2017 Winter – Rocky Mountain Dyslexia Dispatch

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Rocky Mountain Dyslexia Dispatch

February 2017

The Rocky Mountain Dyslexia Dispatch, published quarterly by the Rocky Mountain Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA-RMB), contains articles and information of general interest to dyslexic individuals, their families, educators, therapists and communities. We are pleased to offer this e-newsletter to you free of charge. Click Here to become a national and regional member and to be added to our e-news mailing list.

At the IDA-RMB, the start of a new calendar year marks a renewed commitment to our mission of promoting Structured Literacy through research, education and advocacy. In this issue of the Rocky Mountain Dyslexia Dispatch, we invite readers to join us in reflecting on the successes of 2016 and in celebrating a year of hope in 2017.

In This Issue:

● EVENT SPOTLIGHT: Reading in the City – April 8, 2017
● PARENTS: A Radical Solution to the Homework Battle
● PARENTS & EDUCATORS: Make Dyslexia Advocacy Your New Year’s Resolution
● PARENTS & EDUCATORS: What’s New in Assistive Technology for 2017?
● KIDS: 2016 Kids’ Choice Awards
● BOOK PICK: Looking for Heroes…


EVENT SPOTLIGHT: Reading in the City


April 8, 2017 at the Adams 12 Conference Center in Thornton

Registration is now open! Sessions are designed for both K-12 generalists and specialists, plus we have a NEW parent strand.

Featuring Dr. Laurie E. Cutting, associate professor of education and human development, radiology, and pediatrics. She has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers in the field of educational neuroscience. Her research focuses on examining brain-behavior relationships in reading development, oral language, and executive function. 


Key Breakouts Include: Experience Dyslexia® Simulation, Play-and-Take Sessions, YES! Ambassador Presentations, Assistive Technology Demonstrations, Homework and Executive Function Sessions!


CLICK HERE for more information and to register!

A Radical Solution to Elementary Homework


Most of us can agree that one of the best things about school vacations is a break from the homework battle. For kids with dyslexia and other literacy-based learning differences, homework can turn a typically delightful child into a foot-stomping, temper-tantruming little monster!  Some families have come up with a radical solution to this homework battle…

Click Here to read the entire article from Positive Parenting Solutions.


Make Dyslexia Advocacy Your New Year’s Resolution

expdyswriteSome people resolve to go on diets, exercise more or work harder in the new year. As parents and educators, we have an even better resolution – resolve to help increase dyslexia awareness in your schools and in your community. With great thanks to the Alabama Branch of the IDA, here a few tools to help you get started…

Ideas for Activities:

  1. Write an article with information about dyslexia and submit it to your local newspaper and/or a parenting magazine in your area.
  2. On the 15th of each month, celebrate 1 in 5 day by posting facts, local links or national links about dyslexia on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
  3. Ask a group of friends, parents, or co-workers to read a book about dyslexia, such as Overcoming DyslexiaThe Dyslexia Empowerment PlanThe Dyslexic Advantage, The Gift of Dyslexia or Dyslexia Advocate with you. You could also host a follow-up book discussion.

Ideas for Events:BigPic

  1. Show a documentary about dyslexia such as The Big Picture: Rethinking DyslexiaJourney into Dyslexia, or I Can’t Do That, But I Can Do This. Contact IDA Rocky Mountain Branch to borrow one of these films.
  2. Ask a guest speaker to give a lecture or workshop on a dyslexia related topic.
  3. Host an Experience Dyslexia Simulation for families and teachers in your community. Contact IDA Rocky Mountain Branch to schedule an event.

Possible Locations for Events:

  1. Public library or bookstore
  2. Community Center, Recreation Center or Boys & Girls Club
  3. Church, synagogue or temple
  4. School, university or community college
  5. Local businesses

Ways to Publicize Events:

  1. Post about your event on your social media account(s) or neighborhood social networks, like Nextdoor.
  2. Submit details to the calendar of your local news outlets: newspapers, magazines, radio or television.
  3. Make fliers to post around town —at schools, tutoring centers, coffee shops, etc.
  4. Email your personal and professional contacts with details about the event.

Together, we can make a difference!



What’s New In Assistive Technology for 2017?

Technology is everywhere!  Today, dyslexic adults and children can take advantage of a wide array of assistive technology at home and in the classroom. With so many available options, it can be difficult to choose the best and most affordable ones. Here’s what some professionals are looking at for 2017…

The University of Colorado Assistive Technology Partners has recommended checking out these three online resources:

Co:Writer Universal for Google ChromeCoWriter uses grammar, vocabulary-smart word prediction, topic dictionaries and built-in speech recognition to help students better express their ideas in writing across devices. Watch a demo or try a 14-day free trail at http://donjohnston.com/cowriter.

Snap & Read Universal snap_and_readworks across Google Drive, email, websites, Kindle Cloud Reader and PDFs to: read text aloud, translate over 100 languages, create outlines and bibliographies, as well as amazingly transform difficult text into more simple text.  Watch a demo or get a 14-day trial for free at http://donjohnston.com/snap-read.

Microsoft LensMSLens is an iOS app (also available on Android) which takes a photo of text and reads it aloud for the user. The app now has an “immersive reading” mode which enables text-to-speech, font and line spacing adjustments.  Users say, “It’s pretty cool, fast, easy and accurate.” To see a video demonstration and to learn about other assistive Microsoft tools, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=L1vq4Ma0lt4


2016 Kids’ Choice Awards

Wondering what holiday gifts were most popular with young dyslexics this holiday season?  Here is what the kids are saying…


PicWits, by MindWare

finnpic“I love this game because the pictures are mind-blowing and the cards are easy to read. I get to use my sense of humor, which my family says is ‘my gift’. ”
Finn, age 10, Denver, CO

In this card game, every picture is worth a thousands laughs, as players battle to select the best PicWits photo card to match the judge’s caption card. Deciding which image in your hand is the perfect match all depends on your perspective!

  • Strengthens: creativity, language, category/item identification and comparison

Click Here for the Lesson Plan Extension


Glow In The Dark Mixed By Me Kit, by Crazy Aaron’s PuttyWorld

nolanput“This thinking putty is awesome because it keeps my hands busy in class, so I can concentrate better. I’ve had other putty before, but none I could mix myself.”
Nolan, age 11, Denver, CO

The winner of ASTRA’s 2015 Best Toys for Kids, this kit allows kids to create their own custom-colored thinking putty! Each kit includes five small tins of clear putty, concentrated color putties and special effect putties—including glitter and glow-in-the-dark. When the mixing is done, the fun’s just begun because these tins are pocket-sized and can be taken anywhere!

  • Strengthens: concentration/attention, creativity, fine motor skills, scientific inquiry


The Cat on the Mat is Flat, by Andy Griffiths

gabcat“My tutor gave me this book and I finished it all in one night, even though it’s got a lot of pages! Now, I’m onto the next book in the series.”
Gabriella, age 9, Denver, CO

Imagine the outcome if Dr. Seuss, Dav Pilkey, and Lane Smith were locked in a room until they came up with a book for beginning or reluctant readers. These nine rhyming stories have action galore, plenty of dialogue, and ample pen-and-ink illustrations, all wrapped up in humor. Even young people who are struggling to get the hang of reading may happily handle all 176 crazy pages. ~School Library Journal


The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow, by Andy Griffiths

Broad slapstick humor and galloping, Seuss-like rhymes are just part of the reason this sequel to The Cat on the Mat Is Flat (Feiwel & Friends, 2007) has strong child appeal. The type layout is peppy and appropriate, breaking the story up with words that shrink or become enormous as the rhymes dictate. The 10 brief stories allow for frequent pauses but also flow together well, with some unexpected and witty transitions. A few challenging words (“underwater,” “squirm”) make this a book for more-competent beginning readers. ~Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD

  • Strengthens: fluency, phonetic decoding, comprehension, humor

When you shop at AmazonSmile, and select IDA-RMB as your charity, Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchase!


ColvinBOOK PICK: “Looking for Heroes: One Boy, One Year, 100 Letters” by Aidan A Colvin

An estimated 13 million students in the United States have dyslexia, a neurologic disorder that impairs reading. Reading quickly and accurately is often the key to success in school. Without it, many dyslexics struggle and fail. Some, however, go on to achieve wild success. How? Aiden Colvin asked them!

In this true story, dyslexic high school student, Aidan Colvin, decides to ask that very question. Over the course of one year, he writes 100 letters to successful dyslexics. He doesn’t expect anyone to write back, and is genuinely surprised when people do. This book features letters from Writer John Irving, Arctic Explorer Ann Bancroft, Surgeon and CEO Delos Cosgrove, Sculptor Thomas Sayre, Poet Phillip Schultz and others. It also features conversations with Comedian Jay Leno and Filmmaker Harvey Hubbel.

This is a story about growing up, fostering grit and humor in the face of challenges, and seeing one’s differences in a new light. It is also a story about the importance of heroes — for kids like Aidan, but also for anyone. Throughout the book, Aidan shares tips that have helped him succeed in the classroom. ~ Think Out of the Box Press, 2016

Click Here to watch the 2016 Remy Johnston Merit Award Acceptance Speech by Aidan Colvin

Click Here to order the book from IDA National’s Bookstore



In this issue, we are spotlighting our very own Karen Leopold, current president of the Rocky Mountain Branch of the IDA. Karen is a self-remediated dyslexic; her father was dyslexic, and she has a son and grandson who have dyslexia. Karen discovered her own dyslexia while learning to use the Orton-Gillingham Approach as a public school teacher.  Currently, as an Accredited Training Fellow in the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, she trains teachers and tutors to remediate dyslexics and those with language-based learning difficulties.


What is the meaning/origin of your name?

Hebrew, ray of sunshine.


Who was your favorite teacher?  Why?

I had an English teacher in middle school, Mr. Lewis, who invited me to join the Audio-Visual squad.  I successfully helped teachers prepare teaching materials for their classes.  Feeling I could do something well and having teachers want my help, made me feel better about school and myself.


Which skill would you love to learn?

I would love to be able to touch type and play piano. I do not have good coordination between my left and right hands, which has prevented me from developing the ability to touch type and play piano effortlessly.


What is your hidden talent?

I can sleep anywhere at any time, fall asleep quickly and wake up refreshed.


What is one piece of advice, regarding dyslexia, you could offer?

Always explore your options and never give up.  Our world is a wonderful place and there is so much to learn.  Developing a love for learning and being willing to work hard will take you far.


Thank you, Karen!


The International Dyslexia Association, Rocky Mountain Branch (IDA-RMB) is pleased to provide a forum for sharing information and ideas that benefit its community. Not withstanding, the IDA-RMB abides by IDA’s Knowledge and Practices Standards for Teachers of Reading. Any programs, products or opinions shared in the IDA-RMB newsletter do not necessarily reflect those of the organization. Also note, the IDA-RMB acknowledges the fair use doctrine in its use of materials for nonprofit, educational purposes.


Visit our EVENTS page for more updates on what’s happening in our community!

As always, email us at ida_rmb@yahoo.com with any questions.