Dyslexia or Second Language Learning?


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A review of dyslexia in dyslexia across different languages, the characteristics that distinguish these students with dyslexia from ELLs without dyslexia and the teaching strategies that work with both groups.

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  • @kayoko murakami Thanks Kayoko! I have one long term Japanese student and friend who I've always felt was dyslexic. In spite of many years of dedication to learning English, he still struggles with expression. BTW, he is extremely intelligent and learned.
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  • This is an excellent overview of Dylexia in English language learners. Just because your student is fluent in their own language, doesn't mean they aren't dyslexic when it comes to English. This is especially significant for Chinese ELLS!
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  • Thank you for sharing the presentation. There are many Japanese English learners who probably have dyslexia but do not know they do, because Japanese language has shallow orthography.
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  • Thank you for such a clarifying approach to dyslexia and the tips addressed to ESL teachers!
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  • Thank you for sharing this as it provides a lot of useful information for ELL teachers. I especially appreciate the slide with teaching strategies. Have you made any other PPT that would give even more teaching strategies? Thanks.
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Dyslexia or Second Language Learning?

  1. 1. Dyslexia or Second Language Learning? Martha Youman, PhDc University of Arizona Presented at TESOL Philadelphia 2012
  2. 2. This presentation is available at:http://www.slideshare.net/myouman/dyslexia-o Please take my card and email me with any questions. 2
  3. 3. Agenda• Part One: What is dyslexia?• Part Two: Dyslexia across different languages• Part Three: Dyslexia or Second Language Learning• Part Four: Strategies for ELLs with dyslexia 3
  4. 4. Every child would read if itwere in his power to do so. (Betts, 1936) Part One: What is Dyslexia? 4
  5. 5. What is Dyslexia?• Dyslexia is a neurobiological disorder that affects the development of both decoding (written word pronunciation) and encoding (spelling).• Students with dyslexia have difficulty reading fluently and spelling words correctly, even after years of instruction.• 5% to 20% of the U.S. population have dyslexia and up to 40% of the entire U.S. population experiencing some type of reading difficulty (Shaywitz, 2003; S. E. Shaywitz & Shaywitz, 2001).• People with dyslexia who read and write in English read slower (reading never becomes automatic), they spell words as they sound, they usually hate reading, and they may reverse letters and symbols. 5
  6. 6. What is Dyslexia?The Neurological Signature of DyslexiaStudy of 144 matched children B. A. Shaywitz et al. 2002 6
  7. 7. What is Dyslexia? Some Common Misconceptions• Myth: Students who flip numbers and letters have dyslexia.• Fact: Some students with dyslexia show this feature, but this is not the key feature that defines dyslexia. Laborious reading and poor spelling is.• Myth: Dyslexia can be cured with enough reading practice.• Fact: Dyslexia cannot be cured because it is a disorder of the brain. However, strategies can help students with dyslexia compensate for their difficulties. Overcoming Dyslexia (S. Shaywitz, 2003)• Myth: Students with dyslexia have a lower IQ.• Fact: Students with dyslexia are just like everyone. They just have difficulty reading. Some even learn to compensate for their disability and become very good at other things that don’t involve reading. 7
  8. 8. What is Dyslexia? Some Common Misconceptions (Continued)• Myth: All students with dyslexia are gifted.• Fact: You will find students with dyslexia that are gifted just like you find non-dyslexic students that are gifted.• Myth: Dyslexia only occurs in English because it is a very irregular language. In “easy” languages like Spanish, there is no dyslexia.• Fact: Remember, dyslexia is a neurobiological disorder (i.e. brain-based disorder), not a language based disorder. The language a person reads, however, will determine how dyslexia occurs. 8
  9. 9. What is Dyslexia? An Example of Dyslexia Translation: Like me, I have a disability. I’ve had it since third grade. I’m often quitting because of my disability. For example, I know how hard it is. I can’t spell right. I’ve been trying for all my life. I know I’m afraid to write a note to my girl friend. She doesn’t know that I have it but I don’t know how to tell her because I don’t know how she is going to act. I don’t know why I am telling you but I know that I’m not stupid.David’s note to his ninth-grade teacher. From Essentialsof Dyslexia (2011) 9
  10. 10. Part Two: Dyslexia Across Languages পড়ার অসুিিধা ‫عسر القراءة‬ δυσλεξία 诵读困难 ‫דיסלקציה‬ ดิสdislexia lukihäiriö ordblindhed 10
  11. 11. Dyslexia Across Languages The Role of Orthography• Orthography, or how a language is represented in writing, impacts reading and writing development and can present varying difficulties to speakers of a specific language who have dyslexia.• The most common orthographies today can be classified into alphabetic, syllabic, and logographic writing systems. 11
  12. 12. Dyslexia Across Languages Non-Alphabetic Orthographies (e.g. Chinese)• Slow and inaccurate reading.• Poor character formation inwriting.• Confusion of the parts that makea word.• Use of wrong tone when reading. 12
  13. 13. Dyslexia Across Languages Alphabetic Orthographies “Shallow” and “Deep” orthographies• Shallow orthographies have one to one correspondence between letters and sounds. The language is written as it sounds.• Deep orthographies have multiple mappings between letters and sounds. Spelling patterns are irregular and don’t follow the sounds of the language. 13
  14. 14. Dyslexia Across Languages Shallow Alphabetic Orthographies (e.g. Spanish)• Characterized by slow, but not necessarily inaccurate, reading (Davies & Cuentos, 2010).• Once Spanish-speaking readers with dyslexia master the letters and corresponding sounds of the alphabet, the one-to-one correspondence between sounds and letters facilitates their reading and spelling.• They never become fluent• They don’t get the meaning from the text because they are so concerned with reading. 14
  15. 15. Dyslexia Across Languages Deep Alphabetic Orthographies (e.g. English)• In addition to slow and inaccurate reading, these students will have persistent poor spelling.• Poor phonological awareness (manipulating the sounds that make up each word).• Students can’t remember the irregularities of the language, even after years of reading instruction.• Dyslexia in deep orthographies is pretty obvious. 15
  16. 16. Part Three: Dyslexia orSecond Language Learning 16
  17. 17. Dyslexia or Second Language Learning “English Sucks!” Why do our students find English to be so difficult? Answer: Because there are so many irregularities (a.k.a. “sucky” parts). Here are some: • Single letters that represent multiple sounds (e.g. cone and pot where the letter ‘o’ represents both the sound /ou/ and /o/; cup and pencil and where the letter ‘c’ represents both the sound /k/ and /s/ • Spellings that change morphological meaning, but are pronounced differently (e.g. –ed suffix to indicate past tense pronounced differently in painted /ed/, played /d/, and liked /t/) 17
  18. 18. Dyslexia or Second Language Learning There are more sucky parts! • Phonemes or sounds that can be spelled in several different ways (e.g. the sound /f/ can be spelled with f as in frog, ph as in phone, ff as in stuff, gh as in cough, and lf as in calf. • Several letters represent one single sound or phoneme (e.g. fight, might, night where the grapheme ght represents the sound /t/). • Different spelling possibilities to represent words that sound the same but have different meanings (i.e. homophones; e.g. to, two, too and heal, heel, he’ll) • Identical words that change meaning depending on the context in which they appear (e.g. “She cannot bear to see her father in pain.” and “The bear attacked the campers.”) 18
  19. 19. Dyslexia or Second Language Learning Learning to read and write in English • Children and ESL students always have trouble with the “sucky” part of English. • After a few years (for children) or months (for ESL students), they get the irregularities of the language. • Dyslexic students will not. • Some ESL students with dyslexia don’t know they have a problem because they learned to read and write in language with a shallow orthography. • Some students with dyslexia are not diagnosed in their countries because the culture doesn’t believe in learning disabilities. They are just perceived as “lazy” or “dumb.” 19
  20. 20. Dyslexia or Second Language Learning Why is it important to differentiate the two groups if they both need help?Because their brains are different and the interventions they need aredifferent. 20
  21. 21. Dyslexia or Second Language Learning The Profile of a Typical ELL Caution: Many early reading and spelling behaviors of ESL students resemble those of readers with dyslexia. It may take several years for these similarities to fade, even after intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction. • Low Vocabulary • Younger students: usually lag behind because they are learning to read a language they don’t speak. As vocabulary grows, reading ability grows. • Older students who have solid L1(Atwill et al., 2010): – Vocabulary and litereacy development in L1 may positively influence cross-language transfer of reading skills. – Negative transfer of first-language knowledge may affect reading development in English. 21
  22. 22. Dyslexia or Second Language Learning Some Examples of Negative Transfer in the Typical ELL • Pronunciation errors due to non-existent sounds in L1 (e.g. in Spanish: reads drogstore for drugstore • Phonetic Spelling (e.g. writes mejr for measure; teech for teach) • Spelling errors due to non-existing sounds in L1 (e.g. Arabic: bicture for picture; Chinese: pray for play) • Reversals • Missing vowels • Missing articles, endings, plurals, tenses 22
  23. 23. Dyslexia or Second Language Learning The Profile of an ELL with Dyslexia • A student with high vocabulary who is still misspelling common words (e.g. womin for women; wal for wall; nos for nose; I have too pets) • A student at an intermediate level who can’t get the gist of a very basic book • A student who hates reading • Slow reading (e.g. when asked to read aloud, the student seems to be reading word by word without getting the meaning) • A student in at a beginner level who fails to recognize common words, even after extensive review (e.g. emphasis on wrong syllable). The students treats the word as a word he/she has never seen it • A student with high vocabulary who continues to use phonetic spelling of common words at levels 50 and up (e.g. well come to the reel world) 23
  24. 24. Part Four: Teaching Strategies for ELLs and Students with Dyslexia 24
  25. 25. Teaching Strategies for ELLs and Students with DyslexiaStudents with Dyslexia ELLs without Dyslexia Basic phonics Both Reading and writing Word processing technology Practice Books on tape Multisensory activities More exposure to reading Opportunities for Positive The ability to show transference knowledge orally Challenging activities Vocabulary building One-on-one instruction Scaffolding Motivation Time Early reading and spelling skills 25
  26. 26. Teaching Strategies for ELLs and Students with Dyslexia A Multisensory Activity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti-O58yWwZg 26
  27. 27. Referencesetts, E. A. (1936). The prevention and correction of reading difficulties.Evanston, IL: Row, Peterson and Company.haywitz, S. E. (2003). Overcoming dyslexia: A new and complete science-based program for reading problems at any level. New York, NY: Knopf.haywitz, S. E., & Shaywitz, B. A. (2001, August). The neurobiology of readingand dyslexia. Focus on Basics: Connecting research and practice, 5(A), 11–15.Retrieved from: http://www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/fob/2001/fob_5a.pdfhaywitz, B., Shaywitz, S., Pugh, K., Mencl, W., Fulbright, R., Skudlarski, P., …Gore, J. C. (2002). Disruption of posterior brain systems for reading in childrenwith developmental dyslexia. Biological Psychiatry, 52(2), 101–110.doi:10.1007/s10038-006-0088-zavies, R., & Cuentos, F. (2010). Reading acquisition and dyslexia in Spanish.In N. Brunswick, S. McDougall, & P. de Mornay Davies (Eds.), Reading anddyslexia in different orthographies (pp. 155–180). Hove, East Sussex:Psychology Press. 27
  28. 28. Questions?http://www.cesl.arizona.edu/TeacherTraining.htm Martha Youman, PhDc New Programs Coordinator myouman@email.arizona.edu Youtube Channel: meyouman81 28