(Compiled by Mark Malyj, 10/23/2004)
Here are the best research based resources I've found for educating ANY child, whether they are dyslexic or not, in reading and writing. Covering the areas of Phonemic Awareness, Synthetic Phonics, Typing Awareness, Joined Handwriting, Dyslexia. Parents can use these resources to help a child learn reading and writing at home, even if he or she is simultaneously being taught the "tried and true" non-research based methods at school. Teachers can also introduce these resources into their classrooms in kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd grades.
Reading and Brain Chemistry
For the latest brain chemistry research involved in the process of reading, see "Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Overcoming Reading Problems at Any Level" by SALLY SHAYWITZ. Reporting on some of the research that underpins the "No Child Left Behind" Act. See http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0375400125/qid=1096477957/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/002-4347709-4712815?v=glance&s=books&n=507846. This book discusses the fact that 20% (really!) of all people are dyslexic, and discusses the left brain chemistry wall that dyslexic kids hit at soon as they try to read in kindergarten or earlier. Also that most non-dyslexic kids who do not like to read (these are in the majority in this day and age) hit a right brain chemistry wall when they reach 4th grade, with devastating consequences for high school, college, and career. And how to work around these walls!
Phonemic Awareness Software
For software to prepare your child for reading thru Phonemic Awareness, or PA, see Earobics at http://www.earobics.com/. Excellent for preschoolers, but not too late to do it the summer before 1st grade.
Step 1 Home version available for $59 from http://www.donjohnston.com/catalog/earobics.htm.
Keyboard Awareness Software
For software to teach keyboard awareness, improve spelling and word recognition skills, see "First Keys 2", http://www.widgit.com/products/firstkeys2/. Also see the product review. Great for kindergartners, or at least start the summer before 1st grade. Windows only. Available for $79 from http://www.donjohnston.com/catalog/firstkeys.htm.
Synthetic Phonics Software
For software to teach SYNTHETIC phonics (the REAL phonics!), based on the Orton Gillingham method, see Phonics Tutor at http://www.phonicstutor.com/. Use this series with your child throughout 1st, 2nd , even 3rd grades. The first module is available $90 for Windows from http://www.timberdoodle.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=110. Mac version for $90 at http://www.timberdoodle.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=114.
For kids with handwriting difficulties, see the article "The Importance of Joined Handwriting" by Debbie Hepplewhite, http://www.rrf.org.uk/46%20The%20Importance%20of%20Joined%20Handwriting.htm. Also get the book "Best Handwriting for ages 4-7 Teachers' Resource Book" by Judy Richardson, Andrew Brodie publishing, available from England for £15.29 at http://www.acblack.com/Catalogue/details.asp?sku=1421096&dept%5Fid=9&mscssid=1JWQC3BF46959JF63AXUA7E7TC4R7T4E, This book ultimately teaches writing in the cursive style as it leads naturally into joined writing. However, at the early stages the letters are very simple with exit
strokes ready for joining but no entry strokes. Printed or block writing is best learned after joined handwriting. Also get Pupil Workbook 1 and 2 that go with this book. Kindergarten is a great time to start.
The Phonics Wars!
For an extremely frank discussion of the various reading methods out there these days, including Whole Language, Analytic Phonics, and Synthetic Phonics (Orton Gillingham), and all their alternative names, see Dyslexics.org.uk.
Trust in the Lord, and He will provide!