Archive for Blog

People call when they – or their child – have difficulty reading.  Usually, they want to know:

  • What is it that you do, exactly?’ 
  • ‘Can you help me?’
  • ‘What will it cost?’

Consultation

First, I suggest a consultation appointment.  We meet in person, or online, to talk about reading difficulties experienced to date.  I ask about the nature and extent of the reading challenge, and I invite questions about my service. There is no fee for a consultation appointment.

Testing

If someone would like to learn more about why they struggle learning to read, we book some testing time.  Testing typically takes 2 -3 hours, depending on age, current reading ability and other learning needs.

Once testing is completed, I write up a report and we meet to discuss the results. The purpose of testing is to determine what form of reading intervention (if any) is required.  There is a set fee for testing.  Whether or not a client chooses to continue with reading intervention, having a written report in hand is typically a strong starting point for any further advocacy efforts.

I may also suggest further follow-up with other professionals.  For example, in Ontario only a registered psychologist can diagnose a learning disability.  Speech language pathologists, paediatricians and occupational therapists can also contribute valuable information, recommendations and therapies related to the reading intervention work I do with clients.

Reading Intervention

As owner/instructor of The Alphabet Group, I offer a range of reading intervention programs and supplemental materials to meet clients’ varied learning needs.  I charge an hourly fee for instructional sessions. The total cost depends on how frequently we meet. The hourly fee includes all lesson preparation, most program materials and ongoing consultation time.

Phone, email or text  your questions.  I am here to help!

Reading Difficulty? Seeking Services? Here’s How!

You have the assessment in hand.  It’s confirmed: there’s a reading difficulty that needs to be addressed.  And there are certainly a wide a range of services to choose from!  There are private tutors, established tutoring companies, specialized reading practitioners and online reading/tutoring services.  Now what?

Begin with the assessment recommendations and consider:

  • What are the specific areas of reading difficulty outlined in the assessment?
  • What is the severity of the reading difficulty?
  • If a psychologist has performed an assessment, are there additional needs to consider for instructional planning/delivery?
  • If a speech language pathologist has performed an assessment, are there language impairments that will impact instruction?

These considerations influence how specialized and intensive reading instruction should be.  Mild reading difficulties may respond well to general tutoring for a shorter time period. More severe difficulties will require more specialized intervention over a longer time period.

Investigate what services are available, both locally and online.  Helpful search keywords or hashtags include: reading, spelling, dyslexia, learning disability, tutor, teaching, instruction, and education. Also consider using the names of specific reading programs, tutoring companies, and agencies or nonprofit organizations connected with learning disabilities.

Once you have identified individuals or companies to contact directly, inquire about:

  • Specialized qualifications
  • Extent of direct work experience
  • Evidence of ongoing professional development
  • Current membership in well-recognized, professional organizations

Professional knowledge and practice standards continue to evolve.  Expect your service provider to remain current with knowledge and practice standards, and to be well connected with other reading practitioner professionals/organizations.

Request a consultation to discuss the services you’re seeking and to share any assessment results you already have.  Refer to the International Dyslexia Association’s Fact Sheet, Evaluating Educational Professionals [http://www.interdys.org/FactSheets.htm] for suggestions about what to ask, as well as other considerations that can factor into your final decision. Take your time, speak with others who have already been down this road, contact related organizations that do not endorse a particular approach or company, conduct an internet search and importantly, do not hesitate to ask as many questions as you must to feel comfortable with your decision!

Literacy is for life.  The work invested to find a good reading instructor now will pay off for years to come!

A Reading Assessment: An Important First Step

As a parent, you may wonder why your child’s reading is not developing as quickly or easily as you would expect.

Or as an adult who struggles with reading, you may want to better understand why reading has always been such a challenge. What can be done to help you learn to read more easily?

By the time a parent or adult contacts me, they typically anticipate that there is reading problem. What people want to know is why they, or their child, struggles with reading, and what can be done about it.

A reading assessment is comprised of a series of tests that tap into a range of component skills required for fluent reading. A thorough reading assessment usually takes approximately two to three hours to administer. Once all the tests have been scored and interpreted, a client will have a much better understanding of why a particular reading challenge exists. A good reading assessment will also contain specific recommendations for what can be done to improve a client’s reading ability. The assessment should include some standardized tests that compare performance with a specific age group, to help establish the magnitude of the reading difficulty – if any.

So before you embark on ‘fixing’ a reading problem, carefully consider why the challenge might exist. There is a continuum of skills that underlie fluent reading ability. Reading is a complex skill, so the reasons why an individual struggles with reading will vary. And what can be done to improve a client’s reading ability will correspondingly vary as well.

A reading assessment is an important first step in the remediation process!

Dyslexia: Keep the term or drop it?

Recently, I updated my website.   I wondered whether I should retain the term dyslexia?  As a member and supporter of the International Dyslexia Association, I suppose I should!  This past spring, the American Psychiatric Association released the 5th Edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).  In the DSM-5, dyslexia is mentioned as being an ‘alternative term’ referring to difficulties with ‘accurate or fluent word recognition, poor decoding, and poor spelling abilities.’[p. 67]   Read More →