Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dyslexia the Mysterious Gift of Intelligence: (Click to listen)

The key to unlocking the Gift of Dyslexia is to create an environment which enables me or the person with dyslexia the ability to read. Many times I have heard the call for help and desperation for those parents, adults and children who have dyslexia. There is crying for direction and what will it be like at the end of the road.

If any one has dyslexia they are living in a technical dream come true world which can equip the 10-20% of those who have the Gift of Dyslexia with tools such as Balabolka, Readplease, Xmind (note taking tool), Read2Go and which will change the landscape of their future outlook. It is my hope nobody has to go through what I went through in high school, grade and middle school, but the word needs to get out to the public. 

Today I read with not boarders or hurdles to the written word at speeds of 340 to 510 words per minute with 90+% comprehension. Bookshare has changed my life and Bookshare® is free for all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities, thanks to an award from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Bookshare has 125,000 digital books and textbooks of which are awaiting access to those who struggle with the printed word.

Read:OutLoud is the text to speech software which comes with the membership (free for students or $50 for non-students who qualify) and can take any textbook and turn it into a virtual book. For instance when I read if I come to a person, place or thing, I don't know who, where or what the subject is all I have to do is with one click of the mouse I can surf the net to find out who it is with a picture, or where it is on the map and then read on.. If I was in the class room without this and other tools I would never had raised my hand nor would I have ever gotten to the point where I would look up a subject as I do today.

Recently, I finished reading The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, when I came to the "Dust Bowl", I knew a tiny bit of what the Dust Bowl was but with a few clicks of the mouse I found out the facts.

Below is my testimony and my life travels with the gift of dyslexia but I know it would be encouraging to many millions of students and then parents or adults, to know the tools are here and ready to use.

As a point of insight we (dyslectics) are way ahead of the dawn of the "digital textbook" era, and we have a great chance of being the navigators of how it can change the life of a student and family, if not a nation.

From a recent blog post comment I made:
Yesterday I read "Dyslexics are overrepresented in board rooms and prison cells", and yet our archaic education system remains. Today, like ‘many who have the Gift of dyslexia’ my life has changed with the "Gift" of Dyslexia. The mountainous boarders of books which blocked my self-esteem has been all but flattened. Bookshare free for all United States students with qualifying disabilities (dyslexia being one of them) has changed who I perceived myself to be and who I am today (Jesus is the biggest part of this change). Now when a book is mentioned at a conference, the waves of failure which use to wash over me are now a wave of anticipation of reading the book. Text to speech software, like Readplease, Balabolka and Read:OutLoud combined with Bookshare digital books have made reading a decision not a chore or dreaded thought of me thinking I'm a failure.

Today, in this awesome digital and software landscape for a dyslectic I am free to read. Thank you for your inside look into your road of freedom. The journey I have experienced has been similar and can be read at:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Helping Struggling Students To Succeed


Helping Struggling Students To Succeed

(NAPSI)—For some students, trying as hard as they can just isn’t enough. These students may be at a disadvantage because of widespread learning differences such as dyslexia or because of disabilities like visual impairment. Studies show that for these students to succeed, an online audio library of core curriculum textbooks and literature titles can make all the difference.

Research by Johns Hopkins University and case studies in the Baltimore City Public Schools showed significant improvements in students who use audiobooks. Reading comprehension improved by 76 percent, content acquisition by 38 percent, reading accuracy by 52 percent and self-confidence by 61 percent.

Scott Bartnick was diagnosed with a severe learning disability in 1st grade. His parents were told he might never be able to read, yet the 19-year-old recently graduated from high school with a 4.35 GPA-no easy feat given his disabilities in reading, decoding, fluency and spelling. Bartnick relied on a service called Learning Ally, which offers the most advanced library of accessible audiobooks in the world.

“Learning Ally helped me achieve academic success,” said Bartnick, who is now thriving in his junior year at the University of Florida in Gainesville. In fact, his elementary school awarded him the “Disney Dreamers and Doers Award,” an honor presented to just one student every year for “curiosity, courage and constancy.”

Early intervention can deliver dramatic results. When Leslie H. was in 2nd grade, teachers informed her mother, Lisa, that her daughter was only reading at a kindergarten level. A friend of Lisa’s told her about the Learning Ally website. Within 24 hours of signing up for the program, Leslie, who has severe dyslexia, had read three books. Lisa reported that her daughter’s speech pathologist noted a major difference in her daughter’s fluency and self-confidence. “She embraced words and books in a way she never had and that was really exciting.”

Originally founded in 1948 as Recording for the Blind, the nonprofit Learning Ally has grown to serve a complete spectrum of individuals from kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as college students and working professionals.

Learning Ally’s digital library of audiobooks has special accessibility features for readers with print disabilities, and can be played on popular devices like the Apple iPad and iPhone, as well as MP3 players, Mac and PC computers and CD.

Students with a certified print disability are eligible for an individual membership from Learning Ally, allowing them to work on assignments at home as a supplement to their school’s membership. Institutional memberships are available for schools and districts to accommodate students with IEP and 504 plans. To learn more, visit


Early intervention for reading difficulties can deliver dramatic results.
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