10Feb/14Off

Using Audio Books to enhance confidence for Dyslexics – Gives focus, comprehension skills and vocabulary for dyslexic spectrum students

I got my first cassette player at the age of 7 - I still can clearly remember all of the books I listened to over and over. I started using my first cassette recorder at the age of 12 in secondary school to record all my lessons so I could listen back to them - I upgraded to a MP3 player/recorder by college!

Now as a dyslexic adult I insist on reading daily to keep up my skills and I'm secretly chuffed at having read 27 books this year!

However I still listen to audio books for series that I feel are beyond my reading and I feel that I would miss out on...

I prescribe audio books for younger students like a medical doctor. For younger students who are book-phobic it gets them into reading and liking books - they don't realize what the are missing out on! It also helps with focus and relaxing the brian. I will talk about this more in my future sleep patterns article. The biggest thing I learned at 7 was that I could memorize the story by listening - it thought me the auditory compensation skills that I still rely so heavily on - in college my fellow students were fascinated that I could remember word for word the lectures despite no notes as I wasn't able to ever take dictation. I would later correct all my class mates notes as I used them for my degree as I have had the time to take the lecture in and understand it rather than worrying about writing. So audio books teach us how to focus while just listening.

Many dyselxic spectrum students struggle with comprehension. Again with audio books we can learn to focus on the context of writing and reading. We learn what to expect from lanuage and where it goes best together. This later helps us while we are reading - it's like we go into auto pilot working out the text from the context without even realizing what we are doing!

Lastly a great benefit of audio books is learning words! Like many dyslexics I simply didn't have the words to say or write at an early age as I wasn't learning them from books. We all know the students who talk better because they read or are read to or they spend more time in adult conversations - they always stand out as being more "educated" to us.  Dyslexics quite often are seen as poor at communication as they speak a lot in "things" and "stuff" and other small bity words to fill the gaps of what they are trying to say. Audio books can help to fill these gaps very quickly!

As dyslexics all have huge imaginations I always recomend books that open up new worlds - or even better are like the world you live in only differently. This is why Harry Potter has got more dyslexics to read than any other series ever.

You can download the Harry Potter Audio Books directly from http://www.pottermore.com/

The next series I love is the Dark materials or Northern Lights series as I see them by Phillp Pullman. These can be found on iTunes, Audible and the BBC http://www.bbcshop.com/audiobook-boxsets/phillip-pullman-his-dark-materials-trilogy/invt/9780563529286

For every young student I recommend Dr. Seuss - He is amazing. The app store for the iPhone and iPad has some amazing interactive audio book apps - The Star-Belly Sneetches is still my favorite.

For older students I recommend the Twilight sage, any of the Agatha Christie books or plays, Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Dick Francis & Felix Francis, Donna Leon books, Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. Boys will probably enjoy Frederick Forsyth or John Le Carre which may be too difficult to read. For both when older any books by Dan Brown or The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith can be good debating books on larger world issues.

Happy listening,

Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly    Expression Developist™


16Aug/13Off

Confidence in Reading while using e-readers, ibooks and Kindle – the pros & cons and advice for dyslexic readers

 

I have been thinking about the question -  is using eReaders better or worse for your reading when you are dyslexic? - it's a personal dilemma for me as I can read much faster and more accurately with the setting on a device set to white text on black but then one of the reasons I read so much is because I have proven the more I read the better I can read!

So it's a big trade off - the new setting on the devices where you can pick your own font preference, text size and especially the colour make a vast difference to dyslexic readers and I recommend to all my students to play with their settings. You are looking for short lines of text - use two columns, use the black background or the sepia in the sun and a font which is curly rather than square text - oh and don't be afraid to make it bigger too! All these simple changes will give you so much more confidence reading your books - you read faster and take in more information.

However let's go back to the other side of the debate - the more you read as a dyslexic the better you can read. People on the dyslexic spectrum or with ADD/ADHD don't naturally read well. It's all about practice! So if we make it so much easier as we do with eReaders we lose some of the practice element when we go back to white pages and black text! I wish book publishers would choose their fonts and paper better but until then we have to find ways to cope.

A few months ago I was distressed to realise my reading out - especially of menus was decreasing in ability despite the fact that I read so much (usually up to 7 books at a time so I don't get bored). But I was reading these all on my Kindle or iPad.

So now I read at least one paperback fiction book and the more hard core work texts I read online with all my fancy settings makes it easier.

This way I'm still reading quickly for work and accurately but I'm still practicing for restaurant menus!

 

Dr. Naoisé  Expression Developist™

   

Introduction

Welcome to the Confidence Club

One step closer to fulfilling a personal dream of mine - "to make school a happier, creative, more successful and enjoyable place for all students, regardless of their differences"... Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly

There is always a balance between making long term changes in education and supporting those people currently in the system!

One of the many reasons why Students attending The Homework Club become so successful is because of the awareness they have of their own Potential, Personality and Learning Style and how these effect their own educational success. Every Student at The Homework Club is set-up to work to their best abilities within the environment through an initial interview.

The Confidence Club now offers this service to everybody, especially those restricted through distance and who aren't able to attend our classes at The Homework Club.

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