Saturday, December 31, 2011

Need Apps for Special Needs? Great!

The holiday season is winding down, and the new year is about to begin. The presents have been put away, returned, or exchanged. However, if you were fortunate enough to receive an iPad or the like for Christmas, have you begun to take full advantage of it? Are you needing more information and resources to make that happen? Let's see if we can help you here.

First of all, we have been receiving quite a number of calls from parents and teachers telling us that they are using our Reading Focus Cards with their new iPads and Kindles. Of course, we are recommending a protective film for the tech devices' screens with this application.

Secondly, if you are a parent or a teacher of a child with special needs, you are in luck today. I have been busy this past week researching the BEST apps for your new tech devices---specifically, apps for children and teens with special needs.

To follow here, you will find the apps that will be worth your time to investigate. Most of them have been chosen by professionals in the field of special needs. I only bring them directly to you here. Please let me know of your experiences with any one or more of them. It will be very valuable to receive your input! This is my humble gift to you for the new year. Happy New Year 2012 to all my readers here and the children you help!

Best 5 iPad Apps for Dyslexia (posted by Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide--July 26, 2011) http://dyslexicadvantage.com/profiles/blogs/ipad-apps-dyslexia

Top Word-Processor App (iPad writing tool) http://www.funeducationalapps.com/2011/11/textkraft-english-top-smart-text-processor-for-ipad.html

Apps Index from A to Z--for Children with Special Needs (+ reviews and demos from Dr. Gary Brown) http://a4cwsn.com/apps/apps-a-z/

List of Top 10 Apps for Children of ALL Abilities (for iPads, iPhones, and others from Ms. Meg Wilson) http://edreach.us/2011/11/23/giving-thanks-for-apps-that-assist/

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support
314-892-3897
Clip art courtesy of: http://freewareme.com/725-apple-ipad-photos-and-images.html

Monday, December 26, 2011

Even More Resources for Struggling Readers with Dyslexia--Part 2

As promised, we wanted to provide you with additional resources for those readers who struggle with dyslexia. We hope you will also find these to be helpful as well as those listed in our last article here!

1. http://www.learning-inside-out.com/dyslexia-statistics.html Are you a parent of a child struggling with learning strategies for reading, writing, math, test taking – or school in general? Or are you looking for methods to help yourself in some area of learning? This site will help.

2. http://www.senteacher.org/Condition/11/dyslexia.xhtml SEN weblinks and resources for dyslexia

3. http://www.ncld.org/at-school/general-topics/accommodations/accommodating-students-with-dyslexia How to accommodate students challenged with dyslexia (From the National Center for Learning Disabilities)

4. http://www.ncld.org/ld-basics/success-stories/anne-ford-allegra-ford-scholars/winning-battles-dyslexia A story to inspire---Porsha Buck's story follows her struggles with dyslexia and her goal from an early age to become a doctor. Porsha was the 2007 Runner-Up for the Anne Ford Scholarship and a great example of a learning-disabled student who accepted challenges with the confidence she could always overcome them.

5. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=new-font-helps-dyslexics-read Dutch researcher designs distinct characters into "Dyslexie" to make it more difficult for dyslexics to rotate, swap and mirror letters and numbers. (October 26, 2011)

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support
314-892-3897

Photo courtesy of: http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/home/article_1bea7419-12fb-54e0-ba1a-7c542dc87a08.html

Friday, December 16, 2011

More Resources for Struggling Readers with Dyslexia --Part 1

Our recent articles on the topic of dyslexia have been generating much interest during the past several weeks. In addition to publication of these articles, there may be another reason for this surge in interest on the subject. Here are some current statistics (from the U.S.) that may partly explain this increased interest level:

Dyslexia Statistics

• Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties.

• Of people with poor reading skills, 70-80% are likely dyslexic.

One in five students (approx. 15-20% of the population) has a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia is probably the most common of the language based learning disabilities.

• Nearly the same percentage of males and females have dyslexia.

• Nearly the same percentage of people from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds have dyslexia.

• Percentages of children at risk for reading failure are much higher in high poverty, language-minority populations who attend ineffective schools.

• The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)* found that approximately 38% of fourth grade students have "below basic" reading skills. These students are below the 40th percentile (performing below the other 60% of their peers) and are at greater than 50% chance of failing the high-stakes, year-end school achievement tests.

• About three quarters of the children who show primary difficulties with basic reading skill early in reading development can be helped to overcome those difficulties to a large extent. Not all of these children have dyslexia (see symptoms of dyslexia in children).

• Less than 1/3 of the children with reading disabilities are receiving school services for their reading disability.

• The causes for reading difficulty may be neurobiological (caused by differences in the structure and function of the brain), experiential (the student could not learn because of his behavior or inability to pay attention), instructional (the teacher did not provide adequate instruction), or a combination of these factors.

• At present, there is no genetic or neurological test to diagnose or predict whose problems are primarily neuro-biological or which problems are experiential or instructional (dyslexia is a neuro-biological condition).

• About 5% of the population will have enduring, severe reading disabilities that are very difficult to treat given our current knowledge.

Source: * The NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) is a measure used across most of the United States courtesy of http://www.learning-inside-out.com/dyslexia-statistics.html

Do these statistics concern you? They certainly should. So, we thought this would be a particularly good time to provide even more resources and related support links for our many readers affected by dyslexia.

Dyslexia Resources


1. http://www.pbs.org/parents/readinglanguage/articles/dyslexia/resources.html Research in recent years has contributed to our knowledge about dyslexia. As a result, there is now a wealth of information about dyslexia designed specifically for parents. Explore these Web Sites, Books for Parents, Books for Children, Videos, Organizations, and Other Resources to learn more about reading difficulties. Also check out the Glossary of Terms to learn more about the language of dyslexia. (From PBS Parents)

2. http://www.dyslexiacenter.org/ The Dyslexia Awareness and Resource Center is available to help both students and adults who have dyslexia and AD/HD, as well as their parents, teachers and professionals, who work with them.

3. http://www.readingresource.net/ This website is dedicated to helping children learn to read and for anyone who cares about reading or helping those with dyslexia and reading difficulties.

4. http://www.dyslexia-parent.com/ Free information about dyslexia, free Dyslexia Magazine for Parents, a free Dyslexia Advice Line, and dyslexia testing information

5. http://www.dyslexia-parent.com/resources.html The dyslexia resources page for the site above here.

6. http://www.dyslexia-teacher.com/dyslexia_resources_2.html One more page of resources from the same site as the 2 pages listed above here. (includes a Dyslexia Test, Dyslexia Parents Resource, Dyslexia Adults Link, etc.)

Next week: More Resources for Struggling Readers with Dyslexia --Part 2

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support
314-892-3897

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Resources for Challenged, Sensory Learners

In our last article here, we discussed strategies for a struggling reader with sensory needs. In this week's article, we will continue to address these needs but from the standpoint of resources for the parents and teachers of these readers and learners.

The following is a current list of links that should provide information on assistive technology, educational resources, more strategies and tips, and additional information to help sensory learners. If our readers have additional resources to offer for these learners, please feel free to post them in the comments boxes below to share with others here. As always, thank you in advance for your valuable input!

Resources for Sensory Learning Styles

Kinesthetic techniques and strategies
1. http://math.about.com/b/2007/07/19/why-wont-they-learn-their-timestables-what-can-i-do.htm Math resources for younger learners
2. http://edufire.com/content/articles/87-study-tips-for-kinesthetic-learners Study tips for kinesthetic learners

Visual graphic organizers
1. http://freeology.com/graphicorgs/ (free)
2. http://edhelper.com/teachers/graphic_organizers.htm (free)
3. http://www.eduplace.com/graphicorganizer/ (free)

Audio-books
1. http://www.audible.com (subscription-based)
2. http://librivox.org/ (free)
3. http://www.booksontape.com/ 1,000s of unabridged books on tape, CD, or in a downloadable format (A Division of Random House)

Recipes for making tactile other multi-sensory learning materials
1. Finger Paint Gel http://learningdisabilities.about.com/od/infancyandearlychildhood/ht/fingerpaint.htm
2. Puffy Paint http://learningdisabilities.about.com/od/infancyandearlychildhood/ht/puffypaint.htm
3. Fun Putty http://learningdisabilities.about.com/od/infancyandearlychildhood/ht/multisensoryput.htm
4. Crafting Dough http://learningdisabilities.about.com/od/infancyandearlychildhood/ht/craftingdough.htm
5. Multi-sensory Letters, Numbers, and Shapes http://learningdisabilities.about.com/od/infancyandearlychildhood/ht/lettersandshape.htm

Assistive technology resources for all sensory learners
1. http://assistivetech-4alllearners.wikispaces.com/Supporting+Physical_Sensory+Computer+Access Lists of strategies/modifications and low-high tech tools to support computer access, vision, and hearing (courtesy of the Assistive Technology Training Project, developed by the Southwest Human Development AT Program in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Education).
2. www.FocusandRead.com/products Reading tools with visual and tactile features that appeal to sensory learners
3. http://www.atanswers.com/resourcesNew.htm Resources for special needs sensory learners

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support
314-892-3897

Some of the resources here were provided courtesy of www.About.com.
Clip art courtesy of: http://www.kidscount1234.com/hartmann.html

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Help for Struggling Readers with Sensory Needs


There are many resources, both in print and online, for struggling readers. We have tried to provide some of these for our readers in previous blog articles here. However, information and resources for sensory learners who are struggling readers is a bit more challenging to find.

Since we will always want to “teach to the strengths” of a child, it is important to know the child's learning style. If the learning style of a particular child is not yet known, you might consider visiting http://www.learning-styles-online.com/inventory/questions.php?cookieset=y for a FREE learning styles inventory quiz. One type of learning style is that of the sensory learner. Sensory learners need to learn by using one or more of their five senses.

Many of these learners may need “soothing” or “anchoring” when trying to read or learn. Consider that these learners require an even stronger connection with their senses to address these needs.

Many sensory learners prefer concrete, practical, and procedural information. They look for the facts. Visual (sensory) learners like and learn best with graphs, pictures, and diagrams. They look for visual representations of information. Tactile sensory learners prefer to manipulate objects where the kinesthetic (sensory) learners like to move, dance, and use gestures or demonstrations to learn. In addition, they prefer to do physical experiments and learn empirically (by trying). These learners also enjoy working in groups to figure out problems. Auditory (sensory) learners, of course, learn best by listening. Audio books, CDs, and music work well for teaching new material to these learners.

If a child is a struggling reader AND a sensory learner, then it is even more critical to “teach to the strengths” of that child through soothing or anchoring via one or more of his senses. Consider the following strategies:

Visual Learners
take in information by:

• Underlining
• Different colors
• Highlighting
• Symbols
• Flow charts, timelines
• Charts and graphs
• Pictures, videos, posters, slides
• Different spatial arrangements on the page
• Flashcards
• Textbooks with diagrams, pictures
• Teachers/tutors should use gestures & picturesque language

Possible strategies:


1. Transform lecture notes into a learnable unit by changing them into “picture pages”.
2. Reconstruct images in different ways – i.e., different spatial arrangements
3. Redraw your pages from memory.
4. Replace words with symbols or initials.

Auditory Learners
take in information by:

• Attending lectures
• Attending tutorials
• Discussing topics with other students
• Discussing topics with your lecturers
• Explaining new ideas to other people
• Adding rhymes or tunes to your studying
• Using a tape recorder
• Remembering the interesting examples, stories, jokes
• Describing the overheads, pictures and other visuals to someone who was not there
• Leaving spaces in your lecture note for later recall and “filling in”

Possible strategies:

Convert lecture notes into a learnable unit in the following ways:
1. Lecture notes may be poor because learner prefers to listen. Learner will need to expand notes by talking with others and collecting notes from the textbook
2. Put summarized notes onto tapes and listen to them
3. Ask others to “hear” student’s understanding of topic
4. Read summarized notes aloud
5. Explain notes to another “auditory” person

Tactile Learners take in information by using:

• Laboratory equipment and experimentation
• Artifacts from actual fields trips
• Physical examples of principles
• "Real-life" examples
• Making actual applications
• Hands-on approaches to learning(computing)
• Empirical learning opportunities (by trial and error)
• Inspecting and manipulating collections (i.e., of rocks, plants, shells, etc.)
• Creating exhibits, making samples, working with photographs
• Recipes (sense of taste, too)– for solutions to problems
• Manipulatives and physical samples for hands-on work

Possible strategies:

Convert lecture notes to learnable units by:
1. Using many concrete examples in a summary (i.e., case studies and applications to help with principles and abstract concepts).
2. Talking about notes with another tactile learner
3. Using/working with pictures and photographs that illustrate an idea
4. Going back to the laboratory experience or to the actual lab manual for support
5. Recalling the actual experiments, fields trip, etc. as sequential experiences (first, this was done, etc.)

Kinesthetic Learners take in information by using:

• Physical movement
• Doing work in laboratories
• Taking actual fields trips
• "Acting out" or dramatizing examples of principles
• Teachers/tutors who give "real-life" examples
• Applications in the field
• Trial and error through physical actions
• Collecting rock types, plants, shells, grasses, etc.
• Exhibiting, finding samples, taking photographs
• Step-by-step lists or protocols as solutions to problems

Possible strategies:

Convert lecture notes to learnable units by:
1. Using many examples in a summary (i.e., case studies and physical applications to help with principles and abstract concepts).
2. Talking about notes with another kinesthetic learner
3. Using pictures and photographs that illustrate an idea
4. Physically going back to the laboratory or lab manual to re-work an idea
5. Recalling the actions taken in experiments, fields trip, etc.

Next week's article: "FREE Resources for Sensory Learners"

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support
314-892-3897

To read testimonials from teachers, parents and students who have used the Reading Focus Cards, please visit http://www.focusandread.com/rfc-testimonials.

Information courtesy of: www.housing.sc.edu/ACE

Clip art courtesy of: http://senses.phillipmartin.info/index.htm

Sunday, November 27, 2011

More, Simple Strategies for Struggling Readers


After my last blog article, I have been receiving requests for more focusing strategies to help challenged readers. In response, here are a few, additional recommendations that hopefully will also help many of my readers.

Because the white background of a page of text, many readers experience something called “visual stress”. This condition causes fatigue for the reader’s eyes and negatively affects the reading experience. To help alleviate this visual stress, consider changing the white ground on each page to be read. How is this accomplished? Actually, it can be quite easy and inexpensive to do this.

1. Colored overlays can be purchased for a nominal cost at some office supply stores. A specific color can provide better focusing results for a reader than another color. Some persons who report that letters or words “move” or “wave out” on a page can often read better with a deep blue or yellow overlay. Others can benefit from a green, pink or even red overlay. It is necessary to try each color until improved reading is the result or until letters and words appear “unmoving” to the reader.

2. Another approach to this same end is to try various colors of paper on which to print documents or worksheets. Some pastel shades can be helpful to many individuals. However, some readers experience improved focus and reading with brighter colors. Purchasing a ream of paper with a variety of shades is often a good idea. Try one color per week. Print documents on that one color for the period of a week before trying another color or shade. This inexpensive option can greatly decrease the visual stress for many readers and is certainly worth trying.

3. The Reading Focus Cards will also allow for changing white page backgrounds to a color of the reader's choice. At the same time, these inexpensive and sensory-appealing tools will focus the eye on one or two lines of text at a time while blocking out more surrounding text than any other reading aid available.

If none of these options help to improve an individual’s reading experience, then it is recommended that the reader visit a developmental optometrist for further evaluation and recommendations.

To read testimonials from teachers, parents and students who have used the Reading Focus Cards, please visit http://www.focusandread.com/rfc-testimonials.

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support
314-892-3897

Clip art courtesy of: https://www.google.com/search?q=free+clipart+of+books&hl=en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=cn3STsqvIIO42wWYv7jLDA&sqi=2&ved=0CEAQsAQ&biw=1264&bih=623

Friday, November 18, 2011

One, Simple Strategy for More Focus


So often, parents will ask for strategies to help their children focus and concentrate, especially when reading or doing homework assignments. When making suggestions, I always like to start with the simple things parents can do to help. Here is just one idea that is no-cost, easy, and can be a relief to some children.

If a child is overwhelmed by too much to read on a worksheet, it is a good idea to fold the worksheet into thirds, fourths, or even eighths, if needed. That way, only what needs to be focused upon at the moment is made visible. The distracting, surrounding text is “out of sight and out of mind” for the moment.

This approach works particularly well when written directions involve several steps. It is also a good strategy for math worksheets. If a child sees 20 math problems on a sheet, those problems can appear daunting enough for the child so that he does not even want to begin the assignment. On the other hand, if the worksheet is folded, revealing only 1 or 2 problems at a time, the child can better focus with much more attention on each problem. The remaining math problems are out of sight and, therefore, not an issue of distraction, or even anxiety in some cases. As each problem is completed, re-fold the paper to reveal the other problems, 1 or 2 at a time. This strategy usually results in better accuracy, too, when the work is completed.

You might try this “win-win approach” the next time your child appears overwhelmed with an assignment that “seems too hard”. Your child just might thank you for it and use the strategy again later on his own!

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support
314-892-3897

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Questions about Struggling Readers---with Answers!

This week I would like to post some questions that have been asked this week either online, during phone consultations or in-person conferences. To answer, I will provide 1 or more related links for each of the questions. Please feel free to post your comments, additional questions, and other related links that you feel might also be helpful to our readers! Thank you in advance for your good input!

1. Where can I find websites and resources for my child to work with math to any level he chooses?

Three of the best math resources for this purpose would be:

http://www.math.com/ From basic arithmetic to college calculus and beyond!

http://www.khanacademy.org/ High school and college math lessons on video!

http://www.mathforum.com/ This site includes Ask Dr. Math, Problems of the Week, discussion groups and much more.

2. Where can I locate a list of good classic novels that young girls could read?

The following books are available via: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/classics-for-girls-barnes-noble/1014634443#Details

Lewis Carroll
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Through the Looking-Glass

Edith Nesbit
The Enchanted Castle
Five Children and It

Louisa May Alcott
Little Women

J. M. Barrie
Peter Pan

Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden

Kenneth Grahame
The Wind in the Willows

by L. Frank Baum
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

3. Where can I find focusing tools to help beginning readers?

http://www.FocusandRead.com/ Product website for the Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759), solutions created by an experienced teacher for struggling readers

http://www.BrennanInnovators.com Professional website with special needs reading info, support, and resources for parents, teachers and administrators

4. What resources and links are available for helping 9-10 year-old struggling readers?

http://www.lexile.com/using-lexile/lexile-at-home/how-to-help-a-struggling-reader/ How to help struggling readers

https://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=d6f6qnd_0r9j5wbwf
Excellent PowerPoint to help struggling readers based on Dr. Sharon H. Faber’s How to Teach Reading When You’re Not a Reading Teacher

5. How do you know the exact reading skills a struggling reader should learn?

http://www.benchmarkeducation.com/educational-leader/reading/supporting-struggling-readers.html Comprehensive list of reading skills needed for elementary grades with best practices

http://www.squidoo.com/improve-childs-reading-skills Top 10 Ways to Improve Reading Skills & Other Activities

Do you have a question that could help a struggling reader in you life? Please post in the comment box below here.

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support
314-892-3897

Clip art---Courtesy of:
https://www.google.com/search?q=FREE+jpg+clipart+images&hl=en&biw=1261&bih=626&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=SKO1TuHuBYGesQL2iNH1Aw&sqi=2&ved=0CFkQsAQ"

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Statistics for AD/HD---Are We in Epidemic Mode?


Why are there so many children being diagnosed with some form of AD/HD? The numbers have increased markedly in recent years. The most current statistics for this disorder are a true cause for concern---now more than ever.

According to the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, the following statistics reflect the incidence of AD/HD in children (ages 3-17 years) in the U.S.:

Number of children 3-17 years of age ever diagnosed with AD/HD: 5.2 million
Percent of children 3-17 years of age ever diagnosed with AD/HD: 8.4%
Percent of boys 3-17 years of age ever diagnosed with AD/HD: 11.2%
Percent of girls 3-17 years of age ever diagnosed with AD/HD 5.5%

(Source: Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2010)

Number of ambulatory care visits (to physician offices, hospital outpatient and emergency departments) with attention deficit disorder as primary diagnosis: 7.3 million (average annual, 2006-2007)

(Source: Ambulatory Medical Care Utilization Estimates for 2007)

Is the incidence of AD/HD increasing? Or are we simply more aware of the symptoms and behaviors associated with the condition? Could there be other causes of AD/HD that have resulted in the statistics we have above here?

I would like to hear about your opinions and experiences relating to these questions. At the same time, reliable data and facts presented with links to reliable data, and/or references supporting the posted comments will be most appreciated. Please post your comments in the box below here. I look forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime, I would also like to provide a few links for general information about AD/HD. I hope you find these resources to be helpful!

General information about AD/HD in children

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
– Guide to AD/HD, including how to tell if a child may have attention deficit disorder and tips for parents. (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)
– Learn about the signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment of attention deficit disorder. (National Institute of Mental Health)

ADHD: What Parents Should Know – Includes signs, symptoms, and treatment of attention deficit disorder, or ADD/ADHD, in children. (Family Doctor)

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support
314-892-3897

Clip art---Courtesy of:
https://www.google.com/search?q=FREE+jpg+clipart+images&hl=en&biw=1261&bih=626&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=SKO1TuHuBYGesQL2iNH1Aw&sqi=2&ved=0CFkQsAQ"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Struggling Readers---Why So Many 8, 9, and 10 Year Olds?


Over the past few months, I have been receiving more than a few calls from parents, grandparents, and teachers about children from the 8-10 year-old age group. Many of these concerned adults have told me about the children's reading problems with focus, about "too many words on a page", and the actual resistance to reading in general. I could not help but think, “What is happening with reading in this particular group of children from ages 8-10?"

First of all, many children are often presented with their first, “large” text book somewhere between the ages of 8 and 10 years. For many, this will be a social studies (geography) or science book with two columns of text per page. Young students are easily overwhelmed by the appearance of this first example of just “too much text” on each page. This experience is more like a “shock” to them, given the other books they previously have read with one set of long text lines on each page. Trying to focus and read becomes that much more difficult.

In addition to this, these children can also experience more “visual stress”, not just from the sheer increase in the volume of text to be read, but in the increase of the white page backgrounds behind the greater amounts of text. Developmental optometrists will mention that this visual stress can contribute significantly to vision-related reading difficulties.

What can be done to help with this situation? Most probably, textbook publishers will not be changing their text formats anytime soon. However, a few things might be helpful. Prior to reading a new section in a “larger” text book, use the SQRRR method of reading and reviewing material:

1. http://www.odessa.edu/dept/govt/dille/brian/courses/1100Orientation/SQ3R.pdf or

2. http://www.psychologicalselfhelp.org/Chapter13/chap13_90.html .

This is an excellent method to adopt as an approach to life-long reading and learning.

Also, changing the white background of a page by using a colored overlay can go a long way to diminishing or eliminating visual stress for a reader. Another option, especially if focus and visual stress are suspected, is to introduce the Reading Focus Card, a solution that 1) changes any printed page's white background to a chosen color AND 2) blocks out more surrounding text than any other reading tool available.

These are some of the simplest, most inexpensive, and non-invasive options for helping children in this age group with reading challenges of this kind.

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support
314-892-3897

Monday, October 10, 2011

Look Who's Helping Our Struggling Readers!


The last few weeks have been most interesting since an article about the Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759) first appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch---http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/home/article_1bea7419-12fb-54e0-ba1a-7c542dc87a08.html (from 9/25/11).

Since September 25, I have received many phone calls and online communications from parents, grandparents, teachers, and tutors. What struck me, however, was the very motivated and enthusiastic grandparents who called to discuss their grandchildren's reading challenges. It was most interesting, yet sad, to hear the stories of struggling children from almost every age group and how they have so much difficulty with reading the written word. In addition to the Reading Focus Card orders received, it was my pleasure to listen, answer questions, and offer information, strategies, and professional referrals to enable the grandparents and others to help their challenged readers.

To all who called or visited www.FocusandRead.com, thank you for your interest and dedication to a child's reading issues and long-term academic success. Thank you, also, for wanting to DO something to help a child experiencing reading difficulties. It is hoped that the advice imparted, the resources given, and the Reading Focus Cards ordered will go a long way to benefit many children who are reluctant and/or struggling readers! A SPECIAL thanks to our helpful grandparents!

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support
314-892-3897

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Struggling Reader---Waiting for an Official Diagnosis


Whether you suspect your child has dyslexia or some other reading challenge, it is essential to obtain an official and appropriate diagnosis. However, sometimes there can be considerable “wait time” before an initial visit with a medical professional or other appropriate diagnostician.

Depending on the circumstances in your area (i.e. the number of individuals needing evaluation or the appropriate professionals available to the population), it can take some weeks before an appointment can be scheduled for testing, evaluation, and a proper diagnosis to be determined. What, if anything, can be done in the meantime to help a child or adult struggling with reading? There are some tips and strategies to consider that could be helpful.

Overlays, which are colored or clear transparent sheets placed over a page of printed text, can be beneficial to some challenged readers. Often, the white background on a page of text can be “visually stressing” or even “offensive” to many individuals with reading issues. Try a different colored sheet each week to learn if a specific color helps more than others in promoting focus, concentration, better comprehension, and retention.

Focusing tools can also help. These types of tools should block out surrounding text and promote the line(s) of text to be read at a particular time. They are usually inexpensive and non-invasive, which are added benefits to their use.

One such tool called the Reading Focus Card (U.S. Patent 7,565,759) actually blocks out more surrounding text than any other tool available at this writing. It is inexpensive, non-invasive, and created by an experienced teacher for her students. In addition, this solution for struggling readers is customizable for each individual and includes 3 different colored filters (like mini-overlays) from which to choose for changing the color of the white background of any page. The Reading Focus Card Combo Pack comes with all components for 2 tools (each a different length for different text line lengths. Visit www.FocusandRead.com to learn more or to order.

Other tips and strategies
for readers who struggle should also be considered. The following are just a few that could make a difference:

1. Underline or highlight important key words in a set of directions BEFORE beginning an activity, worksheet, or other assignment.

2. Fold a worksheet so that only a small amount of text, information, or problems is visible at one time.

3. Allow for standing while reading or even moving to optional work areas with less distraction.

4. Try “colored paper” for all printed materials including worksheets, outlines, notes, etc. Experiment with pastels as well as bright shades. One particular color may produce the best results for an individual.

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support
314-892-3897

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What to Do If You Suspect Dyslexia

Part 3---Two Options to Consider

Regardless of the age of an individual with dyslexia or other reading challenges, it is important to consider obtaining an official diagnosis.

In the case of children and teens, some school districts use a relatively new process called Response to Intervention (RTI) to identify children with learning disabilities. For students who do not go through this RTI process, an evaluation to formally diagnose dyslexia is needed. Such an evaluation traditionally has included intellectual and academic achievement testing, as well as an assessment of the critical underlying language skills that are closely linked to dyslexia. For children, this may be accomplished through one’s school district; however, the wait time could be significant depending on available services in each district.

Another option is to seek such an evaluation through private testing. A developmental optometrist is an excellent medical professional to conduct such an evaluation. The “upside” with this option is that wait time can be significantly less. In addition, such an evaluation is available for either children or adults. However, this option can be quite expensive and often is not covered under traditional healthcare insurance plans.

Resources for Dyslexia

http://www.dyslexiasw.com/advice/help-andamp-advice-for-teachers/teaching-strategies-for-dyslexic-children Teaching Strategies to help Children

http://dyslexia.yale.edu/Stu_whatisdyslexia.html?gclid=CP2_q5e58qoCFUQCQAodgBiDOQ A supportive resource for parents, educators and others who want to know more about dyslexia.

http://www.smartkidswithld.org/ld-basics/signs-symptoms/dyslexia-article Signs and symptoms of dyslexia

http://www.BrennanInnovators.com/
Website for learning challenges offers a feature to change the background color of every page on the site. This changing of color can help with visual stress and some dyslexic symptoms.

http://www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages

http://www.fabresearch.org/473 Information on a possible link between Omega 3 fatty acids and dyslexia, AD/HD, dyspraxia, autism, and other challenges. Also, info on Dr. Alex Richardson (University of Oxford) and additional links to related articles. (professional articles here)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-146303/Could-test-spell-end-dyslexia.html#ixzz1W9EasK4z Could a simple breath test identify children with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and behavioral problems before they start school? (mainstream media article)

Next week's article (Part 4) will be entitled What to Do While Waiting for an Official Diagnosis?

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For ADHD info and support
314-892-3897

Graphic courtesy of: http://www.school-clip-art.com/book_clipart.shtml

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What Causes Dyslexia?


Part 2---Could Nutrition Be a Factor?

The exact causes of dyslexia are still not completely clear. However, brain imagery studies have shown differences in the way the brain of a dyslexic person develops and functions. In addition, most individuals with dyslexia often have problems identifying the separate speech sounds within a word and/or learning how letters represent those sounds, a key factor in their reading difficulties.

Important: Dyslexia is neither due to a lack of intelligence nor to the lack of a desire to learn. With appropriate teaching methods and strategies, individuals challenged with dyslexia can learn successfully.

For some years, Dr. Alex Richardson of the University of Oxford has been doing research in how nutrition can affect behavior, learning, and mood. Her current research focuses on the role of Omega 3 fatty acids in relation to disorders such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, AD/HD, autism, depression and schizophrenia. Recent and ongoing work includes investigation into the effects of dietary supplementation with fatty acids in relation to features of these conditions. For more information about Dr. Richardson’s and her studies, please visit http://www.fabresearch.org/473.

For information about dyslexia, including dyslexia symptoms, please visit http://www.interdys.org/ewebeditpro5/upload/BasicsFactSheet.pdf and http://www.interdys.org/ewebeditpro5/upload/Definition.pdf

Next week's article (Part 3) will be entitled What to Do If You Suspect Dyslexia?

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For ADHD info and support
314-892-3897

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What to Do When Life Gives You---Dyslexia!


Part 1---What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a language-based learning challenge. The condition actually refers to a group of symptoms that result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually struggle with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words.

Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person's life. Dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment. In its more severe forms, this will often qualify a student for special education, special accommodations, or extra support services. At the same time, with good information, support, and helpful resources, dyslexia can be much less of a challenge and can even be viewed as a "gift" by some individuals.

We have provided here a short list of resources here to help you learn more about the symptoms of dyslexia. We hope you will find them helpful! (More resources next week!)

Resources for Dyslexia

http://www.smartkidswithld.org/ld-basics/signs-symptoms/dyslexia-article Signs and symptoms of dyslexia

http://www.BrennanInnovators.com/
Website for learning challenges offers a feature to change the background color of every page on the site. This changing of color can help with visual stress and some dyslexic symptoms.

http://www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages

Next week's article (Part 2) will be entitled What Causes Dyslexia?

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For ADHD info and support
314-892-3897

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Word-Attack Tool That Really Works!


Does your child struggle with new vocabulary words? Can it be a real challenge for your student(s) to break down words into syllables for correct pronunciation? Well, now there is an inexpensive and sensory-appealing tool that can help your child or student(s) with these issues.

The Reading Focus Card (Patent 7,565,759) can help an individual correctly pronounce and learn any new word, regardless of a reader’s age or ability level. The tool is easy to use, too!

First, just assemble the Reading Focus Card according to package directions and diagrams. Next, place the assembled device’s reading window or notch over the word to be learned. Move the tool from left to right, revealing only as much of the new word as is possible to pronounce (1 syllable at a time). The Reading Focus Card will block out other surrounding text or letters, which will promote more focus and concentration on each part of a new word. This tool and method make learning new words a SNAP! Great tool for the Back-to-School season!

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For ADHD focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For ADHD info and support
314-892-3897

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Who's the Motivated One?---Parent or Child?


This past week at a local community college, I once again had the great pleasure of teaching four different classes of gifted students (from Kindergarten to Grade 8). It was a wonderful experience that I will not soon forget. One of courses was an exploratory French class for Gr. 3-5. The students were very motivated and wanted to know how to say everything en français. They successfully learned the French alphabet and les numéros 0-100 as well as useful phrases and greetings in the language. I was very proud of them on Friday when they were successfully able to play Bingo in French. It was evident that each of the children in this class had chosen to register for the class.

Another class was for young inventors in Grades 5-8. My students conducted online patent searches, created patent drawings, and some even had time to make prototypes. These young people were very internally motivated and developed ideas that would amaze many adults. I was very proud of them as well! All but one student had chosen to enroll in this inventor class on their own, without parent coaxing.

Finally, there were two classes about critical-thinking and problem-solving games and puzzles. All students in both classes created a board game promoting these skills. In one class, nearly all children had personally chosen to register for the class. However, in one of the classes, only a few of the students had freely chosen to take the class. The children had mentioned at the beginning of the week that their parents had “just signed them up”.

You might be able to imagine the difference in the two classes by the time Friday arrived. The level of learning, the quality of work, the attitudes, and behavior were all noticeably different between the two classes throughout the week.

What’s the moral of this non-fiction story? Whenever a new opportunity for your child presents itself, whether it is academic, social, or athletic in nature, please ask about your child’s interest in that opportunity. You may be surprised that she has her own opinion, and as her parent, carefully listen and consider her input. Then make the decision together about participating in that opportunity. You (and she) will be glad you did! The level of success experienced will be significant if she is the one committing to the opportunity---rather than you.

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For ADHD focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For ADHD info and support
314-892-3897

Clip art courtesy of: http://free.clipartof.com/pg4

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Homeschooling a Challenged Learner? FREE Resources for You!---Part 2


It has been great hearing from all of our homeschooling parents and grandparents about the list of resources I began in last week's blog article here.

As promised, I wanted to pass along to my readers a few more great resources for challenged learners. The list was a long one, so I thought it would be best to break it up into 2 parts.

The resources in this post include tools and downloadables for parents of elementary students with AD/HD, a general resource guide for special needs, and a support website for autism, and other learning challenges.

Hope you find these helpful as well as those from last week! (Please see previous blog post.)

http://www.insideadhd.org/ToolkitSelect.aspx?id=718&fid=4230 FREE online tools and downloadables designed for use by parents of elementary school students with AD/HD

http://www.homeschool.com/resources01/specialneeds.asp Homeschool resource guide for special needs

http://specialneedshomeschooling.com/ Homeschooling with autism, AD/HD, learning disorders, or are you a parent with a special need? Need a hand? You have come to the right place.

To access Part 1 of this blog article, simply visit http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2011/07/great-resources-for-homeschooling.html

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For ADHD focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For ADHD info and support
314-892-3897

Clip art courtesy of: http://free.clipartof.com/pg4

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Homeschooling a Challenged Learner? FREE Resources for You!---Part 1


You have made the all-important decision to homeschool your child with special needs. Now what do you do to prepare---to prepare for SUCCESS with homeschooling?

First, you will need support from other family members. It will be important that others in your family affirm you in your decision and offer reinforcement when needed. Secondly, local homeschooling co-ops or groups will provide vital support and networking opportunities. Ask other homeschooling parents in your area about such groups and then look into the activities and programs that each offers. You might be surprised to learn what social as well as academic opportunities they offer local families. All of this support will be particularly important as you plan and work to address your child’s special needs.

Finally, good special needs resources available online can make a significant difference in your homeschooling experience---and your level of SUCCESS. We have provided just a few here to get you started and perhaps even inspired to begin on a good note! Please let us know what you think and feel free to send us YOUR favorite homeschooling support resources. We look forward to hearing from you!

http://specialneedshomeschooling.com/?page_id=161 Practical support and information for homeschooling parents and grandparents created and maintained by a dedicated and experienced homeschooling parent

http://www.homeschoolcentral.com/special.htm Site with numerous resources for homeschooling children with special needs

http://www.hslda.org/strugglinglearner/ Parents can offer their special needs children individualized education, flexibility, encouragement, and support with the resources and information from this site. Legal information and provisions for all 50 states are also included here.

To access Part 2 of this blog article, simply visit http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2011/07/homeschooling-challenged-learner-free.html

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For ADHD focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For ADHD info and support
314-892-3897

Graphic courtesy of: http://www.school-clip-art.com/

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Could Your Child Have a Vision-Related Learning Disability?


Reading is one of the great cornerstones of success in school and in life. Unfortunately, there are many children not only in the U.S. but throughout the world who cannot read. If this is allowed to continue, many children will be at a significant disadvantage not only in school but throughout their entire lives.

In 2005, mental health experts determined that approximately 3.5 million school-aged children in the U.S. had been diagnosed with some form of attention deficit disorder (AD/HD). It is estimated that this number has grown exponentially each year since that determination was made. Many of these children struggle with reading because of their attention issues.

However, some of these "issues" may not be a form of AD/HD, but rather a vision-related learning problem that “appears” to be an attention deficiency. Vision issues such as dyslexia, convergence insufficiency, stress-induced visual difficulties and other conditions can actually be the cause of or contribute to a child's inability to read with success.

What is a parent to do? Often, parents believe that the annual visit to a child’s eye doctor is all that is needed. However, although an optometrist or ophthalmologist may conduct a valid eye test, they are not the eye care professionals of choice to evaluate and diagnose for vision-related learning problems. A developmental optometrist is the preferred medical professional to conduct the proper evaluation of your child’s vision as it relates to focusing, reading, and learning success. Before the new school year begins, consider visiting the resources below here for additional information. You’ll be glad you did---and so will your child!

http://covd.org/ The official website for the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (developmental optometrists)

https://covdwp.memberpoint.com/WebPortal/BuyersGuide/ProfessionalSearch.aspx Locate a doctor in your area.

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For ADHD focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For ADHD info and support
314-892-3897

Graphic courtesy of: http://www.school-clip-art.com/

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sensory Issues? Reading Focus Cards to the Rescue!

You are the advocate and mediator for your child when interacting with his healthcare professionals, his teachers and school. At home, you are the one who provides the security of structure and comfort through therapeutic activities or the use of soothing, sensory experiences. You need support. Support that helps with the security and sensory needs of your child can mean the difference between a peaceful day --- and one that is not.

One solution is the Reading Focus Card, a reading tool that provides both visual and tactile appeal for sensory issues. At the same time, the reading aid can help your child remain engaged in reading with more focus, better concentration, and comprehension.

At the 2010 U.S. Asperger’s and Autism World Conference in St. Louis, MO, parents, educators, and leaders of numerous organizations witnessed firsthand the advantages of using the Reading Focus Cards for those on the spectrum. On the first day of the conference, all available Reading Focus Cards were purchased and orders were taken on the two remaining conference days.

If you would like to know more about how the Reading Focus Cards can help your child---and you, please contact the teacher, Joan Brennan, who created the tool for her students who need it. Her email address is joan@focusandread.com.

For testimonials on the Reading Focus Cards, please visit http://www.focusandread.com/rfc-testimonials.

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For ADHD focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For ADHD info and support
314-892-3897

Graphic courtesy of: http://www.school-clip-art.com/

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Autism's Awesome A-List!


Do you have a child challenged with autism? Do you teach a teen on the spectrum? Perhaps you have a young adult or other family member with Asperger’s who is “aging out of the system”. What resources are available to help them---and you?

We certainly know that you need vital support to help your child, student or young adult with ASD. So often, services are either very expensive if paid privately or there is a long, long waiting list for public services. While you are waiting, what help is available in the meantime?

We have gathered together here some resources that we hope will assist you with your “awesome” task of taking care of your family member or student(s). We hope these links below here will support you and give you the encouragement to “keep on keeping on” with the great work that you do!

Resource Links for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)

http://www.autismspeaks.org/ Site with current articles/resources supporting the autism community

http://www.touchpointautism.org/ This Midwest-based, non-profit organization provides excellent support to families affected by autism.
Beginning July 15, 2011, TouchPoint Autism Services will accept medical insurance for autism-related services from the carriers cited below here. The organization is actively working to secure contracts with additional carriers and will announce those options as soon as they are available.

 Healthcare USA
 HealthLink
 Anthem
 Tricare


http://www.autism-society.org Improving the lives of all affected by autism with support and resources

http://card-usf.fmhi.usf.edu/cardpubs/factsheet/Engsheets/EngFactsheets5.pdf What is Asperger Syndrome? Center for Autism & Related Disabilities Fact Sheet (from CARD)

http://www.autismbuddy.com/ Aims to provide a FREE, user-friendly website that provides high-quality printables and resources for teachers and parents for use with children having special educational needs

http://www.FocusandRead.com For focus and reading tools with sensory appeal that help children and adults with reading challenges

http://kidcompanions.com/ Site that provides accessories for a growing special needs child. Youth affected by Sensory Processing Disorder -SPD, Autism Spectrum Disorder -ASD, Attention Deficit Disorder ADD/ADHD, etc., can still benefit from developmental tools. However, age appropriate tools can be even harder to find. This resource can help. Site also provides a very supportive blog!

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm Autism fact sheet and additional resource links provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

http://pediatricneurology.com/autism.htm#SemanticPragmatic%20Communication%20Disorder A plethora of many links for special needs, particularly for those individuals on the autism spectrum

http://www.tech4autism.com/How_this_technology_appl.php A list of excellent tech resources for parents and teachers of children with autism (list created by and courtesy of Michael Leventhal)

http://boards.webmd.com/webx?14@@.89653322 (Online) Autism Support Group

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTmEkNgPWL8 Seattle Children's Autism Blog---Oral Health Tips for Children on the Spectrum

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For ADHD focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For ADHD info and support
314-892-3897

Graphic courtesy of: http://www.school-clip-art.com/

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Classic Book List for Girls


In my last post, I provided my readers with a book list for boys as we approached the mid-summer vacation time. This week, it is time to give our girls equal consideration.

I wanted to present a list of classic books that will transport young readers to other eras, regions, and cultures. Hopefully, the selections in this list from Random House will suit the young girls in your life and entice them to read all summer long! Enjoy!

A Classic Book List for Girls (Courtesy of Random House)

Kevin Henkes
Chester's Way, 1988. Greenwillow. Ages 3-7.
The mouse Lilly is one of the bravest, most flamboyant young females around. She rescues her friends from bullies, teaches them how to do wheelies, and always carries a loaded squirt gun. Everyone should meet her!

Brian Pinkney
JoJo's Flying Side Kick, 1995. Simon & Schuster. Ages 3-7.
In order to earn her yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do, young JoJo must break a board with a flying side-kick. With the help of her family, she masters her fears and succeeds. A real winner.

Ogden Nash
The Adventures of Isabel, Illustrated by James Marshall. 1991. Little, Brown. Ages 3-8.
In this funny poem, Isabel conquers a bear, a witch, a giant, a doctor, and a nightmare. The pictures will make children laugh while they learn to banish their own nightmares. Not to be missed.

Ed Young
Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China, 1989. Philomel. Ages 4-8.
Exquisite illustrations accompany this Chinese folktale about a girl who outwits a nasty wolf and saves her sisters. Winner of the Caldecott Medal.

Kay Thompson
Eloise, Illustrated by Hilary Knight. 1955. Simon & Schuster. Ages 4-8.
Eloise is one of a kind. She tears around the Plaza Hotel in New York, driving adults crazy and having a terrific time. It is no surprise that this incorrigible girl has been popular for more than forty years.

Anne Isaacs
Swamp Angel, Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. 1994. Dutton. Ages 4-9.
Tennessee-born Angelica Longrider, known as Swamp Angel, is a wonderfully outlandish addition to American tall tales. Building her first log cabin at age two is just the beginning of her incredible career. Witty folk art captures the larger-than-life heroine. A Caldecott Honor book.

Kathleen Krull
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman, Illustrated by David Diaz. 1996. Harcourt Brace. Ages 7-10
Striking illustrations portray the life of Wilma Rudolph, who overcame childhood polio to become a great runner and win three Olympic gold medals. A powerful, inspiring story.

Charlotte Pomerantz
The Outside Dog, Illustrated by Jennifer Plecas. 1993. HarperCollins.
Ages 5-8.
A charming beginning reader about a Puerto Rican girl who is determined to have a dog, despite her grandfather's objections.

Ursula K. LeGuin
A Ride on the Red Mare's Back, Illustrated by Julie Downing. 1992. Orchard. Ages 5-9.
With the help of a magical horse, a brave girl sets off to rescue her brother who has been stolen by trolls. A beautifully illustrated tale of courage and love.

Karen Hesse
Sable, Illustrated by Marcia Sewall. 1994. Henry Holt. Ages 6-10.
More than anything, Tate wants to keep the stray dog that shows up at her mountain home. With persistence and hard work, the girl succeeds. A heartwarming novel for younger readers.

Patricia MacLachlan
Sarah, Plain and Tall, 1985. Harper & Row. Ages 6-10.
This small gem tells the story of two children and the quiet, strong woman who they hope will marry their father. Perfect for reading aloud. Winner of the Newbery Medal.

Carol Fenner
Yolonda's Genius, 1995. McElderry. Ages 10-13.
A large and confident girl, Yolonda draws on all of her many talents to help her younger brother pursue his musical dream in this outstanding novel. A Newbery Honor book.

Scott O'Dell
Island of the Blue Dolphins, 1960. Houghton Mifflin. Ages 9-12.
In this modern classic, twelve-year-old Karana must survive alone for years on a California island. Winner of the Newbery Medal.

Patricia Lauber
Lost Star: The Story of Amelia Earhart, 1988. Scholastic. Ages 9-13.
Amelia Earhart broke barriers for women while she broke men's flying records. This biography describes her fascinating life from childhood to her mysterious disappearance.

Patricia C. Wrede
Dealing with Dragons, 1990. Harcourt Brace. Ages 10-13.
Cimorene finds being a princess so boring that she takes a job working for a dragon! The first in a popular, funny series.

Avi
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, 1990. Orchard. Ages 10-14.
"Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty," opens this thrilling tale of a proper young lady who changes when she gets caught up in a mutiny. A top-notch adventure. A Newbery Honor book.

Russell Freedman
Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery, 1993. Clarion. Ages 11-14.
Award-winning biographer Russell Freedman conveys the greatness of Eleanor Roosevelt through his lively writing and an extensive array of photographs. Highly recommended. A Newbery Honor book.

Suzanne Fisher Staples
Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind, 1989. Knopf. Ages 12-14.
Set in contemporary Pakistan, this gripping novel follows the fate of Shabanu, an adolescent girl from a nomadic tribe who rebels against her arranged marriage. A Newbery Honor book.

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For ADHD focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For ADHD info and support
314-892-3897

Graphic courtesy of: http://www.school-clip-art.com/

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Good Reading List for Boys---(Finally!)


Recently, there has been a significant amount of media coverage about how to encourage boys to read more. Some of the concern seems to be centered around the prevalence of video game playing and TV watching. Another issue is the perception that there is a lack of interesting and appealing literature available for boys.

First of all, as a parent of four sons, I have personally witnessed this "slide" in time spent reading as video game play has increased. At times, my husband and I found it necessary to limit the game play in favor of specific time periods of more "sustained" reading for the boys, especially during the summer. It did help that they participated in the local library's summer reading clubs and various community merchants' reading programs throughout the years. It was challenging at times, but I believe we reached a good compromise and balance that benefited our sons.

Secondly, as we approach the mid-summer, I thought this might be a good time to mention a couple of resources that could provide parents with information about good books for boys and how to encourage them to enjoy more reading. Here are several websites that could provide some assistance:

http://www.boysread.org/books.html Transforming boys into life-long readers and lovers of books is this website's mission.

http://guysread.com/ Offers a list of books recommended by the webmaster, children's author Jon Sczieska, and others suggested by visitors to the website.

http://booksandboys.blogspot.com Author and blog writer Max Elliot Anderson was once a struggling/reluctant reader himself but is now a writer of adventures & mysteries for readers 8 - 13. His blog, Books for Boys, is #1 on Google today.

http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/676 Based on author Jon Scieszka’s own experience as well as input from “Guys Read voters,” the program’s website recommends books that boys say they like. Also discusses important topics such as the the very real literacy gap between boys and girls.

http://www.c-t-l.org/high_school_readers.html Book list for high school boys (Gr. 9-12)

http://www.alanlawrencesitomer.com/ Alan Sitomer's website. He shares a passion for literacy as it relates to adolescents/boys.

http://wowbooks4boys.com/ Deliciously "wicked" books for boys learning to read---Its mission is simple...to get young boys reading! Created and written by Angela Bueti of WOW books 4 boys

In addition, I would like to provide this Parent's Choice book list for the boys in your life. Hopefully, you will find it helpful in encouraging your young men to read more good books this summer---and beyond!

Boys' Book List

Here is the list compiled by Parents' Choice Magazine:

FICTION

Tony Abbott
Realism & Survival
Abbott’s series feature fun and adventure.

Danger Guys and the Golden Lizard (Danger Guys Stories)
HarperTrophy, ISBN: 0064420116, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet (Secrets of Droon Series)
Little Apple, ISBN: 0590108395, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Avi
Avi writes good solid stories: Poppy is a deer mouse and her tales revolve around other animals in the meadow, while McKinley in The Good Dog is a sled dog torn between his human family and the wild world of Lupin, who is out to replenish his wolf pack.

The Good Dog
Atheneum, ISBN: 0689838247, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Poppy (Series)
Camelot, ISBN: 0380727692, Ages 9 & Up

Michael Chabon
Summerland is a treat where a “less than mediocre Little League player “ is recruited by a mystical 100 year old scout and accepts a mission to overthrow the evil, shape-changing overlord, Coyote. Shades of Narnia and the Hobbit say some. A challenge for older readers.

Summerland
Hyperion Press, ISBN: 0786816155, Ages 9 & Up

Eoin Colfer
Science Fiction
Colfer’s Artemis books are extremely popular and creative! “When a twelve-year old genius tries to demand a ransom, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll.”

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl Series)
Hyperion Press, ISBN: 0786817070, Ages 10 & up

Mark Crilley
Science Fiction
Crilley’s Earthling hero, fourth-grader Akiko, joins an intergalactic cast of characters in a mission to rescue Prince Froptoppit of the Planet Smoo.

Akiko on the Planet Smoo (Akiki Series)
Delacorte Press, ISBN: 0385327242, Ages 10 & up

Franklin Dixon
Oldies, but still goodies.

Hardy Boys Starter Set
Platt & Munk, ISBN: 0448416719, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Edward Eager
Time Travel
Knight’s castle by Eager follows four cousins who find themselves back in the times of Robin Hood and Ivanhoe!

Knight’s Castle
Harcourt, ISBN: 015202073X, Ages 7 - 9 yrs.

Cornelia Funke
Fantasy and Survival
The Thief Lord by Funke is the newest book on this list: an exciting story about 2 brothers who run away to Venice, Italy, their aunt who hires a detective to track them down, and the mysterious thief lord who takes them under his wing.

The Thief Lord
Scholastic, ISBN: 0439404371, Ages 10 & up

Dan Greenburg

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot (Zack Files Series)
Grosset & Dunlap, ISBN: 0448420414, Ages 7 - 9 yrs.

Jackie French Koller
Fantasy

Dragonling (Dragonling Series)
Aladdin Library, ISBN: 074341019X, Ages 7 - 9 yrs.

Gary Paulsen
Realism and Survival
In Hatchet, a boy is the lone survivor of a plane crash and is stranded in the wilderness with only a hatchet. This gripping tale is by Paulsen, who has written many wonderful stories including Mr. Tucket and Dogsong.

Mr. Tucket
Yearling Books, ISBN: 0440411335, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Dogsong
Simon Pulse, ISBN: 0689827008, Ages 10 & up

Hatchet
Simon Pulse, ISBN: 0689826990, Ages 9 -12 yrs.

Emily Rodda
High Fantasy

The Forests of Silence
Apple, ISBN: 0439253233, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Deltora Book of Monsters (Deltora Quest)
Scholastic, ISBN: 0439390842, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Louis Sachar
Holes was a recent movie written by the talented Sachar; think “curse, desert correctional camp treasure and friends”. This is very different from the humorous tales that occur on the thirteenth floor of Wayside School, which was accidentally built sideways with a classroom on each floor.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School (A Series)
HarperTrophy, ISBN: 0380731487, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Holes
Yearling Books, ISBN: 0440414806, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Jon Scieszka
Time Travel

See you later, Gladiator (Time Warp Trio Series)
Puffin, ISBN: 0142300691, Ages 9-12 yrs

Sam Samurai (Time Warp Trio Series)
Viking Childrens Books,ISBN: 0670899151, Ages 8 & Up

NON-FICTION
A variety for all tastes. Try to pinpoint some of your child’s interests; then browse the non-fiction shelves. It can be awesome! A strong alternate way to present non-fiction might be to use a narrative form, or group by topics i.e., true tales, poetry, biographies, and special interests.

Nathaniel Philbrick

The Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex
Putnam Pub Group Juv, ISBN: 039923795X, Ages 9 -12 yrs.

Brian Colburn

Triumph on Everest: A Photobiography of Sir Edmund Hillary (Biography)
National Geographic, ISBN: 0792279328, Ages 9 -12 yrs.

Mark Stewart

One Wild Ride: The Life of Skateboard Superstar Tony Hawk (Biography)
21st Century Books, ISBN: 0761326669, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Gary Paulsen

Puppies, Dogs and Blue Northers: Reflections on the Author’s Life with His Sled Dogs (Biography)
Yearling Books, ISBN: 0440418755, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Tomi De Paola
The author, creator of Strega Nona, grandmother witch, looks back on his childhood.

Twenty-Six Fairmont Avenue
Puffin, ISBN: 0698118642, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Here We All Are
Puffin, ISBN: 0698119096, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

What a Year (Biography)
Puffin, ISBN: 014250158, Ages 9 - 12 yrs.

Walter Wick

I Spy Gold Challenger: A Book of Picture Riddles
Cartwheel Books, ISBN: 0590042963, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Seymour Simon

Whales
Harpercollins Juvenile Books, ISBN: 0064460959,
Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Big Cats
HarperTrophy, ISBN: 006446119X, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Danger! Volcanoes
SeaStar Books, ISBN: 1587171813, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Muscles: Our Muscular Skeleton
HarperTrophy, ISBN: 0688177204, Ages 7 & Up

Animals Nobody Loves
SeaStar Books, ISBN: 1587171554, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Richard Platt

Eyewitness: Pirate
DK Publishing, ISBN: 0789466082, Ages 9 -12 yrs.

Eyewitness: Spy
DK Publishing, ISBN: 0789466163, Ages 9 -12 yrs.

Jack Prelutsky

Monday’s Troll
Greenwillow, ISBN: 0688096441, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

A Pizza the Size of the Sun
Greenwillow, ISBN: 0688132359, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Douglas Florian
Poetry

Laugh-eteria
Puffin, ISBN: 0141309903, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Beast Feast
Voyager Books, ISBN: 0152017372, Ages 4 - 8 yrs.

Eyewitness Books
Eyewitness Books stand out in the non-fiction collection. They are bountiful and beautiful, including wonderful photographs along with information. Browsing these gems is a treat. Examples: Sharks, Whales and Dolphins, Islam or Money. The Eyewitness Juniors, which are mostly in paperback, are perfect for lower elementary grades i.e, Amazing bikes, Amazing crocodiles and lizards.

For more great books for boys, look for Kathleen Odean’s Great Books for Boys: More than 600 books for Boys 2-14.

SPECIAL NOTE: Don't worry---next week, there will be equal coverage for girls' books and encouraging their reading! Please check back with this blog!

For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For ADHD focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For ADHD info and support
314-892-3897

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