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Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level [Kindle Edition]

Sally Shaywitz
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From Booklist

Shaywitz, a neuroscientist and Yale pediatrics professor, offers scientific and human perspectives on a reading problem that troubles one in every five American children. Drawing on scientific research and her own case histories, Shaywitz explains what causes dyslexia, how to identify it, and how to help children and adults overcome it. In highly accessible language, Shaywitz explains recent technology and research that pinpoint areas of the brain that control the ability to read. In part 1, she explores the early history of diagnosing reading problems, biases that have crept into the evaluations of reading disabilities, and how dyslexic children are treated in schools. Part 2 explores new theories on identifying and treating dyslexia. Part 3 offers practical advice and exercises to help children become better readers year by year, and part 4 focuses on overcoming the disability. The epilogue includes commentary from dyslexic readers who've become quite successful, including John Irving, Charles Schwab, and Wendy Wasserstein. Parents and teachers will appreciate this tremendously helpful resource. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From Library Journal

Dyslexia explained and treated by the codirector of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Informative, Constructive 15. März 2009
I heard Dr. Shaywitz speaking about dyslexia on NPR's radio program "Parents' Journal," which is how I first heard of "Overcoming Dyslexia". The detail in this book helped me clearly see that my son has dyslexia, and after reading it, I feel well-equipped to be his advocate in school. What I liked best were the tips on how you can help your dyslexic child--by asking for additional time on tests, requesting assignment reduction if homework goes on for hours, talking through assignments before having the child tackle them on his own, having the child read poems aloud, and so forth. I also appreciated the detailed descriptions and contact information for all the resources available--websites, software programs, even the scanning pen Quicktionary. Rather than feeling hopeless upon realizing my son truly is dyslexic, I felt empowered. It seems there are a lot of resources in the US. How is it in Germany? Are there any similar books on "Legasthenie", where I could find out what resources are available here?
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.6 von 5 Sternen  255 Rezensionen
287 von 298 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Review from a Dyslexic 28. April 2003
Von Steve - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
As an adult and scientist with dyslexia, I always wanted to understand the physical mechanism behind the disability. I could never understand why I scored average to low in multiple-choice tests but scored high in reading comprehension. Why I excelled in physical science and math yet was constantly taking remedial writing and English? Dr. Shaywitz's book is excellent in answering these questions. The first step in treatment is understanding the mechanism. A miswiring of the phonologic module explains so much and suggests likely remedies. Her book is written in layman's terms and is easy to read and understand. I wish I could give a copy of this book to all my friends and family it explains so much. Dr. Shaywitz knows her audience and writes with compassion and personal touch. The best part was learning that dyslexia can now be seen to have a physical manifestation by fMRI. Dyslexia is no longer a mysterious disability but has actual biological roots. Most disturbing to read was that in her estimates, 1 in 5 children have some form of dyslexia. As a child that almost slipped through the cracks, I failed kindergarten because I didn't know my ABC's, this is distressing to learn. How many intelligent and potentially successful adults were allowed to fail due to dyslexia? It was only through the diligence of my mother that I ever learned to read. Thirty years ago little was understood about "word blindness" but my mother did the primary research and tried every goofy theory on teaching including writing letters on my back with her finger and asking me to name the letter. Now Dr. Shaywitz gives good advice as well as current research and resources so parents have it all in one book. If you had only one book on dyslexia this would be it. I can't recommend this book highly enough. I give it many more stars then I'm allowed.
265 von 281 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Useful book, but not what the title promises 31. Januar 2005
Von Abigail Marshall - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This would be a wonderful book - worth 5 stars - were it not for the title. This book is not about "Overcoming Dyslexia" so much as it is about "Coping with Dyslexia". There is no "New" Program for Reading Problems but rather a detailed description of a strong phonics and language-based curriculum that has been around for years -- and is geared to the needs of ordinary students, not dyslexics.

This book does give a good overview of the process of learning to read in ordinary children, as well an explanation of some of the differences in the way dyslexic children learn and read, and an excellent overview of good curriculum materials available and in use in many schools today. It also give a wonderful and very readable summary of Dr. Shaywitz's own research into reading and dyslexia -- but Shaywitz's theories are not universally accepted, and the book does not analyze or compare the research done by the dozens of other prominant researchers in the field of dyslexia.

As another review noted, the book also suffers from a sort of split personality -- in the first section it outlines the many aspects of the dyslexic learning style that are different from typical children, and then the section on reading instruction recommends many of the very same techniques that the first part said were inappropriate for dyslexics. For example, in one part the author points out the difficulty of rote learning for dyslexics; in the next part she recommends using flash cards for drill and memorization of common sight words.

Ever since the pioneering work of Samuel Orton, educators have known that dyslexics learn best by "multisensory" methods -- but this book does not include an explanation of the importance of such teaching, or even a list of the most commonly used tutoring methods for dyslexia. Worse - while parents are bombarded with information about one new approach after another --- this book barely mentions the availability of private tutoring or therapy, let alone give parents any means to evaluate the various competing approaches that might be recommended for their children.

Dr. Shaywitz is one of a number of researchers who have contributed immensely to the understanding of dyslexia -- but she is only one, and this book happens to present an extremely useful but somewhat one-sided view of her work. That is certainly an appropriate book for her to write; but it would have been better with an honest title that didn't promise more than it delivered.

The harm that this book can do is that it might mislead parents into being complacent when their children are struggling. At one point the author states that parents of children in California have nothing to worry about: their children will certainly learn to read because California has adopted her recommended curriculum. Needless to say, California test scores (among the lowest in the nation) do not bear out her contention. The reality is that dyslexic children, almost by definition, do NOT learn to read with ordinary instruction in regular classrooms -- no matter how good the curriculum. The dyslexic children are the ones on the tail end of the bell curve - the 20% who don't learn by the methods proven effective for the other 80%. They need specialized and individualized support and methods, geared to their unique learning style. While Dr. Shaywitz does a great job exploring that learning style, she fails to apply that knowledge to the art of teaching reading.

Dr. Shaywitz is a doctor and a scientist, not an educator - so her book is long on theory and conclusions, short on practical advice. For anyone who is understands enough about dyslexia to recognize the limits of this book, it is a valuable and essential read. If you want to understand about brain science and dyslexia, this book is a must-have -- AFTER you read the more comprehensive text "Brain Literacy for Educators and Psychologists" by Drs. Virginia Berninger & Todd Richards.
417 von 456 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Lots of good stuff here, but watch out for... 13. Januar 2004
Von Daniel F. Styer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book contains large amounts of interesting and important information about dyslexia, much of which is not readily available elsewhere. It will be of interest to dyslexics, the friends and family of dyslexics, teachers, education administrators, and indeed to anyone who wonders about how people learn and how people think.
One particularly attractive feature of the book is that it covers many areas of concern: not just the science of dyslexia, but also the techniques of testing for dyslexia and teaching to dyslexics, the social and personal implications of dyslexia, policy and administrative implications of dyslexia, effective advocacy for a dyslexic child, misconceptions about dyslexia, and so forth. A special treat is the epilogue, which provides the life stories of seven dyslexics who have been extraordinarily successful as authors, physicians, businesspersons, or politicians. I particularly note that many of these successful people regard dyslexia not as a burden to overcome, but as a gift that forces them to think where others rely on rote memorization.
I bought this book because my son is dyslexic. After reading it, I am also nearly convinced that I am dyslexic. (Before you read too much into genetics, let me tell you that my son is adopted.) Other apparent dyslexics I know are my father (a self-made multimillionaire who has difficulty spelling words of four or five letters) and my Ph.D. thesis advisor (a highly creative theoretical physicist, winner of the Wolf Prize and the Boltzmann Metal, who told me not to fret overly about my poor spelling, because "the ability to spell anticorrelates with intelligence").
The book does not deserve five stars, however, because it is seriously schizophrenic. Most of the book, particularly parts I, II, and IV, takes the position that there are many different kinds of students, who enter school with a variety of backgrounds and a variety of objectives, and that this variety demands a variety of teaching approaches. For example:
"Every child is different." (page 193)
"There is no one perfect school environment that will suit every child." (page 302)
"Good readers and dyslexic readers follow very different pathways to adult reading." (page 314)
They are poor schools that "pride themselves on uniformity." (page 297)
My observations, both as a parent and as a teacher, support the soundness of these conclusions. After all, every shirt manufacturer knows that it's *not* true that "one size fits all". If we need variety in such a simple thing as shirt sizing, isn't it clear that we also need variety in something as complex as thinking, teaching, and learning?
Yet part of Shaywitz's book (much of part III) flatly rejects this need for variety and replaces it with a doctrinaire insistence that there is only one way to learn reading, namely phonics:
"A young child *must* develop phonemic awareness if he is to become a reader." (page 51)
The child "must understand that spoken words come apart" into short sounds. (page 176)
"All children must master the same elements." (page 262)
Fluency training "invariably works." (page 273)
"It is only by reading aloud...that real gains are noted." (page 235)
"There is no other way." (page 263)
It is abundantly clear that such statements are dead false: deaf children do not -- cannot -- learn to read by associating letters with sounds, as phonics demands. Furthermore, I assure you that I do not read this way. I simply do not understand the complex rules about vowels on pages 200 and 201 -- rules that Shaywitz claims *must* be understood by second graders to enable them to read. (While reading these rules, I could only think that, in comparison, quantum mechanics is utterly trivial.) Perhaps this is related to the fact that I've never been able to play a musical instrument, or to sing, or even to hum. But surely I am a counterexample to this arrogant insistence that "there is no other way".
Shaywitz claims that her insistence on phonics as the only way to learn is supported by the report of National Reading Panel. In fact, that panel draws exactly the opposite conclusion, namely that "Not all children learn in the same way and one strategy does not work for all children."
It may well be that deaf people and I don't read as efficiently as other people do. It may well be that phonics is the most efficient place to start when attempting to teach a child to read. But to insist, as Shaywitz does, that it's the place to start *and* the place to stop is contrary to both common sense and the evidence.
The book's dual-headed character is sometimes frightening in its contradictions. On page 358 Shaywitz recounts vividly how awful it is for dyslexics to be forced to read aloud in class. (The same can be said for those with speech impediments, for those with non-standard accents, for poor readers who are not dyslexic, and for those who are just plain shy.) And on page 235 she writes with pride that, due to her contributions to the "No Child Left Behind Act", soon all children will be forced to read aloud in class.
The tragedy is that due to the adoption of the "No Child Left Behind Act", and due to impending changes in the "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act", our country is moving away from the sound practice of "one strategy does not work for all children" and towards the one-size-fits-all doctrine of "there is no other way."
40 von 42 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Read this for yourself and for your children 1. Oktober 2003
Von Stephen Rives - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Are you an otherwise intelligent adult who loses words right before you speak them, switching one word for another? Do you read arduously and slowly? Do you use simple words because you are afraid of mispronouncing the better word you are thinking of? Do you forget people�s names easily? Are you a poor speller? Where you in remedial reading as a child? Are you creative and do you think outside of the box? All of these things may mean that Shaywitz�s book is for you.
This book explains what dyslexia is, how to spot it in yourself and you children, and ways to help a child who has it. Educators and parents would do well to read this book and have a working knowledge of the issues at stake; lifelong patterns of frustration and low self-esteem can be averted when a responsible educator can spot and understand dyslexia in a child.
Adults with dyslexia are not given solutions in the book, per se, but are directed to important resources. For example, Thumbprint Mysteries are recommended for adults with dyslexia (books available on Amazon). In this respect, Overcoming Dyslexia differs from other books on the subject, such as "The Gift of Dyslexia" which provide exercises to assist the adult learner.
The first few chapters of the book demonstrate how dyslexia can be clinically diagnosed. Any of you who know or sense that you have dyslexia, know the frustration of having a disadvantage that can not be diagnosed. Shaywitz points to solid scientific research (brain scans and MRIs) which illustrate the reality of dyslexia.
The epilogue will be quite encouraging to anyone who has dyslexia and who wants to read the testimonies of famous and brilliant people who have also suffered with it. When I read this section, I felt like I was connecting with a secret society of friends who all shared the same feelings and setbacks I had lived with all my life. That good and intelligent people can struggle with the same thing I fight with makes for a sight of hope. Dyslexic thinkers can be quite creative as one part of their brain has been trained to compensate for the lack in another.
This book is a wonderful tool, I hope many will find it and use it.
22 von 22 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Good, but misleading. 12. Januar 2007
Von Cheryl Orlassino - Veröffentlicht auf
Based on the title, I thought I would open the book to find a new (and complete) science-based program for reading. What I did find was a lot of information about dyslexia, its historic roots, information on the dyslexic brain, diagnosing dyslexia, different reading programs that are currently available and advice on how to find a good school. I found the book to be very informative, although a bit wordy and a bit misleading. So, if you're looking for a step-by-step reading program (that's sure to work), this isn't it. I do like the fact that the book validated dyslexia, explained it and offered hope, giving examples of successful dyslexics and their stories.

My one disappointment was how Dr. Shaywitz said (a number of times) that the parent should take a supportive role and let the professionals do their job. Depending on where you live, finding a professional that knows how to teach a dyslexic can be impossible. If you are fortunate enough to find one, it will be very expensive. I know this first hand. In many cases, a parent must become the teacher for their child and this can be done successfully.
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