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Hello, I have a 7 year old son that I home
school and believe he may be dyslexic. I am
interested in buying a curriculum and would like
to know what I should start with.
If you would
like to understand why it has taken a
(me) to discover the simple, common sense,
logical approach needed for dyslexics to learn
you might want to start by reading my
autobiography To Teach a Dyslexic.
If your son's
handwriting (manuscript or cursive) is sloppy,
you might want to start with
Write Right. It teaches
reading and spelling skills
as it teaches the
alphabet. The same is true of
Individualized Keyboarding -- it also teaches reading and spelling skills as
it slowly teaches the location of keys.
might want to work with
For more general
Where do I
Materials Catalog |
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I have purchased your
to use in my heterogeneous 6th grade
Since I have students of many different
abilities, shouldn't I
give them a pretest
to see what level they need to start at? I
obviously cannot get through more than one level
in a year, and
do not want to hold any of my
advanced spellers back.
We have also provided
an array of other
pre-tests and placement tests for spelling and
You might want to
give the test in the form of a student
self-corrected spelldown. The moment a
word is missed that's the level they will start
in. Levels by the numbers:
2. nephews and
By the way, if
you have a self-contained classroom, there's no
problem getting through two levels in one year.
Give a ten minute test first thing in the
morning. Give another test first thing in
the afternoon. Each level has 180 lessons
and that's the number of school days in a school
year. Giving another test at the end of
the day will get you through 3 levels!
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I have an
eleven year old son who is unable to read.
In 3rd grade we began
I pulled him out of school he didn't even know
letter sounds. We made a lot of
progress the first year, but then we reached a
point where he would
sound out each and every
word. Since that takes awhile, he was
unable to comprehend what he read.
research I have come to the conclusion that the
Orton Gillingham method would work the
best for my son. Unfortunately, the
closest tutor in this method is an hour and a
half drive - one way. I have just recently
great reviews of your spelling program
on a couple of the
homeschooling lists I'm on.
How is it the
Orton Gillingham (OG) is multi-sensory.
AVKO comes from Audio, Visual, Kinesthetic, and
Orton Gillingham instructors teach phonics.
AVKO students learn phonics.
How is it
Orton Gillingham instructors teach all kinds of
rules. AVKO students learn to respond to
.Can my son
learn to read well using
If by my
program you include all the materials I have
The Teaching of Reading
And Spelling: A Continuum From Kindergarten
plus other trade books for practice and
developing fluency and increasing vocabulary, the answer
.Can I get
myself trained to help him, using your program,
just by ordering your materials, online?
I believe so.
However, I don't recommend that you buy them
all at one time. It would be far too
overwhelming. I would suggest that you first
start with If It Is
To Be It Is Up To Me To Do It and
read my To Teach A
Starting At Square One, a pre-K to
second grade curriculum that is free with
e-book). When you're
comfortable with those, I would add
Keyboarding to your son's program
and The Teaching Of
Reading & Spelling to yours. Then
you should watch our
We have set up an
training curriculum for parents and teachers
to learn and utilize AVKO's teaching methods
is recommended so that you have access to
all of the training elements.
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not really sure what I should order.
have 2 sons still at school at home. The
elder of the 2 is 14 y/o. His reading is
still very limited, but is really wanting to
read. I would say his level is about gd
2-3. He has had major speech problems in
his early years. Even now he does not
trust his words to tell us exactly what he is
am sure you know the problem of wanting to read,
but not wanting baby stories. I was wondering
if I could suggest the best way that I could
help him. I was looking at your
keyboarding lessons. Our son finds Mavis
Beacon too hard. I have been using an old
typing book that I had when I went to school.
He finds this
better. Your typing method while teaching
reading seems to be good.
do need spelling books and was wondering what
else you would suggest. I am trying to do
it with a limited budget and would like to spend
If It Is To Be It
Is Up To Me To Do It will give him a rather fast boost in
self-confidence. The first seven
lessons are on the website. See:
Free samples of
Word Families in Sentence Context is a
great little method of learning all kinds of
things about reading while concentrating on
specific patterns. The sentences may
check out on a computer grade level as
between 2nd and 3rd grade, but they are
anything but babyish.
You might want
to spend 15 minutes to a half hour a day,
having him practice reading aloud for
expression. The purpose will be to
prepare him for either babysitting kids or
being ready to read to his own kids after he
gets married. Make these books FUN
rhyming books such as
Green Eggs and Ham or
Silverstein's Where The Sidewalk Ends
or Light in The Attic. With these, you should
model for him. You read a line or a
page with great expression and changing
voices. He then either repeats what
you read or reads the next. Playing with
the voice, with the tone of voice, the pitch
and the speed is really important for the
meaning! And for ENJOYMENT! Teach him
to have FUN, FUN, FUN. See:
Readings for Comprehension
You might also
want to have him practice his handwriting
for fifteen minutes a day. I would
recommend using the
Starting At Square One. The
important thing is that he is never just to
copy letters that are in words. He
must know the word he is copying, even if it
is only for the moment he knows it because
you told him what the word is.
As far as budget is concerned, you really
can't beat the value of AVKO's materials.
Our retail prices are amazingly low already,
but we also have lots of discounts and
specials available, including a 25% discount
the website, freebies that come with
member only specials, and
and clearance items.
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I am writing an article about the steps a parent can take
once it discovered that their child is dyslexic. I will also
be comparing schools for the dyslexic to public school
learning disability programs. I was hoping you could answer
a few questions for me?
I would like to know in your opinion what you think the
biggest misconception about dyslexia is.
Answer: The biggest
misconception is that dyslexics see differently. This
misconception comes from not understanding why b's, d's,
g's, p's and q's are so frequently confused in reading and
writing by dyslexics. The dyslexic mind tends to be more
rigidly logical than the "normal" mind. Position in real
life means very little. Picture a dog in your mind. Is the
dog facing you? Is the head pointed to the left and the tail
to the right? Is the head pointed to the right and the tail
to the left. Is the dog standing on it's hind legs? Is the
dog lying down? Does it make any difference? Of course not!
To illustrate this point, when I am lecturing, I pick up a
chair and twist it all around in different directions to
that the audience can see how the position of a chair can
relate to the position of the ball (o) and the stick (l)
when it comes to the letters b, d, p, q, g. It is merely the
processing of what is seen that is different in the dyslexic
mind, not WHAT is seen.
Also, What changes do think need to take
place within the public schools learning disability programs
to ensure that dyslexic children receive an enriching and
Answer: In both public schools, and the private expensive
schools for dyslexics in which tuition can be $45,000.00 a
year or more, the methods of teaching do not reflect the
knowledge that there are
five different types of words in
the English language and all five cannot and should not be
taught in the same way. These five types are the simple, the
fancy, the tricky, the insane, and the scrunched up. The
phonics that allow a person to decode cat and city and fish
are insufficient to allow a person to logically pronounce
insufficient. Although you have no problem with that word,
you probably are not conscious of the fact that the letters fici in
sufficient are pronounced "fish!" We do not teach
the ci digraph that is pronounced /sh/ in words like
precious, efficient, and crucial. Although we teach insane
words like was (wuzz) and does (duzz) we do not teach
and quay and victuals and about fifty more
words commonly mispronounced by college "educated"
people. If you want to learn more about these and tests
that you can replicate, see our
I am starting home schooling for my
eight year old son. I was wondering what parts of this
program you would recommend for him. He was in the second
grade public school. He seems in what they call grade level
for reading and spelling but he can not transfer the
spelling to writing and may have some organization of
stories troubles. I need to assess his abilities but am
anxious to get started. I think he would do well with this
type of sequential work. I would like to use the same
program for spelling, writing, and reading so it is
consistent. Any advice would be appreciated.
plan on teaching your child cursive or just to practice
manuscript, I would also recommend using the
Let's Write Right.
However, whatever style of continuous stroke handwriting (or
combination thereof) that your child prefers is perfectly
okay so long as it is legible. The Getty-Dubay Italic is a
great system, as well as Don Thurber's D'Nealian. If and
when you plan on having your child use the computer
keyboard, I would strongly recommend using Individualized
Keyboarding. You might want to later on combine these with a
lot of just plain fun reading. All of the Dr. Seuss books
should be read. They have such great morals. The same as all
the books by Theo. LeSieg (Note: LeSieg is Geisel spelled
backwards and Dr. Seuss's real name is Theodore Geisel). The
Berenstain Bear books are also great for kids that age. For
composition, I would suggest that you first start with the
easiest type of practice which is what the "experts" call
Language Experience. You might want to start
with just one or two sentences. Make sure YOUR CHILD doesn't
worry about "correct" spelling. You can provide the correct
spellings without any criticism for not knowing. His
spelling will automatically improve provided no undue
pressure is put to bear. As sentence composition improves
(You can always help him make his sentences funnier or more
sophisticated), then add the number you do in any one
assignment. After sentences become easy, then you might try
simple paragraphs. So you can see my sequencing is from
letters to words to sentences to paragraphs and then to
stories or essays.
You can always find other ideas in my book on
of Reading: a Continuum from Kindergarten through College,
a book available for free (as an
I have just found out that my 15
year-old son has dyslexia. He is a tenth grader and is
reading between the 5th and 6th grade level. I have been
reading you book To Teach a Dyslexic and would like to
order some the AVKO materials to help him improve. I will be
trying to tutor him myself. I was going to order "If it is
to be it is up to me to do it".
What other materials would I need for home tutoring?
Your selection of "If
it is to be..." is a good place to start. I believe in teaching words of the
same patterns at the same time. So, the easiest patterns to
learn are in the early volumes and the more difficult
patterns in the later volumes.
If your son hasn't already learned touch typing so he can
use a computer keyboard without looking at the keys, I would
strongly recommend that you use my
Individualized Keyboarding to teach him. A description
of this book and how and why it works is on my website.
If you plan to homeschool him, I would also recommend that
you use as your own text for learning how to teach
reading: The Teaching of
Reading: a Continuum from Kindergarten through College.
If your son is reading at the 5th or 6th grade level and
he's in the 10th, the reason is probably because he doesn't
know the "FANCY" patterns such as the "cial" being the way
we spell the sound "shul" as in special, crucial,
racial, and commercial. In both "The Teaching of
Reading..." and "If it is to be..." I have lists of
these patterns and the pages in
of English Spelling that the words containing these
patterns can be found.
My son will be turning 7 years old in
just a couple of days. When he was 4 he was diagnosed as
ADHD. It was recommended that he be medicated but my husband
and I chose to try other things that seemed to work. Last
year he completed Grade K with great success; however now
that he is in first grade and the load is much heavier he is
having a lot of trouble! Yesterday I received a note from
his teacher saying that he can not continue this for the
rest of the year. After staying up all night last night
researching the net, I'm almost convinced that he is
dyslexic instead. Your site was one of the best that I ran
across however it seemed a little advanced for a child just
entering 1st grade. Do you have anything that is directed
towards this age group. It'll have to be something over the
net that is free because I don't have the money to order
some of the things I found last night on some of the other
sites. Even if you do not, I still want to express my
approval of your site, it is the best I've found so far. It
seems more people should be more concerned about our
children vs making so much money on other peoples
far as helping your son, you might want to help him in
making his handwriting (probably printing) automatic (fast
but legible). You might want to visit our
web page and check out
the concept of teaching reading and spelling as we teach the
printing of the alphabet using D'Nealian, italic, AVKO, or
any "continuous" stroke manuscript printing that makes the
transition to cursive handwriting a lot easier when it's
taught in the third grade (probably). I would start
with the letter a, letting him know that it is the word "uh"
as in "a book, a man, a dog, a glass," etc. When
he can write "uh" and spell it "AY" automatically, then go
to the letter B. See our pre-K to second grade
at Square One, a free
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Hi, my name is Kim and I have a 14
year old son by the name of Jimmy. I believe he is dyslexic
and would like to see if there would happen to be any tutors
in my area that could help me. I am home schooling Jimmy and
have been for two years, we have made some progress but very
little. When I started homeschooling Jimmy he was on first
grade reading level going into the 7th grade. now he is
about on 3rd grade level at his best. I took Jimmy out of
school because he had been in SLD classes for "learning
disabilities" they said he was ADD and put him on several
meds but they altered his mood and personality so I took him
off the meds. Anyway, the public school system does not have
SLD classes when you get into middle school here so they put
him in a class with 50 kids and an extra teacher for kids
who needed help. This made my son so
upset that he was physically ill. What kid is going to put
his hand up and ask for help in front of 50 kids? Plus Jimmy
couldn't even read his schedule or what was on the board.
After several meetings and one which included school board
members, they told me to quit babying him and that's why
they had two teachers in there to help the kids who needed
it and "anyways" they said "we don't teach 7th graders how
to read, he'll just have to catch on". I figured they had
him for 7 years and couldn't teach him to read , I could do
better but now I'm not so sure.
A little personal info. on Jimmy; he is 14 yrs. old as I
said, over 6 foot tall, 225 pounds, he thinks he is stupid,
fat and told me he thinks he will never learn to read. Jimmy
is very smart, a lot more common sense than his sister who
made a 4.0 in school. No one knows of his learning
disability unless I would tell them.
I could really use some help, I'm not sure where to go from
here. Time is slipping away, Jimmy will be 15 in Jan. and
things don't seem to be getting much better. In the mean
time I stopped working to try to help Jimmy and we are
struggling financially. Any help you can give us will be
tutors don't come cheap. They often charge anywhere
from $20.00 an hour to $80.00 an hour. And that is a
real problem for those on limited incomes. That's why
at AVKO we use trained volunteers to tutor on a daily basis.
If there is any chance that you live within driving
distance, I would suggest that you make an appointment and
bring Jimmy with you to the foundation. Here we will
train you in some very simple (but effective) techniques and
how to use those AVKO materials which are most appropriate
for him. If coming here to AVKO is out of the
question, then I would suggest that you first purchase my
autobiography, To Teach a Dyslexic. That will
help you understand why Jimmy's school has been unable to
help him learn to read and also understand that it's never
too late to learn to read. If you would like to
have a course in the teaching of reading, you might want to
purchase The Teaching of Reading: a Continuum from
Kindergarten through College. However, you
probably can begin to get good results by starting first
If It Is To Be It Is Up To Me To Do It. If I can be of further
help, feel free to either e-mail me or to call me on the
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Please share your
opinion regarding the teaching of reading to high school
students and adults who have learning disabilities and/or
mild intellectual disabilities. Does research support the
It is my opinion that nearly all
high school students and adults with or without learning
disabilities or intellectual disabilities can benefit by
systematic instruction in reading. My personal
support this practice. When I first started out in the
reading field as a high school teacher at Flint Northwestern
High School in Flint, Michigan, I secured permission from
the school to pre- and post-test the entire student body of
over 2,000 students in both reading and spelling and compare
them with my five classes. You can find the results of this
study in my book, To Teach a Dyslexic. Mind you, I
used a "canned" direct instruction method developed by SRA
years ago using Power Builders, Rate Builders,
Reading for Understanding, and Spelling.
If I were in the same position today, I would be
incorporating much more systematic and sequential
instruction and achieving far greater results. But is there
a decent body of research in this area? No. It's much easier
for reading researchers to work with children and work
exclusively in the early years where vocabulary is limited
to a few thousand words most of which follow simple phonic
principles. If you would like to find out more about my
opinions regarding the teaching of reading to high school
students and adults, you might want to either read my book
The Teaching of Reading: a Continuum from Kindergarten
through College or at least read its table of
contents and a few selected chapters on our website.
Does AVKO have a position on the
teaching of handwriting skills for
elementary students - manuscript vs. cursive, D'Nealian,
Yes, AVKO does have several
different positions regarding the teaching of handwriting
skills to elementary students. Many of the positions are
stated on our web page
Let's Write Right.
I am doing research for the curriculum office of
the Medford, Oregon, Public Schools. I came across your
website in doing web searches on the topic of handwriting
research. Do you know of up-to-date research on these
There is almost as much valid research on handwriting as
there is on spelling. Would you believe that the last time a
study was done on the 5,507 basic spelling words in English
was done in November, 1953? You might want to contact
Gladstone about whatever research is out there, or Getty and Dubay, both of whom you probably are well aware.
My personal preference is to expose
all children to all the major styles of handwriting and
allow them to use that style that fits their ability to make
their words legible. I also strongly believe that
handwriting practice can be used to teach "phonics" and
spelling and decoding. With such emphasis on legibility to
make it clear that dear and clear, dean and clean, and cling
and ding, should not be confused because the c and l must
not touch to make the letter d, phonics and spelling can be
taught especially with student self-correction. For a
handwriting "mini" curriculum I would strongly advise using
either the order of presentation in
Starting at Square One
or Let's Write Right for the first year of any
handwriting program. Handwriting books for the children are
really unnecessary expenditures. Handwriting charts and
exercises that emphasize legibility and speed (automaticity)
really are all that is needed.
Can you tell me if I can just
purchase a word list from you to go over with my son who is
We have all kinds of different
word lists. Each is designed for a specific purpose.
I think you might want to to download
Seven Lessons from
If It Is To Be It Is Up To Me To Do It.
This allows you to try before you buy.
I am thinking of ordering some
material, and have a few questions first. I have an 11 year
old who has very poor spelling, poor handwriting, and poor
word-attack skills, though he can read in context fairly
I am curious about the Let's Write Right. How does it correlate with the
Let's Write Right teaches both reading
and spelling AS it teaches the alphabet both in manuscript
and cursive. I would strongly recommend that you use it with
him. If he writes stick/ball instead of D'Nealian, I would
even more strongly recommend that you teach both the
manuscript (printing) and the cursive at the same time.
My son can write, though not cursive yet, and I am more
hoping for sentence copying type of practice with the
There will be plenty of
sentences for "copying" but remember unless your son knows
and reads what he is copying, the "copying" will not help
either his reading or his spelling. The dictation of
sentences with immediate student self-correction is what
will help him the most.
Would The Tricky Words be good to get at the
That set does have a lot of "fun
sentences" and plenty of preview and review. I'm using it
now with a 61 year old dyslexic lady from Germany who came
to the AVKO Educational Research Foundation to learn
English. She is enjoying it. See also:
I was searching the web. to learn how to teach someone to
read, and I am now more confused where to start...I have a
Brother who is 54 years old and cannot read....He had asthma
since he was six months old, and was always to sick to go to
school...He had tutors at home but only once a week, and
then one day not at all....They told my mother he was
Dyslexia and would never learn to read...As a adult he did
go to night school, but never learned....He is living with
me because he got laid off his job. (after 35 years) and
without him knowing how to read he can't find employment,
and I feel so bad for him.... I have to fill out his job
applications, and even read the TV guide for him...He feels
terrible that he cannot read, and is very embarrassed about
I would like to try and help my brother to read... Could you
give me suggestions where and what I should do first..... I
went to the library but all the info. they had was for
teaching children, and I brought home a video with the
cookie monster, and my Brother would not even look at it, he
got upset and said he was not a child....Do they have
anything to learn to read that isn't just for kids....I
appreciate any help you can give me... It would be so
wonderful if my Brother could read....
You've come to the right place. Tell your brother
that my philosophy is very simple. You can treat
children as if they're adults, but never ever treat adults
as if they're children. You won't find a single bunny
rabbit, balloon, or cookie monster in the AVKO
would recommend that you read my autobiography to your
To Teach a Dyslexic.
The moment you
think he is ready to spell the word "at" I would start with
If It Is To Be It Is Up To Me To Do It. You can print
off the website the first seven
I would start with at least five 15 minute sessions of
every day, Saturdays and Sundays
included. If he hasn't learned to write, then five 15
minute sessions of
Let's Write Right.
Once he gets comfortable, then
Word Families In Sentence Context
will help him really get going. If you run
into any specific problems, you can always
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Mr. McCabe,I was thrilled to find your website today. I worked as an assistant Reading Teacher in Virginia's public school system for 4 years, but still don't feel like I KNOW how to teach phonics!! Of course, it was taboo to use boring old phonics techniques with students. Must use the new Whole Language methods recently discovered. It was very frustrating as a teacher not to be able to use phonics with my students. I am now a homeschooling Mom with 4 kids and am trying to teach my 4.5 year old son how to read. I've noticed that he does have dyslexic tendencies, and often forgets his alphabet letters. What am I doing wrong?
You may be doing nothing wrong at all. It may be that he isn't quite ready. It may be that you might be trying to teach too much too fast.
Is it to early yet to peg him as a dyslexic?
It probably is too early. If I were in your shoes, I might want to begin all over again with Let's Write Right and slowly and methodically teach reading and spelling and handwriting AS you teach the letters of the alphabet and not burden your son with learning 52 different printed symbols (Upper and Lower Case letters) before you begin the reading and writing process.
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earlier today regarding my nephew.
I was scanning quickly through the
Starting at Square One. In
Chapter two (the R control rule
- "Starry" and "carry" do not rhyme).
It states to look at "carry" and that
there is no single syllable base word in
carry. Maybe in scanning I missed
something, but the word "car" is in the
word "carry" and rhymes with "star."
How am I misunderstanding this?
As a general rule, words
(no matter how many syllables) that can
be reduced to one meaningful
syllable follow what we call the rules
of "Simple Phonics." For example,
the word misunderstanding can be reduced
to "stand." Words that cannot be
reduced to one meaningful syllable
follow what we call the rules of "FANCY
Phonics." For example, the word
crucial cannot be reduced to one
meaningful syllable so the "sh" sound is
not spelled sh but ci. The letters
"car" happen to be in carry but it is
not a meaningful
syllable as fish is in fisherman,
fishery, and fishing. The letters
"not" and "ice" are in notice but notice
doesn't rhyme with hot mice.
Barry, Carry, Harry, Larry, and Marry do
not reduce to one meaningful
syllable. Starry reduces to star,
tarry reduces to tar, etc. The
"airy" sound is difficult because it can
be spelled ery as in very, erry as in
merry, ary as in Mary, arry as in marry,
as well as airy as in hairy. See
five types of English words.
Also, I see
that you offer free daily tutoring
there. Boy, do I wish I lived
there. Now that I know for sure
that my nephew is dyslexic, I feel
relieved and yet so overwhelmed.
I have found in working with my nephew
that daily repetition is the key for
him, so it seems that I am on the right
track and it is so nice to have that
confirmed. I had planned to do
reading/spelling and math over the
summer. Sounds like I need to add
in keyboarding/writing as well?
I am so
excited to be dealing with someone who
has passion! Do you have these
clinics in other areas of the U.S or
just Birch Run, Michigan?
Sorry. I'm just one
little old man.
We should could use something like this
Also, do you
feel I should explain to Blaine that he
It shouldn't hurt, especially
if you point out to him that I am a dyslexic
and I wrote To Teach a Dyslexic.
If you do think so, are there any books
written on his level that would explain
what dyslexia is and that it is okay and
what we need to do to put him on the road to
Why bother with books.
Show him my
translations of the fancy
definitions that are up on our website.
Also tell him that dyslexics have three
things in common that most "good readers"
don't. One, they are logical.
Two they believe what they're taught.
Three they try to logically apply what
they've been taught to believe about our
language, and it just doesn't work.
Good readers are not logical. They
only half-heartedly believe and what they're
taught. And they just ignore what
they're taught when it doesn't work.
Try sounding out left to right, letter by
letter, the word magician. ma,
mag, magi, magic, magici, magician!
question for the night -- You know and I
know that my nephew has dyslexia.
Is there a formal test that would
document his having dyslexia?
Testing costs money and doesn't get
help. You already know what you
need to know. He needs help and
the schools don't know how to help him.
I do believe
in making learning FUN! I
appreciate your advice on where to
He loved not having to
write the words in a pyramid or 10 times
each. He can spell scatter
now. At first, I thought, "Well yeah,
he can figure out how to spell the word
scatter, but will he know how to spell
it tomorrow?" Not only did he know
how to spell the next day, but I checked
him today on the word and he still knows
how to spell it!
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I am a resource teacher in Fort
Worth. Several of my students
are dyslexic. This is only my
2nd year of teaching and I am
desperately seeking ways to help
these students. I am
interested in whatever materials you
have to offer and in offering a
parent education class.
I would be interested in obtaining
more information from you.
You might be interested in
reading my story of doing what you're
thinking about doing. It's in my
To Teach a Dyslexic. I do have
plans for such a course for parents.
Remembering that the first session will be
the session in which parents will have the
greatest amount of enthusiasm and the least
amount of expertise, I recommend that they
be shown how to us
If It Is To Be It Is Up To Me To Do It. The
first seven lessons are on our website.
This way, when the parents come back for the
second class they will have success stories
to share! Occasionally, you will find
a parent who couldn't follow directions, but
at least you will be able to convince that
parent of the necessity of giving the
correct spelling of each
word IMMEDIATELY after each word is given.
I am a Reading Specialist, who has just
discovered your materials. In fact, we just submitted a purchase order for AVKO
Spelling. I believe that your materials are just the tool to teach and
reach several students. I do have a question. What is your take on Lindamood
Bell,as a tool for severely dyslexic students?
If the "severely"
dyslexic student is a small child, it
seems to really work well. With
children that have no speech and/or
hearing problems, good listening
comprehension, then I personally see no
reason to spend so much intensive
training into phoneme recognition,
especially when I, myself, cannot pass
most phoneme recognition tests that use
Your website has really hit home. I have a 9 year old that has been through the "professional" system of educating a child with "learning disabilities". From public to private to private special ed., he's been to it all! Now finally safe at home. His main issues are having trouble with left or right directions of numbers and letters. He gets distracted by being concerned about the directions of his numbers and letters so he is slower at coming up with the correct answers. This being in spelling or math.
Your child is merely having difficulty with the "logic" of both math and reading when it comes to directionality. We count from left to right 1 to 10 by ones, 10 to 100 by 10's, but when we put our numbers down we put the ones to the right (the pennies' column), the tens' next (the dimes column) and the 100's next (the dollars column). We add the pennies first, then the dimes, and then the dollars. It just takes practice and time to make it automatic.
He is slow at reading but does okay. He does not seem to be discouraged, however; I would like to do what is best for him.
I would suggest
practicing speed reading with easy
reading books. At least once a day
but never more than twice, have him set
the kitchen timer for ten minutes and
read as fast as he can silently.
He is to underline any words that are
difficult for him. When the timer
rings, he is to stop and then compute
his words per minute rate. Have him
make a chart. Have him keep
pushing at least until he gets his speed
up over 110 words per minute. 300 words
per minute is an ideal target.
Really good readers read over 1,000 WPM.
I also was looking at the Individualized Keyboarding. Is that a notebook or a C.D.? I would greatly appreciate your guidance on this before I order. Thank you for being open to homeschoolers!
If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me To Do It
would have been my choice for him, so I just have to agree with you. Individualized Keyboarding is in book form.
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I have a 7 yr old son who will be 8
in a couple of weeks. For some
reason he doesn't seem to be able to
learn to read, spell , and write.
His handwriting is terrible and is
an all out war to get him to try to
write. The Dr. once said he is ADHD,
but compared to some children that
are, I'm not so sure. I have asked
about dyslexia and was told that his
tests didn't look like it, but at
his age it's hard to tell what the
underlying problem is. I have been
to psychologist, etc. , have asked
about neurologist testing and was
told that it wouldn't tell us
anything. However, in the meanwhile
he is slipping further behind. No
he's behind in math as well,
although not as bad as reading. He
is in the 2nd grade at a public
school and in special ed classes for
reading and speech, but they don't
seem to be making a lot of
difference. I ask them if he was
dyslexic, how to teach him, but they
didn't seem to know. His teacher
told me he is probably reading on a
1st grade 3rd month level and we're
in the middle of the 2nd grade. So
once again their only suggestion is
to think about retaining him, which
I disagree. I think this would make
it worse for him. I checked on a
learning center to get help which
would be about a 75 mile drive one
way for me to take him each time and
the cost would be about $700 for one
month - 4 hrs. per week, 2 hrs on 2
different days. My husband is
disabled and I'm the only one
working, so I can't afford this. Can
you share any advice or suggestions
with me. It would greatly be
appreciated more than words could
tell you. Thank You.
First of all, even if the
learning center were to be located next door
to you and even if you were a millionaire,
chances are that it would not work.
From your description of your child, I am
rather certain that your child needs at
least 30 minutes of help every single day,
Saturdays and Sundays included.
Have you considered having
your husband homeschool your child?
You also might want to consider trying the
Starting at Square One
(free as an
and teach him reading and spelling AS you
and/or your husband teach him to write the
alphabet slowly and methodically.
If you would like to use the
Let's Write Right series
that has student pages and has already been
written and is for sale, I wouldn't say NO.
You also might consider
teaching him to use the KEYBOARD using
He will also learn to read and spell AS he
slowly and methodically learns the keyboard.
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Hello, I was wondering if you could help me? My son has had problems in school ever since he started, he is 9 yrs old and in the 3rd grade (he had to repeat 1st grade). He has been tested by the school and they say he has a reading disability, I asked for him to be tested for dyslexia and they told me that the state of North Carolina does not recognize dyslexia ( it doesn't exist ) and that he would be helped for a reading disability. I haven't noticed much change in his reading and I believe that they have labeled him now and are letting him slide by with whatever he can do. I want more for my son than this and have decided to take matters in my own hands.
I will order whatever it takes to help my son, if you could point me in the right direction (I don't know where to begin).
I would start with Word Families in Sentence Context.
So that you better understand why it is that school systems are failing the children who are dyslexic, I do suggest that you read my autobiography To Teach a Dyslexic. After that, you might consider ordering The Teaching of Reading and Spelling: A Continuum from Kindergarten through College. But please, don't order all of these at one time. It might be a bit overwhelming.
Any help would be appreciated on how many kids are sliding by because no one will help them.
Too many, way too many. One last thing: Please do NOT waste your son's precious childhood play time by having him study whatever spelling words his teacher gives him to take home.
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I appreciate your website and especially that you seem more concerned about people than money. In trying to get help for my daughter who is struggling (inexplicably) with reading, I have found that most everyone who wants to help also wants a lot of money for doing it. The problem I am having with my daughter is strange to me. All my other children, even those younger than her, read fine. She is a good speller in general and yet cannot read fluently. She often guesses at words. She seems not to simply recognize a word as most do.
Over the years, I have discovered that most "guessing" is the result of a the fantastic God-given computer doing what it is designed to do. I devoted one chapter in my book
The Teaching of Reading and Spelling: A Continuum from Kindergarten through College to that subject. The chapter? "Statues and Sanctuaries or a Practical Use of Miscue Analysis: Building Egos/Self-Esteem." It tells of how a young man I was tutoring asked me the question, "How could I confuse the word statues with sanctuaries?" If you'll notice every letter in statues occurs in the word sanctuaries. They have the same beginning and ending letters. And most importantly they both have a religious subtext. Believe me, your daughter's "guesses" are not wild guesses. Her mind needs a little more "programming" to respond quickly and automatically to the patterns of English spelling.
She has some reversal problems in both reading and writing. She is also having problems in math. She does not intuit math concepts and
is not fast.
My guess is that her lack of speed is tied to her fear of making mistakes.
She particularly struggles with word problems and math concepts in general. She doesn't fit my idea of a dyslexic altogether since she is a good
speller and has beautiful handwriting. She also is a fairly good writer and can make good creative paragraphs. I have really been stumped as to why she has so much trouble with reading.
Fear of making mistakes rears its ugly head again.
Working with her in word families and phonics and with spelling workbooks has helped. I do see improvement, but reading speed is still a problem.
Here is a very simple solution. Have her create her own 10 minute Guinness Book of Personal Records for speed reading. Have her pick an easy reading book that doesn't have many pictures. Have her (math problem) calculate the average number of words per line and the average number of lines per page. Twice a day have her set the kitchen timer to 10 minutes and read as fast as she can. When the timer dings, she must stop. Now figure her words per minute and enter it on a chart or graph.
She does not like reading.
I'll bet she doesn't like to make mistakes either. So, get books for her that are FUN books, whether they are stupid riddle books or elephant joke books. Whatever turns her on. And also try to convince her to underline AS SHE IS READING any word she is not 100% sure of either its meaning or its pronunciation. Again, I have a chapter in my book about the importance of sending the correct message to the computer brain. Skipping words sends the message the word isn't all that important to learn. Important things we underline.
Another method that sometimes works is having a "drama" class or "Babysitting 101" in which we practice different voices and expressions and sounds using simple children's books such as Green Eggs and Ham. Shel Silverstein's Light in the Attic or Where the Sidewalk Ends are great for this.
Dear Mr. McCabe, I have been looking at your website and I just don't know where to begin. My daughter has been tested and found to be severely dyslexic. She is almost 10 and can sound out small words. We homeschool our older children and want to continue to homeschool our youngest. There are no tutors in our area, that we have found to help us. Someone referred me to your website but I just don't know where to begin. Could you point me in the right direction? Thank you for any help.
1. If your child cannot print and write quickly and smoothly, I would recommend working with her handwriting, four fifteen- minute periods scattered throughout the day. I would recommend the Let's Write Right series including the Rimes and More Rhymes companion book. If you can't afford that, you might want to work with what is on the website and is free, Starting at Square One.
2. If you child has access to a computer, she should learn the proper keyboarding techniques. Her reading and spelling can improve with Individualized Keyboarding because it teaches spelling patterns AS she learns the keyboard. Make sure you order the freebie that goes along with it that gives explicit instructions on how to help a dyslexic.
3. If you can only afford one book, I would highly recommend If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me To Do It. The first seven lessons are on the website.
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have been looking at your website and I just
don't know where to begin.
daughter has been tested and found to be
severely dyslexic. She is almost 10 and can
sound out small words. We homeschool our older
children and want to continue to homeschool our
youngest. There are no tutors in our area,
that we have found to help us. Someone referred
me to your website but I just don't know where
to begin. Could you point me in the right
Thank you for any help.
1. If your child cannot print and
write quickly and smoothly, I would recommend working
with her handwriting, four fifteen- minute periods
scattered throughout the day. I would recommend
Write Right series including the
Rhymes and More Rimes companion book. If
you can't afford that, you might want to work with what
is on the website and is free,
2. If you child has access to a
computer, she should learn the proper keyboarding
techniques. Her reading and spelling can improve
with Individualized Keyboarding because it
teaches spelling patterns AS she learns the keyboard.
Make sure you order the freebie that goes along with it
that gives explicit instructions on how to help a
I have a 14
yr. old son with Dyslexia. He has a terrible time with
cursive writing. He always tells me that he CAN'T write!
I was considering ordering your book, Let's Write
Right...but I'm concerned about whether or not it is
appropriate for a teenager. I have tried some books
and CD Roms that haven't worked because they are geared more
for younger children. Do you have a workbook that doesn't
have the pictures and instructions geared toward little
kids? Perhaps something written for adults?
This is what I have. No bunny rabbits or balloons. All the
AVKO materials are designed for adults. We believe that you
can treat children as adults, but don't ever treat adults
like little kids. If you order, make sure that you order
the teacher edition and not just the workbook.
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Thanks for developing your WEB site. It has been a help
to me. I am in the process of homeschooling my 6 year old.
I have been working with the Distar -100 easy lessons
Reading program but have found this not to be very easy for
my son. I have recently learned Dyslexia is both in my
family and my husband's family. Because of this, I searched
out an Orton-Gillingham 10 hour introduction class. I found
it helpful but they now want me to take a 45hour $800.00
class. I can do this but feel there must be something in
print which will walk me through a systematic approach to
I am searching for a reading program to use with dyslexic
children which I can use with my son and in the future his
younger siblings to teach strong reading and spelling
skills. I am playing the odds that one of my children will
be dyslexic. I assumed if I found a program developed for
dyslexics which can make very strong readers and spellers
out of them that it should work for all children regardless
of a quicker ability to learn to read.
I am currently following some advice from
your site and am concentrating on Phonemic awareness skill
development in my son.
Can you recommend material which takes me from ground zero
(teach the sound to symbol) up through all spelling rules?
I resent the way I learned reading in the mid 60s because
I rely heavily on memorization with little knowledge of
phonic skills. I am an avid reader and would like to keep
my children from developing the same -very limited knowledge
of spelling rules which I have.
to gradually learn how it was that a dyslexic learned to
teach dyslexics and to develop materials for others to teach
dyslexics. Then you take the full course in teaching
reading that is in
The Teaching of
Reading (and Spelling): a Continuum from Kindergarten
through College. You would also need
of English Spelling
Word Families in Sentence
Context. Your examinations would be up on the
website and answered by E-mail.
You certainly are on the right track. Orton-Gillingham is
excellent. I have received O-G training. It doesn't hurt
for a tutor or a teacher to know "all" the rules. But I
have found that it isn't necessary to TEACH all the rules.
If you were planning on becoming a certified O-G tutor or
tutor trainer and wanted to make a living doing so, then by
all means spend the $800.00. However, I think you can learn
to be an even better homeschooling mom for a whole lot less.
You can become a certified AVKO tutor for just the cost of
the materials. You would start with
To Teach a Dyslexic
If you want to start from ground zero with your son, I would
strongly recommend that you simply start with
Right. You don't need the student's book. It's better
if you just modeled the letters and let him trace over them.
This way you can use all your O-G training to lock in the
kinesthetic. And by the way, I hope that you will use
either Italic or D'Nealian (Modified) manuscript.
Hi, I was just looking over your website and our son's
second grade teacher has asked if the school could test him
for scotopic sensitivity. Have you ever heard of this? If
so, can you suggest a good place to find information about
this? Your help is greatly appreciated!
Yes. This is a sensitivity to the "snow blinding" effect of
white paper. I have this sensitivity myself. However, it
does not interfere with my normal reading. In fact, it
helps me increase my reading speed. I like to compare
reading to riding a bicycle. The slower you ride the
bicycle, the harder it is to maintain your balance.
Increase your speed and you don't have to worry. In
learning to read, students with scotopic sensitivity stay
focused on single words a bit too long and then the words
seem to jump around. They do that for me when I am tutoring
and reading upside down. So, I use a tinted grayish purple
plastic sheet that I lay over the print. You can pay all
kinds of money for tinted lenses and for the evaluation. If
the school will pay for it, why not? But don't expect that
this will all of a sudden allow him to become a good reader.
If it does, great. If it doesn't then he probably is a
dyslexic and needs a different approach and not just tinted
lenses or a tinted overlay. For more information go to
From there you can find the nearest Irlen specialist.
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I have recently started trying to teach a 12 year old boy to
read. He seems
like a very smart boy, but cannot read. In the 4 sessions I
have had with
him, he has not made much progress. He can sound out small
words such as
cat, dog. If I try anything harder, he gets very frustrated
and confused. He even gets some letters of the alphabet confused.
When asking him the sounds the letters make, he can do that
now. But he
can't seem to apply that knowledge when sounding out a word.
overwhelmed and won't try.
After reading the web page about dyslexia, I believe this a
Do you feel there is anyway that he could learn to read
just by taking is
slow with me. I am not a teacher or trained in reading
it be a waste of time if he doesn't get an "expert" to teach
him. His two
brothers seem to have difficulties reading also, and
This child, however, wants to learn very badly but can't
seem to get it even
after several people have tried to train him.
He comes from a broken family and is poor. They are not
going to be able to
send him to special schools and hire expensive teachers.
district has done nothing to help him that I can see.
He is now in a "life skills" class where they do not teach
how to do things like clean, or order meals, or tie shoes.
He is capable to
do anything like that. He is very smart in every other way.
Should I try to help him on my own? Could he learn to read
with just my
Yes, your young man can learn with just your help. In fact,
he probably will learn faster with you as his mentor than he
would with someone with all kinds of special training. Much
of what is taught at the university level is "theory upon
theory." And most of these theories just don't work.
If you can work with this young man fifteen minutes a day,
six or seven days a week, you can really help him. I would
suggest that before you start you read my autobiography,
To Teach a Dyslexic,
so that you will understand why my very simple, common
sense, approach is not widely used. And more importantly,
why it works! Then I would start with
If it is to be it is up to me
to do it. If you have any questions while
you're using these materials, you can always
Our granddaughter is currently being tested for dyslexia,
though preliminary test results from the psychologist is she
is reading above the norm for her age group, which is 6
years old. She is left handed and I have noticed difficulty
with writing numbers backwards and sometimes she writes her
name backwards. Is there any link that for young left
handed children learning at a slower rate due to trying to
function in a right handed world? When a right handed
teacher shows how to write letters and sentences on the
board, it's certainly harder for left handed children.
Please let me know if you are aware of any sites available
dealing with this subject.
You're absolutely right. That's why I believe elementary
teachers should not be allowed to teach handwriting until
they can demonstrate that they can write with either hand
and upside down as well. However, there haven't been
studies concerning the effects of right-handed teachers
teaching left-handed students--at least to my knowledge.
My son is 7 and is in Kindergarten for the 2nd time.
He is adopted. He was a drug and alcohol baby and has
been on many medications including seizure meds. He is
a normal functioning child at this point but has been
diagnoses ADHD. He is currently taking Adderall. The
problem with Isaac is...he can work on a letter at school
all week and by the weekend...he's forgotten it. My
husband and I have been working with him at home too but he
doesn't even remember what we work on. We have been
coordinating with the teacher to reemphasize what she has
been teaching. We are having a conference with her
next week and don't know what to do. We DO NOT want
him held back again but we feel like that's going to be a
problem. I have homeschool experience with my other 2
children but with Isaac's background and special help at
school, we felt it was best that he went to "school."
My oldest daughter, now 16, went through a Slingerland
summer school program to help her with her dyslexia problem.
And it did...we have tried the hand in the air approach with
Isaac too but he just doesn't retain anything that has to do
with letters or numbers. He has a hard time
remembering money too. He calls a nickel a penny and
so on. Even after going over and over it. Do you have
any suggestions? If so...I'm all ears....
I agree that Isaac should not repeat kindergarten one more
time. If the techniques and materials didn't work the first
time or the second time, why on earth would anyone think
that they might work the third time through? Something
different must be tried. By what you have said about
Isaac's "inability" to remember, I wouldn't be surprised if
Isaac would be a candidate for some form of "brain
retraining." Dr. Lyelle Palmer of Winona State University
in Minnesota immediately comes to mind. So does Benton
Kurtz of the Kurtz Center in Winter Park, Florida. If you
live close enough to travel to Birch Run, Michigan, I would be
willing to see what I could do. If your school system
cannot or will not help your son, homeschooling seems to be
about the only answer. If you do elect to go this route, I
might be of some help to you. I would suggest a very
careful modification of the presentation of letters (and
Write Right. I would start with the letters A
and a. The names are "Big A" and "little a" and the letters
make the word "uh" as in "a car," "a house," "a dog," "a
cat." You might start teaching a form of rebus reading.
Use the letter "a" and a picture of a car, house, dog, or
cat. You point to the letter and say "uh" and point to the
picture and name it. Do this for five minutes and take a
break. Let's say, counting pennies or fingers. Five
fingers, five pennies make one fist or one nickel. One hand
plus two fingers equal 7 fingers. One nickel plus two
pennies equal seven pennies. Play, play, play for five or
ten minutes. Then back to the letter "AY" and how to read
it whether Big A or little a. Praise, praise, praise and
not one bit of discouragement for not remembering. Keep
telling him he WILL remember. You can remember anything IF
you forget it enough times. You don't go to the letter
whose name is Big B and little b until Big A and little a
are mastered. Now you can have the words baa, BAA, and Baa.
After the B's are mastered, then we go to the C's. And we
now have "A CAB, a cab, A Cab, and A cab" and we can play
with alphabetical order. What comes first? A. What comes
after A? B. What comes before C? B. Play, play, play.
Small periods of time with increasing lengths between the
teaching. If Isaac can remember after a ten minute break.
Great! Continue extending the break times by intervals of
one minute. If Isaac fails (NOT CAN'T!) to remember after a
ten minute break, reduce the break intervals by one minute
each time until he can. And then reverse and increase the
break intervals. After C you help him master D and d. You
now have added words of BAD, bad, DAD, dad, and the
"nonsense" words of CAD and cad. Then you go to the letters
R and r. After R and r go to S and s. After S and s go to
T and t. Then return to teaching the letters of the
alphabet and the words that they make in alphabetical order.
You also might want to read my life story. I am a
dyslexic. I am ADHD and even at 69 can't sit still. I
should never have been able to learn to read, but I was
"homeschooled" by my sister before I went to school. It was
that and an awful lot of unique experiences that enabled me
to learn to read and learn to teach other dyslexics how to
read. Sorry about my plug for To Teach a Dyslexic
but I really do think it might help you understand why
schools fail to help children like your Isaac and why my
methods have yet to become widespread.
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