WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2015-2016

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/596643

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Page 43 of 211

42 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 5 / 2 0 1 6 i remember learning some fun facts about reading on a website and one of them was that if a person reads about one topic for a certain number of years, he or she can become an expert on it. I am sure that for typical readers this will work; however, I found this fact interesting because it made me think about the students with whom I work. Will this idea work for students who have a learning disability or are on the autism spectrum or are just unable to learn like typical students? Even if they are interested in a specific topic, is their reading so slow and labored that they do not take in all the information because they are concentrating on the letters and how they go together and how they sound, rather than on the topic itself? When children have learning difficulties along with reading difficulties, their whole learning experience is difficult. They will say they do not like to read or just give up on other subjects because reading is cross-subject, and a student needs to decipher what the teacher is teaching and what is being said in the textbook. How is a struggling student supposed to read an article in social studies and take notes on it when he cannot understand the words or decode the various sounds in the English language to make a word? How can you help your children? One idea is to set a goal at home to practice reading every day. What are their interests? Have them practice with a book, magazine, or newspaper that is at their level. As long as they read, it does not matter what it is; for some students, it might be reading a menu or a graphic novel. The goal is to practice every day. Struggling readers have an even higher level of anxiety; those students who have learning dis- abilities along with reading disabilities have it harder than most. It is important to set goals for these stu- dents and praise them when they reach the goal. By setting goals, you will see how they progress when they meet each initial goal and then you can develop more interme- diate goals for them to reach. Do not measure their success against students who are typical readers. Signs to look for if your student is struggling: trouble sounding out words or recognizing words out of context; confusion between letters and the sounds they represent; slow, choppy reading aloud; reading with- out expression; and not paying attention to punctuation. Teach your children how to ask for help and how to understand their strengths and weaknesses. This will enable them to use the resources they need, and to ensure that they receive the accommodations they require for success. Children who struggle to read often give up if they are not given the proper instruction. The best way to instruct students is to involve all of their senses so that they can learn and apply the new skills. People sometimes see these students as "lazy," but students who struggle are not Reading Re-Discovered [ forum ] K A R E N PA R A D I S E D ' O R T E N Z I O writer Wellesley resident KAREN PARADISE D'ORTENZIO, M.ED., has been a special educator for over 20 years. Visit www.karendortenzio.com.

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