No deep thoughts today! And nothing about dyslexia! Sometimes its good to take a break, and what better way than listening to music. Below is the playlist that my running partner made for me which turned out to be the secret to my success for the Twin Cities Marathon. While I was typing each song I could remember the smile on my face and my deep feeling of contentment. I also enjoyed hearing the secret messages and the overall theme of run to the beat I knew my running partner would insert. Hope some of you can find a new song or two to add to your playlist for running, cleaning, driving, completing Excel spreadsheets, dance parties, etc.
Easy — The Commodores
Bright Morning Stars — Abigail Washburn
The Book of Love — The Magnetic Fields
Hide and Seek — Imogen Heap
Blue Mind — Alexi Murdoch
Whenever God Shines His Light — Van Morrison
Mandolin Rain — Bruce Hornsby
Seasons of Love — Original Broadway Cast
Keep Your Head Up — Ben Howard
Hard Way Home — Brandi Carlie
Ants Marching (Live) — Dave Matthews Band
Just Say Yes — Snow Patrol
Wake Me Up — Avicii
Cruise (Remix) — Florida Georgia Line
Come on Eileen — Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Girl on Fire (Inferno Version) — Alicia Keys
Hey Brother — Avicii
Love Story — Taylor Swift
After School Special — Jurassic 5
Suga Mama — Beyonce
The Distance — Cake
Follow Your Arrow — Kacey Musgraves
Ladies Love Chest Rockwell — Lovage
I Gotta Feeling — The Black Eyed Peas
Have you Got It In You? — Imogen Heap
Blister in the Sun — Violent Femmes
Raise Hell — Brandi Carlile
Altrevete — Calle 13
Tangerine Speedo — Caviar
Awake My Soul — Mumford & Sons
Merry Go ‘Round — Kacey Musgraves
1 Goddess — Soho
All This Time — Sting
Real Fine Love — John Hiatt
Calabria — Enur
DotA (Radio Edit) — Basshunter
Fit But You Know It — The Streets
Sweet Child O’ Mine — Guns N’ Roses
Forget you — Cee Lo Green
Wagon Wheel — Old Crow Medicine Show
Echoes (Radio Edit) — Hennik B, Niklas Gustavsson & Peter Johansson
On Friday afternoons we take a break from traditional academia in homeschool land. Sometimes it’s time to watch a documentary, other times we go skiing or on a bike ride. #2’s favorite is a cooking project.
He loves to make cookies. #4 helps too. He reads the recipe, does the math (when we double a recipe), follows directions, plans ahead (when he gets out all the ingredients before he starts…something I’m guilty of failing to do very often!) and cleans up. All valuable life skills.
My favorite cookie is chocolate chip. I like this recipe so much because when I get up too late before an early morning run to have breakfast, which is always, I can shove 2 of them in my mouth and call it nutritious because of the oatmeal. Right?
Chocolate Chip Cookies (my grandma’s recipe)
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon hot water
1 package chocolate chips
2 cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs. Dissolve soda in water and add. Add vanilla. Add flour and salt, and then fold in the rest of the ingredients.
Grease cookie sheets and warm them. Roll dough balls, place on cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (they will still look a little raw) . Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
#3 is ending his kindergarten career in a couple weeks. He is beginning to decode words, however, he has a hard time finding books at his reading level. He needs VERY EASY books that are phonetic. Emphasis on the VERY EASY!
So often I find Level 1 reading books at the library like this:
Score! This is going to be great! High interest in this house! Motivation will not be a problem. Then my beginning reader tries to decode the words and the pages are like this:
Frustrating! This book is called 3rd grade reading in our house! Soldier? Capture? This is not for a beginning reader…especially a dyslexic one! Sure they could look at the pictures and figure out something about the Death Star, but we want them reading….not guessing.
When #2 was in second grade I discovered Bob books.
They are short, phonetic, with controlled text, and the different levels move through phonetic skills sequentially.
With coaching, even severely dyslexic readers can find success with these books when they are just entering the world of reading. #3 can read a couple of these books independently now, which grows his confidence and encourages him to read more. This creates a positive reinforcement loop with reading.
If others have suggestions for great books for children to practice beginning reading skills with, please post them in the comments so we can learn from you. I know I’m always looking for new suggestions! (There is really only so much of Cat and Sam and Mat sitting on each other that I can take.) And remember…emphasis on VERY EASY!
Teach your kids to type and provide a lot of time (years?) to practice. Many children with dyslexia also have dysgraphia, which is a specific learning difficulty in handwriting. For some reason dysgraphia does not effect drawing, violin playing, building with legos or typing. Another one of those things that I suppose I should read about, but at this point I’m just going with what works.
My kids use the program Typing Instructor. I like that I can manage the words per minute goal to give them a sense of accomplishment and prevent frustration.
And when frustration rears its ugly head, tell them stories about your typing class in high school….with real, actual typewriters. They will look at you like you landed here from another planet when you describe the white-out sheet you had to use when you made a mistake. It will make them quickly appreciate typing on a computer.
If your child is having difficulty with reading, and you can afford it, get a Kindle, or other e-reader.
Not only will your child become more engaged and motivated with their new gadget, but with the Kindle you can make the font bigger and spacing between lines wider. This change makes complicated text (usually with a smaller font) look more like a beginning chapter book. By changing the size of the font, it is easier for the reader to track the words, aiding with reading fluency. (There is a reason those easy readers have a large font and fewer words on the page.)
Looking up vocabulary words is also instantaneously accomplished with a couple clicks. If you want to see something laborious, ask a profoundly dyslexic student to find a word in a dictionary! A deep vocabulary is one of the keys to reading comprehension. Because of the ease, barriers are lifted and the child is no longer guessing about unknown words.
And it doesn’t hurt to be able to buy a book instantly.
On Fridays I hope to have a very brief post with a quick tip that I’ve discovered. Today….pencils.
#2 was also diagnosed with dysgraphia, which is a difficult with writing. At the beginning of 3rd grade just making letters was still quite difficult. I discovered these big pencils at Target and Lakeshore Learning Store.
I’m sure there is some science behind why writing became easier with these bigger pencils, but sometimes I just go with it and move on. If your child is having a hard time with letter formation and writing endurance, try them!