Welcome to the discussion area of the Dyslexia Positive website. The idea is that anyone interested in dyslexia can join in a discussion based on themes initiated by a member of the Dyslexia Positive team. Please participate by commenting on the articles and feel free to ask any questions!

Posted 8th March, 2018 by Sue Partridge

I am currently learning beginners’ Spanish in an adult education class.  I am enjoying it, because I think language learning comes fairly naturally to me and good skills at mimicry help me with pronunciation. However, until this afternoon, when we did a reading task, I don’t think I had considered precisely what skills you need to read in an unfamiliar language.

Somehow, we haven’t all taken in the promise from our teacher that Spanish pronunciation is completely regular (not quite true…..!) and I heard people using analogies from their knowledge of English to work out how to say unfamiliar words, often inaccurately.

Also, it perhaps isn’t enough to say ‘don’t worry about looking up words in the dictionary’ at this stage, when people don’t know the meaning. I think it might have helped to do some choral or paired reading to get us started and to explicitly tell us to guess from the context, reading quickly and lightly in a first reading.  Maybe we could have been directed to a brief glossary of likely vocabulary before we started reading, or given some strategic pointers for what to look out for.

I can’t fault our tutor for his wide range of multi sensory methods to get us learning actively, but maybe there is a place even here for training on reading strategies.

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Posted 26th October, 2017 by Sue Partridge

I recently had reason to be a little nostalgic about the method I learned for assessing adults with dyslexia back in the 1990s. I trained with Cynthia Klein and used a method broadly outlined in Klein, C. (2003) Diagnosing dyslexia: a guide to the assessment of adults, London, The Basic Skills Agency.

A number of colleagues have been preparing for resubmission of evidence to renew their Assessment Practice Certificate (APC), and I am staggered by the length of the diagnostic report now required, the proliferation of assessment tests needed and the depth of analysis expected.  Feedback on the resubmission by expert assessors can run to several pages of intricate recommendations for improved practice and precise wording to be used in reports. Continue reading this article… »


Posted 11th October, 2017 by Sue Partridge

Back in 2012, I was doing a lot of dyslexia assessments  and thought I would share some reflections about reading comprehension.  I used WRAT 4 for word recognition and sentence level comprehension, TOWRE2 to get insight into processing visual and auditory patterns at speed and miscue analysis when I wanted something a little more in depth.

I set a “brain teaser” to stimulate discussion about problem solving reading assessment results:
“Mary” came out in the average range for word recognition and comprehension from WRAT.  Her score for nonsense words was also just average on the TOWRE (see an earlier post for my views on non-word tests), though her lower score for real words at speed brought her overall word reading efficiency down below average.  She read extended text at 142 words per minute and with 98% accuracy, so miscue analysis was not possible, there being so few errors.

The big surprise came when she could only recall 40% of the detail of what she had read.  Even more intriguingly, this score did not improve when I read her an equivalent  level passage for listening comprehension.

I might have gone along with Kate Cain and said she had a specific problem with comprehension, but on reflection I thought….

Well why don’t I let you think about it and comment back… ?   I posted some discussion points and revealed my analysis, but you might want to think about this too, so only “read more” when you have had a think!

Continue reading this article… »


Posted 1st October, 2017 by Sue Partridge

OmpansA quick survey of a number of universities shows what I suspected, that there is little explicit guidance on how best to support students with dyslexia once they have progressed to a postgraduate or research degree.  For that reason, I worked with a current student to develop something that would help university staff understand what is involved, particularly when it comes to giving feedback on written work at this level.  The document contains two generic sections and two which the student can personalise.  You can find a version to download at the end of this discussion piece. Try it and let me know what you think. Continue reading this article… »


Posted 29th August, 2017 by Sue Partridge

What counts as knowing a word; is it enough to be able to read it? To spell it? To know what it means?

Our colleague Ros Wright, a very skilled trainer, answered this question in our seminar in a great demonstration of micro-teaching.  Here are some of the notes she used:

1.Where I started with the Vocabulary issue!

  • My background as ESOL teacher, where systematic teaching of vocabulary is the norm
  • Anecdotal/ my children: “guitar” – baby’s first spoken word! “exhilarating” – 10 year old son describing a theme park.
  • A piece of local research: “Full on English”  by Philida Schellekens (2005) – based on students at City College, born in UK to ESOL parents.
  • I have a growing concern about the limited vocabulary shown by many students I support.

Continue reading this article… »


Posted 26th August, 2017 by Sue Partridge

What can the WRIT vocabulary subtest tell us about reading ability?

by Alison Earey

The Vocabulary subtest depends upon the participants’ understanding and production of oral language.  Therefore, the Vocabulary subtest is inappropriate for individuals unfamiliar with English.

Vocabulary tests are among the best predictors and commonly demonstrate the highest correlation with total IQ at any subtest within a given ability battery (WRIT manual, p60).

STEC Guidelines (SASC 2005) tell us that WRIT is a measure of underlying ability.

So,the question re-phrased is –  What does being able to define words orally tell us about reading ability?

The Vocabulary subtest tells us whether a person knows what word means or not. It doesn’t tell us whether they have learned the word from reading or from conversation. Continue reading this article… »


Posted 24th August, 2017 by Sue Partridge

CREVT-3 Comprehensive Receptive and Expressive Vocabulary Test, Third Edition

http://www.proedinc.com/customer/productView.aspx?ID=5174

What do you think this test measures? If there were a U.K. version would you use it?

notes by Sue Partridge 

What it measures:

  • Receptive vocabulary
  • Expressive vocabulary
  • But only for spoken language, not necessarily for reading
  • Receptive = matching a spoken word to a picture (multiple choice). It is like naming as in rapid naming tests.
  • Expressive = being able to give a meaning of a word and talk about that meaning in some detail.  So, this is like the WRIT Vocabulary subtest.
  • A general vocabulary index is calculated by combining the two sub scores
  • It compares scores for ages 5 – 89, so giving a standardised score, based on an overall sample of 1535 subjects, USA, 2011.

Continue reading this article… »


Posted 23rd August, 2017 by Sue Partridge

A study in 2016 found that the average 20-year-old recognises about 42000 words. After that age people typically learn 1 – 2 words each day. 65 year olds have vocabulary levels bigger than university students.  Explain and evaluate the research:

Brysbaert et al. (2016) How Many Words Do We Know? Practical Estimates of Vocabulary Size Dependent on Word Definition, the Degree of Language Input and the Participant’s Age http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01116/full

Summarised in http://www.iflscience.com/brain/the-average-20yearold-american-knows-42000-words-claims-study/

Summary and Notes by Yvonne Gateley 

Language experts have always struggled to estimate the size of people’s vocabulary. But now researchers have been dipping into a huge pool of information collected through social media in a bid to settle a piece of the debate.

The psychologists from Ghent University in Belgium found that an average 20-year-old native English-speaking American knows 42,000 dictionary words. Their findings were recently published in Frontiers in Psychology. Continue reading this article… »


Posted 2nd August, 2017 by Sue Partridge

This was the first question… does anyone have anything to add?  Please leave a comment.

What is the difference between receptive vocabulary and expressive vocabulary?

Discuss this in relation to both speaking & listening and reading & writing.

by Julie Baister

In terms of definitions, Receptive language skills are the ability to understand information. This involves understanding words, sentences and the meaning of what others say or what is read.

Expressive language skills are the ability to put thoughts into words and sentences, in a way that makes sense and is grammatically accurate.

At the vocabulary level, Receptive Vocabulary refers to all the words that can be understood by a person, including spoken, written, or even manually signed words.

In contrast, Expressive Vocabulary refers to the words that a person can express or produce, for example, by speaking or writing them in a grammatically acceptable manner. Continue reading this article… »


Posted 1st August, 2017 by Sue Partridge

When Dyslexia Positive met  in June, we decided to have a discussion about vocabulary.  I devised some seminar questions as follows, with some background reading:

Seminar questions about vocabulary

Pick a question and be prepared to lead a brief discussion on the topic. 

 

  1. What is the difference between receptive vocabulary and expressive vocabulary? Discuss this in relation to both speaking & listening and reading & writing.
  2. What counts as knowing a word; is to enough to be able to read it? To spell it? To know what it means?
  3. A study in 2016 found that the average 20-year-old recognises about 42000 words. After that age people typically learn 1 – 2 words each day. 65 year olds have vocabulary levels bigger than university students.  Explain and evaluate the research:

Brysbaert et al. (2016) How Many Words Do We Know? Practical Estimates of Vocabulary Size Dependent on Word Definition, the Degree of Language Input and the Participant’s Age http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01116/full

Summarised in http://www.iflscience.com/brain/the-average-20yearold-american-knows-42000-words-claims-study/

  1. What do you think this test measures?  If there were a U.K. version would you use it? CREVT-3 Comprehensive Receptive and Expressive Vocabulary  Third Edition:http://www.proedinc.com/customer/productView.aspx?ID=5174
  2. What can the WRIT vocabulary subtest tell us about reading ability?

Some general background reading:

Braze et al (2007) Speaking Up for Vocabulary: Reading Skill Differences in Young Adults

[Accessed 3 June 2017]

McShane, S. (2005) [online] Applying research in reading instruction for adults. First steps for teachers, Washington DC, National Institute for Literacy https://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/applyingresearch.pdf [accessed 3 June 2017], especially Chapter 6.

Wise et al (2007) The Relationship Among Receptive and Expressive Vocabulary, Listening Comprehension, Pre-Reading Skills, Word Identification Skills, and Reading Comprehension by Children With Reading Disabilities

[accessed 3 June 2017]

Over the next few days, I will post the notes of some of our discussions!

 

 

 

 

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