About Faiza Faisal

Faiza Faisal is a language and Reading Specialist trained in the Orto-Gillingham Approach. She is an Associate of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators(USA) and IDA Certified Dyslexia Practitioner. She has been practicing at CARE since the year 2000. Faiza teaches students on one on one and group basis.Also, Faiza teacher trains and offers workshops/ seminars to raise awareness about learning disabilities/dyslexia and counsels students/parents/teachers on academic/psychological issues related to learning and behavior.


IDA Fact Sheets

IDA fact sheets are convenient, professionally reviewed materials designed to improve understanding and support advocacy initiatives. Fact sheets are frequently used to enrich and supplement IEP meetings, school board discussions, and district policy initiatives. Click on topics of interest below to view and download fact sheets.

Read the Original article on International Dyslexia Association

Top 10 Things You Should Know About Reading

An achievement gaps exists

Many students enter kindergarten performing below their peers and remain behind as they move through the grades. Differences in language, exposure to print and background experiences multiply as students confront more challenging reading material in the upper grades. There is a well-established correlation between prior knowledge and reading comprehension: students who have it, get it. Students who don’t, don’t. The differences are quantifiable as early as age 3 (Hart & Risley, 2003). For some subgroups of students, the reading failure rate is even higher than their same-age peers: 52% of black students, 51% of Hispanic students, and 49% of students in poverty all scored Below Basic on the NAEP assessment. High-need students have chronic difficulty in the classroom, and teachers must be prepared to meet the challenges they face.

Learning to read is complex

Reading is a complex process that draws upon many skills that need to be developed at the same time. Marilyn Adams (1990) compares the operation of the reading system to the operation of a car. Unlike drivers, though, readers also need to:

  • Build the car (develop the mechanical systems for identifying words)
  • Maintain the car (fuel it with print, fix up problems along the way, and make sure it runs smoothly)
  • And, most importantly, drive the car (which requires us to be motivated, strategic, and mindful of the route we’re taking)

Cars are built by assembling the parts separately and fastening them together. “In contrast, the parts of the reading system are not discrete. We cannot proceed by completing each individual sub-system and then fastening it to one another. Rather, the parts of the reading system must grow together. They must grow to one another and from one another.”(Adams et al., 1990, pp.20-21).

The ultimate goal of reading is to make meaning from print, and a vehicle in good working order is required to help us reach that goal.

Teachers should teach with the end goal in mind

Because learning to read is complex, the most accomplished teachers learn to teach with the end goal of readers and learners in mind. Teachers working with young children learn to balance the various components of reading, including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension in their every day teaching. The very best teachers integrate the components while fostering a love of books, words, and stories.

Kids who struggle usually have problems sounding out words

Difficulties in decoding and word recognition are at the core of most reading difficulties. Poor readers have difficulty understanding that sounds in words are linked to certain letters and letter patterns. This is called the “alphabetic principle.”

The reason many poor readers don’t attain the alphabetic principle is because they haven’t developed phonemic awareness — being aware that words are made up of speech sounds, or phonemes (Lyon, 1997). When word recognition isn’t automatic, reading isn’t fluent, and comprehension suffers.

What happens before school matters a lot

What preschoolers know before they enter school is strongly related to how easily they learn to read in first grade. Three predictors of reading achievement that children learn before they get to school are:

  • The ability to recognize and name letters of the alphabet
  • General knowledge about print (understanding, for example, which is the front of the book and which is the back and how to turn the pages of a book)
  • Awareness of phonemes (the sounds in words)

Reading aloud together builds these knowledge and skills. As a result, reading aloud with children is the single most important activity for parents and caregivers to do to prepare children to learn to read. (Adams, 1990).

Learning to read is closely tied to learning to talk and listen

Families and caregivers need to talk and listen to young children in order to help them learn a lot of the skills they will need for reading. When a child says "cook" and her father says, “Would you like a cookie?” he is building her knowledge of vocabulary, sentence structure, syntax, and purposes for communication — all of which will help her become a reader in later years. When a caregiver sings rhymes and plays word games with the children she cares for, she is helping them recognize the sounds in words (phonemic awareness). Children with language, hearing, or speech problems need to be identified early so they can receive the help they need to prevent later reading difficulties.

Without help, struggling readers continue to struggle

Many children learn to read by first grade regardless of the type of instruction they receive. The children who don’t learn, however, don’t seem able to catch up on their own.

More than 88 percent of children who have difficulty reading at the end of first grade display similar difficulties at the end of fourth grade (Juel, 1988). And three-quarters of students who are poor readers in third grade will remain poor readers in high school (Shaywitz et al., 1997). These facts highlight the importance of providing a strong foundation for reading birth through age five.

With help, struggling readers can succeed

For 85 to 90 percent of poor readers, prevention and early intervention programs can increase reading skills to average reading levels. These programs, however, need to combine instruction in phoneme awareness, phonics, spelling, reading fluency, and reading comprehension strategies, and must be provided by well-trained teachers (Lyon, 1997).

As many as two-thirds of reading disabled children can become average or above-average readers if they are identified early and taught appropriately (Vellutino et al., 1996; Fletcher & Lyon, 1998). These facts underscore the value of having a highly trained teacher in every classroom.

Teaching kids to read is a team effort

Parents, teachers, caregivers, and members of the community must recognize the important role they can play in helping children learn to read. The research shows that what families do makes a difference, what teachers do makes a difference, and what community programs do makes a difference. It’s time for all those who work with children to work together to ensure that every child learns to read. It is our shared responsibility.

Read the Original article on Reading Rockets

Seven Strategies to Teach Students Text Comprehension

Seven Strategies to Teach Students

Comprehension strategies are conscious plans — sets of steps that good readers use to make sense of text. Comprehension strategy instruction helps students become purposeful, active readers who are in control of their own reading comprehension. The seven strategies here appear to have a firm scientific basis for improving text comprehension

1. Monitoring comprehension

Students who are good at monitoring their comprehension know when they understand what they read and when they do not. They have strategies to “fix” problems in their understanding as the problems arise. Research shows that instruction, even in the early grades, can help students become better at monitoring their comprehension.

Comprehension monitoring instruction teaches students to:

• Be aware of what they do understand
• Identify what they do not understand
• Use appropriate strategies to resolve problems in comprehension

2. Metacognition

Metacognition can be defined as “thinking about thinking.” Good readers use metacognitive strategies to think about and have control over their reading. Before reading, they might clarify their purpose for reading and preview the text. During reading, they might monitor their understanding, adjusting their reading speed to fit the difficulty of the text and “fixing” any comprehension problems they have. After reading, they check their understanding of what they read. Students may use several comprehension monitoring strategies:

• Identify where the difficulty occurs “I don’t understand the second paragraph on page 76.”
• Identify what the difficulty is “I don’t get what the author means when she says, ‘Arriving in America was a milestone in my grandmother’s life.'”
• Restate the difficult sentence or passage in their own words “Oh, so the author means that coming to America was a very important event in her grandmother’s life.”
• Look back through the text “The author talked about Mr. McBride in Chapter 2, but I don’t remember much about him. Maybe if I reread that chapter, I can figure out why he’s acting this way now.”
• Look forward in the text for information that might help them to resolve the difficulty “The text says, ‘The groundwater may form a stream or pond or create a wetland. People can also bring groundwater to the surface.’ Hmm, I don’t understand how people can do that… Oh, the next section is called ‘Wells.’ I’ll read this section to see if it tells how they do it.”

3. Graphic and semantic organizers

Graphic organizers illustrate concepts and relationships between concepts in a text or using diagrams. Graphic organizers are known by different names, such as maps, webs, graphs, charts, frames, or clusters.
Regardless of the label, graphic organizers can help readers focus on concepts and how they are related to other concepts. Graphic organizers help students read and understand textbooks and picture books.

Graphic organizers can:
• Help students focus on text structure “differences between fiction and nonfiction” as they read
• Provide students with tools they can use to examine and show relationships in a text
• Help students write well-organized summaries of a text

Here are some examples of graphic organizers:
Venn-Diagrams : (29K PDF)* Used to compare or contrast information from two sources. For example, comparing two Dr. Seuss books.

Storyboard/Chain of Events : (29K PDF)* Used to order or sequence events within a text. For example, listing the steps for brushing your teeth.

Story Map : (19K PDF)* Used to chart the story structure. These can be organized into fiction and nonfiction text structures. For example, defining characters, setting, events, problem, resolution in a fiction story; however in a nonfiction story, main idea and details would be identified.

Cause/Effect : (13K PDF)* Used to illustrate the cause and effects told within a text. For example, staying in the sun too long may lead to a painful sunburn.

4. Answering questions

Questions can be effective because they:
• Give students a purpose for reading
• Focus students’ attention on what they are to learn
• Help students to think actively as they read
• Encourage students to monitor their comprehension

Help students to review content and relate what they have learned to what they already know The Question-Answer Relationship strategy (QAR) encourages students to learn how to answer questions better. Students are asked to indicate whether the information they used to answer questions about the text was textually explicit information (information that was directly stated in the text), textually implicit information (information that was implied in the text), or information entirely from the student’s own background knowledge.

There are four different types of questions:
• “Right There” Questions found right in the text that ask students to find the one right answer located in one place as a word or a sentence in the passage.
Example: Who is Frog’s friend? Answer: Toad

• “Think and Search” Questions based on the recall of facts that can be found directly in the text. Answers are typically found in more than one place, thus requiring students to “think” and “search” through the passage to find the answer.
Example: Why was Frog sad? Answer: His friend was leaving.

• “Author and You” Questions require students to use what they already know, with what they have learned from reading the text. Student’s must understand the text and relate it to their prior knowledge before answering the question.
Example: How do think Frog felt when he found Toad? Answer: I think that Frog felt happy because he had not seen Toad in a long time. I feel happy when I get to see my friend who lives far away.

• “On Your Own” Questions are answered based on a students prior knowledge and experiences. Reading the text may not be helpful to them when answering this type of question.
Example: How would you feel if your best friend moved away? Answer: I would feel very sad if my best friend moved away because I would miss her.

5. Generating questions

By generating questions, students become aware of whether they can answer the questions and if they understand what they are reading. Students learn to ask themselves questions that require them to combine information from different segments of text. For example, students can be taught to ask main idea questions that relate to important information in a text.

6. Recognizing story structure

In story structure instruction, students learn to identify the categories of content (characters, setting, events, problem, resolution). Often, students learn to recognize story structure through the use of story maps. Instruction in story structure improves students’ comprehension.

7. Summarizing

Summarizing requires students to determine what is important in what they are reading and to put it into their own words. Instruction in summarizing helps students:
• Identify or generate main ideas
• Connect the main or central ideas
• Eliminate unnecessary information
• Remember what they read

Effective comprehension strategy instruction is explicit

Research shows that explicit teaching techniques are particularly effective for comprehension strategy instruction. In explicit instruction, teachers tell readers why and when they should use strategies, what strategies to use, and how to apply them. The steps of explicit instruction typically include direct explanation, teacher modeling (“thinking aloud”), guided practice, and application.

• Direct explanation The teacher explains to students why the strategy helps comprehension and when to apply the strategy.
• Modeling The teacher models, or demonstrates, how to apply the strategy, usually by “thinking aloud” while reading the text that the students are using.
• Guided practice The teacher guides and assists students as they learn how and when to apply the strategy.
• Application The teacher helps students practice the strategy until they can apply it independently.

Effective comprehension strategy instruction can be accomplished through cooperative learning, which involves students working together as partners or in small groups on clearly defined tasks. Cooperative learning instruction has been used successfully to teach comprehension strategies. Students work together to understand texts, helping each other learn and apply comprehension strategies. Teachers help students learn to work in groups. Teachers also provide modeling of the comprehension strategies.

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