Dyslexia Coach of N.J., LLC

Jennifer K. Slaight

Certified Dyslexia Specialist
Monmouth County, N.J.
Bergen County, Somerset County, Ocean County, Middlesex County

Private tutors for children & adults

JenSlaight@gmail.com
(732) 882.9695
Best Reading tutor in NJ 

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 New Study Skills Apps

Apps!

 

iPads: Tools/Apps that Help the Learning Process

It goes without saying that iPads are cool, and fun to play with. Everyone knows that. But when you first think about educational apps, you likely immediately have the same thought I did: “Nah, those apps are probably like a lot of free educational websites and games. They either go way too over the kids’ heads or they’re too low or they’re not well made. They’re just to play with.” This is a terrible misunderstanding.

Let’s start with theSee.Touch.Learn. app. This is a multipurpose app that can make lessons for very low-functioning kids who need help identifying colors or basic everyday objects; it is an app to learn sight words, an app to practice phonemic awareness skills, to practice math facts, or to categorize objects. This app can be whatever you want it to be.  The app itself is free and comes with a series of libraries that you can purchase (most $2.99 or under): anything from sight word libraries, body parts, food, shapes, colors, and action words. Then, the teacher makes custom lessons with as few or as many tasks as he or she desires, and each task may have one choice or multiple choices. There can be more than one correct answer. The teacher may choose for the task to ask the student anything--you can record your own voice with any question you choose. Some lessons that I made for a struggling reader included, “Point to the words that rhyme with red.” Or, for another student who had trouble identifying high-frequency words, I made a lesson with questions like, “Choose the word that says 'and,'" where the student chose between two or three words.

Another fabulous (and free) app for phonics and working with word patterns is Phonics Genius. Teachers may choose from a pre-loaded library of hundreds of word patterns or create a customized list of words for students. I had my students enter customized lists of the specific high-frequency words they needed to work on, and they recorded their own voices reading the words. Then, when they practice these flash cards, they press the sound button to see if they read the word correctly, and it reads the word to them in their own voice. 

If struggling readers need help with word patterns, the ABC Writing app ($1.99) is another great tool. It also comes with a huge library of CVC (cat or hit) CVVC  (rain or boat), and CVCe ( kite or bake) word patterns, but this app allows students to trace over the words to practice writing them as well. There is also a feature to hear the word spelled letter-by-letter as well as the whole word read. This app also includes three pen colors and music to help keep the student entertained. 

For very low readers who are inevitably struggling writers, theDragon Dictation app (free) is a terrific solution for recording responses to short-answer questions. This app is a speech-to-text app. If a student is not able to write a short-answer response independently, he or she may open a new note in Dragon and speak his/her answer into the iPad microphone. This allows the teacher to focus on the student’s comprehension of the material without forfeiting the rigor of work the student is capable of doing due to the student’s writing ability.  This is obviously great for content-based subjects like reading comprehension, science, social studies, and justifying solutions to math problems. 

For fluency work, one of my colleagues has been successful having students record themselves reading on iPads using Audio Note  (there’s a "lite" version for free).  Based on my own experience and many conversations I have had with parents, we often try to tell our students how they sound when they read: “You sounded choppy here; you paused on this word.” The truth is that you could give these comments until you’re proverbially or literally blue in the face; but until a child really hears for herself how she sounds, she won’t have a clue about what you mean. The change in fluency from a small, repeated reading (for example, reading the same passage over and over) and hearing the progress from slow, choppy reading to smoother, faster reading is not just motivating to students. It allows them to see for themselves that, with practice, their reading and fluency will improve. 

Similarly, another excellent fluency tool is Read To Kids ($0.99).  The difference with this app is that students take the role of the narrator and record the entire story, pressing a large bell on the screen every time they begin a new page. Then, an audience or the child can listen to the book. As the audience/child listens, they know to turn the page every time the bell rings. This is exceptional because it conversely allows me to record an above-level story on iPads and then allows the students to independently follow along in the book as they listen--great for classroom learning centers or for a break. When students know they are recording for an audience to listen to later, they put their best foot forward. 

Toontastic is a free--and amazingly fun--app that allows students to make their own cartoons, which is a great activity for students who have mastered story elements (characters, setting, conflict, resolution, and dialogue).  The app walks students through each step of the story process, and the students title and publish their cartoons. 

In addition to these, there are a number of other apps out there worth trying--not all apps are designed for all kids, but it doesn’t hurt to try them out--especially if they’re free or inexpensive (like all of these).  There are an abundance of apps that read books to kids as well as many to make customized flash cards or come with pre-made flash cards. iPads are a first-rate tool for reaching students--and even though we’ve found some great apps, we’re just at the tip of the Apple iceberg.

 


Audio Stories:

http://storynory.com/

http://www.sparklestories.com/

Audio App!

http://www.tales2go.com/parents-audiobook-app

I just learned about a great free website http://storynory.com/. It has mp3s of classic children's stories. You can also listen on the computer and it has the text so you can read along.

 

Professional storytellers are used to create audiobooks of the classic fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson.

 

They seek out unusual stories from around the world.

 

They have the entire audio book of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

 

And Storynory brings you original children's stories including Prince Bertie the Frog, The Ordinary Witch, and Theo the Monkey.

 

A new audio story is posted every week.

 

Load Up Your MP3 Player

Storynory is available on iTunes in the Kids and Family Podcast section. If you subscribe for free to our iTunes feed you can easily download and transfer our latest stories onto your iPod.





  More Recommended Apps
and Free online games coming soon!

http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/

Great for early math!



Members are eligible for hotel discounts at any participating Starwood hotel with our "friends and family" discount plan.

Westin, W, Sheraton, Loft, St. Regis etc.

Average rate for any location and any Starwood hotel is $69 or $89 (even in NYC) and usually includes 50% off food.

www.Starwood.com

Submit inquiries to me.

 


Contacts:


Jennifer Slaight
26 Capitol Reef Rd
Howell, NJ  07731

732.882.9695
JenSlaight@gmail.com


 


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Popular Items:

Reading Rulers
from Crossbow Education
Sometimes you can find them on eBay.

Crossboweducation

Syllable Division Rulers
We taught syllable division differently so don't follow their confusing rules. In fact we taught 7 different types of syllables.

http://thecardinalconcepts.com/syllable-sliders/

 

Franklin Spelling Ace Phonetic Spell Correcter

Still better than any app!

amazon.com spelling ace

 

You can find this cheap on ebay. 
Phontetic spell correcter is the key to this product.

 

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Recommended Books

 

Teenage Boys:

  • The Hunger Games
Scholastic Inc., Oct 1, 2008 - Performing Arts - 374 pages
A chilling tale of survival from the New York Times bestselling author. In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the other districts in line by forcing them to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight-to-the-death on live TV. One boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and sixteen are selected by lottery to play. The winner brings riches and favor tohis or her district. But that is nothing compared to what the Capitol wins: one more year of fearful compliance with its rule. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her impoverished district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before - and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. Acclaimed writer Suzanne Collins, author of the New York Times bestselling Underland Chronicles, delivers equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this stunning novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present.
  • Conspiracy 365

Amazon.com - C365

Front Cover

  • Little Britches, by Ralph Moody

Amazon.com - LB

Product Details

Ralph Moody was eight years old in 1906 when his family moved from New Hampshire to a Colorado ranch. Through his eyes we experience the pleasures and perils of ranching there early in the twentieth century. Auctions and roundups, family picnics, irrigation wars, tornadoes and wind storms give authentic color to Little Britches. So do adventures, wonderfully told, that equip Ralph to take his father's place when it becomes necessary.

Books for boys in grade school

If they liked diaries of a whimpy kid, they will like this series.

Amazon.com BN

Product Details

Nate the great can be read by first graders:

Amazon.com NG

Product Details


For the struggling reader, here are high interest but easy to read books by high noon books:

http://www.highnoonbooks.com/HNB/abouthnb.tpl?cart=13402078684909878

-controlled vocabulary
–simplified sentences
–connected text (not picture books)
–engaging stories


 

These are titles that hooked all my students, regardless of ability. 
I consider these books central in launching an egalitarian reading culture. 

Eleven by Patricia Riley Giff

Sam, a talented boy who can't read, is trying to discover his true identity through written documents.  This action-packed psychological mystery is both suspenseful and touching. 

   

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

Plucky twelve-year-old Foster McFee is not going to let her inability to read keep her from reaching her goal of having her own television cooking show.  In fact, her ambitions engage everyone around her, including an unlikely reading tutor who forces her to confront the vulnerability she is trying to keep hidden. 

   
A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd
by Patrick Ness (Author), Jim Kay (Illustrator)

This powerfully illustrated YA book is a powerful story about the monster, both real and imagined, that thirteen-year-old Conor must face.

   

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian 
by Sherman Alexie

Simple cartoons help tell the story of Arnold Spirit, a fourteen-year-old Indian, who has not had an easy life.  Using his humor and sharp observation, Arnold grapples with his own ambitions, his Indian identity and the world around him.

   

Babymouse Series Graphic Novels 
by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Even though their covers are pink, and the protagonist female, boys fall for Babymouse also.

From the publisher: "Meet Babymouse, a sassy young mouse who dreams of glamour, excitement, adventure, straight whiskers, being queen of the world...Readers will love Babymouse's vivid imagination...and the clever illustrations and hilarious storyline of brother-sister team Matthew and Jennifer Holm."

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

The Strange Case of Origami Yodaand its sequel, 
Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book 
by Tom Angleberger

The "Origami Yoda" books tell the story of a sixth-grade weirdo and his mysterious ability to dispense bona fide wisdom through a Yoda finger puppet (cartoons and marginalia included). The book is structured as a collection of stories gathered by Tommy and told by kids who either believe or don't. Ages 8-12
   

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney

The popularity of the "Wimpy" series ushered in many popular spin-offs. The best thing about these humorous graphic novels is that they appeal to all reading abilities. Because everyone in the class reads (and enjoys) them, the series creates a shared experience among the students, regardless of reading abilities. Ages 8-12
 

OTHER BOOKS LIKE DIARY OF A WIMPY KID:

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading 
by Tommy Greenwald, illus. by J.P. Coovert
From the author's website: "Charlie Joe Jackson may be the most reluctant reader every born. He does whatever it takes to get out of reading, and so far, it's worked out really well. But one day in middle school he gets into trouble, and finds his impressive record is on the line. Will he push his luck and do whatever it takes to get out of reading, or will he finally bite the bullet and... gasp...read a book??!? "

Alvin Ho by Lenore Look and LeUyen Pham

Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce

 

Sharon Creech Love that Dog

Love that Dog and Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech 

Both books are written in easy-to-read free verse and are so compelling and funny that students find themselves rethinking poetry. Ages 8-12
Guys Write for Guys Read

Guys Write for Guys Read: Boys' Favorite Authors Write about Being Boys: a collection of wonderful, short autobiographical stories written by favorite authors like Avi, Dan Gutman, Daniel Pinkwater, and Jerry Spinelli; edited by Jon Scieszka

Guys Read: Funny Business
From the publisher: "Ten stories guaranteed to delight, amuse, and possibly make you spit your milk in your friend's face" 

Guys Read: Thriller
From the publisher: "Ten original short stories of mystery, thrills, intrigue, and nefarious activity by ten of the best mystery/thriller writers of our day. Read these if you dare!" 

The Series is best for older readers as independent read-younger readers need some guidance-not all stories are appropriate for elementary ages and these stories are not just for boys. Grades 5-9

Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka

Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories of Growing up Scieszkaby Jon Sciezska 

A hysterically funny autobiographical novel told with lots of visuals and exaggeration. Ages 9-12

The Invention of Hugo Cabret  by Brian Selznick 

A 566-page novel told mostly through illustration. Kids love this fat book; it makes them feel like “real readers.” A Caldecott Medal winner. Ages 9-12

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick.

Like "Hugo Cabret" this book is told mostly through pictures. From the publisher: "Ben and Rose wish their lives were different. Set fifty years apart, their two stories -- Ben's told in words, Rose's in pictures--weave back and forth on a spectacular journey."

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo  

A simply told touching story with short easy-to-read chapters.

Other books by Kate DiCamillo:
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane 
The Magician's Elephant
Tiger Rising

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Nathan Hale 

A funny retelling of the classic tale done in graphic novel format. Boys do like it, even though they resist it at first.

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen

A good short book packed with humor and adventure and a little introduction into how capitalism works. Ages 9-12 

And the sequel, Lawn Boy Returns.

 

More books by Gary Paulsen include:

Liar, Liar: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Deception, and 

Flat Broke: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Greed

Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuff by Jennifer Holm

Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuffby Jennifer L. Holm 

The author uses everything from journal entries to refrigerator notes to tell a touching story about one girl’s challenging year. Ages 9-12

Jerry Spinelli

Many titles by Jerry Spinelli seem to get students hooked on reading in the middle elementary grades.  Loser andLove, Stargirl are favorites. Spinelli's autobiography, Knots in My Yo-Yo String, is also a surprise hit.

Teachers who recommend these titles gain a lot of credibility with their students.


Different Thinking for Different Thinkers

 

The end of summer vacation and a return to the classroom is upon us, and kids everywhere are counting the days until their freedom ends and they return to the traditional classroom.

Almost all kids grumble about back-to-school, but for those who think differently, process differently and exhibit a different set of strengths than most, it’s a return to a stress-filled environment where they just don’t fit in at all. And they fail miserably, invisibly, their learning differences completely misunderstood by teachers, classmates, even family and friends.

These are the right-brained thinkers who are plenty smart, but for whom spelling, reading — and particularly reading aloud — writing legibly, taking notes in a lecture and copying from the board are never-ending struggles. They’re wrongly accused of not caring, of not working up to their potential, of not focusing on their work.

These kids may show great strength and aptitude in sports, music, art, and a whole array of other hands-on, project and performance-based activities—but increasingly in our schools today, only academics matter.

A vast amount of impressive research proves these kids are typically very bright, but their brains are literally different than most. About 20 percent of the population are right-brained, visual learners who typically excel when they are taught and assessed in the way they learn. But they’re often not properly identified and diagnosed before they fail in the typical classroom, and they’re not generally provided with the differentiated teaching methods they require to reach their full potential.

The lucky ones receive timely assessments and the typical diagnosis of “Specific Learning Disability,”an umbrella term that covers a wide array of learning differences, including dyslexia, auditory, visual and memory processing issues.

Nationally, those who are diagnosed with SLD make up more than 60 percent of the students enrolled in special education. But for far too long, these students — even when enrolled in special education — have not received the specific kind of help they need. There is an array of historical reasons, including leadership issues, lack of administrative awareness, inadequate teacher training, failure to prioritize the need and, sadly, political pressures to keep the status quo.

Those individual students who have managed to succeed in school invariably have the support of an educated mentor, a committed advocate or a determined parent. Often it is the parent who takes on all of these roles. Sometimes they spend a fortune on tutors, who may range from $75 to $125 an hour or more. Others end up engaging the services of an attorney to force public schools to provide the free, appropriate public education to which they are entitled — a move that is costly for all parties.

Those who do not get the help they need — and there are far too many — are typically on a path where they will never reach their full potential, and many head for a life of truancy, high-risk behavior, self-medication and a downward spiral with predictable consequences, even prison and suicide.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

We are mothers of bright, motivated, successful sons with dyslexia — one 42, one just 15 — both of whom have experienced far too many struggles in school. They, like so many others, would not have gotten on their pathways to success had it not been for countless exhausting hours we have spent educating ourselves and others, advocating on their behalf, and spending more time than we ever thought possible in meeting after meeting after meeting, trying to get it right. And our work has led us to work on behalf of others in the community as well.

But this issue of properly educating those who think outside the box is not an individual issue to be solved one student, one family at a time.

Our community of administrators, teachers, parents, community leaders and even politicians must join together to increase awareness, develop understanding and work collaboratively to implement the necessary changes in today’s education system that so wrongly blames students for their biologically based learning differences. As the saying goes, “Dyslexia is a neurological issue, not a character flaw.”

 

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swedish meatballs I think

Canapés while you browse...and there's always the egglog...

yummo?

Links

Know the laws
and your rights:

WrightsLaw

Resources:

NCLD

IDA

Yale Center

Getting ready
for college-start here

College

Find a career
with this
innovative sight

Careers

 

Products

Books on tape:

Learning Ally

Handwriting:

w/o tears

Keyboarding:

typing

Note Taking:

Notes

Math:

Times Tales

Visual Thesaurus:

Thesaurus

Assistive
Technologies:

and Apps