Saturday, December 2, 2017

BEST Kids' Books About Dyslexia and ADHD

Self-esteem and confidence are two of the most important qualities parents and teachers try to instill in children. Succeeding in doing so, however, can be challenging for both the adults and the children. when we add a learning disability to the mix, self-esteem and confidence building can be daunting for all involved.

That is why we have gathered together here what we believe are currently the BEST books about dyslexia and ADHD for kids. We think you will discover at least one of the selections in the list below to help you with the task of helping a child you know build self-confidence and self-esteem. Children and teens with LD challenges will find it easy to identify with the main characters in these stories. Not only are the selections empathetic, but they each help teach about strengths and talents that can help manage and sometimes even compensate for learning challenges.

We hope a child you know will not only learn from one of these books but discover how he can overcome his learning or reading issues, building that all-important confidence and self-esteem in the process.

BEST Kids' Books About Dyslexia and ADHD

Fish in a Tree (for Ages 10+)
by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.” Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

It's Called Dyslexia (for Ages 6-9)
by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos and Nuria Roca (Illustrator)
This is one of several titles in Barron’s Live and Learn series for younger children. They are books that take a child’s point of view, especially if the child suffers from some physical challenge or lack self-confidence in going about everyday activities. These attractively illustrated picture storybooks encourage kids never to be afraid of a challenge. Following each story are four pages of suggested activities that relate to the book’s theme. A final two-page section offers advice to parents. The child in this story knows the alphabet, but she sometimes has trouble putting all the letters together to read words. No matter how hard she tries, she often mixes up the letters or writes them backwards. She’s unhappy until her teacher explains that she has dyslexia, and that she can be helped to read and write correctly.

Tom's Special Talent - Dyslexia (for Ages 5-9)
by Kate Gaynor, Liam Gaynor (Editor), Eva Byrne (Illustrator)
Tom isn't sure if he has any talents at all when he sees how good his friends are at writing and reading. But a school competition soon helps him to find his own very special talent ! Children with Dyslexia or a learning difficulty often find school a daunting and sometimes terrifying daily task. In an environment where certain skills, like writing and reading, are praised and highlighted more than others, it is important for children to recognise that everyone has a 'special talent' of their own. It encourages other children to be mindful of the differences that exist between their friends and classmates and to be aware that all children, regardless of their talents, learn differently.

My Mouth Is a Volcano! (for Ages 5-8)
by Julia Cook and Carrie Hartman
All of Louis' thoughts are very important to him. In fact, his thoughts are so important to him that when he has something to say, his words begin to wiggle, and then they do the jiggle, then his tongue pushes all of his important words up against his teeth and he erupts, or interrupts others. His mouth is a volcano! My Mouth Is A Volcano takes an empathetic approach to the habit of interrupting and teaches children a witty technique to capture their rambunctious thoughts and words for expression at an appropriate time. Told from Louis’ perspective, this story provides parents, teachers, and counselors with an entertaining way to teach children the value of respecting others by listening and waiting for their turn to speak.

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) (for Ages 10-14)
by Rick Riordan
“What was so great about me? A dyslexic, hyperactive boy with a D+ report card, kicked out of school for the sixth time in six years.” That’s what 12-year old Percy used to think. But that was before he discovered his true identity—as a demigod. The Lightning Thief throws a modern-day twist into ancient Greek mythology. And this popular, action-packed adventure story helps kids rethink their own abilities. Plus, there’s a movie version that could help spark the interest of reluctant readers.
Typically recommended for kids: Ages 9+

My Name Is Brain Brian (for Ages 8-12)
by Jeanne Betancourt
Brian thinks he’s dumb. It doesn’t help that kids laugh when he reads aloud and writes on the board at school. But Brian’s sixth-grade teacher notices him reversing the letters of his name. That makes her suspect he might have dyslexia—and she’s right. With more help from his school, Brian finally comes to realize that he’s a smart kid who learns differently. My Name Is Brain Brian reinforces the idea that kids can learn to work around their issues and achieve their goals.

Clementine (for Ages 6-8)
by Sara Pennypacker and Marla Frazee (Illustrator)
Life can be tricky for 8-year-olds. Just ask Clementine, who has a really bad week in this first book in the series named after her. On Monday, she gets in trouble for cutting her friend Margaret’s hair off. (Margaret got glue in it, and Clementine was just trying to help!) Every day after that gets worse, and Clementine starts to worry that her parents are going to label her “the hard one.” (Her brother would be “the easy one.”) This book never uses the term ADHD, but Clementine has many characteristics of kids with attention issues. So they are likely to relate to her challenges and creative, comic solutions.

Playing Tyler (Strange Chemistry) (for Ages 13+)
by T.L. Costa
Tyler MacCandless has adult-sized problems. A drunk driver killed his dad. His big brother’s in rehab. And his ADHD isn’t helping matters, especially at school. But just when things seem unbearable, Tyler’s given a flight simulator video game to beta test. If he does well, he might have a shot at getting into flight school. But what if the game’s not really a game? This twisty, technology-rich plot (which includes a bit of romance) will keep teens on the edge of their seats.

The Alphabet War: A Story About Dyslexia (for Ages 5-7)
by Diane Burton Rob
Adam has been having trouble with reading for a while, and in third grade he still can’t read on his own. Adam is finally diagnosed with dyslexia and his teachers put a plan in place. In The Alphabet War, kids get to see how Adam learns to match letters to sounds. It’s not easy, but he works hard. He also starts focusing on what he’s good at—and realizes he’s smart in other ways besides reading.
Typically recommended for kids: Ages 7–10

Thank You, Mr. Falker (for Ages 5-8)
by Patricia Polacco
Trisha struggles to read and she’s ashamed about it. Kids at school call her dumb and she thinks they’re right. She feels lonely and rejected. But then, in fifth grade, a very special teacher recognizes her amazing artistic talent—and her reading disability. He steps in to gently guide and support her. Slowly, Trisha begins to blossom—hence the gratitude of this touching best-seller’s title, “Thank You, Mr. Falker.” The story may be especially poignant because it’s autobiographical.

Smart but Scattered Teens: The "Executive Skills" Program for Helping Teens Reach Their Potential (for parents of teens w/ ADHD)
by Richard Guare PhD, Peg Dawson EdD & Colin Guare
If you're the parent of a "smart but scattered" teen, trying to help him or her grow into a self-sufficient, responsible adult may feel like a never-ending battle. Now you have an alternative to micromanaging, cajoling, or ineffective punishments. This positive guide provides a science-based program for promoting teens' independence by building their executive skills--the fundamental brain-based abilities needed to get organized, stay focused, and control impulses and emotions. Executive skills experts Drs. Richard Guare and Peg Dawson are joined by Colin Guare, a young adult who has successfully faced these issues himself. Learn step-by-step strategies to help your teen live up to his or her potential now and in the future--while making your relationship stronger. Helpful worksheets and forms can be downloaded and printed

More Kids' Books about ADHD and Dyslexia (from Understood)

For information on customizable tools for dyslexia & other reading challenges: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC: and

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

5 BEST Websites for Dyscalculia

Is your child or a particular student struggling with math on a daily basis? It is not unusual for children or students to be challenged with math homework once in awhile. However, if he experiences problems with numbers or has low math test scores yet does well in other subjects, he could have a math learning disability (LD) called dyscalculia.

This LD called dyscalculia is a brain-related condition that makes basic arithmetic and its concepts very hard to learn. The condition may be hereditary, but scientists have not yet discovered any genes specifically related to it.

Up to 7% of elementary school students have dyscalculia. Research suggests it's as common as dyslexia -- a reading disorder -- but not as well understood. In fact, kids and parents sometimes call it “math dyslexia,” but this can be confusing because dyscalculia is a completely different condition. Your school or doctor may call it a “mathematics learning disability” or a “math disorder.”

This math LD can sometimes be associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) -- up to 60% of people who have ADHD also have a learning disorder like dyscalculia.

Dyscalculia, sometimes called math dyslexia, covers a wide range of math difficulties. The symptoms can also change as your child gets older and is expected to think about math in new ways. Here are signs of the math struggles you might see at different ages.

From the following 2 lists, if you find that your child or student demonstrates more weaknesses than he does strengths, a math learning disability or dyscalculia may be the issue:

Strengths in Mathematics

-Correctly sequences numbers, equations and formulas
-Correctly performs mental math processes
-Accurately conducts math computations
-Completes work logically and with minimal errors
-Understands math concepts
-Appropriately uses both oral and written math terms
-Consistently and correctly remembers math facts

Weaknesses in Mathematics

-Rarely sequences numbers, equations and formulas correctly
-Unable to perform mental math processes
-Usually conducts math computations inaccurately
-Makes many careless errors, often choosing the wrong operation
-Has difficulty understanding math concepts
-Rarely uses math terms appropriately---both orally and in written work
-Unable to accurately recall math facts (though many children today are not committing math facts to memory.)
-Unable to do word problems

Once you have determined the strengths vs. weaknesses ratio as stated above, consider using one or more of the following top resources to help initiate progress for your child or student with dyscalculia or other related math issues. These links can provide a bridge while waiting to access professional evaluation, services and support for a math LD.

BEST 5 Dyscalculia Resources

1. Math Worksheets-from
This link provides FREE math printables that include daily math activities, math puzzles and much more.

2. Dyscalculia Resource Treasure Collection from tesSpecialNeeds
This resource includes a set of activities, flash cards, strategies, revision aids and posters all developed to support pupils with dyscalculia. All resources have a clear layout and include visual support where necessary. Sassoon font is used throughout.

3. Dyscalculia Worksheets & Other Resources from
Here is included a list of printable math resources that have people with Dyscalculia and/or Dyslexia in mind. This is a good resource for materials to help with learning math facts.

4. Dyscalculia Primer and Resource Guide by Dr. Anna J. Wilson
Dr. Wilson is an OECD Post-Doctoral Fellow at INSERM U562, Paris, conducting cognitive neuroscience research on the remediation of dyscalculia. The purpose of this primer is to explain the cognitive neuroscience approach to dyscalculia (including the state of research in this area), to answer frequently asked questions, and to point the reader towards further resources on the subject. Further references include some of the major scientific literature in the field, as well as reading suggestions for teachers and parents.

5. 100 Best Resources for Kids Who Struggle With Math by Marianne Sunderland
This post includes 100+ resources are books, websites, games, apps, and curricula that teach math in a variety of multi-sensory ways that will provide effective tools for teaching math, especially when a child struggles with math facts and concepts.

BONUS Tip: For children or students with math and spatial challenges, consider using colored graph paper or Reading Focus Cards (low-tech and digital) to maintain placeholder columns. The following links can provide the needed supports for these materials.

Free Grid Paper Pages from Nyla's Crafty Teaching
FREE downloadable blackline grid templates that are drawn to scale both for inches and cm. Use them for placeholder support (i.e., column addition, long multiplication and division, etc.) creating symmetry worksheets, bar graphs, reflections (flips), translations (slides), rotations (turns), area and perimeter models and 100 charts. The exact sizes in this set are: .5cm x .5cm grids (for making hundreds charts & multiplication charts) 1cm x 1cm grids, 2cm x cm grids, and 1 in. x 1 in. grids.

Reading Focus Cards (low-tech & digital tools)
Use the Reading Focus Cards for placeholder support with long addition, multiplication and division, as well as with algebraic equations and other math applications. Utilizing these physical and digital tools can help increase focus on the needed math operation and improve accuracy with problem solving.


What Is Dyscalculia? What Should I Do if My Child Has It? from

Dyscalculia: What You’re Seeing from

Homeschooling With Dyslexia Blog by Marianne Sunderland
Marianne Sunderland is the creator of Homeschooling With Dyslexia, a site dedicated to educating and encouraging parents to successfully homeschool their children with dyslexia and related learning disabilities.

For tools & resources to help improve reading & math skills, visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at AND at

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

FREE e-Book Resources for Kids and Teens

It is known by many that the use of e-books can offer real benefits to children who struggle to read for a variety of reasons. The ability to adjust e-page backgrounds to other colors than white, change font sizes and more can often help challenged readers with such issues as visual fatigue, convergence insufficiency and other issues. In addition, just one e-reader can contain and offer an entire family a smorgasbord of book titles to satisfy a variety of children's (and parents') reading needs---from books for emergent readers to mysteries appropriate for teen readers and others.

In this post, we wanted to provide some FREE e-book resources to offer families who wish to promote literacy in their homes for all ages of children. We hope you will value and perhaps even save the link to this page as a future reference for all your family's e-reading needs.

FREE e-Book Resources for Kids & Teens

Open e-Books-This program does require parents to reach out to a teacher, librarian, or other eligible person to sign up for First Book. This will then allow parents to obtain a code that will give each child access to 10 books at a time via the FREE Open e-Books app. This excellent program is available to low-income families with kids ages 4-18 and it is filled with books that are still in copyright – which means a large collection of bestsellers and contemporary titles. Worth the time to take a look!

International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL)-The non-profit ICDL Foundation’s library has evolved into the world’s largest digital collection of children’s books. Currently, its digital library collection includes 4,619 books in 59 languages. The complete ICDL collection is also available as a FREE iPad app. A limited number of titles are included in the FREE ICDL iPhone app. The ICDL also created the FREE Story Kit app that helps users create their own electronic storybooks for reading and sharing.

Library of Congress-The Library of Congress’ selection of digitized books includes illustrated children’s classics for readers of all ages. The Library of Congress also makes available millions of primary sources for FREE online. To assist educators in teaching with primary sources, the Library offers classroom materials to help teachers engage students with content and develop critical thinking skills.

Best Free Children's e-Books Online-This is a listing of 234 sites that legally offer FREE e-books for children to read.

Best FREE Kindle e-Books for Children-FREE classic Kindle e-book titles for kids from Goodreads.

FREE Kindle e-Books for Teens-This is a PDF document from with clickable links to FREE e-books for teens ready to be read on a Kindle. (May also be read on other devices with the free Kindle app. Please see link below under Other e-Book Resources to Help Promote Literacy.)

epic! (30-day FREE trial-Instantly access 25,000 of the best books, learning videos, quizzes & more for kids 12 & under.

Bookshare-A FREE program supported by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs that provides FREE reading materials to anyone who has a print disability that keeps them from reading traditional print materials. An eligible Bookshare member would be someone with a visual impairment, a physical disability that impinges on reading ability, or a learning disability.

Project Gutenberg-Project Gutenberg has 50,000 free ebooks to download or read online. These are books whose copyright has expired, so while they are not “trending,” they do include many classics.

Online Books Page at University of Pennsylvania-Although a bit of a bugger to navigate, the Online Books Page at the University of Penn has an amazing collection of kids literature available! The link provided will take you to the children’s bookshelf, however you can browse by alphabetical listing or even search to discover new topics!

Books Should Be Free-Perfect for introducing a child who is not yet reading or who enjoys listening to stories to literature! Books Should Be Free offers a wide selection of FREE audio and e-books including many of the classics. They also have e-book formats for Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Nook, Sony Reader and laptops.
For Children:
For Teens & Young Adults:

BookBub-FREE e-books for teens and young adults (requires submission of email address for registration)

FREE e-Books for Kids-A collection of FREE e-books for children from Amazon (for Kindle). The selections available may be FREE for a limited time. It is advisable to check daily for new FREE titles. See left sidebar on web page for various genres and topics currently available at no cost.

MeeGenius-MeeGenius makes it easy to keep your child reading by offering hundreds of e-books including classics, MeeGenius originals, and partner content from Sesame Street, Dr. Seuss, and P.D. Eastman. Starting out as an iPad/iPhone app, MeeGenius has been a favorite of many families for years! While not all e-books are available for FREE, there's a wide variety of FREE e-books.

Oxford Owl Free e-Book Library-Oxford Owl has a great variety of books for kids ages 3–11. The books marked with an ‘e’ are the FREE books. The site has some really amazing features like offering activity ideas that go with the books. With some books in the youngest (ages 3–5) and oldest (ages 9–11) age groups, there aren’t any words shown on the screen. You only hear the story. Nevertheless, this is a good site if you’re looking for access to stories (both fiction & non-fiction) for a variety of ages.

Kids World Fun-An enjoyable array of FREE, animated books!

Children’s Books Online-This Rosetta Project site is an online library of antique illustrated children’s books. Selections are indexed by reading level: pre-reader, emergent reader, intermediate reader, advanced reader, adult reader & foreign language reader.

Classic Reader-Classic Reader is an excellent place to find FREE classic e-books. The site has a special section for young readers with more than 200 of the world’s best loved classics.

Magic Keys-This site offers FREE illustrated e-books for children of all ages. Storybooks are separated into three categories: young children, older children, and young adult. Other site offerings include online games, jigsaw puzzles, and interactive coloring pages.

Read Print-The Read Print library hosts thousands of FREE e-books and poems, many of which are suitable for children. Most of the books on Read Print are classics, such as Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Other e-Book Resources to Help Promote Literacy

Read Ups-A great site for older children who want to find, read, and discuss books. The site allows you to read books on the site or import books from the web or your hard drive. Read Up books can be read alone or with a group of people. The site does require a Twitter account.

FREE Kindle Reading App- You can install this very useful yet FREE app on most devices (iPad, Mac, PC, Android, etc.) so that the device "becomes" a Kindle in function. We have the Kindle app installed on our PCs here in the office and use it daily. The number of FREE e-books that can be found for your Kindle on (in the daily deals section) is almost endless!


How to Find Free e-Books for Kids — Copyrighted Titles Included!

For more tools & resources to help improve reading & spelling skills, visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at AND at

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

11 Homework Tips to Help Kids with ADHD (and Others, too!)

For many children, homework is not a favorite word or activity. In fact, it is often the one word that causes more conflict than most during the school year for both students and their parents. When the issue of ADHD is also introduced into the mix, homework can become the catalyst for much angst in a home. So, what are parents to do? Should they immediately talk with their child's teacher to seek assistance? Should punishment be a method of making the child complete the homework assigned? Would some other approach be advisable?

It is always a good idea to discuss concerns about your child her teachers, but the idea of using punishment rarely solves any problem long-term. In fact, it can often create more problems than it solves. Punishment related to homework also does little to build a good parent/child relationship. Positive incentives for behavior modification are nearly always a good idea, especially when those incentives are chosen by the child and approved by the parent. Ownership of the issue is more readily accepted and then addressed by the child.

There are other strategies that can assist parents with problems related to on-time homework completion. We thought at the beginning of this new school year a list of such strategies might be helpful to many, especially to those parents of children with ADHD who struggle to focus and follow through with tasks in a timely manner---both inside and outside of the classroom. We hope you will discover at least one or two in this list of tips or strategies to help you and your child create a peaceful AND productive environment for homework at your house!

Helpful Homework Strategies for Kids with ADHD (and Others)

1. Consistency is important. Arrange for your child to study and complete class assignments in the same room or location each day. A desk or table where minimal distractions can occur is advised (a corner of a room with the student facing that corner is a good option).

2. Set aside a specific amount of time for homework each weekday. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that for each grade level, 10 minutes of homework is reasonable (i.e., for a student in grade 4, approximately 40 minutes of homework would be appropriate.) If your child finishes early, he or she can then read, write a thank you note to relatives or play an educational game online or offline.

3. Use a timer for the period set aside for homework. This will be one way to help your child focus more effectively since the timer will give the child a good sense of how much time tasks might take to complete.

4. Help your child develop a good and positive mindset for the homework tasks. If the child is tired or stressed (especially during periods in the late afternoon after school dismissal), allow some time for her to relax, have a snack to help replenish energy levels, play outside or indoors or listen to soothing music to help decompress BEFORE tackling the homework assignments.

5. If needed, step in to slow down the rate at which your child is attempting to complete the homework. Ask him questions like, "Will your teacher be able to read your work?" or "Do you think you are doing your best work there?" Notice that these questions are phrased not to reflect YOUR opinion but that of others. Asking such questions will help your child develop better reading and study habits going forward.

6. Encourage your child to review her work, both for content accuracy (expression of ideas/answers, spelling, etc.) and handwriting clarity (penmanship, etc.) This will no doubt not only improve the quality of that homework but also raise your child's sense of pride in work well done.

7. Help your child break down assignments into chunks or a series of smaller tasks (in a list format with perhaps only 2 revealed at a time.) This approach can be invaluable for large and long-term assignments. For such projects, remember to establish a timeline that is reviewed every few days to confirm progress and timeliness of completing smaller goals of the assignment. This will help to affirm your child and establish accountability for her.

8. Provide assistance and resources for your child when answers are not forthcoming or there appears to be a struggle of some kind. Depending on what you observe, this could mean a trip to your local public library for reference materials, etc., a computer session with your child locating needed resources for an assignment or other activity with your child to help explain an important concept. In some cases, you may need to advocate for your child. This may become an opportunity to seek out more specific accommodations or other resources from your child's teacher, a reading specialist or even a medical professional for an evaluation of the learning challenges you observe.

9. Remind your child of his strengths and de-emphasize (but don't forget) weaknesses. This will him help approach the homework tasks with more confidence and help boost self-esteem, too.

10.Use color coding in as many ways as possible to help with the reading, study and organization of assignments. Ask your child to write down every assignment in one place. For older, high school students who have phones, request that they record their assignments in the phone or send themselves a text message with the assignment complete with due date.

11.Provide your child with a 2-pocket folder for his completed work. This folder can be used for this folder for any school papers you need to sign as well.


8 Tips to Help Grade-Schoolers with Learning and Attention Issues Slow Down on Homework-by Kate Kelly,

10 Homework Tips for ADHD Children-by Eileen Bailey,

For more information on customizable reading tools for better focus & attention, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

BEST Literacy Apps for More Reading and Spelling Success!

There was a time in the world of education when teachers utilized flashcards and ringed charts filled with sight words to help improve reading skills and student literacy. Those very low-tech and no-tech approaches to reading success were appropriate for their time but not all that stimulating and engaging as some of the tech resources currently have available to educators and the students they serve.

Today, we have tech hardware and software applications for literacy that grab student attention and keep them engaged, resulting in better skill building, improved comprehension and increased retention of content read by those students. We have been gifted with tablet and desktop programs that can help kids zero in on the exact text needing to be read. We also have applications available for the classroom and home use that can help support readers easily overwhelmed by too much text on a digital page. In addition, there are spelling apps that make learning new words much less tedious than in years past.

In this article at the beginning of a new school year, we wanted to provide the latest in reading and spelling apps for students in today's classroom. For your benefit and that of the students or children you serve, we have gathered such a list here to help you address the needs of challenged spellers and readers. We hope you will find this list not only helpful now at the start of the new school year but will keep it handy for use throughout the entire year. Happy Reading and Spelling, everyone!

Apps to Help Challenged Readers and Spellers

1. Top 10 Spelling Apps by Reading Rockets
(Various prices w/ 1 FREE app)

2. Beginning Spelling App for Word Study by This Reading Mama
($4.99-for Android & iPad, iPhone & iPod)

3. VocabularySpellingCity by SpellingCity
(FREE-for Android & iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch)
For Apple:
For Android:

4. Spelling Applications-compiled by DyslexiaHelp, University of Michigan
(Some FREE & various prices for Android & Apple)

5. Reading & Spelling Programs -compiled by DyslexiaHelp, University of Michigan
(Various prices for Android & Apple)

6. The Reading Focus Cards Desktop App ($5.99-for Macs & PCs)

For more tools & resources to help improve reading & spelling skills, visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at AND at

Thursday, August 31, 2017

BEST Research-Based Interventions for Dyslexia, ADHD and Other LD

As educators and parents, it is prudent to consider research-based or evidence-based resources when assisting students in any way. This is even more critical when helping challenged readers and learners.

In this article, we wanted to provide the most up-to-date research-based resources to help the many adults who serve populations with dyslexia, ADHD and other LD. We have listed them here with direct links for your convenience. Please know that every child is unique, exhibiting individual behaviors and specific needs. Discovering the BEST resources, techniques and interventions for an individual child or student of any age may take time, patience and extended efforts in order to increase the possibility of good outcomes.

Special Note: It is suggested that teachers, tutors, programs, and schools provide specific, evidence-based techniques. We also recommend that these techniques be discussed at follow-up meetings after student evaluations and/or assessments. This does not mean or guarantee that these techniques will result in a positive outcome in all cases. There are too many variables involved to provide any kind of guarantee of success. We also do not receive any financial or other exchange benefit from making specific recommendations. We sincerely want to provide our professional opinion about what may be an effective intervention for your child. This is not a complete list. There are many other effective techniques which we are continually discovering.

BEST Research-Based Interventions for Dyslexia, ADHD and Other LD

Interventions for Challenged Readers

1. Orton-Gillingham Techniques for Dyslexia
Of all the reading programs specifically designed to help struggling readers by explicitly teaching the connections between letters and sounds, Orton–Gillingham was the first. Today—decades later—many reading programs include Orton–Gillingham ideas based on a multi-sensory approach to reading and learning.

2. Tools for Unfocused, Overwhelmed and Other Readers w/ LD

a. Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759)
Low-tech tools for reading physical books, documents and other printed media

b. Reading Focus Cards App (Patent 8,360,779)
Digital tool for Macs and Windows PCs that allows readers to more easily and more comfortably remain focused on digital media--both online and offline (for web pages, digital documents and more)
For Macs:
For Windows PCs:

Instruction Techniques for Dyscalculia (Math Learning Disabilities)

1. The University of Chicago School Mathematics Project
UCSMP has created a curriculum for students from pre-kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. UCSMP materials, including Everyday Mathematics for Grades preK-6 and seven UCSMP textbooks for use in Grades 6-12 mathematics (Pre-Transition Mathematics; Transition Mathematics; Algebra; Geometry; Advanced Algebra; Functions, Statistics, and Trigonometry; and Precalculus and Discrete Mathematics), are being used currently by an estimated 4.5 million students in elementary and secondary schools in every state and virtually every major urban area. (Usiskin) We find that these techniques are appropriate for children with strong visual memory, language, and fluid reasoning ability. They are not as effective with children who are concrete learners and who need foundational memorization of facts and consistent scope and sequence of skills.

2. Connected Mathematics
CMP is a problem-centered curriculum promoting an inquiry-based teaching-learning classroom environment. Mathematical ideas are identified and embedded in a sequenced set of tasks and explored in depth to allow students to develop rich mathematical understandings and meaningful skills.

3. Saxon Math (for Elementary Students w/ Math LD)
Saxon takes an incremental approach to math, introducing a new skill or principle each day, then reviewing these concepts and skills day after day for weeks. This approach helps build students’ confidence in their ability to “do” math successfully. Students who have used this program receive consistently high scores on standardized math tests. We find this technique to be successful with concrete, sequential learners who need memorization, review, and scope and sequence learning.

Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) (for Middle to Sec. Students w/ Math LD)

1. I Can Learn
A full-curriculum mathematics software solution that is a self-paced, mastery-based technology fully aligned to Common Core State Standards for math grades 5th through algebra and allows for effective differentiated instruction in a positive learning environment.

2. Accelerated Math
Students must learn to think critically—like mathematicians—in order to master math. Accelerated Math keeps students working—and thinking—to solve a set of 6 problems before they see which ones they missed. The right amount of productive struggle helps students learn.

Assistive Materials for Dysgraphia

1. Stem sentences, essay templates and graphic organizers for dysgraphia

2. They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing with Readings (Second Edition)

3. High School Essay Templates

4. Elementary School – Sentence Generators

5. More Stem Sentences

6. Handwriting without Tears


Evidenced-Based Intervention Techniques for Dyslexia, Learning Disorders, and ADHD-from Turning Point Assessments

Orton–Gillingham: What You Need to Know-by Peggy Rosen and

For more information about tools & resources to help improve reading fluency, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at AND at

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

More Fluency Results in Improved Reading Rate, Comprehension and Retention, too!

Most educators know that a variety of skills come together to enable a student to read and so so proficiently. Those same educators will cite the specific reading skills required for this to be accomplished.

The right tools, strategies and teaching techniques can make all the difference in successfully developing and improving these skills in emergent as well as experienced readers. The following is a list of basic or primary reading skills needed for effective reading to result:

Primary Reading Skills

1. Phonics: To know the relationship between the sounds of spoken language and the letters of written language is essential for reading.

2. Word recognition: Many common words in English, such as "the" and "one," do not fit the normal phonics rules, so your child will need to memorize them.

3. Fluency: To read fluently, your child must not only be able to recognize words instantly, but also be able to divide the text into meaningful chunks.

4. Spelling and writing: Your child increases his knowledge of how print works when he spells and writes on his own. When he sees each letter, he learns to associate a sound with it. At first he may write "book" as bk — because he hears the /b/ and /k/ sounds. With instruction, he learns correct spelling.

5. Comprehension: To read, your child must understand the meaning of the words. She builds comprehension when she discusses what she thinks a book will be about and summarizes what happened in a story. Her understanding increases as her vocabulary expands.

In this article, our focus in on fluency (#3 above). We wanted to provide resources and information to help with the improvement of this all-important reading skill of recognizing words instantly and dividing them into meaningful chunks. Developing fluency does not simply require the teacher or parent to "force feed" a group of words or text to a child. It most definitely does not involve "speed reading" or increasing the rate of the words viewed by a reader, which many software programs attempt to do. The teaching of fluency requires specific activities and resources to encourage a child to attack the text needing to be read.

In a 2011 focus study of secondary students who were challenged readers, it was found that when implementing the appropriate strategies and tools, reading fluency improves, which in turn significantly improved the student' reading rate and comprehension. For more information on this study, please visit this link.

So, in our attempt to help parents and teachers with the development and improvement of reading fluency, we have provided here a list of resources and links to assist you. We hope you will discover that the following links will help your child or students do just that---Improve fluency so that reading rate and comprehension will follow. In the end, retention of what has been read will also be positively impacted with these improvements.

Reading Fluency Resources

Fluency Resources for Reading - from Brennan Innovators, LLC
70+ reading fluency resources all in one place

Reading Fluency Activities - by
The FREE reading fluency activities on this page are essential for children with dyslexia and struggling readers. These activities can be taught in the classroom (small and large group setting) and can also be implemented at home! Keep checking this page for more free printable reading fluency activities and other ways to increase reading fluency!

A Complete Guide to Reading Fluency- from Scholastic
Videos, activities, strategies and more to help develop and improve reading fluency.


Breaking the Code: Primary Grade Reading Skills---by Scholastic

For more information about tools & resources to help improve reading fluency, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at AND at