Check Out This Cool Visual Dictionary–FREE Online Tool

Hello Everyone:

Got a fun one for you this week!

Check out this fun, free online visual dictionary and thesaurus.  Great for anyone…Children and adults–dyslexic or not..  Super simple to use!  

Just plug in any word in the search field and you’ll immediately see a web of interconnected words mapped out by a different part of speech or relationship to the original word – nouns, verbs, synonyms, antonyms, etc. 

Lexipedia also supports six languages: English, Dutch, French, German, and Italian.

Hope you enjoy!

The Predictive Assessment of Reading (PAR): The Best Universal Screener I’ve Seen

With the explosion of legislation mandating early-school reading screening comes all sorts of questions about which screener does the best job. I think the PAR is it.

About a year ago I interviewed Gavin Haque who is the representative from Red E Set Grow, the publisher of PAR. I want to share the recording of the interview with you today. I was fascinated and I think you will be too.

What I like best is the level of support  the tool provides for both educators AND parents AFTER the screening is completed. Very robust. Very thorough.  

A Few Facts From the Website

PAR is built from a huge NIH database of neuropsychological testing results which was collected starting in 1986 at Wake Forest University. No one else in the world had access to that kind of data. It let the developers of PAR do things no one else could do.

The PAR is a 10- to 15-minute, four-part test that analyzes children’s reading skills and predicts their success years later if no intervention is given.

The test, which can be given the spring before children enter kindergarten, as well as to kindergarteners through third graders, focuses on:

  • Picture vocabulary
  • Letter or word calling
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Rapid naming

Whether you’re an educator or a parent, please take the time to listen to this interview. I think the PAR solves a key challenge for many of us who are implementing early reading screening.  

I hope you enjoy.  

Click here to get immediate access to the interview

Taking Care of Your Heart and Soul–Holiday Reset

As the holidays approach, I wanted to offer a review of my suggestions regarding how you, as parents, can emotionally prepare for the new year and get ready to help your kids go back to school.

Recently, as always, I’ve been working with a lot of families whose children are in very difficult situations in their schools…Oftentimes there is no right answer and no decision without the risk of downside.

It’s a horrible situation.  And it’s not going to get better until teachers get the kind of educational and professional development support that they sorely need.  We have to be honest that it will take a long time to turn that ship around.

So what do we do?  I find myself “in the ring” with my families a lot these days…And I sometimes catch myself taking on their energy.  Anxious, gut-wrenched, frustrated.  To be clear, I have good boundaries but in the moment I’m with them and I feel it.

In the end, I keep coming back to the most basic question…What can we do to help your child feel safe? What can we do to support our kids’ resilience?  Actually, the key is to take care of ourselves.

Of course, dyslexia is a chronic issue.  It doesn’t go away.  So we have to take good care of ourselves so we can take good care of our kids and keep making the best decisions as possible.  We need to create and maintain a safe and predictable environment as well as we can.

In my series called Your Child Restored:  The Path from Suffering to Success the fifth component is called Take Care of Your Heart and Soul.

In light of all of us headed into the holidays I thought it was timely to review several ways we can take care of our heart and soul.

Here we go:

  • Predict that you’re going to get knocked off balance sometimes.  That’s just life. Acknowledge it and get on back up.
  • Reach out to your support system when you’re feeling jangled.  Is that not the beauty of Decoding Dyslexia?
  • Remember that it’s okay to feel good about your child’s success (and your own) on your own terms!
  • Exercise like a maniac!
  • Make time to play just the way you like to play.  Don’t go by other people’s rules.
  • Take what I call “breath moments.”  I don’t care if it’s for one minute.  Take a deep breath, exhale slowly and tell yourself “It’s all going to be okay.”
  • Catch someone else doing something right.
  • Help yourself by helping others.

 Okay…Here come the Big Three…Ready?

  • Be gentle with yourself.  Have compassion for yourself and it’ll be easier to have compassion for others, including your kids.
  • Let go of shame and guilt.  Don’t give me that look!…It’s doable!  Go see
  • Use humor, humor, humor!  Using humor is a great way let go and reset when you get knocked off balance.

These are lifetime goals, I know.  Just remember that taking care of yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child.

I truly hope you have a wonderful holiday.  Peace.