Dyslexia is a Gift? Where is the Return Line? Part 2

Dyslexia is a gift? Where's the Return Line? PART 2

In a previous blog post I laid out my reasons for why I do not believe dyslexia is a gift. In that blog post I specifically stated that many students with dyslexia will be successful because of their resilience and because of the support they received, while pointing out that many many kids don’t have that support, which was, and is, my main point. Many people chose to ignore that sentence and instead respond to something I did not say, which is that kids with dyslexia will never amount to anything. But for the most part, you all agreed with me, at least to a degree. So, as I started to really reflect and read and reread all of the responses, it got me thinking about resilience and support. Then it dawned on me that there was one important point I did not make and that is to describe a situation when dyslexia is a gift.

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Morphological Awareness is Ready for its Close-up

Morphological Awareness and Dyslexia

Do you feel that? That’s the tides turning. That’s minds shifting. That is what a true understanding of the English writing system will do, it will shift the way we teach our kids, because it shifts the way we, as educators and scholars, understand our own language. And I am not just talking about kids with dyslexia, I am talking about all kids. Because there’s a new, but not-so-new to linguists, game in town and it’s the truth about the English language, and it  ain’t written syllables baby.

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Dyslexia and the Nonsense Word Conundrum

Dyslexia and the Nonsense Word Conundrum - DyslexiaTrainingInstitute

The use of nonsense words in intervention programs for reading and spelling to struggling readers is ubiquitous. It is ubiquitous in assessments too. Publishers use the rationale that nonsense words help the teacher and assessor know whether or not the student is able to transfer what they have learned about decoding to new words and this signals progress. The problem with this is twofold. First, many of the nonsense words that are used are not possible letter strings in the English language. (For a detailed and well-support description of this, please read Gina Cooke’s article). Secondly, the English writing system is based on meaning before phonology, so when a student is reading a word with no meaning, it can be impossible to really determine what the correct pronunciation is. In teacher trainings, we always ask the group, how do you pronounce the letter string *<chom>? The answer we always get is /chom/ or [ʧɑm] in IPA. The problem with this answer, is that the correct answer is really, we can’t know what the correct pronunciation is until we know what the word is. In the case of a digraph like <ch> the meaning and etymology of the word will drive the pronunciation. Look at the following three common words: chip, machine and ache. Their histories drive their pronunciations, so how in the world can a student know which is correct?

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