. These individuals cannot judge sounds within words and therefore cannot judge if what they say matches what they see. This affects comprehension.

Decoding and Comprehension Disorder
Another common type of reading disorder is a combination of both a decoding disorder and a language comprehension disorder. Readers who have weaknesses in both areas can neither decode well nor comprehend well. Their disability may be more severe in one area than the other. For example, they may have a severe dysfunction in auditory conceptualization and thus a severe dysfunction in decoding, but only a moderate dysfunction in comprehension, or vice versa. The focus of treatment should be on the primary weakness and both areas should be developed.

Comprehension Disorder
Disability and weakness in language comprehension is the focus of this book. A "comprehension disorder" is when the individual reads the words well but with no connection. These individuals often use semantic and syntactic cues for each sentence. They may self-correct from context, read sentences with some expression, and ultimately make a few decoding errors, but when they complete the paragraph, they remember only a few details and have no gestalt. The words went in accurately but didn't connect from sentence to sentence. These individuals may have good word recognition, good word attack, good auditory conceptualization for sounds in syllables, and good oral vocabulary, but weak oral language comprehension, weak reading comprehension, and weak oral/written expression.

We do not usually term these individuals "dyslexic" since they can decode the words well. Nor has there been room for them in special reading classes, since the classes are filled with decoding disorders. Yet, a language comprehension disorder can be more debilitating than a decoding disorder because the comprehension problem is usually in both written and oral language. This means that these individuals have difficulty understanding and interpreting not only what they read, but also what they hear. The oral language disability, even if moderate, affects their entire lives, not just while they are reading. They may be impaired in their ability to understand and interpret movies, lectures, conversations, and any area of life that requires language comprehension and expression.

In my opinion, we are just becoming aware of the seriousness and extent of this comprehension/critical thinking problem. I am clearly not alone in this assessment. Current research and testing suggests a serious downward trend in higher-order comprehension and critical thinking skills. Recent scores from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) show specific deficiencies in what they term higher-order reasoning skills, including those necessary for advanced reading comprehension, math and science. Despite efforts to strengthen elementary and high school curriculums students of all ability levels are showing virtually no gains in higher-order thinking skills, NAEP (1987). "The effects of these universally noted trends have begun to show up even in highly selective colleges, as professors find they must water down both reading and writing assignments as well as expectations for analytic reasoning" Healy (1990).

"Young students may be sounding out the words better, but they are actually understanding less," (1988). Children cannot comprehend, remember, and apply what is read. The 1986 NAEP report found, as have other recent assessments, that students' related problems in reading and expressing ideas in writing stem mainly from difficulty with verbal reasoning, (Healy (1990).


New Member
wow, you typed an earful!
Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. I will look for the book. But in the mean time, I will print out this thread and take it to the CSC head person. I see my difficult child in almost all of it.
Again, thanks!


Topic: Reading comprehension problems and concept imagery
Alisha Leigh
Member # 30

posted September 20, 2003 11:09 AM
We've had some problems nailing down where difficult child's reading comprehension problems lie. He does well with-all components of reading until it gets to comprehension (excellent speller, gets the phoenemes, average with-fluency, etc). Thought some of you might find this brief symptom list interesting.

Individuals with concept imaging dysfunction often:

remember only a few details of what they read rather than getting the "whole picture".

usually have to read things several times in order to have even a basic understanding of what they are reading.

may be unorganized and nonspecific in their writing.

may have a hard time following oral directions .

may only connect to parts of a conversation and have trouble responding relevantly.

may have problems organizing their language, giving information that seems out of context or sequence.

have difficulty visualizing letters in words.

may have poor handwriting , difficulty seeing the "whole" while drawing or writing, difficulty relating to maps or diagrams.

may have difficulty learning math facts such as multiplication tables, doing word problems, or defining relationships.

Reading is comprised of various things. A few are:

Phonemic awareness
Fluency and rate

If there's a breakdown at any point, reading problems occur.


Reading and writing failure begins in kindergarten and is difficult to remediate beyond the primary grades.


The following is from .

In an issue of The International (Orton) Dyslexia Society's newsletter Perspectives, Dr. Jane Fell Greene was asked about the proper tests to use with dyslexic and learning disabled children.

Dyslexia is difficulty with language. Dyslexics experience problems in psycholinguistic processing. They have difficulty translating language to thought (reading or listening), or thought to language (writing or speaking). Although psychological, behavioral, emotional or social problems may result from dyslexia, they do not cause dyslexia. One test is inadequate: a battery is required. Typical psychoeducational tests were not designed to identify dyslexia.
Dr. Greene recommended using the Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude as a global test that primarily tests verbal and non verbal language. "It measures the level at which the individual would perform if appropriate interventions were implemented (as is required by federal law)."

The article recommended additional tests by age group. The tests for preschool and kindergarten were the Test of Phonological Awareness, Tests of Early Written Language, Test of Early Reading Ability, and the Preschool Evaluation Scale. For primary years, the following were recommended - Test of Phonological Awareness, Test of Language Development, Peabody Individual Achievement Tests, Gray Oral Reading Test, PIAT Test of Written Expression, and the Wide Range Achievement Test. For elementary students Dr. Greene recommended the Test of Language Development, the Peabody Individual Achievement Test, Gray Oral Reading Test, PIAT Test of Written Expression and the Wide Range Achievement Test. For the adolescent and adult she recommended the Test of Adolescent and Adult Language, the Peabody Individual Achievement Test, the Gray Oral Reading Test, the PIAT Test of Written Expression and the Wide Range Achievement Test. The Detroit was recommended for all age levels.


New Member
I just want to say "thanks" for taking the time to post ALL of the info above you have thoughtfully provided (and the links). I have been following them...and learning.
I'm at the point now where I don't know if i'm just frustrated with the "system" or uninformed. I've been going through difficult child's IEP for a few days trying to educate myself on what it is that I'M expecting to happen. It just still seems like there's something obvious blocking her ability to learn, but we just can't see it.
I've been a "squeaky wheel" at the CSC office with the same questions all the time..."is she learning anything? Does she understand what you're teaching her? Will she remember it a week from now?" I hate that she still has the regular progress reports because I can't ever judge how she's doing (her report cards are bad). I was looking at the IEP goals and saw that each one states "annual." I'm taking it to mean that they won't expect her to have % mastery in the goals until the END of this school year (this IEP was established last March). This sucks because what can I do or say if she DOESN'T reach these goals? I have a lot of things i'd LOVE to say, but i'm sure it wouldn't help matters.
She did just change teachers (it was necessary because of the missed subjects and her pullout sessions). I don't feel this teacher is providing any of the IEP scenarios that she's suppose to. I already think she feels i'm a pest, but oh may be time to call again.
I just hate to see each day go by and no progress gained.
But back to the dyslexia. I still feel that difficult child's problems have SOMETHING to do with this area. Maybe they just don't have a name for it, but it sure does mimick it...and the school feels adament that difficult child isn't dyslexic based on the "left/right" test. I did print out a copy of an article (link above) and gave it to her CSC teacher for her input. We'll see what comes of it.
But again, thanks for keeping up with the info--it's much appreciated.

--Susan (aka, the squeaky wheel)


New Member
Look up the website for Dr. Harold Levinson...He is in NY. he has a Medical practice for the treatment and diagnosis of dyslexia. Yes there are tests to detect all kinds of Dyslexia and he is a foremost and respected doctor around the world. He also travels quite a bit. He diagnosed my daughter and was very kind. He also was the one who told me to never, ever let the school district test my child for anything...after all they missed the Learning Disability (LD) in the first place and just labeled her dumb, lazy and unmotivated. He also has numerous books out that will help you understand his medical philosophy of Dyslexia. Worked for us...Good Luck.
God Bless, Melissa


I'm going to archive this thread -- wanted to add some other info that might be helpful for reading problems and/or dyslexia.

Reading: The First Chapter In Education @
No other skill taught in school and learned by school children is more important than reading. It is the gateway to all other knowledge. If children do not learn to read efficiently, the path is blocked to every subject they encounter in their school years.

The past five years have brought major breakthroughs in our knowledge of how children learn to read and why so many fail. These new insights have been translated into techniques for teaching reading to beginning readers, including the many students who would otherwise encounter difficulties in mastering this fundamental skill. Researchers have come to appreciate that early identification and treatment of such students can make all the difference. Researchers have also documented the problems—personal, social, and educational—that too often result when early attention and intervention do not occur.

Reading to Learn

Students who do not "learn to read" during the first three years of school experience enormous difficulty when they are subsequently asked to "read to learn." Teaching students to read by the end of third grade is the single most important task assigned to elementary schools. During the first three years of schooling, students "learn to read." That is, they develop the capacity to interpret the written symbols for the oral language that they have been hearing since birth. Starting in fourth grade, schooling takes on a very different purpose, one that in many ways is more complex and demanding of higher-order thinking skills. If efficient reading skills are not developed by this time, the English language, history, mathematics, current events, and the rich tapestries of literature and science become inaccessible.

In addition, a strong body of evidence shows that most students who fall behind in reading skills never catch up with their peers become to fluent readers. They fall further and further behind in school, become frustrated, and drop out at much higher rates than their classmates. They find it difficult to obtain rewarding employment and are effectively prevented from drawing on the power of education to improve and enrich their lives. Researchers speak of this syndrome as the "Matthew Effect"—the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Most Americans know how central reading is to education. According to a 1994 poll conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the American Federation of Teachers and the Chrysler Corporation, nearly 70 percent of teachers believe that reading is the "most important" skill for children to learn. Two years earlier, the same polling firm reported that 62 percent of parents believed that reading was one of the most important skills for their children to master. Both teachers and parents ranked reading as more critical than mathematics and computer skills. In other words, there is general agreement among researchers and the public that all children must learn to read early in their academic careers.

The Challenges of Illiteracy

More students fail to learn to read by the end of the third grade than many people imagine. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that all schools encounter students who fall into this category and that all schools should have plans for addressing the special needs of these students.

In its 1994 Reading Assessment, the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), a federally supported program that tracks the performance of American students in core academic subjects, reported that more than four out of 10 fourth-graders (42 percent) in American schools were reading at a "below basic" level. This means that they could not understand "uncomplicated narratives and high-interest informative texts." NAEP also reported that such illiteracy persists in the higher grades. The report found that nearly one-third (31 percent) of eighth-graders and nearly one-third (30 percent) of twelfth-graders are also reading at a "below basic" level. The latter figures probably understate the problem, because many poor readers drop out of school before twelfth grade.

Other researchers have come to similar conclusions regarding how widespread students' reading problems really are. National longitudinal studies have measured the ability of children to recognize individual words in text. Their data suggest that more than one child in six (17.5 percent) will encounter a problem in learning to read during the crucial first three years of school. Further evidence comes from the sharp rise in the number of students who are diagnosed as learning disabled or are referred to special education because they cannot read at the proper grade level.

In contrast to popular belief, reading failure is not concentrated among particular types of schools or among specific groups of students. To the contrary, students who have difficulty reading represent a virtual cross-section of American children. They include rich and poor, male and female, rural and urban, and public and private school children in all sections of the country. According to the NAEP assessment, for example, nearly one-third (32 percent) of fourth graders whose parents graduated from college are reading at the "below basic" level.

In short, the failure of a substantial number of students to learn to read during the critical first three years of school is a national problem—one that confronts every community and every school in the country.

A Common Stumbling Block: Phonemic Awareness

Whatever the reason children fail to read by the end of the third grade, most non-readers share a common problem. They have not developed the capacity to recognize what reading experts call phonemes. Phonemes are the smallest units of speech—the basic building blocks of speaking and writing. The word "cat," for example, contains three phonemes—the /k/, /a/, and /t/ sounds. Phonemes are often identical to individual letters, but not always. The word "ox," for example, has two letters but three phonemes—the /o/, /k/, and /s/ sounds.

Researchers have demonstrated that accomplished readers are adept at recognizing phonemes and putting them together to construct words and phrases. They do this quickly, accurately, and automatically. The absence of this critical linguistic skill makes it difficult for children to decode and read single words, much less sentences, paragraphs, and whole stories. Teaching phonemic awareness and discrimination among phonemes is imperative for all students.

Solutions in the Classroom

Teaching beginners to read must be highly purposeful and strategic. Effective techniques have been developed for helping students, including those with learning disabilities, to develop phonological awareness, word recognition, and other advanced skills required for reading.

Phonological awareness activities build on and enhance children's experiences with written (e.g., print awareness) and spoken language (e.g., playing with words). A beginning reader with successful phonological awareness and knowledge of letters ostensibly learns how words are represented in print.

Intervention for learners who have difficulty with phonological awareness must be early, strategic, systematic, and carefully designed. It must be based on a curriculum that recognizes and balances the importance of both phonics instruction and the appreciation of meaning.

For children who have difficulty reading, effective reading instruction strategies should be used to build phonological awareness and alphabetic understanding. These strategies should be explicit, making phonemes prominent in children's attention and perception. For example, teachers can model specific sounds and in turn ask the children to produce the sounds. In addition, opportunities to engage in phonological awareness activities should be plentiful, frequent, and fun.

Instructional strategies should consider the characteristics that make a word easier or more difficult to read. These include: the number of phonemes in the word; phoneme position in words (initial sounds are easier); phonological properties of words (e.g., continuants, such as /m/, are easier than stop sounds, such as /t/); and phonological awareness dimensions, including blending sounds, segmenting words, and rhyming.

Many early readers will require greater teacher assistance and support. Using a research-based strategy known as scaffolding, teachers should provide students with lots of instructional support in the beginning stages of reading instruction, and gradually reduce the support as students learn more about reading skills. The ultimate goal is for students to read on their own without the help of a teacher.

A Balanced Approach

Unfortunately, it is not always easy for teachers to recognize students with reading difficulties. When they do, teachers sometimes find themselves caught between conflicting schools of thought about how to treat reading disabilities. One school of thought gives considerable attention to the teaching of phonics in the early stages of reading. Another school of thought emphasizes the whole language approach. Should teachers rely on phonics instruction, whole language instruction, or a combination of the two?

The U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) have supported the review of hundreds of studies done in recent years on reading instruction and disabilities. This body of research suggests that the relatively recent swing away from phonics instruction to a singular whole language approach is making it more difficult to lift children with learning disabilities out of the downward learning spiral and, in fact, may impede the progress of many students in learning to read with ease.