What is Orton Gillingham?

What is Orton Gillingham?

Orton Gillingham is an approach designed to target reading, spelling and writing skills. It is an evidence-based approach frequently recommended for students who demonstrate challenges in these areas, particularly students with a diagnosis of dyslexia or a reading disorder. Blog-Orton Gillingham-Main-Landscape

Orton Gillingham is phonetically based, meaning that it educates students on how letters are linked to certain sounds, and in what context (e.g. when a “c” followed by “e,” “i” or “y” it says the /s/ sound). The approach is systematic, structured and repetitive, so that each lesson builds on previous knowledge and has a predictable routine.

It is also multi-sensory, in order to target all pathways of learning: visual, verbal, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic. The instruction is customized to fit the student’s individual needs related to literacy.

How does Orton Gillingham work?

The Orton Gillingham approach is comprised of five levels. Upon initiation of therapy, a pre-test will determine which level best suits the needs of the individual. Each session includes a review of the phonetic rule learned in the previous session, through a variety of multi-sensory exercises. These activities include letter and sound identification, blending of sounds to create non-sense words, reading and spelling both words and sentences, reviewing of sight words, and oral reading practice.

The student must demonstrate mastery of the target skill (90% or greater on both reading and spelling tasks), before learning new material. Upon completion of a level, a post-test is given to determine the student’s understanding and retention of the knowledge for that level, before moving on to the next.

Orton Gillingham is typically provided by a Speech Language Pathologist, Reading or Academic Specialist. It is most effective when the student participates in sessions at least twice a week.

Click here to learn more about North Shore Pediatric Therapy’s Orton-Gillingham Reading Center.

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee! If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140.

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Red Flags for Dyslexia

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in the United States, impacting 20 percent of the country’s population. If a child is not diagnosed by the second grade, there is a significant chanceblog-dyslexia-main-landscape he or she will remain undiagnosed until they reach adulthood. By educating yourself on the red flags of this learning disability, you can avoid misconceptions as well as delayed identification of this disability. Early identification of any disorder correlates with improved outcome and prognosis.

Preschool-Aged Red Flags for Dyslexia:

Difficulties with phonemic awareness or the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in words are beginning signs that your child may have dyslexia. Examples of phonemic awareness skills are:

  • Segmenting syllables (e.g., “how many syllables do you hear in butterfly?”)
  • Rhyming (e.g., “which word rhymes with mat; star or hat”?)
  • Phoneme isolation (e.g., “in the word sun, is the /s/ at the beginning, middle or end of the word?”)
  • Sound deletion (e.g., “say cup without the /k/.”)

Other signs include:

  • Trouble reading single words
  • Trouble generating rhyming words or identifying which words don’t belong
  • Reversing letters and words (e.g., tab/bat)
  • Difficulty identifying sounds at the beginning or end of a word (e.g., “what word begins with /t/; toad or boat?”)

Elementary-Aged Red Flags for Dyslexia:

Once children enter elementary school, the expectations for reading and writing abilities increase significantly. Children not previously identified as being at-risk may begin to exhibit signs as school work becomes more challenging. These children often have average or above average IQ, but demonstrate below grade-level reading and writing abilities.

Red flags include:

  • Trouble sequencing (e.g., steps, alphabet, naming months)
  • Continued trouble with rhyming
  • Difficulty with word finding (e.g., relying on “stuff,” “things” or other generic words)
  • Difficulty with organization and studying
  • Trouble with story telling
  • Avoidance or dislike of reading

Should an individual demonstrate some of these signs, it is not necessarily indicative of dyslexia. Other reading or language disorders may play a factor. However, if these difficulties persist through childhood, it may negatively impact that child’s academic success.

Through early identification, children with dyslexia can begin treatment in phonics-based programs, such as Orton-Gillingham or Wilson. These programs are unique in that the relationships between sounds and letters are explicitly and systematically taught. With consistent treatment, children with dyslexia can learn to compensate for their disorder, as well as begin to enjoy reading and writing.

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee! If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!

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dyslexia signs and symptoms

Famous People with Dyslexia

Imagine that you are a second grader, leaving the neuropsychologist’s office. BlogGraphics-FamousPeopleDyslexiaMain-LandscapeYou’ve completed diagnostic testing to evaluate the way that you think, read and write. You had to complete odd tasks, feeling nervous and increasingly tired. To top it all off, the neuropsychologist explained to your mom that you show characteristics of something called “dyslexia.” You could tell your mom was upset and maybe even a little sad. You leave feeling even more nervous, thinking “Is something wrong with me?

At the time of a dyslexia diagnosis, your child might feel embarrassed and isolated. Imagine the feeling of hope they might experience when finding out that some of the most successful people they read about in books or see daily on the television also have dyslexia.

Historical Figures:

  • Thomas Edison
  • Henry Ford
  • Scott Fitzgerald
  • Pablo Picasso

Entrepreneurs:

  • Ingvar Kamprad, Founder of IKEA
  • Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Enterprises
  • John T. Chambers, CEO, Cisco Systems
  • Charles Schwab, Founder of Charles Schwab Corporation

Entertainment Celebrities:

  • Billy Bob Thornton, writer, director and actor
  • Whoopi Goldberg, Academy Award winning actress
  • Keira Knightly, actress
  • Jay Leno, TV entertainer
  • Henry Winkler, actor and writer

See the website for the International Dyslexia Association for more “Success Stories” in the areas of science, research, politics, and law.

The diagnosis of dyslexia bears no reference to an individual’s intelligence. In fact, some scientists believe that people with dyslexia often are innovative thinkers due to different “hard-wiring” of the brain. As you can see from the above list of leading entertainers and business people in the United States, the diagnosis of dyslexia does not define or limit a child’s success in their career or life.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

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The Best Apps For Struggling Readers

The Best Apps For Struggling Readers

Technology is everywhere, and if you are one of the many who own a device that utilizes applications (apps), you may be thinking of ways to make those great tools educational. Apps are great for a number of reasons: kids love them, they are right at our fingertips, they travel well, and they make learning more interesting and motivating. There are plenty of apps on the market targeting a wide variety of skills, including vocabulary, reading, reading comprehension, grammar, geography, and other school subjects. I myself use apps in therapy from time to time, and have favorites for certain speech and language skills. However, one area that I lacked a depth of options in was reading. More specifically, apps for struggling readers that focus on phonics and the foundational skills of reading.

Here are 6 apps that caught my attention for struggling readers and earned a spot on my device:

  1. Marbleminds Phonics: In this app, pictures are presented with the word at the bottom of the
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    screen. The child must identify the missing first letter of the word. There is a free version, but as always, purchasing the app allows for more pictures and exercises.
  2. Wordmonsters: This app focuses on books for beginning readers targeting short vowel sounds. The free version includes one book with the ability to purchase additional ones. It has read-on-your-own and read-to-me settings, as well as activities that go along with the book. Activities include story details, phonics fun, and word works. Each word is highlighted as it is read when choosing the read–to-me option. The cute, interactive graphics that label objects as they are touched only add to the app’s appeal!
  3. Bob Books: This app is built for beginning readers. The child is presented with a picture and a sentence at the bottom of the page (“Dot has a hat”). The sentence is broken down and each word is segmented for the child to blend together. There is a free version available with add-ons that can be purchased.
  4. Wordplay: This app has charming graphics and audio, which makes it instantly appealing. It focuses on word families and consonant-vowel-consonant words. There is a free version as well as the option to purchase additional levels. The kids blend words together and drag letters where they belong in the word.
  5. Phonics Genius: I’ll admit it, this app is not the most entertaining for children. However, in addition to being free, it has a large inventory of sounds, blends, vowels, and vowel teams presented in a flashcard format. You can have your child or student read the word on their own, and then have the app read the word to check for accuracy. The app also has a record feature, so the child can record themselves reading the word. Game formats are included where the child identifies the word said aloud from a customizable group of words. All in all, I think it’s a great resource for words that are organized according to phonetic rules.
  6. ABC Pocket Phonics: This app incorporates sound identification and letter tracing. The sounds are then blended together to make words, with the child identifying the letter needed according to the sound produced by the app (app says /s/ and the child finds the letter /s/). There is a free version with the option of purchasing additional features.

Hopefully these apps will motivate your child to practice their reading skills! If you feel your child may need further intervention, seek the guidance of a neuropsychologist today.

Click here for 10 great apps to improve speech and language skills.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

reading with your preschooler

The Best Way To Read With Preschoolers

Reading is widely recognized as the ultimate language activity. Through reading a child encounters new vocabulary and language concepts. Not only does reading out loud with your preschoolers have positive benefits for their academic success, but it is a great way to build relationships with your child as well as help him or her develop a passion for reading.

Here are some suggestions to make reading with your preschooler a positive experience:

  1. Be enthusiastic! Children will follow your lead – if you are excited about the story they will beThe Best Way To Read With Your Preschooler too! Add your own emotion and twists into the pages of the book. Children love silly voices and it will only add to the enjoyment and entertainment of the book.
  2. Get the child involved in reading. Have children interact with the books; he or she can hold the book, turn the pages or point along with the words. Allowing the child to have a role in the reading experience will reinforce pre-reading skills, such as book orientation, reading progression from left to right and the significance of written word.
  3. Ask open-ended questions. Books are not only meant to be a receptive language activity, but also an expressive language task. Asking open-ended questions will help the child interact more with the story. Open-ended questions are unique in that it allows children to generate their own thoughts and answers. For example, “what do you think will happen?” or “how is he feeling?”. Try to stay away from yes-no questions or questions with one word answers.
  4. Do carry-over activities. The story within the book doesn’t have to end when the book is done. Have the child draw a picture of their favorite character or you can even act out his or her favorite scene. Your child could also retell the story in his or her own words. These activities will continue to reinforce the child’s love for reading as well as any concepts/vocabulary that he interacted with during the story line.

Here are some suggestions for books to read out loud with your preschooler:

  1. Pete the Cat books
  2. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
  3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
  4. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  5. Corduroy by Don Freeman
  6. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Click here for more tips on how to sneak in reading practice.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Reading Skills By Grade (7-10)

Reading Skills: A Grade by Grade Guide (7-10)

Ready, set, school! Wondering what reading skills your child should have by the end of their respective grade? Refer to the grade-by-grade guide below, based on the Illinois’ common core standards.

By the end of 7th grade your child should be able to:

Analyze how elements of a story interact Analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds on a verse or stanza Analyze how a drama’s or poem’s form or structure contributes to its meaning Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal with a historical portrayal of the same time period
Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound Analyze how two authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information

By eighth grade your child should be able to:

Analyze the extent to which a filmed or live production of a story or drama stays faithful to or departs from the text or script Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development Analyze how a text makes connections and distinctions among and between individuals, ideas, or events
Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text Evaluate advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums to present a topic Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound Analyze two or more texts on the same topic that provide conflicting information

By ninth/tenth grade your child should be able to:

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences from the text Provide objective summaries of texts Analyze how complex characters develop over the course of a text Analyze how the structure of a text, order of events, and manipulation of time create mystery, tension, or surprise
Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the US Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work Analyze seminal US documents of historical and literary significance

All standards have been reported from the Illinois State Board of Education. Additional standards are expected that have not been stated above. If you are concerned with your child’s reading skills, seek the guidance of a neuropsychologist who can help refer you to the appropriate support system.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

reading to infants

The Importance of Reading To Infants

It is widely acknowledged that reading to preschool and school-aged kids is beneficial to their language development. However, is reading to infants just as important? The answer is yes! Reading to infants is important to their language and speech development. Not only does reading out loud to your infant benefit her brain development, but it also helps her learn vocabulary and the sounds of a language.

While you read to your infant, she will be taking in the sounds of her native language. Books with
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rhyming words or repetitive phrases provide the most effective stimuli for infants to begin to parse out and recognize sounds in the language. As infants are read books, it also provides a perfect opportunity for them to learn vocabulary. As they hear the word “dog” and see a picture of a dog, they will begin to connect the picture and the word together. The more exposure infants have to books and pictures, the faster they will acquire vocabulary and make those connections. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is a perfect book to read to infants as it includes repetitive phrases, bright colors and basic vocabulary.

Books for infants should also have certain physical characteristics. Books should be manipulative for the infant. Sturdy, cardboard books are great for babies to grab, turn and flip through. Bright colors and big pictures will also help the infant focus on the book and grab his or her attention. Reading with slow, exaggerated speech will also help infants easily parse the auditory stimuli, as well as keep infants entertained.

Other must-have books for reading to your infants include Goodnight Moon, The Hungry Caterpillar, 100 First Words and Baby Touch and Feel board books.

Click here for more on how to use books to encourage speech and language development in babies.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Reading Skills By Grade (4-6)

Reading Skills: A Grade by Grade Guide (4-6)

The new school year is upon us! Do you wonder what reading skills your child should have by the end of his or her respective grade? Refer to the grade-by-grade guide below, based on the Illinois’ common core standards.

Reading Skills By Grade:

By Fourth Grade Your Child Should Be Able To:

determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in text describe a character, setting, or event in depth explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose compare and contrast points of view
read and comprehend stories, dramas, and poetry explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in historical, scientific, or technical texts determine meaning of academic and domain-specific words or phrases describe text structures (problem/solution, cause/effect, comparison, chronology)
interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively and use it to understand text integrate information from two texts in order to write or speak about the topic knowledgeably accurately read unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context or out of context read on-level text with purpose and understanding

By Fifth Grade Your Child Should Be Able To:

quote accurately from text when explaining explicit information vs inferences compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events determine meanings of words and phrases, including figurative language explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fit together to provide an overall text structure
compare and contrast stories in the same genre determine two or more main ideas of a text, explain how they are supported by key details, and summarize the text draw on information from multiple print or digital sources to answer questions or solve problems efficiently read on-level with purpose and understanding

By Sixth Grade Your Child Should Be Able To:

determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through details describe how a story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes and how characters responds or change explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator compare and contrast experience of reading a story/drama/poem with listening to or viewing audio, video, or live version
analyze how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text determine meaning of words and phrases, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings integrate information presented in different media or formats and in words to develop understanding of a topic/issue read and comprehend literary nonfiction

All standards have been reported from the Illinois State Board of Education. Additional standards are expected that have not been stated above. If you are concerned with your child’s reading skills, seek the guidance of a neuropsychologist who can help refer you to the appropriate support system.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Reading Skills: A Grade by Grade Guide (K-3)

Reading Skills: A Grade by Grade Guide (K-3)

Believe it or not, the new school year is almost here! Are you wondering what reading skills your child should have by the end of his respective grade? Refer to the grade-by-grade guide below, based on the Illinois’ common core standards.

A Grade by Grade Guide to Reading Skills:

In Kindergarten Your Child Should Be Able To:

retell familiar stories ask and answer questions about stories (with support) identify parts of a book (covers and title page) demonstrate understanding of features of print
recognize and name all upper and lower case letters recognize and produce rhyming words demonstrate letter-sound correspondence segment syllables
isolate and pronounce sounds in words read common high frequency words read emergent reader texts follow words left to right, top to bottom, page to page

In First Grade Your Child Should Be Able To:

describe characters, settings, and main events in stories identify main topic and recall key details decode two syllable words ask and answer questions about text
explain major differences between books that tell stories and those that give information identify similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic recognize features of a sentence (capitalization, first word, ending punctuation) decode regularly spelled one-syllable words and irregularly spelled words

In Second Grade Your Child Should Be Able To:

describe how characters respond to major events describe overall structure of a story compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story decode regularly spelled two-syllable words with long vowels
decode words with common prefixes and suffixes identify main idea of multiparagraph text read and comprehend informational texts determine meaning of words and phrases in an age-appropriate reading

 

In Third Grade Your Child Should Be Able To:

retell stories, fables, folktales, and myths explain how details support the main idea distinguish literal from nonliteral language decode multisyllabic words
compare and contrast books in a series compare and contrast two texts on the same topic read and comprehend informational texts of different subject areas distinguish own point of view

All standards have been reported from the Illinois State Board of Education. Additional standards are expected that have not been stated above. If you are concerned with your child’s reading skills, seek the guidance of a neuropsychologist who can help refer you to the appropriate support system.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

untreated dyslexia

What Happens When Dyslexia Goes Untreated

Language-based learning difficulties can affect up to 20% of the population, with dyslexia being the most common type. People with dyslexia often have difficulty translating ideas into written language and likely have trouble decoding (understanding) written language.

Research has shown that most children who struggle with reading in 3rd grade remainWhat Happens When Dyslexia Goes Untreated poor readers even in high school. This suggests that early intervention, as with all aspects of childhood language difficulties, is key. If these children receive intervention before the critical “learning to read” period (kindergarten through 3rd grade) changes to “reading to learn” in fourth grade, they are more likely to become successful readers.

Common Characteristics of Untreated Dyslexia:

  • Difficulty with planning and organizing, often spending more time on homework than necessary
  • Trouble with storytelling or finding the “right” words when writing or speaking
  • Avoidance of reading, reading below grade level
  • Difficulty with saying the alphabet, naming letters, and numerous spelling errors
  • Trouble with language comprehension and some difficulty with spoken language
  • Difficulty decoding (reading) words and sentences, slow when writing and reading

These characteristics highlight the importance of intervention. Due to the broad-reaching grasp that dyslexia can have on a child’s academic performance, intervening before the critical period ends (kindergarten through third grade) is imperative. Children struggling with dyslexia often have average intelligence, so parents may not realize that an underlying disorder is to blame for trouble at school. When a gap exists between a child’s performance and their overall potential, dyslexia may be the reason.

Children can be evaluated for reading disorders by neuropsychologists, school psychologists, and some reading specialists. If ongoing therapy is warranted, parents may choose to seek out the assistance of a licensed speech-language pathologist, as dyslexia is a language disorder impacting the reading/writing/spoken language realms.

Click here to learn more about our Orton-Gillingham Reading Center.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!