Summer provides an excellent opportunity to work with your kids to boost their skills and prevent the dreaded (and very real) summer slide. But mention summer learning, and most parents envision grumbling kids and workbooks at the kitchen table — enough to make them call it quits before even beginning.
We know that learning is most effective when it is enjoyable, when it engages the senses (i.e. when it’s multisensory) and when it involves new and unique experiences. So get your kids moving this summer and promote learning while they are having fun outside. They’ll never even realize they are doing their “summer work!”
Four Multisensory Outdoor Activities to Promote Summer Learning
Note: we have geared these activities toward reading/writing and phonemic awareness, but you can easily adapt them to other concepts you are reinforcing.
Heading to the beach or playground? Have your child practice sounds or sight words in sand. Writing in different textures makes writing a multisensory activity and helps kids retain what they learn. Plus, it’s fun!
Beach Ball Toss
With a permanent marker, write sounds, words, or nonsense words on a beach ball. Toss the ball to your child and have them read the words closest to their thumbs. For advanced students, cover the ball with blends, vowel teams, roots, examples of syllable types, etc. For a beach ball that doesn’t become obsolete once your child masters the concepts you are practicing, check out the Toss & Teach Beach Ball, which features reusable pockets ideal for flash cards or cards from our card decks.
Send your kids on a scavenger hunt in search of the sounds they are learning (or for objects that have the sounds in the middle or end of their names). If your kids are old enough to use a camera or phone, have them photograph what they find and review their photos and sounds with you. You can make this more challenging for advanced kids by asking them to find objects with a certain number of syllables or with certain syllable types in their names.
Paint the House (Yikes!)
Give the kids a bucket of water and paint brushes. Have them write sounds, words, or even a whole story on the house, driveway, deck, etc. Watch as the writing evaporates and fades away.
As teachers and parents, we hear “why” all day, every day! It can get frustrating, but it’s crucial that you answer the “why” when you teach reading. Why? Because teaching kids the reason behind the rule helps them to memorize less and internalize more. If you don’t know “why,” explore with your students and figure it out.
Watch this compelling video to hear Jennifer Hasser discuss WHY it’s important to teach kids the WHY!
We have fantastic news! Our training program and curriculum have been officially accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) and the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). With these important seals of approval, Kendore Learning and Syllables Learning Center join the elite ranks of programs across the country recognized to help students overcome dyslexia and related issues.
The IMSLEC and IDA Accreditation Process
The IMSLEC Accreditation team hard at work on site at Syllables/Kendore.
During the accreditation process, IMSLEC and IDA conducted an in-depth review of Kendore Learning’s Orton-Gillingham based structured language curriculum, which is used one-on-one at Syllables Learning Center and in classrooms across the nation through our Kendore teacher training program. In addition to scrutinizing all curriculum content for completeness and efficacy, the governing bodies examined our staff credentials, facilities, and operational procedures.
The two-year accreditation process was capped off by an onsite visit by members of the IMSLEC team, who spent several days with us to observe how we work with students and train teachers. Since the review team consisted of professionals who work for other IMSLEC/IDA certified programs, it provided us with an excellent opportunity to exchange information, receive validation about the quality of our program, and to form lasting relationships with like-minded colleagues from other well-respected programs.
What IMSLEC and IDA Accreditation Means for our Students and Teachers
We enjoyed working with the IMSLEC team and were so impressed by their knowledge and dedication.
Parents who send their children to Syllables Learning Center can rest assured that their child is receiving the highest level of reading therapy available. Teachers who are training by Kendore Learning know that our training and curriculum meet well-defined educational standards. Our curriculum, staff, and facilities have been rigorously examined throughout the two-year IMSLEC and IDA Accreditation process and we are thrilled that we have passed with flying colors and high accolades!
All too often, we hear people say that the English language doesn’t make sense and that spelling and word meaning “just have to be memorized.” This couldn’t be further from the truth! Our language does make sense…if you know the rules.
Let’s stop telling our students that our language is illogical, and let’s teach them the tools they need to easily break the code to read and spell thousands of words.
If a child has heard a word and understands its meaning, they are more likely to be able to read that word when they encounter it in text. That’s why it’s important to develop oral language by reading and talking to your child. Watch this quick video for more information.
Workshop: Retention Prevention
Thursday, January 25th
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Syllables Learning Center
12755 Century Drive, Suite C
Alpharetta, GA 30009 Register
Standardized testing season is about to begin. With the Georgia Milestones right around the corner, schools are already evaluating student progress and creating a short list of students at risk of being retained. If you are concerned about your child’s progress, now is the time to determine where your child stands and develop a plan. Waiting until standardized test results come in will not give you the time you need to reverse your child’s trajectory.
Communicate with your child’s teachers now about your concerns. Make conversations productive by being as specific as possible. Telling a teacher, “My child can’t seem to answer basic questions about what she’s just read,” or asking “Should it take her 45 minutes to complete her math homework?” will start a more productive dialog than simply asking, “How is my child doing?” Keep a notebook with a running list of questions and concerns that arise when your child is doing their homework or when papers come home from school. A positive, collaborative line of communication between you and your child’s teacher will help prevent any surprises from cropping up at the end of the school year.
If you would like more strategies to help your student, please join Syllables Executive Director Jennifer Hasser on the evening of January 25th for Retention Prevention: What You Need to Know Before Standardized Testing. The workshop is free, but please register.
To learn more about the impacts of retention, watch the short video below:
Bedtime reading is a treat for natural readers. But for kids with dyslexia or other learning issues, curling up with a good book at bedtime is not the best way to end the day. It is important not to pair frustration and struggle with the act of reading, and if your child is tired, they will become frustrated quickly. If you have a child who finds reading challenging, it’s time to rethink the bedtime routine!
When your child struggles in school or is diagnosed with a learning disability, your role as a parent shifts. Suddenly you find yourself navigating complicated territory — struggling to become an expert in what’s wrong, and sorting through the confusing web of options to help your child. It’s overwhelming at best, but when you layer on worry and fear, it can be debilitating. Time and time again, I meet parents who are nearly paralyzed as they begin the process of getting their child the help they need.
As the captain of your child’s team, one of your most important jobs is to determine how best to work with your child’s teachers and school. The most successful parents I see are those who stay organized and manage to keep the process non-confrontational. They understand what the school can provide, and they know when they need to seek outside help.
Unfortunately, I also see parents who make costly missteps when working with teachers and administrators. Parents of children with learning issues do not have time to make mistakes.
Please join me on Tuesday, September 12th at 6:45 pm for a free workshop entitled, “Advocacy: Effectively Partnering with Your Child’s Teachers and School.” At the workshop, I will discuss five common mistakes I have seen parents make, and I will teach you how to avoid these pitfalls. Parents will leave the session with a better understanding of the IEP process and will be equipped to foster a constructive relationship with their child’s teachers and school.
This workshop is sponsored by the Georgia Branch of the International Dyslexia Association and Understood.org. Understood is a collaboration among nonprofit organizations with the express purpose of helping parents of children with learning and attention issues. Understood provides concrete, tangible tools and information, as well as access to experts who can help parents and children on their journey. Joseph Cortes of Understood will be at the workshop and will provide participants with a free (and very helpful) IEP Organizational Binder.
Advocacy: Effectively Partnering With Your Child’s Teachers and School
Tuesday, September 18th, 6:30
Mountain View Library
3320 Sandy Plains Rd, Marietta, GA 30066
To understand b d reversals, it helps to think about how we learn to label objects. When children are very young and beginning to acquire language, the first thing they learn is to associate names with objects. They learn that a ball is a ball, a cup is a cup, and so on. They also learn that no matter how they view an object, its name typically does not change — a cup is still a cup whether it’s on the table or upside down on the floor.
When we introduce letters to children, things get a bit more tricky. Thankfully, most letters look unique, making them easier to associate with their name. For instance, y, k, f, and e all look different. They can be identified even if they are viewed backward or on their side. This is not so for b and d. They are mirror images that look so similar that they are difficult to tell apart. Furthermore, if these tricky twins are flipped upside down, p and q become involved!
It is important to note that b d confusion is NOT a phonics issue — children do not say “mom and bab” instead of “mom and dad.” They are not confusing the sounds, they are visually confusing their symbols.
Most children under age seven make occasional b d reversals. This is not a concern and will correct itself over time. But children with learning issues, including dyslexia, can have b d confusion that persists past the age where children begin to accurately discriminate between b and d.
How to Correct b d Reversals
The most effective way to promote learning is through frequency, intensity, and duration. In other words, the best way to correct b d reversals is to spend time with b and d! Students should be taught correct mouth formation when each sound is made and they should be exposed to b d discrimination activities repeatedly over time. Kendore Learning’s dabboo hand tattoos intensely reinforce b d identification over a period of several days. To learn more b d reversal remedies and to learn a helpful b d fingerplay, watch the videos below.
Working memory is the brain’s system for temporarily storing and managing the information required to carry out complex tasks such as learning, reasoning, and comprehension.
Children with poor working memory typically have difficulty remembering multi-step tasks and instructions. They also may have issues with impulse control, because their brain cannot hold the thought of both an action and its consequence at the same time.
Working memory has a profound impact on reading because sounding out words requires that a child hold each sound in working memory before putting those sounds together. For instance, a child with a working memory deficit may sound out /b/, /a/, /t/, and then go back to say the word, only to find that they have forgotten the sounds they just decoded. The child will then guess by saying “butter” or “bite.”
One of the best ways to help a struggling reader who has working memory deficits is to help reading become automatic. Teaching good decoding strategies creates automaticity, which frees up working memory space. Students with poor working memory can also benefit from brain training programs such as Cogmed.
Learn more about working memory by watching the video below: