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Contents    
     
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Alternatively, click on individual papers below:  
     
  1. Editorial Comment
     
  2. Spacing improves reading in dyslexic children
   


Indira Madhavan, Sharanjeet-Kaur, Mohd Izzuddin Hairol, Zainora Mohammed

Optometry and Vision Science Programme, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of varying spacing between letters, words and lines on reading rate in children with dyslexia. Twenty children with dyslexia, aged 7 to 9 years old, participated in the study. Optimum spacing between letters, words and lines, which improved reading rate, were determined. The stimuli were black lowercase Arial characters presented on a white background, generated and controlled using MatLab (Mathworks, Inc) with Psychophysics Toolbox extension and presented using an Acer Aspire laptop. The optimal inter-letter spacing, inter-word spacing and inter-line spacing were determined in three separate experiments. The results showed that reading rate improved when spacing were made bigger, reaching maximum with spacing of 0.46 deg (p <0.001), 1.14 deg (p <0.001) and 1.21 deg (p <0.001) between letters, words and lines, respectively. Reading rate decreased for spacing larger than these values. We combined all spacing parameters that lead to the fastest reading rate to create an optimised expanded spacing text. We then compared the reading rate measured with the optimised expanded spacing text to that of the default textbook spacing text in the final experiment. There was a significant increment in reading rate with the optimised expanded spacing text compared to default textbook spacing text (t (19) = -6.49, p<0.001). The results suggest that increment of spacing between letters, words and lines improve reading rate in children with dyslexia.

     
  3. Self evaluations of children with Specific Learning Difficulties
   
Adam Oei1+, Albert Lee1*, Laura Lim2 

1 DAS Academy
2 National Council of Social Service

Abstract

Children with specific learning difficulties (LD) face significant hurdles with learning compared to their normally achieving peers. While the difficulties of LD children manifest mainly in poor academic performance and learning, they potentially also have co-occuring socio-emotional difficulties. In this study, we compared self perception and self efficacy of LD children with their normally achieving peers. In addition, we administered a behavioral screening questionnaire to determine whether children with LD displayed more behavioural issues. LD children were recruited from various Voluntary Welfare Organisations that provided specialist remediation for LD while normally achieving students were recruited from various schools in Singapore. Findings showed that students with LD rated themselves as having more conduct problems compared to their normally-achieving peers. In addition, in contrast to existing works, students with LD had elevated levels of self perception in General Intellectual Ability, Reading and Spelling compared to their normally achieving peers. Therefore, we argue that identifying children with LD and providing them with learning support through specialist remediation may result in a secondary benefit to socio-emotional domains.

     
  4. Teachers' Perceptions on the Effectiveness of a Process Genre Approach on the Writing Skills of Students with Dyslexia
   
Nur Alia Salim1, Zachary M. Walker1, Kara Rosenblatt2

1 National Institute of Education, Singapore
2 University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Abstract

This research study provides an overview of five Singaporean teachers’ perceptions of the process genre writing approach as a method to improve the writing skills of students diagnosed with dyslexia. The researchers conducted a case study with five teachers from the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. Teachers were selected as study participants based on purposeful sampling. Data collection for the participants included a pre-interview questionnaire and a semi-structured interview. All five teachers reported using elements of the process genre writing approach during instruction. Themes representing the teachers’ view of the process-genre approach to teaching writing emerged from the research including accessibility to resources, idea generation, structured instruction, familiarity, and ease of use emerged from the study. The results are discussed and suggestions are provided for further research.
     
  5. 

A Language Barrier or Literacy Difficulties:
Native Chinese Speakers in an English Educational Setting 

   
Ben Seal 1*

1 Head of EAL, a Prep School in Somerset, UK

Abstract

If a child can comprehend their surroundings, they will gain knowledge, learn with more confidence and feel a sense of achievement. Confidence and self-esteem are paramount in the development of a person’s education and character (Wood, 1998; Lawrence, 1987). Unfortunately for pedagogues and learners alike, there is not just one universal factor that hinders comprehension, nor is there one magical cure to allow all students to understand everything. Every learner is unique, including their learning preferences and their learning difficulties. When teaching English to non-native speakers, it is not often easy to distinguish between difficulties on account of English being their second language (L2) and problems in reading acquisition because of dyslexia or other literacy difficulties. The sooner their specific needs are identified, the sooner the students can receive the most appropriate help from their educational setting.

     
  6. Dyslexia, Success and Post-Traumatic Growth
   
Neil Alexander-Passe 1

1 Head of Learning Support, Mill Hill School, London

Abstract

This paper looks at the origins of success in dyslexic adults, using both an online survey to locate successful dyslexic adults (N=101), and a sub-group of interview participants (N=20) to understand the nature and motivation of success in adults with dyslexia. School trauma was a focus of the study, using the theory of ‘Post-Traumatic Growth’ as a means to understand how individuals can have a traumatic and humiliating schooling, but still gain post-school success through positive use of trauma.

The 30 item online survey reflected the 8 main item investigative interview script, so that both quantitative and qualitative data could be studied. The items looked at: personality descriptions by others, supportive parents, trauma at school, avoidance at school, excellence in non-academic subjects, leadership qualities, team-building, delegation, gut intuition, use of mentors, motivation, unique selling points (USPs), risk, failure, pursuit of passions, creativity and entrepreneurship. A consistency of response was found between the two groups researched, with comments from the interview study enriching the responses from the online survey to present a coherent picture of success.
The interview study also proposed that school trauma could become a positive force in creating successful and resilient dyslexics, with interesting responses as participants coped with the concept of ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1888).

     
  7. The impact of dyslexia support at University; A case study of the student’s perspective
   
Margaret Meehan1*

1 Swansea University , Centre for Academic Success

Abstract

In this article, the impact of dyslexia support provision is examined in a case study over the first 4 years of provision within a UK University. Data is provided from students and an interview study drawing out themes from students in the last 2 years of the study is presented. The research shows that dyslexic students are significantly less successful in their degree classification than non-dyslexic students, and continue to show problems with reading, spelling and writing speed and accuracy. The implications of this for policy are discussed.