Thursday, August 10, 2006

Reading, WRITING, Arithmetic or YELLOW is my favorite color

A teacher came to me the day before yesterday and showed the example above of a student in 5th grade. Of course the teachers were concerned with the students writing as it was obvious that she had a problem copying her work. Not only that, it was almost impossible to read. It was evident this was not a case of a child not doing their best because the handwriting looks neat. The teacher came to ask me about strategies and suggestions and what interventions might she suggest for this child.

I am a part of the assistive technology team, but usually am not one that is up on this area - but I did have a box of materials to use with students who have a variety of learning problems. Inside this box was a large envelope of colored transparent overlays, along with some instructions and information on their use. I suggested the teacher look over them and get an idea of how they work ( I had only briefly had an opportunity to observe a workshop that addressed the use of overlays with children that have difficulty reading and writing). The teacher took the materials home and read up on the information and came back the next day to shadow the student and make some recommendations. So, she began with placing overlays of a red transparency and a few others for the student to read. Nothing changed until the teacher placed a yellow clear transparency over the page. The student said, "the letters have stopped moving" - now that is a strange comment to me since I have never seen letters "move" on the page. The teacher then took a handwriting page and asked her to copy it on to another sheet. This time, the teacher made a copy of the handwriting on to yellow paper. Here is the page:

Below are the results:

Folks, I have not met this child. I would not know her if she walked in my room, but when the teacher showed this, I got chill bumps. I got excited. This student, who had transferred from a different school system, has struggled with this for quite some time. A simple change in the color of the page from which she was copying from made all the difference in the world.
When asked how she felt about this - did she feel as though it made her stand out and single her out with having to do this. She just said... "I'll just tell everyone yellow is my favorite color".

It would be my favorite color too.


trek said...

That is a really great story.

Kate said...

tears...for real

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

Oh, good Lord! That is simply amazing!!

mid-life rookie said...

Thanks for dropping in to my blog.

I love this story. Having taught special ed. for 20 years, I have heard of the transparencies making a huge difference. One person, an educational consultant, walked up to a demonstration booth with her partner. Both were skeptical, but just like the student in your story, the consultant who had battled dyslexia said "The letters aren't moving!" Needless to say they were convinced.

Since starting seminary, many people have asked me if I miss teaching. I wasn't unhappy when I left. I just felt called to something else. 99% of the time I don't miss teaching. Your story reminds me of the one thing I do miss - those awesome breakthroughs. Hopefully, I will see spiritual breakthroughs every now and then to keep me going in ministry.


helen said...

very heartwarming! i could almost read the first example. i picked out the word dog. knew it was dyslexia, but i did not know colours would change anything!

The Vicar of Hogsmeade said...

I know of a young lady who wears (literally) rose colored lenses because "the letters don't move" with them.

Mary Beth said...

My mom did assistive technology for several years in Wakulla County! I love this strategy!

revabi said...

Oh man,
I just cried.
So glad there is so much more available today for these kids instead of labeling them as stupid.
Yea Kathy and her teacher!

And yea that she could say yellow is her favorite color.

SpiritMists said...

I am late reading this, but am so glad I did! What an awesome story.

Patricia said...

What a great story. I'll bet you that this is a life changing event for this child. Thanks to a great teacher who is not afraid to try a new method.

Diane said...

Great Story!

hipchickmamma said...