Monday, January 23, 2017

POSSUM

Reading and writing are skills that involve processing across many areas of language. Likewise, when working with a child with dyslexia or dysgraphia, we must practice skills across each language area, which all serve to strengthen the output skill of reading and writing.

Both reading and writing cannot be isolated as single skills. They are complex processes which require multi-modal practice from many different areas of language. 

Maryanne Wolf first proposed the acronym, POSSM, to help us understand these areas. We have adapted this acronym to POSSUM, to include another very important component (and to make it easier to remember)!



When reading or writing, the typical brain processes meaning across multiple linguistic channels:

Phonology: The sounds that make up the word. For example, bag has three sounds, /b/ /a/ /g/, and bath has three sounds, /b/ /a/ /th/, but brag has four sounds, /b/ /r/ /a/ /g/. 

Orthography: The letters that represent the sounds in the word, how to spell it. This is often more simply referred to as spelling. 

Syntax: Best known as grammar. This includes knowledge of the grammatical function of a word, and how to use it in a sentence. 

Semantics: Best known as vocabulary. Knowledge of word meaning, and meaning as a function of context, also conveyed through a definition. 

Understanding: Deep comprehension of text's content and context. Engaging with meaning beyond what is directly written on the page. Extra-textual thoughts and connections. 

Morphology: The internal structure of words, including knowledge of prefixes, suffixes, base words, and roots. This also includes exploration of word history. 

POSSUM helps parents better understand all the areas of language we strive to practice and consolidate when working with children. Specific practice across all areas of language is needed to achieve automaticity of reading and writing skills. 

Rita's maxim is to "study the trees to learn the forest." When we practice POSSUM for a single word or passage, we are consolidating deeply across all areas of language (trees), to strengthen broad reading and writing skills (the forest). 

Awesome possum!

~Moira

Monday, January 16, 2017

Recommended Phonics Resources

Many Home School families ask for advice on which reading programs to use if their child has dyslexia. While there are many good phonics programs to choose from, each one has strengths and weaknesses. Most still require supplemental work, shuffling the order of things, etc. I have not yet found a single phonics program that hits the "jack pot," but I do have my favorites:
1. Orton-Gillingham based programs are based on sound research. Using the OG program itself requires either a tutor (which can be an excellent choice) or getting the training. It is pricey, but worth every penny. Know that OG tutors are not SLPs (not qualified to do therapy for language disorders), but have a solid foundation in sound work for reading. 
2. Wilson Reading System is based on OG. All About Spelling (AAS) and All About Reading (AAR) are based on OG. I like the pace and wealth of practice that Wilson requires, and often use these books with my students for ongoing phonics drill. 
3. Barton takes OG and delivers a step by step program for Home School families. Both OG and Barton are more regimented (requiring specific lesson routines), which may or may not be helpful to you. AAS/R and Wilson allow you to move at your own pace, which also may or may not be helpful to you. 
4. Recipe for Reading has great supplemental materials and is better for the child with mild dyslexia (or any young learner). Also remember, the child with dyslexia needs explicit instruction and practice all throughout the school years. So you may begin with one phonics/spelling program for a few years, then move to another, etc. 
5. Logic of English is considered to be a great program if your child is mild, a typical learner, or is onto the second round of learning and has done OG-based programs first. 
6. Phonographics and Reading Reflex are also both great phonics tools for new readers who need a strong phonics foundation. 
7. Handwriting Without Tears is considered to be the most helpful for handwriting, but I will be discussing ways to modify it to fit the recent research in my online classes. 
Grammar is another issue entirely, and can't really be handled in a blog post. However, it is best worked on in Copywork and Dictation for the child with dyslexia. OG programs are phonics programs, and therefore do not provide enough writing, or the type of writing practice with grammar practice that the child with dyslexia needs. So, I suggest Brave Writer as the perfect supplement. Many writing programs are too regimented and further the disconnect between the dyslexic child's ideas and their writing.
My online classes are designed to help you (the parent/teacher) wade through some of these programs and learn how to best use and adapt them to best fit your needs and best serve the dyslexia/dysgraphic child! 
Currently, I am offering a FREE 1-hour online lecture called Welcome to the Forest, on February 10th at 4 PM, EST. Together with my daughter and fellow SLP, Moira, we will discuss how to build reading from the ground up, using phonics, for the emergent reader. If you enjoy this course and are left wanting more in-depth guidance and instruction, we are also offering a 3-week online parent training course called Laying the Path: Phonics and Spelling, beginning at the end of March. Visit my website at www.rootedinlanguage.com (Services-->Our Services-->Online Parent Training) to register and learn more about all online classes we offer!
~Rita


Friday, January 13, 2017

Trees in the Forest: Connecting with Character

DAY 5

As many of you know, my good friend Tracy Molitors and I have recently published a book: Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension. 

Our book is now available for purchase through my website (www.rootedinlanguage.com), Amazon, and through Brave Writer (http://store.bravewriter.com/)!

This week, I am taking over the Brave Writer Blog! Each day, I will post an activity for you to use with your children and discuss how it can be used to grow their writing skills!

Today's post is called Connecting with Character. We will discuss how to help our young readers begin to relate to story ideas through connections with characters, and by extension, growing their ability to think deeply and write deeply.

To access my blog post, visit http://blog.bravewriter.com/ and scroll down until you see this image:


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Trees in the Forest: Story Symbols

DAY 4

As many of you know, my good friend Tracy Molitors and I have recently published a book: Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension. 

Our book is now available for purchase through my website (www.rootedinlanguage.com), Amazon, and through Brave Writer (http://store.bravewriter.com/)!

This week, I am taking over the Brave Writer Blog! Each day, I will post an activity for you to use with your children and discuss how it can be used to grow their writing skills!

Today's post is called Story Symbols. We will discuss how to help young writers begin to engage with an author's intent and written themes.

To access my blog post, visit http://blog.bravewriter.com/ and scroll down until you see this image:


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Trees in the Forest: Bits and Pieces II

DAY 3

As many of you know, my good friend Tracy Molitors and I have recently published a book: Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension. 

Our book is now available for purchase through my website (www.rootedinlanguage.com), Amazon, and through Brave Writer (http://store.bravewriter.com/)!

This week, I am taking over the Brave Writer Blog! Each day, I will post an activity for you to use with your children and discuss how it can be used to grow their writing skills!

Today's post is called Bits and Pieces 2. We will continue discussing how to use micro bits of writing to grow macro writing skills!

To access my blog post, visit http://blog.bravewriter.com/ and scroll down until you see this image:


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Trees in the Forest: Bits and Pieces I

DAY 2

As many of you know, my good friend Tracy Molitors and I have recently published a book: Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension. 

Our book is now available for purchase through my website (www.rootedinlanguage.com), Amazon, and through Brave Writer (http://store.bravewriter.com/)!

This week, I am taking over the Brave Writer Blog! Each day, I will post an activity for you to use with your children and discuss how it can be used to grow their writing skills!

Today's post is called Bits and Pieces 1. We will discuss how to use micro bits of writing to grow macro writing skills!

To access my blog post, visit http://blog.bravewriter.com/ and scroll down until you see this image:


Monday, January 9, 2017

Trees in the Forest: Laying a Path

DAY 1

As many of you know, my good friend Tracy Molitors and I have recently published a book: Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension. 

Our book is now available for purchase through my website (www.rootedinlanguage.com), Amazon, and through Brave Writer (http://store.bravewriter.com/)!

This week, I am taking over the Brave Writer Blog! Each day, I will post an activity for you to use with your children and discuss how it can be used to grow their writing skills!

Today's post is called Laying a Path.

To access my blog post, visit http://blog.bravewriter.com/ and scroll down until you see this image: