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Will digital accessible books improve reading for students with dyslexia?
In second grade, Jose Alvarez struggled to read. He had fallen behind early in school. His older brothers and mother are dyslexic, and the family feared that Jose might have a learning disability too. Shortly after attending a third grade class taught by Ann Henkels, a dyslexia teacher in Frisco Independent School District in Texas, Jose's reading abilities began to improve. His teacher had given him a reading assignment with an accessible book that he read on an iPad. Jose’s reading ability went from a second grade level to a fifth grade level. His mom credits Henkels, his teacher and accessible books for the joy her nine-year-old now experiences in the learning process.
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Tanya always forgets. What's wrong with her?
By: Howard Margolis
On Friday, Tanya's teacher sighed sorrowfully, "Tanya forgot all six sight words she knew on Monday. I spent 30 solid minutes teaching them to her. This always happens. What's wrong with her?" What's wrong? Maybe nothing. Maybe she just needs the right kind of practice. So what to do? How can you increase Tanya's chances of remembering these and other words for a lifetime? One way is distributed practice, also known as spacing.
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Looking to share your expertise?
In an effort to enhance the overall content of THE LD SOURCE, we'd like to include peer-written articles in future editions. As a member of LDA and/or reader of THE LD SOURCE, your knowledge of learning disabilities and related issues lends itself to unprecedented expertise. And we're hoping you'll share this expertise with your peers through well-written commentary. Because of the digital format, there's no word or graphical limit. Our group of talented editors can help with final edits. If you're interested in participating, please contact Ronnie Richard to discuss logistics.

  Leveled Guided Reading - 93% Decodable

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Efforts underway to fully fund IDEA
Disability Scoop
Lawmakers in Congress are renewing efforts to ensure that the federal government lives up to its promise to fully fund special education. A bill introduced Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives calls for Uncle Sam to increase funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act incrementally. Congress committed to pay 40 percent of the cost — a level that is considered to be full funding — back when IDEA first became law in 1975, but has never lived up to that threshold and currently covers just 16 percent. States and localities are left to pick up the remainder of the tab.
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 In the News

Common pesticide may increase risk of ADHD
Rutgers University via Science Daily
A commonly used pesticide may alter the development of the brain's dopamine system — responsible for emotional expression and cognitive function — and increase the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children, according to a new Rutgers study. The research published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, by Rutgers scientists and colleagues from Emory University, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Wake Forest University discovered that mice exposed to the pyrethroid pesticide deltamethrin in utero and through lactation exhibited several features of ADHD, including dysfunctional dopamine signaling in the brain, hyperactivity, working memory, attention deficits and impulsive-like behavior.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword ADHD.

  Student-Paced, Mastery-Based Math

Since 2004, Math-U-See has worked with intervention and special education teachers to reach struggling special needs math students. Math-U-See corresponds to math ability rather than traditional grade levels, so it can be used with students of any age. We provide tools and training for an explicit, structured, systematic, cumulative program using multi-sensory teaching techniques. MORE

Obama budget seeks boosts for early education, high schools, technology
Education Week
President Barack Obama is planning to ask lawmakers for a sizable increase for the U.S. Department of Education in his fiscal year 2016 budget request, sources say. The request, being formally unveiled on Feb. 2, includes big hikes for teacher quality, preschool development grants, civil rights enforcement, education technology, plus a new competitive-grant program aimed at helping districts make better use of their federal and local K-12 dollars.
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Mindfulness exercises improve kids' math scores
Fourth- and fifth-graders who did mindfulness exercises had 15 percent better math scores than their peers. In adults, mindfulness has been shown to have all kinds of amazing effects throughout the body: it can combat stress, protect your heart, shorten migraines and possibly even extend life. But a new trial published in the journal Developmental Psychology suggests that the effects are also powerful in kids as young as 9 — so much so that improving mindfulness showed to improve everything from social skills to math scores.
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  Unique Approach to Reading Problems

See how a sandwich and a cake can help your students learn to read! The Stevenson Reading Program uses proven methods in unique and imaginative ways to address the needs of LD students. It often succeeds with students who have struggled with other specialized approaches. Visit our website here or call 800-343-1211 for info.

Special education parents demanding Spanish interpreters
The Columbus Dispatch
A federal complaint filed yesterday argues that Columbus and five other central Ohio school districts are among those that discriminate against special education students whose parents speak Spanish by failing to provide translation and interpreters. Disability Rights Ohio, a federally designated advocate for people with disabilities in Ohio, and Toledo-based Advocates for Basic Legal Equality say that the following districts have shut families out of the special-education process and should be forced to make changes immediately: Columbus, Dublin, Groveport Madison, South-Western, Toledo, Westerville and Whitehall.
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Mom: Common Core wants kids to develop reading skills at the same pace. My daughters didn't.
The Washington Post (commentary)
Early childhood experts have raised the alarm about some of the Common Core State Standards in the earliest grades, saying that they are not developmentally appropriate. The Core calls for kindergartners to develop reading skills, which some kindergartners are capable of accomplishing. But plenty of them are not ready to, and some can take into third grade (and beyond) to feel confident with reading. A recent report noted that forcing kids to read in kindergarten can wind up being harmful to some of them.
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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Inside the brain of a struggling reader (District Administration Magazine)
Concentrating on word sounds helps reading instruction and intervention (Medical Xpress)
Disability advocates sharply critical of plan to ease testing (Disability Scoop)
Bridging the ADHD gap (Edutopia)
When ADHD isn't what it seems (The Atlantic)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.

What do we really mean when we say 'personalized learning'?
The idea of personalized learning is seductive — it implies moving away from the industrialized form of education that pumps out cookie-cutter students with the same knowledge and skills. After decades of this approach, it is clear that all children don't learn the same way and personalization seems to honor those differences. However, that term has taken on several different meanings.
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Psychological stress on schools
District Administration Magazine
In many schools, psychologists have time for little more than assessing students. That prevents them from using their range of skills in counseling, data analysis and preventing bullying, suicide and violence. As the number of psychologists shrinks in many districts, the priority becomes compliance with federal special education laws, leaning away from providing services that are not legally mandated but that help the general population of students.
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Working effectively with parents — sometimes silently
By: Thomas Van Soelen (commentary)
Parents are a critical stakeholder in schools, particularly when a leader or governance group needs to make an important decision. What leaders, often times those at the central office, lack are a set of strategies to use with parents other than "let's talk about that." In Georgia, the City Schools of Decatur Board of Education started to experience a wonderful problem in recent years: too many students. After a decade of declining enrollment, multiple years of 10 percent unexpected growth put leaders on high alert.
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LDA does not recommend or endorse any one specific diagnostic or therapeutic regime, whether it is educational, psychological or medical. The viewpoints expressed in THE LD SOURCE are those of the authors and advertisers.

Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Hailey Golden, Senior Education Editor, 469.420.2630   
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