Reading

Headphones and an open book with a heart, a continuous linear pattern. Musical instrument for listening music and a educational subject for reading on white background. Concept love to music and reading.
Ear readers, press play to listen to this page in the selected language.

There are three types of reading: eye reading, ear reading, and finger reading.

The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning

Most schools and reading programs designed for remediation of dyslexia are based on the idea that dyslexia equals brokenness. Their aim is to transform the child into a person who can read without problems. But I’m here to tell you that’s just wrongheaded. I’ve learned that if you make your primary goal teaching your child to read or spell just like every other child, you’re going to decrease your child’s chances of achieving success. It’s like telling a person in a wheelchair that she needs to put in more time to learn how to walk.

The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning

If you struggle with reading and writing, it snowballs and affects every single part of your life. This is a systemic issue.

On top of all of that, adult literacy learners also have to deal with the stigma attached to their literacy level. “Illiterate” is an insult. “Illiterate” is another way to call someone “stupid”.

The Adults Who Can’t Read – YouTube

In both cases, methodology become less important than process. Our students read on paper, or through audio books, or through text‐to‐speech, or by watching video, or by seeing theater – or by observing their world. They write with pens, keyboards large and small, touchscreens, or by dictating to their phones or computers, or by recording audio, or by making videos, or by writing plays or creating art, or playing music. We do not limit the work by attacking those with disabilities or even inabilities – or even other preferences, because that robs children of both important influences and of their individual voices. Multiplicities are an intention: We build the best collaboration, the deepest learning, when we expand the opportunities for complex vision.

 Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-Based Thinking Change Schools.

Thus we begin by moving the teaching of writing from the training of a specific skill set toward an interpersonal art form that flows from students and builds communities. Then, through the reimagining of teaching places into “learning spaces,” we craft “studios” where all the technologies of school – time, space, tools, pedagogies – liberate and inspire rather than deliver and test. Then, using those recrafted technologies, we allow communication learning to flow.

 Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-Based Thinking Change Schools.

The Future Of Text lies in the re-definition of text “craftsmanship”, focused on enabling and facilitating a text-mediated access and interaction with the relationships, functions and actors of the reality we live in.

The Future Is Text: The Universal Interface, The Future of Text

Types of Reading

There are three types of reading: eye reading, ear reading, and finger reading. A child with dyslexia will never eye-read as well as his peers, and that, I hope to reassure you, is fine. Yet all children need to be exposed to vocabulary and ideas to be successful in school. If your child was blind, providing text as audiobooks or Braille would allow her to read with her ears or with her fingers. No one would ever claim that a blind person was lazy or stupid for not reading text with her eyes. When I listen to audio, that’s ear reading. When I speed it up to four hundred words a minute, four times the pace of standard speech—a skill you can learn about in this book—I am leveling the ​playing field for me. It’s not what the mainstream conceives of as reading. But it’s ear reading. It’s learning. It’s literacy. I am introducing these terms to address an underlying bias in our schools: that eye reading is the only form of reading. You can help move the needle on this limited assumption by using the terms eye reading, ear reading, and finger reading yourself and explaining them to your child. We need to celebrate children’s love of ideas and quest for knowledge and give them permission to not like standard books at the same time! When we give kids opportunities to gather information and explore ideas in other ways, they will thrive. Eye reading is what children are taught in school, but it is no better than ear or finger reading in terms of information absorption or comprehension.

The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning

Focusing on eye reading overlooks the real goals of education, which are learning, independent thinking, and mastering the ability to make new connections in the world of ideas.

Eye reading is a very valuable skill, and given it is the default for most education, it has a built-in benefit that ear and finger reading do not, but that is a social choice we make. Just as being able to walk up stairs is useful because many buildings do not have ramps, eye reading is useful because it is the standard way into printed material. If we got rid of all stairs, then being in a wheelchair could be a benefit, e.g., allowing you to roll through a marathon is easier than running it. However, the key point is that none of these choices is inherently better, but we choose to make one more favored. The trick is then to learn how to avoid putting a moral judgment on a social choice.

The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning

A central theme in this book is that we must question what we are taught is the “normal” way to do things, and instead integrate multiple ways for our children to access information.

The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning

Reading Differences and Shame

Content note: shaming, r-word, self-harm, suicide, ableism

Reading disabilities often match in intensity the level of shame associated with incest.

We should be measured by what we can do, not by what we can’t.

Shame cuts off connection and thrives on hiding.

Dyslexia is a particularly powerful form of shame, and it involves a lot of vulnerability.

Vulnerability can be defined as true courage.

Shame is a very lonely moment.

Dyslexia is a perfect storm of shame.

  1. Arrives at the time you are first being evaluated
  2. Made harsher by lack of explanation. Fail without context.
  3. Reinforced by peers and institutions

“Retard” is a bullet sent at a child when it gets said.

Guilt is feeling bad about something you did, something you can fix. Shame is feeling bad about who you are.

I knew I was going to be on a bad list. There was going to be a good list, and I was going to be on the bad list, maybe alone.

I was proud because I changed the narrative.

Negative scripts: blame, contempt, comparison

The shame of special education.

Dyslexia is like a bad cellphone connection to the page.

Leadership is changing what people think is possible, or changing what they think is appropriate.

Source: Choose strength not shame: Ben Foss at TEDxSonomaCounty – YouTube

Dyslexia is not a disease, it is an identity. An identity is not something one cures; it is the basis of community and is an element of self you aim to understand and embrace. My hope is that you and your child will learn to own dyslexia, to understand it, and ideally, to celebrate it.

This book— and your mission as a parent— is about moving the model for your child from dyslexia as disease to dyslexia as identity, an identity we can all be proud of.

Most schools and reading programs designed for remediation of dyslexia are based on the idea that dyslexia equals brokenness. Their aim is to transform the child into a person who can read without problems. But I’m here to tell you that’s just wrongheaded. I’ve learned that if you make your primary goal teaching your child to read or spell just like every other child, you’re going to decrease your child’s chances of achieving success. It’s like telling a person in a wheelchair that she needs to put in more time to learn how to walk.

The key to my happiness occurred when I stopped trying to change my brain, and started changing the context around me.

One dyslexic friend of mine described his shame as “slow-drip trauma.” He felt unworthy and “not normal” every day. As an adult, he was treated for post-traumatic stress syndrome that was caused by his experiences in school.

Ninety percent of my injuries happened when I was in school and before I was talking about my dyslexia publicly. Hiding who you are can translate into self-harm. When I talk with my peers in the dyslexia movement, a majority of them had a specific plan for suicide when they were teenagers. I regularly meet dyslexic kids who cut themselves or worse when they were young. I am fine today, but the hiding left scars, figurative and literal, for many of us.

My friend Steve Walker, a very successful dyslexic entrepreneur, tells me all the time that you could not pay him enough money to go back to any type of school setting. He even says that he would sooner kill himself than go back to school. Yet in the same breath he will also say that you could not give him enough money to take away his dyslexia, because it is a part of who he is. Many times when I was in school or taking a standardized test, I rejected an accommodation because I was embarrassed and ashamed: I did not want to stand out, or I was frustrated that it would take too much effort to get permission to have my exam read aloud to me.

The majority of teachers and administrators are well-intentioned and look for ways to help your child. However, they often miss the most important point, which is that the goal is not to fix your child— your child is not broken. The goal is, instead, to play to your child’s strengths, support his weaknesses, and give him access to information.

Often people discuss dyslexia in terms of it having been diagnosed, but that word reinforces the notion that dyslexia is a disease, a scourge, an imperfection, and that someday we can find a cure. As I said in the introduction, there will be no cure because there is no disease! Dyslexia is a characteristic, like being male or female, or from a certain state, or a graduate of a certain university. There’s nothing less than perfect inherent in any of those descriptions, is there? You can start changing this practice in your own house today, replacing the phrase “diagnosed with dyslexia” with “identified with dyslexia.”

Source: Foss, Ben (2013-08-27). The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning. Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Reading and Technology

If you are a dyslexic person or the parent of a dyslexic child, I recommend that you allow technology to become your new best friend.

The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning

For me, reading a book in the traditional way is like listening to a bad cell phone connection, but speech technology is like a landline: the transmission of information is clear and crisp.

The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning

No student will have mechanical limitations in access to either information or communication — whether through disability, inability at this moment, or even just discomfort. Learning is our goal, and we make it accessible.

We hand our students real laptops with real capabilities, and we fill them with software, apps, and bookmarks.

We want our children to discover how to choose effectively for their own needs. To do that, they need choices, and so we believe in Toolbelt Theory.

The Basics of Open Technology
Young Asian girl wearing rainbow colored headphones studying with laptop at home during pandemic
Tools in tool belt

Tools matter though. They are the most basic thing about being human.

They matter most for those who lack the highest capabilities.

And everyone needs a properly equipped Toolbelt to get through life.

Toolbelt Theory for Everyone

Let’s augment everybody, let’s leave no mind behind.

The Future of Text 

Disabled ways of languaging are primarily about modality.

Crip linguistics frames language as a form of care work where we work collectively to provide access and co-construct meaning.

PsyArXiv Preprints | Unsettling Languages, Unruly Bodyminds: Imaging a Crip Linguistics

Disabled ways of languaging are primarily about modality.

Crip Linguistics Intro

People use languages in different ways. Some people use language to help find other people like them. Many people use language in specific ways because of how their body and mind work. Sometimes a person’s environment and material conditions forces them to use language in a certain way. However, when someone languages outside of what people think is normal, others can think that they are bad with language or are not as smart or are broken. We are trying to point out that no one is actually ‘bad with language.’ Our goal with this paper is to help people understand that no language is bad. It is okay to want to change your own language use if it will make you feel better. But no one should make you feel bad about your language. We need a bigger and more flexible understanding of what language is and what it communicates about a bodymind’s capacity.

PsyArXiv Preprints | Unsettling Languages, Unruly Bodyminds: Imaging a Crip Linguistics

We are trying to point out that no one is actually ‘bad with language.’ Our goal with this paper is to help people understand that no language is bad.

PsyArXiv Preprints | Unsettling Languages, Unruly Bodyminds: Imaging a Crip Linguistics

Further reading,

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Published by Ryan Boren

#ActuallyAutistic parent and retired tech worker. Equity literate education, respectfully connected parenting, passion-based learning, indie ed-tech, neurodiversity, social model of disability, design for real life, inclusion, open web, open source. he/they

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