Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that impairs a person’s ability to read and write. Dyslexia involves the ways that the brain processes graphic symbols and the sounds of words. It commonly affects word recognition, spelling, and the ability to match letters to sounds.
Many people will tell you dyslexia cannot be turned around. Once you have it, you have it for life. This does not have to be the case.
Below are the i-Ready test results of a third grade student who was diagnosed with dyseidetic dyslexia. He is currently doing Edublox’s Development Tutor at home and has so far received 25 hours of Live Online Tutoring over a period of six months. Most areas are now on par and another 25 hours of Live Tutoring are planned to ensure that he catches up completely and doesn’t fall behind again.
Below are the test results of a student who was diagnosed with severe dyslexia (1st percentile), and who received intensive Edublox intervention starting in February. By August she tested on the 5th percentile (PR), according to the Star Reading Test, and by May the following year on the 55th percentile. (NOTE: The 1st percentile is the lowest and 99th the highest.)
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So what is Edublox?
How does it help children with dyslexia?
Edublox develops cognitive skills
The core of Edublox intervention is cognitive skills development. The word “cognition” is defined as “the act or process of knowing”. Cognitive skills therefore refer to those skills that make it possible for us to know. They have more to do with the mechanisms of how we learn, rather than with any actual knowledge.
Cognitive psychology has now linked many cognitive skills to dyslexia: verbal fluency; attention and executive functions; phonological and phonemic awareness; visuo-spatial abilities; processing speed and rapid naming; short-term memory; visual short-term memory and visual long-term memory for details; and auditory working memory. These cognitive functions can be developed and improved with practice.
Edublox’s Development Tutor program aims at developing the above-mentioned cognitive skills or functions.
Edublox’s reading program develops two essential brain regions
Research shows that a network of brain regions is involved in learning to read, one specifically in sounding out words, and another in seeing words as pictures. The picture area is the visual word form area or visual dictionary, and allows for fast and efficient word recognition.
Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center (2016) rediscovered that skilled readers can recognize words at lightning fast speed when they read because the word has been placed in a sort of visual dictionary. This function of the brain was already identified by James Hinshelwood in 1917 and is known as the visual word form area, and operates separately from an area that processes the sounds of written words.
Glezer and her coauthors tested word recognition in 27 volunteers in two different experiments using fMRI. They were able to see that words that were different, but sound the same, like ‘hare’ and ‘hair’ activate different neurons, akin to accessing different entries in a dictionary’s catalogue. If the sounds of the word had influence in this part of the brain we would expect to see that they activate the same or similar neurons, but this was not the case — ‘hair’ and ‘hare’ looked just as different as ‘hair’ and ‘soup’. In addition, the researchers found a different distinct region that was sensitive to the sounds, where ‘hair’ and ‘hare’ did look the same. The researchers thus showed that the brain has regions that specialize in doing each of the components of reading: one region is doing the visual piece and the other is doing the sound piece.
Both brain areas must be trained in the teaching of reading, and Edublox’s Live Tutoring program aims at doing just that. Our program is based on the well-known Orton Gillingham approach, but simultaneously develops the brain’s “visual word form area”.
It’s also the HOW
Considering that teaching reading is ultimately an educational matter, we should not overlook that there are certain learning principles involved. It’s not just the WHAT of teaching that matters, it’s also the HOW.
One principle, derived from the works of the violin-master Shinichi Suzuki, stipulates that a beginner learner must start by repeating a limited amount of material many times over and over. Gradually, less and less repetition will be necessary to master new skills and new knowledge. A “pyramid of repetition” must be constructed.
In dyslexia intervention a “pyramid of repetition” can be constructed to develop a particularly weak cognitive skill (for example long-term memory), it can be used in the teaching of reading itself (for example to build the brain’s “visual word form area), and even to teach spelling.
Watch our video below and book a free consultation to discuss your child’s learning needs, followed by a free lesson.
Georgetown University Medical Center (2016, June 9). In the brain, one area sees familiar words as pictures, another sounds out words. Retrieved July 15, 2019 from https://bit.ly/2XLzNHd
Hinshelwood, J. (1917). Congenital word blindness. London: Lewis.
Suzuki, S. (1993). Nurtured by love (2nd ed.). USA: Summy-Birchard, Inc.