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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 4, No. 3 - May/June 2012

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Failure to Communicate

By Amanda Tocci

Reading is the most important skill a child can ever learn. It is the ability to communicate, to reach across cultures, to break through boundaries and to forge a worthy and fulfilling life path.

But for some children the path is obstructed and their reading development is inhibited by deficits that are not always visible to parents or teachers.
Such deficits impede children from forging and fulfilling their life path, leading to a failure to communicate in a demanding and ever changing world.

Children with reading disabilities experience significant difficulties in acquiring the core skills of reading, writing and comprehension, skills
required for effective communication.

Have you ever heard the following from a child?

  • I cannot remember what the word says?
  • Where's the picture? I need the picture to read!
  • I can't do it, it's too hard!

Have you ever heard the following from a teacher?

  • It's like it goes in one ear & out the other.
  • The child cannot follow directions in the class.
  • The child wanders off in class.
  • The child does not pay attention.
  • The child is easily distracted & fidgety.

Have you ever noticed the following yourself?

  • Your child always needs a picture to help with the word.
  • Your child guesses words.
  • Your child sounds out all words separately.
  • Your child forgets the same word from line to line & page to page.
  • Your child is slow & disjointed in reading.

The above points are only some of the comments and observations children, parents and teachers make. If these points are relevant to you then it is most certainly a reason for initial concern.

Many children with reading disabilities have a working memory deficit. That is the inability to maintain and manipulate information in working memory.

A working memory deficit is characterised by many of the points listed above. Such a deficit can exist despite strength in other academic areas and despite average to above average intelligence.

For children with verbal working memory deficits the ability to acquire the phonological structure of language, letter/sound knowledge, rapid naming and comprehension are the consequences of such a difficulty.

As the amazing Dr. Seuss said:
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you'll go."

About Amanda

Amanda Tocci is a Literacy Specialist and Managing Director of the Australian Literacy Clinic Pty Ltd. Amanda is currently undertaking her PhD in Psychology at Newcastle University, investigating appropriate strategy instruction for children with working memory and reading disabilities. The Australian Literacy Clinic Pty Ltd is a specialist centre located in Maitland and Newcastle, working with families and schools in assessment, planning and intervention for children with reading difficulties.

More Information

Amanda Tocci
Managing Director & Literacy Specialist

Australian Literacy Clinic Pty Ltd.
P: 1300 869 905

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