Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level Audio CD – Audiobook, January 1, 2004
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About the Author
Dr. Sally Shaywitz is a neuroscientist, a professor of pediatrics at Yale, and codirector of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention. She received her BA from the City University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and her MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Shaywitz is the author of over two hundred scientific articles, chapters, and books, including Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level, which received the Margo Marek Book Award and the NAMI Book Award. An elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, she has received numerous honors for her work in advancing the scientific understanding of reading and dyslexia. She lectures throughout the country and appears regularly in national media. Shaywitz currently lives with her husband in Woodbridge, Connecticut.
Anna Fields (1965-2006), winner of more than a dozen Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award in 2004, was one of the most respected narrators in the industry. Trained at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, she was also a director, producer, and technician at her own studio, Cedar House Audio.
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The book accomplishes at least three separate goals: summarizing the current state of the research, assisting in the diagnoses of dyslexia, and equipping parents and educators to address the unique needs of dyslexics.
Of all the literature in the field, only this book tackles such a broad field, and it does an admirable job.
Most of my issues are stylistic rather than technical. I wish certain sections had been shorter, longer or organized differently. I'm sure Sally, her reviewers and editors all discussed many ways to approach these things.
On a technical note, there is a tendency to oversell the phonics/phonological side of reading instruction to the near-exclusion of recruiting more memorization skills and rudimentary sight-reading. I don't agree. In practical terms most of us sight-read most of the time. For example, we don't mentally make a "w" sound /w/ a short "u" sound /u/ and a "z" sound /z/ when we look at the word "was." Instead we recognize it like an old friend. This is the premise of the Dolch Sight words--and it's a VERY REASONABLE assumption indeed. In fact, as we learn to decode more-and-more we sight read a far greater percentage.
As a reading instructor I know this and I emphasize "reading along" as a way to develop sight recognition and fluency. Purely phonics-based instruction moves far too slowly toward that objective and results in students who sound-out familiar words long after they could recognize them (because they feel they are supposed to--or only allowed to--sound everything out.)
That said, I want to commend Shaywitz on her work. It may be that I am behind the current research, but years of classroom experience convinces me that reading instruction is less formulaic and must be modestly-to-significantly individualized for every student. The literature should address this and encourage this style of teaching rather than to even subtly intimate more regimentation or standardization in reading pedagogy.
The book should be required reading for everyone who teaches reading in any capacity (home school to specialist). The audio version would be invaluable for any adult who suspects they are dyslexic. Furthermore, everyone with a dyslexic or reading-delayed person within their circle of concern should take the time to read this.
One final group in particular that really needs to read this book are federal and state Dept.s of Ed. personnel, local school boards and EVERY school administrator! Why? Because they consistently focus on all the wrong things when it comes to fostering effective reading programs. Everyone knows that educational philosophy can't replace teachers' technical competenece. Similarly, financial, management or leadership skills are no substitute for subject familiarity among administrators!
Fascinating read that clears up a lot of inconsistencies and misinformation on the topic of Dyslexia. Remember that it is just one person's ideas and that they're not perfect. Others have pointed out where the info is a little contradictory, but this is a great jumping off place if you're just getting started in your research.