Requested by Kate

WHY/HOW I WRITE MANUALS FOR TEACHERS OF STUDENTS WITH DYSLEXIA

As I referenced in this list: ALLOW ME TO LISTRODUCE™ MYSELF, I am one of 4 co-authors of a self-published manual for teachers (hopefully followed by a sequel later this year). Our aim is to help teachers and students by giving them great materials to work with.
  1. One day, a few years into my teaching career, I got a pamphlet in the mail for the Orton-Gillingham* teacher-training program. I'd heard that I should jump at the chance to get into such a program if the opportunity ever came up.
    *Orton-Gillingham is a researched-based, multisensory method of delivering reading instruction.
  2. I did some research, applied, interviewed, and was offered a scholarship to the two-year training program.
    (Note: In my area, there are two ways of doing this program. You can take the courses at a university, or you can apply at a Masonic Learning Center run by the Freemasons, whose philanthropy not only provides free tutoring for students, but also scholarships for the teachers to get the training/graduate credits for free. It is an absolutely incredible service that they provide.)
  3. Our courses included lecture hours and tutoring hours, during which we worked with students and applied the things we were learning. The lessons follow a strict format but within that, they are totally individualized to each student.
  4. As part of the lesson, the students have to read text that features the decoding* skills they are working on. There isn't a lot of ready-made, high-quality material out there, so a few of us started writing our own.
    *Decoding just means being to figure out the sounds or parts of a word so you can read it.
  5. At the end of my first year, the Director of the Learning Center (who was also my professor) pulled me aside and told me she was impressed by the writing I'd done for my students. She asked if I'd be interested in working on a project with her and two of her colleagues.
  6. The project turned out to be a teaching manual: "PS: Prefix, Suffix, Roots." It's basically what it sounds like. 😄 These are some of the early skills needed to read multisyllabic words, once the basic sounds of language and a few other decoding skills are in place.
  7. The other 3 women had been working on it for a year already by the time they invited me. The draft of word lists, phrases, and sentences was mostly done, but they wanted text (either stories or poems) for each affix/root in the manual. So I wrote them!
    I was also planning my wedding and still going through the very intense teacher-training program during the writing process. It was a hectic period of time in my life.
  8. Our manual fills a niche in a specific market. There is a TON of material available for the basics - the sounds of our language and how to sound out words - but not as much is available once the students need to decode multisyllabic words. And there's very little that offers interesting, meaningful text for practicing skills in context.
  9. It has been an amazing learning process to work with these 3 women. They have way more experience in our field than I do, and I learn from them every time we are together. I am so honored that they wanted me to be part of their team.
  10. So that's that! If you have any questions, go ahead and ask! I love talking about teaching reading.