Book Excerpt: 'Overcoming Dyslexia'

ByABC News via logo
November 11, 2003, 1:30 PM

Nov. 12 -- As part of Good Morning America's "Breakthrough Dyslexia" segment, Dr. Sally Shaywitz, author of Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Overcoming Reading Problems at Any Level, shared excerpts from her book that might assist parents in finding out if their child should be evaluated for dyslexia.

The excerpts below come from selected sections of Shaywitz's, book Overcoming Dyslexia.

A Brief Checklist Concerning Your Child's Beginning Reading Program (page 209)

What method is used to teach reading?

The key questions to ask are these: Is there scientific evidence that the program is effective? You may want to ask for specific evidence, such as an article on the efficacy of the program or method in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. (Keep in mind that testimonials, no matter how moving, are not scientific evidence, nor are articles in newsletters and magazines or mentions in the media or online.)

Was the program or its methods reviewed by the National Reading Panel? If not, how does this program compare to those found effective? You want specifics.

In teaching beginning reading, are phonemic awareness andphonics taught systematically and explicitly?

How are children taught to approach an unfamiliar word? Theyshould feel empowered to try to analyze and sound out an unknownword first rather than guess from the pictures or context. Illustrationsand context can be used as a second step to verify if the pronunciationseems to make sense.

Does the program also include many opportunities to practicereading, to develop fluency, to build vocabulary, to develop readingcomprehension strategies, to write, and to listen to and talk aboutstories?

How is instruction matched to a child's individual needs?