A tremendous amount of research over the past 20 years has been aimed at understanding reading difficulties, and scientific and educational communities have made an important and very useful discovery:
Studies show that up to 85% of all reading, spelling and writing difficulties are the result of a common cause called a phonological deficit.
Because our written language is based upon oral language, a person’s ability to hear, identify and manipulate the individual sounds within words (phonemic awareness) is vital to becoming a proficient reader. In fact, phonemic awareness is the best indicator for how proficient a reader a person will become; a far better indicator than a person’s intelligence, socio-economic status or where they attend school. When a person over the age of 4 or 5 has difficulties with phonemic awareness, they are said to suffer from a phonological weakness or phonological deficit.
- Students with a phonological deficit have particular difficulty identifying the sounds that make up individual words, matching the sounds of spoken words with written language and sounding out written words.
- A phonological deficit is neurological in origin. Using brain-imaging techniques, we can see that when a good reader is in the process of reading, a specific part of the brain is active. When someone with a phonological deficit is in the process of reading, different parts of the brain are active – parts of the brain that are far less efficient for reading.
- A phonological deficit doesn’t resolve itself. It also can’t be resolved through traditional classroom instruction or tutoring.
- As defined by the National Institutes of Health, dyslexia is simply an unexpected difficulty with reading. “Unexpected” is the key word in this definition: when a student is of average or above-average intelligence, has received appropriate reading instruction, is sufficiently motivated to read and still has difficulty with reading, the student can be diagnosed with dyslexia.
- This unexpected difficulty is almost always the result of a phonological deficit.
The good news is that there is a way to help students who struggle with reading because of a phonological deficit or dyslexia.
We’re proud to provide SpellRead to transform students into confident, successful readers. Parents tell us that SpellRead is a life-changing program for their children – as one of our parents said, “My son Mark was struggling in reading. He is now up to his grade level in reading and wants to read on his own – a huge feat in itself.”
SpellRead – a reading intervention program that is ranked #1 by the U.S. Department of Education for improving reading fluency (US DoE 2007 WWC Intervention Report) – uses a series of intensive, focused, multi-sensory activities to re-train a student’s brain and remediate phonological difficulties. You can learn more about SpellRead on our website: www.lakeside-learning.com.