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Learning Disability Demonstration 2:   A Fairy Tale


Instructions:


  1. Read a paragraph out loud (not silently).
  2. Check your understanding of what you read.
  3. Read an explanation of the demonstrated learning disability.


Step 1:   Read the following paragraph out loud (not silently).


A FAIRY TALE

Onceubonatim ein apar kforestther elivep a litt legirl who hapd eautiful qlonpe hair. She wascallep Golqil ocks. She of tentra velep thro ughthe woops. Onepay sheca me udonaho use. Sheknoc keb on the poor put noone wa shome. Shew ent ud the fron tstairsan bin toth eroo min the fron tofthehouse. It hapth reep eqs init. The pig dephap a dic tureof a baqa pear hung onthew all apov ethe deq. The mepiu msizep deph ap a qict ure ofam ama dear aboveth eqed. Anpth elitt lepep hab aweet inydic tureof the dapypear aqove thepep.



When you are finished, go to Step 2.




Step 2:   Check your understanding of what you just read.


A FAIRY TALE

Onceubonatim ein apar kforestther elivep a litt legirl who hapd eautiful qlonpe hair. She wascallep Golqil ocks. She of tentra velep thro ughthe woops. Onepay sheca me udonaho use. Sheknoc keb on the poor put noone wa shome. Shew ent ud the fron tstairsan bin toth eroo min the fron tofthehouse. It hapth reep eqs init. The pig dephap a dic tureof a baqa pear hung onthew all apov ethe deq. The mepiu msizep deph ap a qict ure ofam ama dear aboveth eqed. Anpth elitt lepep hab aweet inydic tureof the dapypear aqove thepep.



TRANSLATION

Once upon a time in a dark forest there lived a little girl who had beautiful blonde hair. She was called Goldilocks. She often traveled through the woods. One day she came upon a house. She knocked on the door but no one was home. She went up the front stairs and into the room in the front of the house. It had three beds in it. The big bed had a picture of a papa bear hung on the wall above the bed. The medium sized bed had a picture of a mama bear above the bed. And the little bed had a wee tiny picture of the baby bear above the bed.


Now, go to Step 3 to read an explanation and comments by ReadingCoach.




Step 3:   Explanation of This Demonstration


I'll bet you are worn out from the strain of trying to read one paragraph of a fairy tale that is very familiar to most of us. Did you read smoothly and with good expression? Did it take you longer than 30 seconds to read? That's approximately the amount of time most adults need to read 114 words.

The original passage was really very easy but I made a few changes. I broke the words in unexpected places and substituted the letters b, p, q, and d for each other.

This simulation illustrates only two small aspects of understanding language that all children must learn:

  • Letters are grouped on a page for meaning.

    Words heard in speech are represented by groups of letter symbols on the page. Sometimes we do not leave much blank air space between words when we speak. Nevertheless, blank spaces on the paper separate the words, which are units of meaning. Blank spaces as well as letter groups are important.

  • The letters b, p, q, and d represent different sounds.

    The letters b, p, q, and d all look like a ball on a stick. However, a real ball on a stick is always a ball on a stick, no matter which way you hold it. The reality of written words is that the speech sound represented by each letter is different depending on how you write these new "balls on sticks". Knowing which speech sound is represented by which letter (or letters) is important.

Some students learn these concepts automatically, apparently without effort. For the remaining students, the correspondence between the spoken and written patterns must be explicitly taught. These students may need hundreds of multisensory repetitions to sort out the confusion.



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