When Ivan was in the middle of second grade, his mother dragged him into my office at the Riggs Institute’s learning center. Head down, Ivan refused to look at me as his mother spoke of her concerns. “Ivan is two years behind in reading skills,” she said, “and none of his teachers have been able to help him. They think he has a learning disorder; the school wants him tested. But. . . . "
In her Complete Handbook of Children's Reading Disorders, Dr. Hilde L. Mosse explains why children should not be asked to read silently before they can read accurately.
After taking a look at the Riggs Institute’s website, a concerned tweeter recently asked: “RIGGS (sic) seems to support and promote the idea of learning styles?
Did you know that it has been almost 100 years since Dr. Samuel Orton warned that “faulty teaching methods may not only prevent the acquisition of academic education by children of average capacity but may also give rise to far reaching damage to their emotional life”?6
Isn’t this mind boggling?
I’m new to Twitter. I'm ignorant about it, really.
Yesterday’s Twitter conversation with some colleagues turned into a talk about how we can help our slower learners. Lots of us have them, right? And Riggs teachers have them too. For example, you may notice that during your daily spelling dictation lesson a few of your pupils are consistently struggling to keep up with the rest of the class.
These kids seem slightly lost, to put it mildly. And perhaps you’ve noticed that they rarely speak up during lessons.
What is the single most important thing we can do to help beginning readers?
In her Complete Handbook of Children’s Reading Disorders, pediatrician and child psychiatrist Hilde Mosse writes (emphasis mine):
The child must be help
Millions of children struggle with learning disorders in American classrooms, but do all of them have to? For example, can we prevent reading failure? And can we correct it? By teaching correct knowledge intensively and well, can we teach older children, struggling and diagnosed children, wounded and troubled and poor children how to read as well? What about children who have lost all hope, all confidence?
Have your students been using the Riggs Institute's Basic Spelling and Usage Dictonary to help them increase their word and world knowledge? If so, how has that been going for them?
Have your students also been using this dictionary for daily reading practice and as a resource during sentence-writing work? How has that been going? We'd like to hear from you. Are your students becoming more powerful readers and writers with the help of this time-tested learning tool? I bet so.
In some of my recent articles, we talked about morphological families: families whose members share a common meaning and structure. We talked about morphological families like BED, BEDS, BEDDING; CAT, CATS, CATTY; DO, DOING, DOES, DONE, UNDONE; FAST, FASTER, FASTEST; and I showed you how students can use scientific investigations and tools to help them understand these families.
More importantly, we saw how doing this kind of word study (how working with morphological families) would do powerful things for your students:
Last week a teacher asked me what I thought about the wisdom of using nonsense “words” like BIX, ZUN, and YEM with beginning readers. This teacher, who was getting ready to work at a new classical school, had been told that the Riggs Institute encourages—or at least condones—activities in which children work with such "words.”
“Is this true,” he asked?