Blog

Oral language: The foundation for reading

By Heather Gillum, PhD, CCC-SLP

Text is language made visible. Any time we read a page in a book or write a note we are “seeing” language. Written communication requires both the ability to relate letters to their sounds and, importantly, oral language knowledge. If learning to read and write is like building a house, oral language is the foundation.

So, what is “language”? Language is made up of rules for combining sounds, words, and sentences. This includes speech sounds, vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structures. You may already be familiar with “speech,” having known children who attended speech therapy to learn to say sounds correctly, but this is only one component of language.  A Speech-language pathologist can assess and treat clients who need help to learn things like how to use word tenses and pronouns correctly and how to use and understand complex sentences. These broader language skills are important for reading comprehension and written expression as well as conversation.

Students who struggle to learn grammar and the many ways of combining words are at risk for academic problems. These challenges can seem like an invisible disability, because students may compensate by speaking in more simple language rather than taking the risk of being incorrect. For this reason, language disorders may go unnoticed until the demands of reading and writing bring them to light.

The good news is that targeted language intervention using an evidence-based therapy approach can improve language skills. For these students, working with a speech-language pathologist is an important part of the process of becoming a better reader and writer.

Welcome Becky Kantz!

We are pleased to announce that Becky Kantz, M.Ed has join the Learning Matters Board of Directors. A former classroom teacher, Becky is currently an executive leadership coach. She has over 20 years of experience promoting the success of individuals and organizations, having served in internal and external consulting and management roles in the healthcare, financial services, manufacturing and insurance industries (Fortune 100 companies).  As an executive coach and leadership development consultant, Becky brings her experience, expert skill and in-depth knowledge of effective leadership, adult learning and development, organizational dynamics, and leadership coaching to her clients.

Becky is passionate about education and youth. She has jumped right in as chair of the Nominations committee and will use her leadership development acumen to help identify and nominate prospective board members.

How American schools fail kids with dyslexia

When methodologies that work for dyslexic kids also work for non-dyslexic kids – BUT not the other way around – it is hard to comprehend why change is so hard to make. And yet, graduation rates will climb, reading proficiency numbers will rise, anxiety and ODD numbers will lower, and the cycle of poverty can be broken. This is why everyone at Learning Matters comes to work each day.

Emily Hanford  ARTICLE PUBLISHED BY: APM
There are proven ways to help people with dyslexia learn to read, and a federal law that’s supposed to ensure schools provide kids with help. But across the country, public schools are denying children proper treatment and often failing to identify them with dyslexia in the first place.

A link to the full article and audio version can be found here: https://www.apmreports.org/story/2017/09/11/hard-to-read

Learning Matters welcomes two board members

We are pleased to announce on September 21st Learning Matters welcomed Heather Sisemore and Meredith Eason to our board. Heather is a Learning Matters parent and long-time supporter of our work. She is an affiliate broker/REALTOR at The Wilson Group. Meredith is an associate attorney at Wyatt Tarrant & Combs LLP where she is a member of the Firm’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution Service Team. Meredith concentrates her practice in the areas of commercial litigation and employment law.

A Champion for Dyslexia

When it comes to paying it forward, this champion for literacy’s story really shows how to turn a learning disability into vehicle for change.

After being told by his school teachers to go and stand in a bin because ‘that’s where you belong’, Mark Wilkinson went on to nurture his creative side and became a predominant furniture designer and the creator of the tradition English country kitchen style.

Mark and and his wife formed the Mark Wilkinson Foundation for Innovation and Employment charity to help people with dyslexia, a condition that affected Mark so badly that he could not read or write when he left school.

When quoted in a group of famous dyslexics with Erin Brokovich, Mark said: “Dyslexia brings more gifts than glitches. If you have it, flaunt it. When you stumble hold out a hand. Help will come. When you achieve, stand proud and then lend a hand with humility.”

Isn’t this what is all about? Be proud of who you are.

This original story can be found here: http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/15405785.Popular_designer_dies_after_cancer_battle/?ref=fbshr

A Short Film Inspired by One Woman’s Experience with Dyslexia

If you are a Violet, have taught a Violet, or cared for a Violet, this short film will find a place in your heart. Kristin Weltner who animated, wrote, and directed this film writes, “The film illustrates the anxiety, isolation, and confusion of a child discovering their difference. Through the course of the film Violet must learn to embrace her differences and in so doing finds that there are advantages to thinking differently.”

We agree. Take a look.

Watch on Vimeo now: https://vimeo.com/161812141