Friday, April 27, 2012

It's Time for Summer Reading!

Can summer really be just around the corner? Are your children or students counting the days until the arrival of the “lazy, crazy days of summer”? Well, that’s pretty normal. However, as a teacher or parent, you’re probably more concerned with “What can we do to help the kids retain what they have learned this year?” or “How can we keep them reading over the summer vacation?”

To help you, we have provided here some resources that should point you in the right direction. We have book lists for boys and those for girls. Some of these lists include recommendations for teens as well. We also have reading lists provided by educational entities whose names you will most certainly recognize. Please use these lists to share with your students’ parents and to enrich those lazy summer days of your own children.

Have a safe summer, and please remember that READING can be the BEST bridge activity your child can do this summer---or anytime!

Happy “Summer” Reading, everyone!

Summer Reading Lists for Boys, Girls & Teens

1. Great Books for Boys (for various age levels---via

2. Best Books That Appeal to Boys (by grade groupings)

3. Top 10 2012 Summer Reading Lists For Kids and Teens (from Elizabeth Kennedy, Guide)

4. Books for Boys (by Max Elliott)

5. Eighteen Highly-Recommended Books for Girls (various age levels-from Random House)

6. Reading List for Girls and Young Women from the NCCD (Nat’l Council on Crime & Delinquency)

7. Reading List for Young Girls (list from blog article by Ms. Blair Peter---other lists included)

8. Sylvan Learning Center’s Recommended Summer Reading List (by grade levels)

9. Kumon’s (English) Recommended Reading List (by reading level, genre, & author)

10. This special edition of the WeAreTeachers Book Club List includes 20 brand-new books that are just right for summer reading. There are recommendations for every grade level, so print out the list and share it with students, families and colleagues!

For more information: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Clip art courtesy of

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dyslexia + Pinterest = RELIEF!

We had such an overwhelming response to last week’s post on Struggling Readers + Pinterest = Solutions that we have decided this week to give similar attention and “focus” to dyslexia (please pardon the pun here!)

More Pinterest pinners are aware of the needs of those challenged with dyslexia than you might think. They know that these struggling readers often describe text as “shadowing”, “waving out”, or moving in some other way.

There are other experiences these readers report, too. Often, a developmental optometrist can be the preferred medical professional to test, evaluate, diagnose and prescribe the appropriate therapy or treatment for an individual challenged with these symptoms.

In the meantime, such a reader may very well be served by a collection of resources to bridge that time between scheduling an appointment and the first visit for evaluation. So once again, here we are with Pinterest, helping to provide a collection of “boards” containing resources and information about this vision-related reading challenge called dyslexia. Hope you find them to be helpful to someone you know with such symptoms!

Pinterest Boards with Dyslexia Resources

1. From Wendy Farrell---Board entitled “Dyslexia”

2. From Alison Seuter---Board entitled “Homeschooling ~ Dyslexia”

3. From Tiffany Vokes--- Board entitled “dyslexia”

4. From Karen Huppertz---Board entitled “Dyslexia Info and Tools”

5. From this blog’s author---Board entitled “Dyslexia Resources and Support”

Once again, happy “pinning”--- and reading, everyone!

For more information: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Struggling Readers + Pinterest = GREAT Solutions!

By now, you probably know that we’re all about three important things---1) struggling readers 2) helpful resources and 3) reading solutions. What better place could there be than our blog to combine all three for our readers? We decided to add a fourth ingredient to the mix for this week's article, however.

If you've been paying attention to trends on the internet, you're probably aware that Pinterest has taken over as a major social networking site. The Midwest is currently the part of the country where “pinners” are most prevalent, pinning (or posting) links and resources in categories for all their followers to see and share.

There have been many Pinterest pinners who have shared resources for challenged readers over the past several months. This week, we thought we would combine this popular trend with resources for struggling readers. The result? We hope this will help our visitors find even more solutions for the struggling readers in their lives---all in one place!

Here are just a few of the links to Pinterest boards for challenged readers (we included boards with 5 or more pins or resources):

1. From Michelle Anthony's board, Struggling Readers:

2. From Paula Lee’s board, Help for Struggling Readers:

3. From Amy Wall’s board, Struggling Readers:

4. From this author’s board, Let’s Help Struggling Readers:

Happy “pinning”---and reading, everyone!

For more information: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Saturday, April 7, 2012

More Apps & Resources for Dyslexia

In February, we posted a blog article here with a list of apps for dyslexia.
Since that time, we have noticed that readers of our blog are visiting to access these particular apps almost 5 to 1 over any other resource or topic (articles with AD/HD apps are visited almost 6 to 1). With this information, we thought our readers might like to have another current list of apps and resources for this particular reading challenge called dyslexia.

Without further ado, here are some additional apps and resources for those challenged with dyslexia (first apps list is from March 2012):

More Apps for Dyslexia

Extensive list of apps prepared for the Listening to Learn Guild by Jim Sandstrum, MA CCC-SLP, University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, 2012---Contains the most talked about apps, most highly-rated or those with which the author has had good, personal experience. List includes Educreations’ FREE interactive whiteboard app.

Article that includes apps recommended for children challenged with dyslexia---by KJ Dell'Antonia

This list of 4 iPad apps contains great resources for students with dyslexia.

Instapaper---App that can save web pages for later offline reading, optimized for readability on your iPhone or iPod touch's screen. Featured by Apple and critically acclaimed by top blogs, newspapers, and magazines!---by Marco Arment and recommended by Abbie Gonzalez

Other Resources for Dyslexia

FREE printable handout from Success for Your Child with ADHD or Learning Disabilities Like Dyslexia---6 Steps to Success at School

Learn from the experts—-professionals and parents just like you—-how to get off the sidelines and help your child succeed in school and in life. This is a supportive website that can empower parents to help their children succeed.

Blog for parents of children with dyslexia, AD/HD or other LD (affiliated with the above website)---Newsletter sign-up box also available in left sidebar.

Top 10 Resources on Dyslexia from Reading Rockets---Learn about the common signs of dyslexia, how parents can support their child and celebrate their strengths, the role of assistive technology, how the latest brain research can help kids with dyslexia, and more.

For more information: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Sunday, April 1, 2012

For Struggling Readers, “Color” Can Make a Difference!

We are concluding our spring conference season and have talked with so many parents and teachers of struggling readers throughout the Midwest. A number of these adults described the various reading challenges of their children and students.

Some mentioned that their children have reported to them that words or letters on a page seem to “wave out” or have “shadows” behind them. Others told us that the children often do not want to read for more than a few minutes, saying that their eyes “get tired” quickly. Still others said that many times, their children or teens were too overwhelmed by all the text on a page. Each of the parents and teachers asked for strategies, tools and resources to help.

For some of the issues mentioned, the introduction of “color” could make a significant difference in one's reading success. The white background on most pages of text can cause some of the issues described above here. This white color is stark or just too bright for many challenged readers. Neutralizing this white color can allow a reader to not only focus but read much more effectively and comfortably.

A particular color for an individual reader can “unblock brain pathways” and further improve the focus, comprehension, and retention of what is read. Some experimentation with several different colors could be time well spent.

Because parent and teacher time is at such a premium, we thought it best to address these needs in a bulleted format. We have listed here some non-invasive ideas that involve the use of color to help readers of any age who are challenged with reading. The following ideas are conservative interventions one might consider before moving to more expensive options:

1. Use colored paper for all printed materials including worksheets, outlines, notes, etc. Experiment with pastels as well as bright shades. One particular color may produce significant results for an individual.

2. Consider the use of colored overlays or focus cards for increased focus and to help with “visual stress” as the white background of a page of text can be visually “offensive” to some readers/learners.

3. When possible, fold worksheets or printed pages into fourths or even eighths so that only what needs to be read or worked on at the moment is visible.

4. Try using focus cards with iPads and other e-tablets (Model #002-Longer). They are also good for use with Kindles, Nooks, and other e-readers (Model #001-Shorter). NOTE: It is recommended that a non-scratch film be used to protect tech devices’ screens with this application.

5. Seriously consider a visit to a developmental optometrist for a non-invasive and conclusive evaluation of a struggling reader (of any age). This medical professional can effectively test, evaluate, diagnose and prescribe particular treatments or therapies for vision-related reading and learning challenges.

We hope this list will give you a few good places to start. As always, please feel free to let us know of your experiences or success stories with “color” for struggling readers. We’ll appreciate it!

For more information: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

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