the dyslexic reader 2005 issue 38

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Phonics v. Whole Language


Dyslex ic Read er The


Vol. 38

Davis Dyslexia Association International

Issue 1 2005

Reprinted with permission from The Everything Parents Guide to Children with Dyslexia 2004; F+W Publications, Inc., by Abigail Marshall, Adams Media, $14.95 trade paperback.

By Abigail Marshall

Phonics vs. Whole LanguageWhole language instruction focuses on providing a literature-rich environment and emphasizing comprehension skills. Reading and writing is incorporated throughout the day in the context of lessons in other subjects. There is emphasis on both oral and silent reading and reading authentic literature. Lessons may be fluid and theme-based, rather than tied to a set curriculum. Pros and Cons Dr. Maria Carbo, founder of the National Reading Styles Institute, points out that neither phonics nor whole language will reach all children. The Everything Parents Guide to Children with Dyslexia, available She points out that phonics programsContinued on p. 4

Over the past two decades, there has been a cultural war over two ideologically distinct methods of teaching readingphonics and whole language. A phonics-based approach focuses instruction on learning to connect letters and letter combinations with their corresponding sound, and provides students with specific strategies for decoding by sounding out familiar words. The teacher relies on direct instruction, using a well-developed and highly structured curriculum with carefully planned, sequential lessons.

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In This IssueNews & Feature ArticlesPhonics vs. Whole Language . . . . . . . .1 Duststorm of Deception . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Friends and Family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 One Teachers Search for Answers to the Riddle of Dyslexia . . . . . . . .6 Help for College Students . . . . . . . . . .8 IDEA 2004 Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Intl Davis Facilitator Symposium . . .10 New Ron Davis Book Releases . . . . .11

By Ronald D. Davis

The Duststorm of DeceptionIt wasnt just me, the system has an inherent flaw and wasnt working very well anywhere; so a solution was needed. As a result we see whole word or whole language recognition replacing the old phonics system. The illogic of the debates and controversies is centered around the question, Do we continue using a system that isnt working very well, or do we revert back to a system that also doesnt work very well? The real question is, do the educational authorities really care, and will something actually be done that can remedy the situation? The hard line probable answer is No!!!Continued on p. 4

Regular FeaturesIn the Mail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Book/Software Reviews . . . . . . . .13-15 Q&A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16-17 New Facilitators . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18-21 Workshops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22-23

The debates and controversies over the proper way to teach children to read would seem to be something new and therefore worthy of our attention. It would appear that someone cares, and maybe something can be done about the situation. The hard line reality is that this assumption is wrong on both counts. This controversy isnt just an Australian or American dilemma, it exists everywhere that English is taught in schools. Up until about 25 years ago, the primary method of teaching reading in English was sounding out words (phonics). I personally experienced phonics training forty-four years ago and it didnt work.



In the Mailtaught me to be attentive. The point helps me to listen much better than before and the modelling clay helps me to know the words and spell them backwards; it helped me mostly to know the alphabet. Its easier to find things in the dictionary. When I sigh, it helps to calm me down. The gift of dyslexia helps me to design plans in my head. I can see a wooden boat that I can make for my little cousin, or I can see my vegetable garden and how I can arrange it for next year. The gift helps me to have ideas to set up my fishing-line and imagine how the fish might bite! Thank you for your book Mr. Davis.Raphal Christophe. Age 12

Dear Mr. Davis:I am writing to you because I am a bit like you. When I was a little boy I used to go in my garden and make little marbles out of clay, and also bunches of grapes and little men. Last year my teacher made me copy things out of Cinderella and Barbie (because I had no ideas for a story). She told the whole class and they all laughed at me. Your method taught me to read better. And the KOOSH balls haveCopyright 2003 Randy Glasbergen.

I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success ... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.

Nikola Tesla, electrical engineer, inventor and humanitarian(1856-1943)

The Dyslexic Reader is published quarterly by Davis Dyslexia Association International (DDAI), 1601 Bayshore Hwy., Suite 245, Burlingame, CA 94010 USA. Tel. +1(650) 692-7141. OUR GOALS are to increase worldwide awareness about the positive aspects of dyslexia and related learning styles; and to present methods for improving literacy, education and academic success. We believe that all peoples abilities and talents should be recognized and valued, and that learning problems can be corrected. EDITORIAL BOARD: Alice Davis, Abigail Marshall, Maria Fagioli & Dee White. DESIGN: Gideon Kramer. SUBSCRIPTIONS: one year $25 in US, add $5 in Canada; add $10 elsewhere. BACK ISSUES: send $8.00 to DDAI. SUBMISSIONS & LETTERS: We welcome letters, comments and articles. Mail to DDAI at the above address. VIA FAX: +1(650) 692-7075 VIA E-MAIL: INTERNET: www.dyslexia.comThe opinions and views expressed in articles and letters are not necessarily those of DDAI. Davis Dyslexia Correction, Davis Symbol Mastery, Davis Orientation Counseling, and Davis Learning Strategies are registered trademarks of Ronald D. Davis. Copyright 2004 by DDAI, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.



Friends and Familysituations has increased greatly. Her second response was being better with her numbers and math. In just the past few weeks, she When I first took my daughter, came home with an Liz, to New Hope Learning Centers, A on a math test Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I was and finished her timed looking for answers for the learning worksheet in the time difficulties she was showing. As a given. Both took center first grader, she was having trouble stage on our refrigerator identifying the letters. She was also door. Her math reversing her letters and numbers computation score on when she wrote them, and learning the the Iowa Basic Skills sight words was next to impossible for Achievement Test went her. As an occupational therapist, I from the 1st percentile had recognized all the signs of some to the 46th percentile type of processing disorder, but the after the completion techniques I knew and had been of the program. Ive trying were not giving me the results noticed a big I wanted. I had found the Davis improvement in her Dyslexia website and went from there. concept of time and her I was impressed when the staff at New ability to work with money. Hope talked about sensory input and Being able to fall asleep easier neurological pathways. We went for was her third answer. Liz has always our evaluation and just after her had a hard time falling asleep. Shell seventh birthday went back for her lie quietly for hours but just cant fall to complete the Davis Dyslexia asleep. I noticed an instant change in Correction Program. Approximately this as she began using her dial and two years later, she completed the release tools after she completed her Davis Math Mastery Program. first Program. Getting a good nights I recently asked Liz what she sleep is so important to her overall was most thankful for from New Hope health. I have also noticed that she is Learning Centers. Her first response, not as restless in her sleep and she has which didnt surprise me, was for her had fewer nightmares. friend Chloe. Chloe was completing I am also thankful for all of the the Davis Dyslexia Correction above. I love seeing the confidence Program when Liz was doing the Math that Liz shows. There have been Program. They became friends. They multiple challenges and there will still keep in contact with each other continue to be. Learning does not and get together whenever possible, always come easy. She still struggles even though we live three hours away at times, especially with writing. It is a from each other. The energy and real effort to continuously educate her creativity they have seems to be teachers about how she learns best and unending when theyre together. I how they can help in facilitating that. think having Chloe as a friend has I am so thankful for all of the support shown her that she is not alonethat New Hope has provided to me as a there are others who think and learn as parent of a dyslexic child. They have she does. Her confidence in socialThe following narrative was submitted to New Hope Learning Centers, Inc. by Janet Adcox, mother of Liz who completed the Davis Dyslexia Correction Program in March of 2002 and the Davis Math Mastery Program in August of 2003 with facilitator Darlene Bishop.

Liz and friend, Chloe

been such a valuable resource. I view the entire staff there as family in a lot of ways. I have shared Lizs many successes with them. I have called looking for additional ways to help her when what were doing is just not working. We visit when we are in their area. Looking back, I realize how much more both Liz and I have received