California Educator

August 2014

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Learning Dyslexia: Myths and Facts Advice to help your students by David Futterman WHAT ARE THE COMMON SIGNS OF DYSLEXIA? Most students with dyslexia have persistent difficulties identifying and manipulating individual speech sounds as well as learning how these sounds are represented in print. As a result, they struggle to decode printed words. Their reading efforts are often slow and laborious, which can have an impact on their ability to comprehend text and develop a rich vocabulary. Students with dyslexia also are likely to have significant difficulties with spelling and written expression. Importantl y, the severity of dyslexia ma y var y from one student to the next and ma y manifest itself dif fer- entl y over time. Younger students ma y find it dif ficult to genera te rhymes, correctl y write letters of the alpha bet, memorize facts and lists, or pronounce pol ysylla bic words, while older students ma y find it troublesome to f ollow multistep directions, express themselves clearl y (both orall y and in writing), solve word problems in ma th, or learn a f oreign langua ge. What do Orlando Bloom, Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Spielberg, Keira Knightley, Albert Einstein and Patrick Dempsey have in common in addition to being famous? All of them have dyslexia. In fact, over 40 million American adults have dyslexia — and only 2 million know it. Students sitting in your classroom may have the condition and also be undiagnosed. CTA member David Futterman spoke with us to shed light on this learning disability and clear up some common myths and misconceptions. He is a special education teacher at California High School in San Ramon, a board member of the Northern California Branch, International Dyslexia Association, and a lecturer for the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley. Education trend 38

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