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Sunday, February 25, 2018
Holland Township School
Child Study Team
Dr. Elizabeth (Marcy) Calamito - Learning Disability Teacher Consultant
Kathryn Wilk - Certified School Psychologist
Hally Tomasheski - School Social Worker
Arlene Gondyke - CST Secretary - ext. 331 - M-F - ext. 340 - M-F - ext. 230 - T, Th, F(pm) - ext. 318 - M-F

Academic Information

Children are responsible for comprehending many different subject content areas. The major subject areas that children are expected to learn are reading, writing, and mathematics.

Learning to read is exciting to children. Most children learn to read by following a sequence of acquired skills. There are five key areas in learning to read. They are: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.  A child begins by acquiring phonological awarenessor the ability to distinguish distinct sounds. Next the child moves on to learning phonemic awareness  skills- or the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds. They now understand that words are made up of sounds and can be put together in different ways to create words. Acquiring phonics is the next step. The reader must make the connect between letter symbols (graphemes) and sounds. In order to master phonics, a reader must master the alphabet. Letters then need to be connected to their corresponding sounds. As we know as English speakers, this is easier said than done. Many letters can represent a number of different sounds. Thus learning phonics is an ongoing process for a developing reader.

The next step is obtaining vocabulary words. As children become stronger, more advanced readers they not only learn to connect their oral vocabularies (the words we know when they are spoken) to their reading vocabularies (the words we know when they are used in print), they also strengthen each of these areas by adding new words to their repertoires. There are two primary ways of teaching and learning new vocabulary words, through explicit instruction and through context clues. Explicit instruction involves someone telling the word and what it means. Obtaining vocabulary through context clues involves using the “hints” contained in a text that help a reader figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar word. Comprehension is understanding what a text is all about. It is more than just understanding words in isolation. It is putting them together and using prior knowledge to develop meaning. Fluency is the ability to read with speed, accuracy and expression. Readers are required to combine and use multiple reading skills at the same time while utilizing a fluid pace to evoking the meaning and feeling of the selection. Fluency is intimately tied to comprehension. A good reader must be able to move quickly through a text to develop meaning. If s/he is bogged down reading each individual word, s/he is not able to create an overall picture in their mind of what the text is saying. Even if the reader is able to move rapidly through a text, if s/he cannot master the expression associated with the words, the meaning of it will be lost. All these skills develop and improve over time through instruction and practice.

Some students have deficits in one or many of the different reading areas. One common learning disability is dyslexia. Individuals with dyslexia are poor readers who have trouble learning letter-sound correspondence, blending, and segmenting phonemes, memorizing letter sequences, and recognizing words rapidly. They have difficulty decoding written text or with achieving accuracy and fluency in reading and with spelling. Dyslexic individuals often reverse or transpose letters when writing or confuse letters such as b, d, p, q, especially when young. Some other common symptoms are poor short-term memory, poor personal organizational skills, problems processing spoken language, left-right confusion, difficulties with numeracy or mathematics, and issues with balance and co-ordination. These issues may co-exist or overlap with characteristics of Auditory Processing Disorder, Visual PRocessing disorders, Attention/deficit/hyperactivity disorder, dyspraxia (motor skill planning), dyscalculia (math disabilities), and/or dysgraphia (writing difficulties), as well as with intellectual giftedness, artistic talent, and/or a visual-spatial learning style. Individuals with dyslexia should show some areas of strength (oral language or math) as well as areas of impairment.  

Dyslexia -


Writing is the visible form of communication. Individuals who struggle with basic reading skills may also stuggle with spelling. Individuals who struggle with poor reading comprehension are likely to struggle with written expression. Other individuals may have adequate or even advanced reading skills but struggle with written language, other yet have adequate written epression but struggle with basic writing skills or have trouble coming up with ideas. 



This page last updated Wednesday, November 30, 2011