Categories
Events Literacy News

LETRS – Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling

LETRSLETRS is a research-based professional development that leads to more effective instruction and improved student outcomes. The course is now available in Australia as a two-year course of study incorporating online coursework, in-person workshops, accompanying print resources and online support.

LETRS courses commence on the following dates:

 

Queensland Thursday 11th July
New South Wales Saturday 13th July
Victoria Monday 15th July

 

Courses in South Australia and Western Australia are already in progress and new dates will be released soon.

A LETRS brochure can be downloaded here and course dates are listed here.

Categories
Literacy News

Understanding Learning Difficulties Course – Now Online

The Understanding Learning Difficulties e-Learning course was designed by DSF (Dyslexia-SPELD WA) and is proudly supported by AUSPELD. This online learning program consists of six interactive modules that systematically cover: an introduction to learning difficulties and learning disorders; the cognitive processing skills implicated in learning; and, the response to intervention model. Participants will also learn about how to reduce the incidence of literacy and numeracy difficulties, remediate learning difficulties and put in place appropriate support strategies and accommodations.

The e-learning course was designed to equip teachers, school psychologists, speech pathologists, specialist tutors and parents with the knowledge required to support students with learning difficulties throughout their education. To find out more about the e-learning course please visit the DSF ULD course page.

Categories
Literacy News

DSF e-alert – Learning Disorders and the NCCD

This DSF e-alert focuses on the NCCD and what it means for students with learning disorders.

Sign up for the AUSPELD/DSF e-alert parent newsletter here

 

Relevant Legislation

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (DSE) require that all Australian students with disability must be able to access and participate in education on the same basis as their peers. Under the DDA, disability includes:
“A disorder … that results in the person learning differently…”

 

Reasonable Adjustments

Adjustments may be necessary in order to ensure that students with disability have access to education. These adjustments are based on the professional judgements of teachers, in consultation with the student and/or their parents, guardians or carers. Students with learning disorders (including Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and/or Dyscalculia) are eligible for adjustments to ensure they have access to education. Adjustments may include the provision of text-to-speech and speech-to-text assistive technologies, extra time to complete written tasks and/or intensive intervention using a structured and systematic evidence-based program (see below for further information).

Appropriate adjustments for students with Reading Disorders (Dyslexia) can be found here.

 

The NCCD

The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) is an annual collection of information about Australian school students who are receiving adjustments due to disability. The data collected from the NCCD is used by teachers and schools to improve understanding and inform planning. Students with a learning disorder who require adjustments in the classroom (as defined according to the DDA) are included in the NCCD.

 

Available Resources

The NCCD website includes information about how the NCCD should be integrated in the continuing process of teaching and learning in school. The website also includes a range of resources and tools to assist teachers and schools in planning and implementing the NCCD. Information about learning differences, learning difficulties, learning disabilities and the NCCD is available here. Another relevant resource is a podcast series featuring students, parents, teachers and experts in specific areas related to the NCCD.DSF CEO Mandy Nayton, OAM, was interviewed recently for the NCCD podcast on Classroom Adjustments: Specific Learning Needs Dyslexia and Classroom Adjustments: Specific Learning Needs Dysgraphia. The podcasts focus on potential educational adjustments that can be made in class for students with learning disorders. To listen to the podcasts, click on the links provided or search for “Classroom Adjustments” in Apple podcasts, SpotifyGoogle podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts to listen via your mobile device.

Appropriate adjustments for students with Written Expression Disorders (Dysgraphia) can be found here.

Categories
Literacy Media Research

An Overview of Structured Synthetic Phonics Program Sequences

The Summer 2018 edition of the DSF Bulletin featured the following article on Structured Synthetic Phonics Program (SSPP) sequences. It details each the phonics sequence of a number of SSPPs, from single letter phoneme-grapheme relationships and digraphs through to the introduction of the alternative spellings in the extended code.

Find this and other articles on the AUSPELD Articles page.

Categories
Literacy News

Revised AUSPELD Understanding Learning Difficulties Guides to be released in January

Cover image for AUSPELDs ULD GuideMany teachers, principals and families will be familiar with the two AUSPELD Understanding Learning Difficulties Guides, originally released in 2016. The teachers’ guide was designed to provide primary and secondary school teachers throughout Australia with a greater awareness and understanding of the significant impact learning disorders can have on students, and to provide information relating to the components of high quality instruction, evidence-based intervention and effective accommodation. The guide for parents was subsequently released and converted to an engaging and informative web-site for those parents keen to access the contents via the internet. This remains available at www.uldforparents.com. We are delighted to announce that a revised version of the Teachers’ Guide and a revised version of the Parents’ Guide will be available in January. These Guides will include updated information and new sections focused on up-to-date research findings and such topics as Developmental Language Disorders and Developmental Coordination Disorders. There is additional information on recommended strategies and programs as well as updated information sheets (on the enclosed CD). The Guides will be valuable resources for teachers and other professionals working with students with learning challenges. To pre-order a copy (or copies) of one or both Guides please complete this form.

Categories
Advocacy Literacy Research

DSF e-Alert – The Importance of Handwriting Instruction

Sign up for the AUSPELD/DSF e-alert parent newsletter

With the increasing use of technology in today’s society, the question arises as to whether we still need to teach handwriting to children.  Research has indicated that there are benefits from handwriting instruction that go beyond learning to write (Dinehart, 2015).  Firstly, there is a strong link between developing motor skills and developing cognitive skills. When children learn to draw letters by hand, their later recognition for those letters is better.  As a result, children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. Learning to form letters activates the neural pathways associated with successful reading, thus handwriting forms an important component of early literacy instruction.

Other research has shown that note-taking with a pen, rather than a laptop, gives students a better grasp of the subject.  While individuals who rely on word processing using a laptop or other device tend to take notes verbatim, those working with pen and paper rephrase and summarise information as they take notes. The process of note-taking with pen and paper encourages deeper processing of the information.

Dr Virginia Berninger, a prominent researcher in the area, promotes teaching children to be ‘hybrid writers’.  This means instruction in print first for reading — it transfers to better word recognition — then cursive for spelling and composing. Touch-typing should ideally be introduced in upper primary according to Dr Berninger.

It is recommended that handwriting instruction is addressed in the following ways:

  • Initially, the sequence of introduction of letter forms should follow the structured synthetic phonics (SSP) program utilised in the classroom. For example, the first eight letter-sound relationships taught in the Letters and Sounds program are s, a, t, p, i, n, m and d. Once every letter of the alphabet has been taught, appropriate letter formation should be reinforced by practising similarly shaped letters together (eg. a, c and d).
  • Handwriting instruction should be part of daily phonics instruction. Integrate handwriting instruction with instruction in letter sounds. Encourage children to say the letter name and sound as they write the letter. An effective way to do this is to follow the procedure outlined in the Letters and Sounds program: 1. Hear the sound (auditory recognition) and say the sound (articulation/pronunciation); 2. See the sound (visual recognition) and say the sound (articulation); 3. Say the sound (articulation) and write the sound (formation).
  • Children should learn a highly consistent way to form a given letter every time they write it. For example, teach children to write the letter b by starting at the top with a vertical stroke, then making the loop to the right without lifting the pencil, rather than having children form the vertical line and the loop in separate strokes.
  • Teachers should accompany handwriting instruction with a letter formation prompt for each letter. These verbal prompts support the specific shapes used in letter formation and act as memory cues. For example, when learning the letter s, move your finger slowly along the snake from its mouth while saying the letter formation prompt: “Round the snake’s head, slide down his back and round his tail.” (Phase Two, Letters and Sounds).
  • Begin by focusing on the learning of the motor pattern rather than perfect legibility or size.
  • Ensure that reversible letters such as b and d are taught separately as children appear less likely to confuse visually similar letters if they have learned one letter of a confusable pair well prior to introduction of the other letter of the pair. Evidence-based SSP programs follow a pre-planned sequence or introduction which separates the teaching of letters which are easily confused due to similarities in formation or articulation.
  • In addition, it can be helpful to teach children to form confusable letters differently; for example, b starts at the top whereas d starts with the loop.
  • Use written arrow cues to help children remember how to form letters and to prevent children from inadvertently practising incorrect letter formation repeatedly.
  • Speed should not be emphasised until children can form letters legibly and from memory.

Handwriting problems often arise from a difficulty in automatically remembering and mastering the sequence movements required in writing letters or numbers.  If left unaddressed, these difficulties can affect a student’s ability to express themselves in writing.  Ongoing difficulties with automatic letter formation often lead to avoidance of writing and therefore reduced practice, which leads to further difficulties.  Explicit handwriting instruction in the early years is therefore key to preventing later difficulties.

References
Berninger, V., Abbott, R.D., Jones, J., Wolf, B.J., Gould, L., Anderson-Youngstrom, M., Shimada, S., & Apel, K. (2006) Early development of language by hand: composing, reading, listening, and speaking connections; three letter-writing modes; and fast mapping in spelling. Developmental Neuropsychology, 29(1), 61–92.Dinehart, L. H. (2015). Handwriting in early childhood education: Current research and future implications. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 15(1), 97–118.Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics (2007). UK Primary National Strategy, Department for Education and Skills. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letters-and-sounds

 

Categories
Advocacy Literacy Media News

Congratulations to Jackie French; Senior Australian of the Year for 2015

jackie-frenchAUSPELD extends congratulations and accolades to Jackie French for her well-deserved award of Senior Australian of the Year on Australia Day. Jackie has been a long term supporter of many of the State and Territory SPELDs and has already done so much to encourage and support Australian children and adults with learning difficulties. She is an inspiration to so many, and, as a person who has experienced first-hand the challenges of attending school with dyslexia, is able to speak from the heart about the importance of providing effective support and encouragement to all students.

{gspeech}We look forward to working with Jackie in 2015!{/gspeech}

Categories
Advocacy Literacy News Other

Australian National Curriculum Review and Federal Government’s Response

Earlier this year the Federal Government established a review of the process and development of the Australian National Curriculum.

Professor Ken Wiltshire AO, the J.D.Story Professor of Public Administration and Leader of the Not for Profit Unit at The University of Queensland Business School, along with Dr Kevin Donnelly, Executive Director of the Education Standards Institute and Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, were appointed to carry out The Review.

The Review of the Australian Curriculum Final Report was released in October 2014 and three weeks later the Initial Response from the Australian Federal Government was also released.

AUSPELD welcomed The Review as it shows encouraging amounts support for the explicit and systematic teaching of phonics when it comes to early literacy. Although the teaching of phonics is already referenced in the Australian National Curriculum; submissions to The Review of the Australian National Curriculum outlined a need to increase the Curriculum’s emphasis and detailed guidance on phonics. As a result The Review noted the following recommendation:

The Australian Curriculum: English should be revised to place greater emphasis on a more structured and systematic phonics and phonemic awareness approach during the early years of reading.

The full Review of the Australian National Curriculum, the Federal Government’s Response to The Review as well as all submissions considered in writing The Review can be downloaded through StudentFirst website. See; http://www.studentsfirst.gov.au/review-australian-curriculum

Categories
Events Literacy

‘Talk for Writing’ with Pie Corbett

AUSPELD 2014 Tour to feature presentations from Pie Corbett…read more

Categories
Events Literacy News

Neil Mackay – International Presenter to Provide Great Opportunity for Teachers and Parents

AUSPELD will be proud to welcome Neil Mackay to Australia for a series of entertaining and educational workshops in 2012.

Neil Mackay is an educational consultant and trainer who created the concept of Dyslexia Friendly Schools in the UK. He is an experienced teacher who has taught for 26 years, working with children of all ages with a wide range of needs and abilities. There will be workshops for teachers in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth as well as parent workshops in some cities (TBA).

2012 Australian Tour Dates and Locations

WHEN

Brisbane – May 28th and 29th (visit www.speld.org.au for further details)

Sydney – June 1st and 2nd (visit www.speldnsw.org.au for further details)

Melbourne – June 6th and 7th (visit www.speldvic.org.au for further details)

Adelaide – June 9th (see http://www.speld-sa.org.au/images/workshops/neil%20mackay%20seminar.pdf)

Perth – June 12th and 13th (visit www.dsf.net.au for further details or register on-line today!)

Neil is known for his ability to bring the classroom into his training and for providing lively, entertaining and thought provoking opportunities for teachers and allied professionals to reflect on and develope their practice. He has written a number of books including the extremly popular Removing Dyslexia as a Barrier to Achievement and Taking the Hell out of Homework. Both books are available though AUSPELD, click here for info.

Click here for more info on Neil Mackay’s australian tour…