Thinking Therapy SLP LLC

THINKING THERAPY SLP LLC ; Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Auditory processing, Comprehension and Communication. ONE WORD AT A TIME!

Assessments and intervention for speech/language needs (receptive, expressive or pragmatic) and learning needs (reading and math)

Over 25 years of experience in both school and hospital settings; licensed through Colorado Department of Education, DORA,  American Speech/Hearing Association and Colorado Speech/Hearing Association; Member of International Dyslexia Association -Rocky Mountain Branch.


National Center for Learning Disabilities:

Brain Injury Association of America:

Brain Injury Association of Colorado:

American Speech/Hearing Association:

America Dyslexia Association :

National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:

International Dyslexia Association Rocky Mountain Branch:



Information on Disabilities:  

(Scroll down for information on 1)Executive function, 2)Dyslexia, Reading Comprehension; 3) What is a language disorder 4)Dyscalculia, etc. 5) Listening Comprehension and Reading

1)  How Does Executive Function Affect Learning?

In school, at home or in the workplace, we’re called on all day, every day, to self-regulate behavior. Executive function allows us to:

            Make plans

            Keep track of time and finish work on time

            Keep track of more than one thing at once

            Meaningfully include past knowledge in discussions

            Evaluate ideas and reflect on our work

            Change our minds and make mid-course corrections while thinking, reading and writing

            Ask for help or seek more information when we need it

            Engage in group dynamics

            Wait to speak until we’re called on

           What Are the Warning Signs of Executive Function Problems?

                 A student may have problems with executive function when he or she has trouble:

            Planning projects

            Comprehending how much time a project will take to complete

            Telling stories (verbally or in writing), struggling to communicate details in an organized, sequential manner

            Memorizing and retrieving information from memory

            Initiating activities or tasks, or generating ideas independently

            Retaining information while doing something with it, for example, remembering a phone number while dialing

            What Are Some Strategies to Help?

                    There are many effective strategies to help with the problem of executive function challenges. Here are some methods to try:

                        General Strategies

            Take step-by-step approaches to work; rely on visual organizational aids.

            Use tools like time organizers, computers or watches with alarms.

            Prepare visual schedules and review them several times a day.

            Ask for written directions with oral instructions whenever possible.

            Plan and structure transition times and shifts in activities.

                         Managing Time

            Create checklists and “to do” lists, estimating how long tasks will take.

            Break long assignments into chunks and assign time frames for completing each chunk.

            Use visual calendars at to keep track of long term assignments, due dates, chores and activities.

            Use management software such as the Franklin Day Planner, Palm Pilot or Lotus Organizer.

            Be sure to write the due date on top of each assignment.

                        Managing Space and Materials

            Organize work space.

            Minimize clutter.

            Consider having separate work areas with complete sets of supplies for different activities.

            Schedule a weekly time to clean and organize the work space.

                         Managing Work

            Make a checklist for getting through assignments. For example, a student’s checklist could include such items as: get out pencil and paper; put name on paper; put due date on paper; read directions; etc.

                        Meet with a teacher or supervisor on a regular basis to review work; troubleshoot problems.



2)What Are the Warning Signs of Dyslexia?

The following are common signs of dyslexia in people of different ages. If you or someone you know displays these signs, it doesn't necessarily mean you have a learning disability. But if troubles continue over time, consider testing for dyslexia.

Dyslexia: Warning Signs By Age

Young Children may have Trouble With:

Recognizing letters, matching letters to sounds and blending sounds into speech; Pronouncing words, for example saying “mawn lower” instead of “lawn mower”; Learning and correctly using new vocabulary words; Learning the alphabet, numbers, and days of the week or similar common word sequences; Rhyming

School-Age Children Trouble With:

Mastering the rules of spelling; Remembering facts and numbers; Handwriting or with gripping a pencil; Learning and understanding new skills; instead, relying heavily on memorization; Reading and spelling, such as reversing letters (d, b) or moving letters around (left, felt); Following a sequence of directions; Trouble with word problems in math

Teenagers and Adults Trouble With:

Reading at the expected level; Understanding non-literal language, such as idioms, jokes, or proverbs; Reading aloud; Organizing and managing time; Trouble summarizing a story; Learning a foreign language; Memorizing

How Is Dyslexia Treated?

It helps to identify dyslexia as early in life as possible. Adults with unidentified dyslexia often work in jobs below their intellectual capacity. But with help from a tutor, teacher, or other trained professional, almost all people with dyslexia can become good readers and writers. Use the following strategies to help to make progress with dyslexia.

            Expose your child to early oral reading, writing, drawing, and practice to encourage development of print knowledge, basic letter formation, recognition skills and linguistic awareness (the relationship between sound and meaning).

            Have your child practice reading different kinds of texts. This includes books, magazines, ads and comics.

            Include multi-sensory, structured language instruction. Practice using sight, sound and touch when introducing new ideas.

            Seek modifications in the classroom. This might include extra time to complete assignments, help with note taking, oral testing and other means of assessment.

            Use books on tape and assistive technology. Examples are screen readers and voice recognition computer software.

            Get help with the emotional issues that arise from struggling to overcome academic difficulties.

Reading and writing are key skills for daily living. However, it is important to also emphasize other aspects of learning and expression. Like all people, those with dyslexia enjoy activities that tap into their strengths and interests. For example, people with dyslexia may be attracted to fields that do not emphasize language skills. Examples are design, art, architecture, engineering and surgery. 



2a)  Why teach reading-comprehension strategies to adults in transition to college?

The NCTN Research to Practice Briefs are designed to disseminate emerging college transition research from a variety of sources in a user-friendly format. 

Submitted by

Kathrynn Di Tommaso
former NCSALL Fellow
World Education, Inc. 

It is common for students transitioning to college to have difficulties with reading comprehension, and the need to provide students with concrete strategies for approaching reading tasks is well-documented (Malena & Atwood Coker, 1987). Studies have shown that students skilled in reading comprehension tend to interact with course material actively through paraphrasing, summarizing, and relating the material to personal experience, while students less-skilled in reading comprehension tend to underline or reread passively without the use of specific strategies (Dowhower, 1999; Duffy et al, 1987; Long & Long, 1987).

Students who fail to employ reading strategies tend to experience difficulty inferring conceptual meaning, relating to what they have read, self-monitoring their learning and understanding, and evaluating texts for clarity and consistency (Duffy et al, 1987; Long & Long, 1987; Underwood, 1997). These difficulties can also lead to decreased engagement in the current reading task, as well as a lack of motivation when approaching new reading tasks (Dowhower, 1999). As students transitioning to college encounter texts of increasing difficulty, the need to approach reading tasks strategically greatly increases (Dowhower, 1999). Research has demonstrated that direct instruction in the use of reading strategies can improve the reading comprehension skills of students, and students lacking in these skills who receive such instruction often become indistinguishable from more skilled readers (Dowhower, 1999).

What does research say about “skilled readers”?

The act of reading involves a communication between author and reader. Skilled readers use their prior knowledge of concepts and experiences to ask how they can make sense of the content they are reading (Bacon, 1983). Skilled readers also make connections between texts, from the text to the outside world, and from the text to their own experience while reading. They tend to make mental pictures of what they read, and they ask questions of themselves and of their instructors to enhance their understanding of the text (Keene & Zimmerman, 1997; Tovani, 2000).

Strategies that have been demonstrated to help less-skilled readers improve their comprehension include: determining importance while reading, self-monitoringcomprehension; making predictions and inferences about the text, and questioningwhile reading (Dole et al., 1991; Irwin & Baker, 1989; Pearson, 1985; Pressley et al., 1990).

What are specific strategies I can teach my students?

Visual Structures or Graphic Representations

These include maps, chains, charts, webs, trees, matrices, and diagrams. All provide a visual representation of a given text’s content in order to facilitate comprehension. By showing key parts of a reading and the relationship among those parts, they can help students identify the most important ideas and how they are organized (Dowhower, 1999; Jones, Pierce & Hunter, 1989).

When constructing a graphic representation, students first survey the text, giving special attention to the title, subheadings, and illustrations in order to determine the topic and objectives of the text. Students then begin to form a theory of the structure of the text and which graphic representation (map, chart, web, etc.) might best represent it. Students then read the text with that graphic representation in mind, leading them to approach their reading with a specific purpose (Jones, Pierce & Hunter, 1989). After reading the text, students complete the graphic representation, using the questions or categories provided by the instructor as a guide.

Students may flesh out the graphical representation by adding information about their personal experiences with the topic or any background knowledge that they may possess. To further facilitate comprehension, students can then use the information in the graphic representation to write a summary of the text.

Researchers claim that “graphic organizers and outlines are fundamental to skilled thinking because they provide information and opportunities for analysis that reading alone and linear outlining cannot provide” (Jones, Pierce & Hunter, 1989, p. 25). Graphic representations can also foster nonlinear thinking and promote “in-depth processing and rich contextual associations,” because they can be read from left to right or top to bottom, unlike linear outlines or written summaries (p. 21).

Depending on their specific goals, instructors may also choose a specific type of graphic representation for students to complete. Story grammar (or story structure), for example, is often used as a way for students to comprehend narrative texts with story elements such as characters or plot. Students fill in maps that are labeled with such elements as setting, problem, goals, and resolution, forcing them to read actively in order to complete the reading task (Davis & McPherson, 1989; Dowhower, 1999). The theme of the story is generally indicated in a circle the center of the map. Each of the main events can then be noted in circles that proceed in clockwise fashion around the central theme. Other important elements of the story are then attached chronologically to the main-event circles. Instructors can also create variations of this story map to include inferences based on the explicit information recorded in the map or to represent cause-and-effect or comparison/contrast relationships in the text (Davis & McPherson, 1989).

A fishbone map, also known as a herringbone, is also widely discussed in the literature as a technique that can help students organize and understand information in dense textbook chapters. The map provides a way to represent the causes and the end result of a complex historical event or a scientific phenomenon (an election, a war, a nuclear explosion, global warming, etc.). Students draw a diagram resembling a fish skeleton: a long horizontal line (the “backbone”), from which extend several shorter diagonal lines (the “ribcage”). Students plot answers to the questions “who, what, when, where, how, and why” on the diagonal ribcage lines, and then write the main idea of a given reading along the backbone line (Jones, Pierce & Hunter, 1989; Walker, 2000). For example, if students were reading about the biological basis of behavior in the beginning chapter of a psychology textbook, they could use a fishbone map to represent a reading selection on the functions of the endocrine system or the nervous system. Students would use each bone on the skeleton to answer specific questions about how the system functions (what it does, when, how and why it does it, etc.) and then write the general purpose of the system along the backbone. 

For a detailed lesson plan using a fishbone map, please see GED 2002 Teachers’ Handbook of Lesson Plans by Iris Strunc at

Similarly, spider maps can be used for longer textbook passages. Students write the theme or topic in a center circle and then draw main-idea lines extending out from the center. More details are then added, branching off from the main-idea lines (Jones, Pierce & Hunter, 1989). 

Instructors can also ask students to fill out compare and contrast matrices with separate columns to show similarities and differences between two characters in a reading or between two things, places, ideas, or events in a textbook chapter (Jones, Pierce & Hunter, 1989). For example, a matrix can be used with a selection from a biology textbook to compare and contrast qualities of a plant cell and an animal cell with rows for the different attributes of each cell.

Arrows can be added to maps to represent a series of events, a cycle, or the nature of an interaction (Jones, Pierce & Hunter, 1989).

For more information on graphic representations, please see

Listening-Thinking Activity (LTA) and Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DR-TA)

These strategies help students develop background knowledge and establish a purpose while reading (Walker, 2000). In LTA and DR-TA, the teacher develops students’ predictive comprehension by asking them what they think a certain text is about based on the title. The teacher then reads aloud a section of the text (LTA) or directs the students to read a specific section (DR-TA). Students then revise their predictions; this process is repeated until the entire text is discussed as a whole (Bacon, 1983; Dowhower, 1999; Irwin & Baker, 1989; Walker, 2000).

Reciprocal Questioning (ReQuest)

In this strategy, students improve comprehension by developing their self-questioning skills (Walker, 2000). The students and the instructor first read a passage silently. The instructor then models how to ask appropriate questions about the selection while integrating background knowledge and textual information. Finally, the students and the instructor take turns asking and answering one another’s questions about the text (Bacon, 1983; Walker, 2000). This strategy has been shown to improve the reading comprehension of less-skilled readers by teaching them to formulate questions as they read (Bacon, 1983). In addition, instructors can use the students’ answers to the various questions that are generated to model how to make inferences and predictions when reading a text.

Question-Answer Relationships (QAR)

Several studies have demonstrated the benefits of focusing students’ attention on how they should vary their approaches for answering questions (Pearson, 1985). In this strategy, students classify question-answer relations by determining which are text-explicit (coming from the same sentence in the text), which are text implicit (coming from different parts of the text), and which are script-implicit (motivated by the text but coming from the reader’s prior knowledge) (Pearson, 1985).

Students can also be taught question-answer relationships by noting the differences among “right there,” “on my own,” “think and search,” and “author and you” questions (Walker, 2000, p. 277). For “right there” questions, words from the text can be used to answer the questions, while “on my own” questions require the student to fill in missing information from their own experience and knowledge. “Think and search” questions require the student to read the text carefully to find the answers that fit together, while “author and you” questions require students “to think about what they know, what the author tells them, and how this information fits together” (p. 278). Research has demonstrated that students of varying abilities and ages can improve their ability to comprehend new texts and monitor their own comprehension after receiving instruction in question-answer relationships (Pearson, 1985).

Question-Generation Strategy

Teaching students how to formulate questions about a text can help them identify the most important information (Dole et al, 1991; Walker, 2000). In this strategy, students take a more active role as readers by generating their own questions. Students can be introduced to self-questioning by developing pre-reading questions with the instructor and then by formulating questions about main ideas while reading (Long & Long, 1987). Studies in reading comprehension have shown that students who were taught to generate questions from the main ideas of paragraphs outperformed students who were not taught to use self-questioning strategies (Long & Long, 1987). When students ask themselves questions before and/or during reading, they tend to read the text in search of answers, engaging in active comprehension (Underwood, 1997). When they revisit questions that were generated at the start of a reading task, they can reflect on the sense they made of the text and are able to assess their own comprehension (Underwood, 1997).

K-W-L (What I Know, What I Want to Know, What I Learned)

This strategy is widely used to help students tap into prior knowledge, set purposes for reading by determining what they want to know about the topic, and identify what they learned while reading (Dowhower, 1999; Walker, 2000). For the first two steps, the instructor leads a discussion in which students brainstorm what they already know about a topic, and then the instructor helps them think of more general categories of information that they might encounter or want to learn about while reading a given text. In the third step, students check their questions to determine whether or not the text addressed them and how further reading might help them answer any unanswered questions (Ogle, 1986). Similarly, the K-W-L Plusstrategy adds a writing component that consists of mapping and summarizing after answering questions in these three areas (Dowhower, 1999).


Recent research has identified self-report rubrics, checklists, and portfolio entries as ways for students to monitor their comprehension and their use of various reading strategies. These techniques can help students to pinpoint when they begin to lose focus as well as understand how various reading strategies can assist them in comprehending text (Dowhower, 1999; Walker, 2000).

For example, one specific self-assessment technique, which goes by the acronym FLIP, can help readers assess the difficulty of a given text in relation to their personal experiences and reading abilities (Underwood, 1997). Students are taught to preview the text and to decide on its friendliness (F) by looking at headings, pictures, graphs, and so on. They sample thelanguage (L) of the text and estimate the level of difficulty of the vocabulary. Then, they decide how interested (I) they may be in the text, and finally they assess their level of prior(P) knowledge in relation to the topic. Techniques such as FLIP can encourage students to expect and find solutions for predictable difficulties that they may encounter while reading (Underwood, 1997).

Similarly, the Self-Monitoring Approach to Reading (SMART) has been found to help older readers in assessing their own reading comprehension. In this technique, instructors ask students to stop reading at the end of each paragraph and to ask themselves whether they understood the main points of what they read; whether it “clicks” or “clunks” (Underwood, 1997, p. 79). If it “clicks,” students put the meaning of that section into their own words, and if it “clunks,” students identify what went wrong and formulate questions that might lead to resolving their confusion.

Experience-Text Relationship (ETR)

This strategy helps students link background experiences (E) to narrative story text (T) during pre-reading, guided reading, and post-reading. Students examine the relationship between the text and their own experiences as a way to increase their engagement in and understanding of the reading task (Dowhower, 1999). The instructor can begin ETR by facilitating a general discussion about what the students know about a given topic from their experiences and then by tying those experiences directly to the text to be read. Students make predictions about the text based on the discussion, and then read the text to check the validity of their predictions. This reading is followed by another class discussion in which students compare and contrast key ideas from the text with their personal experiences and predictions (Walker, 2000).

Why do students need multiple strategies?

College transition students often find that the many types of texts and reading experiences found in college-level courses are overwhelming to organize and comprehend. In addition, students are frequently required to demonstrate their comprehension of various texts in comparative analyses or other applications of their understanding. As a result, researchers emphasize the importance of tailoring instruction in a given reading strategy to the demands of the specific reading task and topic and providing students with concrete practice in how to apply strategies (Dowhower, 1999). The list of strategies provided here should be viewed as a repertoire of diverse comprehension strategies that can be used in varying ways depending on student needs, teacher goals, and the demands of the reading task. By embedding strategy instruction in classroom content and providing students with a range of strategies, students with histories of reading comprehension difficulties can become more skilled readers and more successful in approaching the many types of texts and reading tasks required for college level work (Dowhower, 1999).


Bacon, M. (1983). What adult literacy teachers need to know about strategies for focusing on comprehension. Lifelong Learning: The Adult Years6(6), 4-5.

Davis, Z.T. & McPherson, M.D. (1989). Story map instruction: A road map for reading comprehension. The Reading Teacher43(3), 232-240.

Dole. J.A., Duffy, G.G., Roehler, L.R., & Pearson, P.D. (1991). Moving from the old to the new: Research on reading comprehension instruction. Review of Educational Research, 61(2), 239-264. 

Dowhower, S.L. (1999). Supporting a strategic stance in the classroom: A comprehension framework for helping teachers help students to be strategic. The Reading Teacher52, 672-688.

Duffy, G.G., Roehler, L.R., Sivan, E., Rackliffe, G., Book, C., Meloth, M.S., et al. (1987). Effects of explaining the reasoning associated with using reading strategies. Reading Research Quarterly22(3), 347-368.

Irwin, J.W. & Baker, I. (1989). Promoting active reading strategies. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Jones, B.F., Pierce, J. & Hunter, B. (1989). Teaching students to construct graphic representations. Educational Leadership46(4), 20-25.

Keene, E. & Zimmerman, S. (1997). Mosaic of thought: Teaching comprehension in a reader’s workshop. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Long, J.D. & Long, E.W. (1987). Enhancing student achievement through metacomprehension training. Journal of Developmental Education11(1), 2-5.

Malena, R.F. & Atwood Coker, K.J. (1987). Reading *O*prehension: The missing elements. Journal of Developmental Education10(3), 24-25, 35.

Ogle, D.M. (1986). K-W-L: A teaching model that develops active reading of expository text. The Reading Teacher39(6), 564-570.

Pearson, P.D. (1985). Changing the face of reading comprehension instruction. The Reading Teacher38(8), 726-737.

Pressley, M., Ghatala, E.S., Woloshyn, V, & Pirie, J. (1990). Sometimes adults miss the main ideas and do not realize it: Confidence in responses to short-answer and multiple-choice comprehension questions. Reading Research Quarterly25(3), 232-249.

Strunc, I. (2004, March). GED 2002 teachers’ handbook of lesson plans. Florida TeachNet. Retrieved March 28, 2005, from LanguageArtsReading/readinglesson34.pdf

Tovani, C. (2000). I read it, but I don’t get it: Comprehension strategies for adolescent readers. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

Underwood, T. (1997). On knowing what you know: Metacognition and the act of reading. The Clearing House71(2), 77-80.

Walker, B. (2000). Diagnostic teaching of reading: Techniques for instruction and assessment (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.


From the Network College Transition Network; 



3)From National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders:

How do speech and language develop?

The first 3 years of life, when the brain is developing and maturing, is the most intensive period for acquiring speech and language skills. These skills develop best in a world that is rich with sounds, sights, and consistent exposure to the speech and language of others.

There appear to be critical periods for speech and language development in infants and young children when the brain is best able to absorb language. If these critical periods are allowed to pass without exposure to language, it will be more difficult to learn.

What is the difference between a speech disorder and a language disorder?

Children who have trouble understanding what others say (receptive language) or difficulty sharing their thoughts (expressive language) may have a language disorder. Specific language impairment (SLI) is a language disorder that delays the mastery of language skills. Some children with SLI may not begin to talk until their third or fourth year.

Children who have trouble producing speech sounds correctly or who hesitate or stutter when talking may have a speech disorder. Apraxia of speech is a speech disorder that makes it difficult to put sounds and syllables together in the correct order to form words.

What are voice, speech, and language?

Voice, speech, and language are the tools we use to communicate with each other.

voice is the sound we make as air from our lungs is pushed between vocal folds in our larynx, causing them to vibrate.

speech is talking, which is one way to express language. It involves the precisely coordinated muscle actions of the tongue, lips, jaw, and vocal tract to produce the recognizable sounds that make up language.

language is a set of shared rules that allow people to express their ideas in a meaningful way. Language may be expressed verbally or by writing, signing, or making other gestures, such as eye blinking or mouth movements.

What are the milestones for speech and language development?

The first signs of communication occur when an infant learns that a cry will bring food, comfort, and companionship. Newborns also begin to recognize important sounds in their environment, such as the voice of their mother or primary caretaker. As they grow, babies begin to sort out the speech sounds that compose the words of their language. By 6 months of age, most babies recognize the basic sounds of their native language.

Children vary in their development of speech and language skills. However, they follow a natural progression or timetable for mastering the skills of language. A checklist of milestones for the normal development of speech and language skills in children from birth to 5 years of age is included on the following pages. These milestones help doctors and other health professionals determine if a child is on track or if he or she may need extra help. Sometimes a delay may be caused by hearing loss, while other times it may be due to a speech or language disorder.

What is the difference between a speech disorder and a language disorder?

Children who have trouble understanding what others say (receptive language) or difficulty sharing their thoughts (expressive language) may have a language disorder. Specific language impairment (SLI) is a language disorder that delays the mastery of language skills. Some children with SLI may not begin to talk until their third or fourth year.

Children who have trouble producing speech sounds correctly or who hesitate or stutter when talking may have a speech disorder. Apraxia of speech is a speech disorder that makes it difficult to put sounds and syllables together in the correct order to form words.




Dyscalculia is a brain-based condition that makes it hard to make sense of numbers and math concepts. Some kids with dyscalculia can’t grasp basic number concepts. They work hard to learn and memorize basic number facts. They may know what to do in math class but don’t understand why they’re doing it. In other words, they miss the logic behind it.

Other kids understand the logic behind the math but aren’t sure how and when to apply their knowledge to solving problems.

Dyscalculia goes by many names. Some public schools refer to it as a “mathematics learning disability.” Doctors sometimes call it a “mathematics disorder.” Many kids and parents call it “math dyslexia.”

Your child’s struggle with math can be confusing, especially if he’s doing well in other subjects. This can lead to anxiety and low self-esteem. But parents have the power to change that equation.

Here are some common strategies teachers use to help kids with dyscalculia:

                Using concrete examples that connect math to real life, to strengthen your child’s number sense. Examples: sorting buttons or other familiar objects.

                Using visual aids when solving problems, including drawing pictures or moving around physical objects—which teachers refer to as “manipulatives.”

                Assigning manageable amounts of work so your child won’t feel overloaded.

                Reviewing a recently learned skill before moving on to a new one, and explaining how the skills are related.

                Supervising work and encouraging your child to talk through the problem-solving process. This can help make sure he’s using the right math rules and formulas.

                Breaking new lessons into smaller parts that easily show how different skills relate to the new concept. Teachers call this process “chunking.”

                Letting your child use graph paper to help keep numbers lined up.

                Using an extra piece of paper to cover up most of what’s on a math test so your child can focus on one problem at a time.

                Playing math-related games designed to help your child have fun and feel more comfortable with math.

                After trying some informal accommodations, you or the school may recommend getting a 504 plan. This is a written plan detailing how the school will accommodate your child’s needs. Accommodations can include things like letting a child:

                                  Have more time to take a test.

                                  Answer fewer questions on a test.

                                  Record lessons and lectures.

                                  Use a calculator in class.

Don’t panic if the first strategies you try aren’t effective. You may need to try different approaches to find out what works best for your child. Here are some things you can try at home:

                Learn as much as you can. Understanding the nature of dyscalculia is a good first step toward helping your child strengthen math-related skills. Let your child know that you understand what he’s going through—and that you don’t think he’s lazy, unmotivated or not smart. This can give him the encouragement he needs to keep working on that thorny math problem. It may also reduce some of the anxiety or feelings of inferiority he may be experiencing.

                Play math games. Practicing number concepts can improve skills and help reduce anxiety at school. Use household objects such as toys, grapes or pairs of socks as often as you can to help connect numbers to everyday activities. Try not to dwell on it or force these games on your child. That might make your child more anxious. Learning is easier when kids are happy and relaxed.

                Create a homework station. Help your child be more productive during homework time by carving out a space that has as few distractions as possible. You can also help your child by breaking assignments down in smaller, more manageable steps, such as doing five math problems and then taking a break before working on the next five problems.

                Cozy up with the calculator. For kids who have trouble remembering basic math facts, a calculator can help them focus on using reasoning and problem solving. These skills are highly valued in the workplace—where using a calculator isn’t considered cheating!

                Boost confidence. Identify your child’s strengths and use them to work on (or work around) weaknesses. Activities that tap into your child’s interests and abilities can help improve self-esteem and increase your child’s resilience. Check out the behavior strategies written by our team of experts. Try to pace yourself and don’t use more than one strategy at a time. That makes it easier to tell which ones are producing a good result.

                Help your child keep track of time. Whether it’s a hand on the shoulder, a few key words or a cell phone alarm, have a system in place to remind your time-challenged child when to start the next activity.

                See what it feels like. Use Through Your Child’s Eyes to experience what it’s like to have dyscalculia. Acknowledging that you understand what your child is going through is another way to boost his confidence.

Be upbeat. Let your child know when you see him do something well. Praising effort and genuine achievement can help your child feel loved and supported. It can also give your child the confidence to work harder at building skills and help him stay motivated to try new things.


5) Listening Comprehension and reading

Auditory Processing and Comprehension by Melissa Lee Farrell ; Perspectives on Language and Literacy :Summer 2016. 

How Listening Comprehension Informs Instruction; by Suzanne Carreker; Perspectives on Language and Literacy: Summer 2016

Teaching Listening Comprehension; by Blanche Podhajski; Perspectives on Language and Literacy; Summer 2016

Oral Comprehension Sets the Ceiling on Reading Comprehension


By Andrew Biemiller

To succeed at reading, a child must be able to identify or "read" printed words and to understand the story or text composed of those words. Both identifying words and understanding text are critical to reading success. For many children, increasing reading and school success will involve increasing oral language competence in the elementary years.

The main argument is as follows:

• During elementary school, a child's maximum level of reading comprehension is determined by the child's level of listening comprehension.*

• Children differ markedly in the language and especially the vocabulary they have upon entering kindergarten. Advanced children (75th percentile) are about a "year" ahead of average children, while delayed children (25th percentile) are about a year behind. (Bankson, 1977; Dunn & Dunn, 1982).

• Language continues to develop during the primary years. However, the gap between children with advanced language and children with restricted language grows wider during the elementary years. By grade 3, advanced children's comprehension is equivalent to that of average children in grade 4, while slower-progressing children are similar to average 2nd-graders or even younger children. Some of this difference is attributable to cumulative vocabulary deficits in less advanced children.

• Current school practices typically have little effect on oral language development during the primary years. Because the level of language used is often limited to what the children can read and write, there are few opportunities for language development in primary classes.

• In the upper elementary grades, those who enter 4th grade with significant vocabulary deficits show increasing problems with reading comprehension, even if they have good reading (word identification) skills. The available evidence does not suggest a substantial "catching-up" process, but rather a continuing slippage relative to those with average and above-average achievement.

• Thus, early delays in oral language come to be reflected in low levels of reading comprehension, leading to low levels of academic success. If we are to increase children's ability to profit from education, we will have to enrich their oral language development during the early years of schooling. Although not all differences in language are due to differences in opportunity and learning, schools could do much more than they do now to foster the language development of less-advantaged children and children for whom English is a second language.

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The listening comprehension of the average child begins to develop around 12 months of age and continues to grow long after grade 6. Reading comprehension typically begins to develop in kindergarten or 1st grade. At this point, the child's level of reading comprehension is obviously far below her listening comprehension. There is considerable evidence that for the majority of children, comprehension of printed language continues to lag behind comprehension of spoken language well past 3rd grade (Sticht & James, 1984). When a child can understand language equally well whether presented in print or speech, the distinction between listening and reading comprehension ceases to be important. However, a number of studies suggest that average children don't reach the point of being able to read what they could understand if they heard it until around 7th or 8th grade.

Listening comprehension continues to grow during the elementary years. Thus the typical 3rd-grader can comprehend more complex oral stories, expositions, etc., than the typical 1st-grader. Broadly speaking, language can only "grow" through interaction with people and texts that introduce new vocabulary, concepts, and language structures. In grades 1 to 3, this growth cannot result mainly from reading experiences because most children are not reading content that is as advanced as their oral language. We often assume that children's reading experiences contribute much to their increasing ability to comprehend language (e.g., Nagy & Herman, 1987; Sternberg, 1987). However, for many children, most language growth continues to come from non-print sources (parents, peers, teacher lectures, class discussions, television, etc.) throughout the elementary years. For many children, the skills necessary for reading printed English remain too poor for them to read texts that introduce new vocabulary and new conceptual structures. The problem is even more severe for struggling students. For example, the listening vocabulary level of a 25th percentile 6th-grader is equivalent to that attained by the 75th percentile 3rd-grader. The same is true of reading comprehension measures.

If we could improve the word identification skills of children at the 25th percentile in reading comprehension, we would get some improvement—up to the child's listening comprehension level. But in many cases, we would still be looking at a child whose comprehension level is far below that of many peers. To bring a child to grade-level language comprehension means, at a minimum, that the child must acquire and use grade-level vocabulary plus some post-grade-level vocabulary. Obviously, this does not mean simply memorizing more words, but rather coming to understand and use the words used by average children at that level. Knowledge of this vocabulary will not guarantee success, but lack of vocabulary knowledge can ensure failure.


Andrew Biemiller is professor in the Institute of Child Study at the University of Toronto and author of numerous articles on how children develop language and literacy. This article is excerpted from Language and Reading Success, a title in From Reading Research to Practice: A Series for Teachers, Brookline Books, 1999, (800-666-BOOK).

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