Oct / 09

Reading Strategies: How Reading Affects All Aspects of Learning with Adrian Ojeda [IEP 049]

IEPcontent Podcast 0

Thank you to our new show sponsors – Fusion Academy! To find out more about Fusion Academy and their revolutionary approach to school, visit www.fusionacademy.com

You can catch the entire panel discussion from the fundraiser event here and find out more about our panelists in this episode.

Show Notes

Reading comprehension and language processing affects a child’s overall ability to learn. Knowing this, we wanted to focus on learning about reading strategies and restructuring the learning environment in this episode.

We’re joined by Adrian Ojeda, Director at the Palos Verdes and Long Beach Lindamood-Bell centers. Adrian joins us to discuss the importance of reading strategies and cognitive processes in schools in helping ensure children learn the best way according to their unique learning abilities. Adrian explains that learning to read can address potential underlying problems with academic issues and can help teachers and parents recognize gaps in cognitive processes. Helping a child learn how to read helps him/her succeed in other aspects of their academic and social lives.

Full show transcript at the bottom of this post. 

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why is learning difficult for some children and not others?
  • What are cognitive process and what do they have to do with the way children learn?
  • How Lindamood-Bell tutors attempt to fix the problem behind academic issues
  • How having basic reading comprehension skills can have an effect on the child’s whole perspective of the English language
  • How language processing deficiencies can lead to deficiencies in peer interaction, athletic events and everyday functions
  • How restructuring the learning environment around the child can help minimize or eliminate the need for constant remediation
  • What are some strategies that teachers can use to help students with learning deficiencies? How can they help bridge that gap?
  • What are some tools that may be helpful for teachers and parents in getting the student excited about reading?
  • What is a Lexile level and how can you decode it to figure out where your child falls on the spectrum?
  • What is the difference between fluency and stamina in relation to reading?
  • Help your child identify their mistakes while reading, rather than giving them the answer

Resources Mentioned:

Lindamood-Bell in Palos Verdes and Long Beach

Contact Information:

Adrian.ojeda@lindamoodbell.com

Thank you for listening!

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Full Show Transcript

Vickie Brett:                      Welcome to the Inclusive Education Project. I’m Vickie Brett.

Amanda Selogie:              I’m Amanda Selogie. We’re two civil rights lawyers on a mission to change the conversation about education, civil rights, and modern activism.

Vickie Brett:                      Each week, we’re going to explore new topics, which are going to educate and empower others.

Amanda Selogie:              And give them a platform to enact change in education and level the playing field.

Vickie Brett:                      Hi everyone.

Amanda Selogie:              Welcome back.

Vickie Brett:                      Welcome back. This is Vickie. I don’t know why I’m introducing myself.

Amanda Selogie:              Oh, I guess we’re introducing ourselves. This is Amanda.

Vickie Brett:                      If you’re just tuning in for the first time, I am Vickie and that’s Amanda.

Amanda Selogie:              If you got a chance to meet us at the event, maybe put faces to names.

Vickie Brett:                      Oh yeah, oh yeah, that’s true. We had a big event in September so it’s been a couple weeks out if you’re listening to this now and last week was a really cool episode because we had actually recorded the panel discussion. And the week before that, we had done little mini episodes with each of the very qualified doctors in all respective areas. So, we hope you guys enjoyed that.

Vickie Brett:                      That was a little longer of a podcast episode, but hopefully you got some good information. This week’s episode, we’re really excited. We had a guest, Adrian O’hera. We’ll get into the discussion. We talk a little bit about different things, but we had a focus on remediation. He gave us a lot of tips and tricks for reading and writing, but remediation sometimes is difficult to [inaudible 00:01:42]

Vickie Brett:                      I know you’re working on a case right now-

Amanda Selogie:              Yeah, we often get cases where we need a good chunk of remediation and even when we get the district to agree to provide that remediation, the concept of where do you fit it in comes up. Right? Because there’s only so many hours in the day. We’re talking about kids, right? And remediation is intensive intervention so to put that in with a full school day, and often times, and not to mention if they have other therapies, or we’re trying to engage them in social activities, there’s not enough hours in those days.

Amanda Selogie:              So we have to sometimes, think outside the box and find alternative, either schedules, alternative days, modified days or alternative schooling. And it’s something that we’ve talked about in the past as alternatives. I know we’ve talked about it a little bit, but today’s episode is gonna be brought to you, sponsored by Fusion Academy, and I know we’ve spoken about them a little bit, but in this conc pet of this modified day and an alternative scheduling, they really have it down to a science.

Amanda Selogie:              They’re able to provide both that comprehensive educational environment along with the remediation.

Vickie Brett:                      It’s almost that quality of time that could be less, but it’s quality time.

Amanda Selogie:              Yeah, well I was explaining this to one of my clients the other day, that often times we have remediation separate apart from their day to day schooling. The day to day schooling keeps going on, like a train, but we’ve got the remediation behind. And no matter how much remediation we do, that train in front is still gonna always be in front, which is the traditional school day.

Amanda Selogie:              So instead, Fusion Academy brings it back together. It brings it back to meet this child and their abilities where they are and personalize it. It’s more of that student guided learning. And it’s for middle schoolers, high school students, that allow them to take these classes at their own pace.

Vickie Brett:                      And we’re prepping these kids for college, you know?

Amanda Selogie:              Right cause that’s what happens in college.

Vickie Brett:                      And that’s what happens.

Amanda Selogie:              Yeah, so they have a 250+ courses that are all one on one and the homework is included as part of that campus-life so we can add on that remediation or other therapies or other things outside of the school day and not make it school, homework, and then these other activities. We’ve seen success stories in the sense that, just like every kid has it’s own unique needs, most of the students that end up at Fusion have their own unique stories as well. It really provides a customized community that’s great for students that are gifted, twice exceptional, I think we talked about this before, had ADHD, mild learning differences, anxiety, depression, or just need that flexible schedule that allows us to do that remediation or meet them at their level and not feel like their always playing cath-up.

Vickie Brett:                      And I mean, that’s the decision you make in college. Maybe you don’t do well in the morning, you’re not doing any morning classes. And I know Fusion has a very flexible schedule and maybe that’s what that child needs. Or, I know we’ve done this several times in a bunch of our cases, where it’s just like modified school day. Half your days here for the electives, the other half is at Fusion where you’re working on the academic side, which is nice that they allow that flexibility cause not all private schools do.

Amanda Selogie:              And don’t just take it from us or from Fusion themselves, they have so many parents that have provided testimonials, like one Mission Viejo parent, Nina, has said, “I literally saw my son find himself, again. He’s so happy, engaged in learning, and can’t wait for the next day.” And, I mean, when we talk about education, that’s really what we’re talking about, right? We want the kids to enjoy themselves and look forward to coming to school because that’s the best way that they learn.

Amanda Selogie:              So we’re really glad that they exist as an option because often times, it’s hard if families think there’s only the one option of their public school that’s local to them, and often think that private schools are so in the box that that’s not an option. Well Fusion breaks that mold of that private school because it really is individualized. As some of these kids need it. So, again, if you’re looking for more information, go visit a campus and talk to them more and-

Vickie Brett:                      And here in Orange County, there’s one in Hinton. There’s one in Mission Viejo and I know if you’re listening to this outside of California, if you go to fusionacademy.com, I mean, they’re nation-wide so hopefully there’s on near you and we’re just so thankful that they are sponsoring today’s episode.

Amanda Selogie:              Yeah absolutely and so if you get ready, [inaudible 00:06:17] down again, it’s not quite as long of an episode as last week , but you’ll hear next, our conversation with Adrian and learn more about some of these unique needs that he fills those gaps.

Amanda Selogie:              Technical difficulties.

Vickie Brett:                      Sorry our guest is having technical difficulties. We’ll get to him in a minute. HE’ll be fine. He’ll be fine. We actually had our event for reals last night and it was a success so, you know how people do vision board and it’s like “I put on my vision board, this.” That’s basically what we did the last time that we recorded.

Amanda Selogie:              Yeah we pretended like it had already been a success and it ended up being a success. Yeah, we’re still on a high from last night because it’s Friday morning, so right after the event, so we’ll put some tallies … I think we had over 80 people and if I had to do a rough estimate, I would say we probably raised over $8000, but I’m gonna caveat that with “I’m gonna tally it up.” And we’ll let you know.

Amanda Selogie:              It’s probably above that, which would be … I eman, even that, alone is just incredible, how that many families were gonna be able to help with that fund so anyone that’s listening that came out, thank you so much for coming out. We so appreciate it. And for those of you that weren’t able to attend, remember there’s going to be the live recording that we did will be on the pod and we have a bonus episode that will come before that, which will introduce you all to all of our panelists. You’ll get to know them a little bit better and then you’ll be able to hear the event.

Vickie Brett:                      What was the highlight of the night for you?

Amanda Selogie:              Oh, man, you gotta put me on the spot like that? I think hearing that everyone felt it was such an inspiring event because I think that the biggest thing that we try to do with changing the conversation and having a good discussion and not just something that everyone’s already heard. Right? And so to have a lot of people leaving, just so amazed and so inspired, and our panelists, that’s all to them, to their great discussion. What about you?

Vickie Brett:                      When we did the raffle for that trip to the Caribbean and one of the gals from [Payroll Frontiers 00:08:27] and I met so many people. I apologized and I literally asked her name like three times and she won. She just jumped up and she’s like “I was hoping to get the Globe for my kids!” And I was like “Oh, well this is better. Now you get a trip to the Caribbean.” I thought that was really funny. It was fun, but for us, we’re still at the beginning of the school year and even if this is a little late in September or October that you’re hearing it, something that’s always key, that we get asked about all the time are reading strategies and today we have the pleasure of having Adrian from [inaudible 00:09:01] with us. Hi Adrian, thanks for coming in.

Adrian Ojeda :                  Thanks. Thanks for having me. I was really excited. I do listen to your guys’ podcast from time to time.

Vickie Brett:                      You don’t have to say that just cause you’re on now.

Adrian Ojeda :                  I actually was just listening to the one that you guys did on Tuesday about the four day school day in Colorado, but not because it’s positive, but they don’t have any money.

Vickie Brett:                      Right.

Adrian Ojeda :                  Yeah, so I have to finish that one episode, but I actually do listen.

Amanda Selogie:              Well we [inaudible 00:09:28].

Vickie Brett:                      Yeah we [inaudible 00:09:30].

Amanda Selogie:              Any feedback, any constructive criticism you have?

Adrian Ojeda :                  Well I actually-

Vickie Brett:                      Why would you say-

Amanda Selogie:              Because we wanna improve!

Adrian Ojeda :                  I was actually worried when I was thinking about coming on here because I notice, a lot of times, public speakers, people who are talking in public, or podcasting, they say the word um and uh a lot. And so I was really closely listening and I was like “Man, they really don’t say uh and um all that much.” In compa-

Vickie Brett:                      Really?

Adrian Ojeda :                  In campar-

Vickie Brett:                      We might have a good editor.

Amanda Selogie:              No, you know what I think it is? I think if you listen to some of the first ones, we might have done it more often. I mean, I at least-

Adrian Ojeda :                  Progressively got better and better at it?

Amanda Selogie:              Yeah. I think I’ve gotten more aware of it over the years. But I think when you have more to say and you’re engaged in the conversation, I think people less often say that.

Vickie Brett:                      I think I read an article or something where it was like people that say um are actually really intelligent and they just want to stall and give themselves a beat-

Adrian Ojeda :                  Give them that little timing process.

Vickie Brett:                      So if you say um or whatever, that’s fine. You’re good.

Amanda Selogie:              No I wasn’t trying to say that it was bad! I just-

Vickie Brett:                      I’m just saying-

Amanda Selogie:              Look, I don’t want you to feel nervous. We’ve been doing this since November. We are seasoned experts. No, I’m just kidding, we’re still learning, too. I mean at the end of the day, we have conversations, just like we have in our office and at [inaudible 00:10:47] events. Like we’ve had lunch with you before, it’s just conversation. And that’s what people want to hear because they can’t always be privy to these conversations and sometimes its a breath of fresh air, too because we’ll have a conversation about something a parent is probably listening and going “Oh my god I’ve been thinking that so often, I’m glad I’m not the only one.”

Amanda Selogie:              So that’s where it’s helpful too.

Vickie Brett:                      So how long have you been with [00:11:09]?

Adrian Ojeda :                  I’ve been with [00:11:11] for five years now. I’ve helped be able to direct and manage a couple different centers. I used to run the Manhattan Beach Center for a number of years and I’m currently directing the [Palsibury 00:11:24] as well as the Long Beach center when that’s open usually during like holidays or summers. So, that’s always helpful for people who are kind of stuck between either Newport or Palisbury’s or Manhattan’s. Sometimes taking an hour long drive isn’t really ideal, and so having that as a place that they can go to sometimes is where they can actually get the help their student needs without having to remain there their entire life.

Vickie Brett:                      And it’s already something extra that you’re having your kid do, and so then to drive two hours…its just it’s not sustainable for very long.

Adrian Ojeda :                  It just doesn’t work sometimes.

Vickie Brett:                      If you want to talk a little bit about like Linda Mood-bell, cause that’s that’s a name that gets thrown out, and I think there’s some people that recognize it, and some people that are like “What are they talking about?”

Adrian Ojeda :                  So, as far as like what we do, I always talk about like the ‘why’ behind things, and that’s really what we’re focusing on is a lot of students will come to us and have trouble with reading fluency, or their math, writing, comprehension in general. And that’s something that I’ve always found is pretty easy picked up on, not just by teachers and professionals, but even my parents and just anybody. They can very clearly see a student who’s struggling with reading. You can hear it. You can see it. You can see the frustration, and same with a lot of those other academic skills. But a lot of times with parents and some professionals that maybe haven’t had a chance to dig in yet, is why? Why is this so hard for my kid to pick up? Or why is it so hard for this student to learn?

Adrian Ojeda :                  And a lot of times it’s going to go back to cognitive progresses. And, those are the cognitive progresses are what gives the student the ability to acquire academic skills. And so if there’s a weakness in a cognitive progress that’s related to that skill, well it’s going to affect it. And that’s where we really kind of focus is, let’s look at the academic skill, and then let’s look at the cognitive function and figure out. Okay, is it a cognitive function that’s weak? Let’s focus there, and really make sure that we’re doing the correct type of instruction to target that, so that the student is able to make some big changes in their life both socially and academically and we get rid of this crutch of “you do well with the tutor” and then you don’t have a tutor and that you don’t do well. So, making more of a lasting change, so that this is something that makes an impact in their life again as opposed to just a quick fix.

Amanda Selogie:              It’s the idea of if you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach him how to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime. That type of idea. I think that one thing we often have parents that talk to us about Linda Mood-bell and they think “Oh well that’s just going to help with reading comprehension, right?” But we always talk about how reading comprehension and language processing affects all areas of learning. From math to writing. It’s really a component of everything, right?

Adrian Ojeda :                  Yeah, it’s really going to affect…I mean we see it in sometimes our students that come to us with autism spectrum, and their social skills or social interactments, it lacks because they can’t process language. And so, sometimes, it’s not so much that they, you know sometimes humor will go over their head, but other times they’re talking about something or someone’s talking to them and they just flat don’t get it because…like for myself. I know I typically have a little bit more of a quicker speech pattern than maybe other people. Well, if someone has trouble processing that, if I’m talking to a student like that, they’ll look at me and probably zone out after about ten seconds, if I don’t monitor that. And so, that’s something that you know people don’t necessarily think about for their students who may actually have language processing issues or weaknesses.

Adrian Ojeda :                  It’s not going to affect just school or lectures when the teacher’s talking or directions. It’s going to affect peer interactions. It’s going to affect whether you know what to do in a sports activity. THat’s another huge one of “Hey go to run to this town, hit that pad, catch a ball,” and then other students in the front of the line, he goes, “I don’t know what I’m doing. Let me go to the back and watch this five or six times” because they don’t get it.

Amanda Selogie:              Cause that’s all immediate, right, like when we’re dealing with pencil paper tasks in school. You can take a second to think about it. You’re taking a test. You’re studying. You’re doing homework. There’s that processing time that is inherent in those tasks, but when you’re having a conversation or you’re engaging with other peers, especially kids, you take a second to process. It’s not going to go well…that processing time.

Adrian Ojeda :                  Yeah

Vickie Brett:                      I think we’re going to go to seeing that with the VIP kids. [inaudible 00:15:56]

Amanda Selogie:              I can go there!

Vickie Brett:                      Now I already have something else to say. It was interesting that you said your speech pattern was fast, cause I feel like a man when I speak really quickly and that’s probably why whenever we get together, we get through so much, because we’re talking so fast.

Adrian Ojeda :                  I feel like when I’ve sat down with other directors, or other professionals, we’re all talking really quickly and they’re trying to keep up, and they’re looking back and forth like “What is wrong with us?” Have you guys had coffee?

Amanda Selogie:              Yeah, yeah we definitely have that sometimes, too. I think that’s where [inaudible 00:16:26] who are nervous to be on the pod, because they’re like “We listened and it’s like…”

Vickie Brett:                      I think it’s easier to do when you’re passionate about something and you know so far every single one of our guests have been passionate about what they do and it’s we’re not having that processing time about what we’re thinking about because its automatic. Because it’s so inherent in what we do every day. So that helps. It’s about helping kids get that in their academics. To be able to, and for the kids that do need the extra processing time then we’re giving that opportunity. But, like you said, it’s [inaudible 00:16:56] I mean yeah, yeah I see it in VIP. I said on the pod so if you really are listening then you’ll know this. I’m just kidding. But my soccer team actually practices tonight. Yeah, we definitely have to have some of the kids take a moment to, you know.

Vickie Brett:                      And even with like the dribbling in a game, they’ll get the ball, and we have to have some of the other players hold off, hold off. Because it might take them a little bit to figure out which direction they’re going to go with the ball. We want to give them that opportunity. So, I think it goes across the board, absolutely.

Amanda Selogie:              So, with Linda Mood-bell, you don’t necessarily have to have an IEP. It’s just one of those things where you see a whole range of kids. But what kind of drew you to the special education community?

Adrian Ojeda :                  From a really young age, I guess I had, I don’t know. I just was kind of drawn to students who were different but there was nothing that they could really do about it. So, I think I was about maybe eight when I started working with students with my little league team where you can partner up with someone who is special needs and just stand by them so that they can learn to play the game. Because maybe they don’t or maybe they can’t be there by themselves. I thought I was going to be a teacher, and I was working at a school as a teacher’s aide, and I loved working with the kids. But I also saw at the same time how hard it is to be a teacher with 25 to 30 kids. Maybe not having funding for pencils, papers, things like that. Or being able to spend as much time as I know some of these teachers wanted to spend with these kids. And, I had someone I was working for Linda Mood-bell as a friend at the time. They said, “YOu’re not working during summers anyway. Just come up here. I think you’d be great.”

Adrian Ojeda :                  I was working up here for a summer and I saw a lot of the same type of students who, I worked with all the time, that I would work almost everyday with for like an hour. Who, got a little bit better, but they still had a hard time. Those same students at Linda Mood-bell went from struggling readers to being at grade level. And I just thought to myself, well I…how am I going to go back to doing that when I know I can help the kids here at a much better pace than there.

Amanda Selogie:              And earlier you had said, you know, what you take into account, is the why. And so, how is Linda Mood-bell. You know, cause parents ask us all the time. They say “It’s 20 minutes of reading everyday” and it’s just like but my child is struggling, so like, how do I get over that hump? What does Linda Mood-bell do? I know that you guys do some initial evaluations, just to get a picture of the child. Does that help in answering the why?

Adrian Ojeda :                  Yeah, that definitely will give us a lot of information. Especially when we’re looking at like students that struggle with reading fluency, right. We’re going to look at reading fluency. We’re also going to look at discrepancies between reading fluency and comp. So, a lot of times students that struggle with reading, they’re often very brilliant comprehension wise, and so you start looking and you go “Great. You’re reading below first grade equivalent for fluency, but you can still somehow comprehend up to a fifth grade equivalent.” And so, you start going…okay there’s something going on here. So, when you start digging in, and looking at…great what’s your sight work base. What’s your decoding ability? Do you have the ability to do, you know just basic CVC or you know pip, pop words. Can you do multi syllable words? And going from there and then starting to looking to again the why. How’s your chronological processing? Do you have it? Or is it something unknown to you and you really don’t have it. Or symbol imagery which is something with students that have dyslexia, they struggle tremendously with symbol imagery and holding onto those orthographic patterns.

Adrian Ojeda :                  And when you start digging a little bit deeper, and again looking at those two specific cognitive functions, then even baseline “Do you know your simple vowels?” Do you know all the vowels and the sounds in the English language? Do you know uppercase and lowercase letters? If you don’t, good luck reading. It’s going to be really challenging.

Vickie Brett:                      So, a lot of what we think about the services that Linda Mood-bell provides, we’re thinking about remediation, right. Catching the student up. They’re a couple grades below grade level. They’re struggling in reading because of that. Which then translates the rest of their schooling. You know, we can have them go through summer program with you guys that are an intensive program. A lot of times we see families that do that, and then we get to the next school year and they have a whole another school year. We’re not 100% back where we started, but we kind of are right because it’s another school year. And they kind of continue to struggle.

Vickie Brett:                      So, one thing we’ve talked about on the pod in the past is trying to restructure our learning environment to ensure that we don’t backtrack. Right, if we’re [inaudible 00:21:28] this great progression through intensive intervention through one-on-one. We don’t want them to have to have one-one-one every summer for the rest of their educational career. Because that’s putting a band-aid almost on it. Right, cause we’re not like you said, really teaching them to fish. We’re not helping. So, what are some strategies you would suggest in terms of, they’re going to be in a general education classroom. What are some things that teachers can really help to support these students in making sure they can bridge that gap if we got them some games. Where do we go from there?

Adrian Ojeda :                  So, I think one of the most important parts is, when I look at students and I talk to families and teachers about, okay great. They were well below grade level, now they’re within the normal range or at grade level. What do we have to do moving forward? Biggest thing is consistency. Just like anything, whether it’s you know you gained weight, you lose weight. You want something. You actually have to continue to do something and engage in it on a regular basis, if you want to maintain it. Just like if you, I tell parents all the time. IF I taught you guys Japanese, I don’t speak it by the way. But if I taught you guys Japanese, and I taught you how to read it, but then I told you you couldn’t look at it, hear it or speak it for five years. And I came back five years later, and say hey, let’s talk about it. You’d go ahhh, I don’t remember it. And language is, in itself, a cognitive function. And so, even cognitive functions when you don’t utilize them will drop off.

Adrian Ojeda :                  So, one of the things is consistency. So, making sure that both at school and at home, they’re engaging in the reading and they’re not falling back on old habits. And just some of the small things you can do is, my older students don’t like it, but I make them almost all read with finger, or something. Most students have issues with their eyes that aren’t 20/20. Even more so than that, your eyes don’t really finish developing until you’re much older and so young students you can audibly hear a difference when you say great, read with finger. Go ahead and read how you want. You can hear the difference with different passages and that’s something that I tell all my families, tell all my kids. I know you hate it. I Know you feel like a baby, but, it helps you. So just, go ahead and do that. That’s like one, super small tiny thing can really help.

Adrian Ojeda :                  The other thing for teachers is making sure that for students who maybe still struggling, because sometimes they caught up two years, but they’re still six months to a year behind. And we go, well what are we going to give them to read? You don’t want to belittle them, and give them something that’s readable and super easy, but they’re going to sit there and go “This is like baby stuff”. And you also don’t want to give them something that they may want comprehension wise, but they have no business reading because they don’t have the sight words. They don’t have the decoding skill to read that. So, you really have to kind of play this game of “Okay, this is way too hard. This is way too easy. You’re not going to like the concept. Let’s find something that you can do.” And kind of work from there. And those are just things that, if you’re in a bigger classroom that you can do. I know often times in big classrooms it’s hard to kind of do that with them, you know not one-to-one. It’s a bit harder at times.

Vickie Brett:                      This is just the, little preview into one of the episodes that hasn’t aired yet, but Amanda and I had a discussion about the teacher strikes in the news, for us, which was a week or two ago. Which was LEUSD. And we were going to do an update on that but it kind of fits in with what you were saying before. Like, I wanted to be a teacher, but with all the cuts and things like that, how am I going to…it’s already so hard to be a teacher, if you have everything. And then when you don’t have anything. But those two simple techniques…and we have some teachers that listen to the pod…shout out to all you teachers out there. We really appreciate it.

Vickie Brett:                      I always got slack, cause my dad’s side of the family, like all of them are teachers. And when I went into special education, they were just like “Oh, you’re going to be suing the school district” I’m like, I’m trying to help you. You’ve got a class of thirty kids, and they want to put three kids with autism that may or may not have behaviors and do not want to give you an aide for them? Like, I’m trying to help you. And that’s always something that I think gets lost in the shuffle, is that special education attorneys are painted as these creatures that you know are just sue sue sue. There’s no money. And it’s just like, it’s not about the money. It’s about understanding unique needs. And the strategies that are just as simple as you had said, that could make all the difference. Now, yes, when you’re a sophomore and you’re telling a sophomore to do that as opposed to a first grader, you know if he would have just been taught that that was okay, it would have made all the difference in the world.

Amanda Selogie:              What I wanted to touch up on, that you kind of touched on, is finding reading material that’s not too easy, but not too challenging. And, I was in an IEP the other day, and we were dealing with a high schooler who’s a little bit behind because of some factors that have gone on, and we’re trying to make sure that she can love to read. We want to get to that point. Right, because we know that if kids love to read or anyone loves to read, you’re more likely to learn more.

Amanda Selogie:              And I know that for me, I was always a math brain. I loved math, math was good. Reading, not so much. I was not a reader. I hated it. Actually, it was when the Harry Potter books first came out; that got me into reading. And so, I always have a special place in my heart for Harry Potter because of that. And now I love to read. But it took me getting into that mode because before that reading was a tool for learning and it wasn’t something of enjoyment. It wasn’t something that was a leisure activity, right. And once it got to that, then when I was reading for law school, I mean sometimes it was dull. But, it was different. It was different learning for me then you know say it was in elementary school or middle school. So, I know that it’s something that parents struggle with, and teachers struggle with.

Amanda Selogie:              Are there any tools that you know, any websites or any programs that are good at finding books that are at the student’s level but appropriate topics where they can love to read and not feel like “I’m reading a baby book”?

Adrian Ojeda :                  That can be kind of hard sometimes just because again how far behind is this student even if they’ve gotten help? Then you get lucky, maybe a student with dyslexia, sometimes they’re brilliant right? So they’re maybe 2 to 3 years ahead of what they should be comprehending. That’s where the [inaudible 00:27:46]. So, even if you got them reading at grade level, it’s not going to be ideal for them. So, I mean, I’m always looking at like Lexile levels and it’s classic reading things. You kind of look at things. And then I’ll also just pick up the book, and start kind of glancing over it. Look at the sight words. Look at the how many multi syllable words are this first couple of chapters. And if it’s something that I think is going to be too tough then, I might say “Okay you can read this with someone” but I wouldn’t give this to the kid and just say “Hey go off, go on your room and go ahead and read this”.

Adrian Ojeda :                  But, I mean, that’s something you were talking about loving reading. A lot of people don’t love reading and what it comes down to is their not engaging or connecting to the story, and the movie they should be creating, right. So, when we’re looking at students that maybe do make that movie in their head. They do have solid comprehension. They want to read, they just struggle with it. So they have trouble. Something that I’ll tell parents is get them a book. Get them the book on tape. Have them read that, follow along with listening. And obviously that’s not going to take over the place of practicing reading. But what it’s going to do, is it’s going to create a positive feedback loop of the student is enjoying this story. That’s why they want to read. For a story. So you’re allowing them to read the story that they want with support so it’s not frustrating. So it creates a positive sort of thing for a student so that they necessarily have that negative connotation. Like “Oh this book. I hate books because I can’t read books.”

Adrian Ojeda :                  So doing things like that I think can definitely help, and then again you’re going to have to do a lot of research of like classic reading levels, lexile levels, looking things up and then sometimes just picking it up yourself.

Vickie Brett:                      Yeah, I think one of the…I think it’s like a book share, a lot of the schools in or around Orange County have accounts automatically set up. But like, parent’s don’t know and that’s where a lot of different books are on audio. So if your child doesn’t have auditory processing deficit or anything like that, it’s super helpful. Because it’s also the textbooks themselves. So then you have that supplemental support. And it’s that exposure, right? And it’s something the child could just do themselves and feel that independence in a way, and then maybe start trying it on their own. And then just maybe playing it back and making sure they did it right, which is helpful.

Amanda Selogie:              So you mentioned the lexile levels and when I was in my IEP the other day, we were talking about that as well. So, can you tell parents exactly what that is in relation to grade level? How is it different? How can you figure out your kid’s lexile level?

Adrian Ojeda :                  So, honestly what I do every time is I pull up the lexile chart conversion thing [inaudible 00:30:26] I’m like I don’t remember what 1,263 is. I don’t know what’s different from 1,264. So let me pull up the chart, and I’ll look at the chart and find that range. It’s kind of like that [inaudible 00:30:38] thing right where it has a range. They’ll give you letters. And it’s not like, you know, if you’re reading it you’re at grade level. It’s like there’s this pendulum of like great, you’re still at grade level, you’re on the low side. You’re on the mid side, high side. So, that’s the same thing with lexile, from my experience. There’s this range, you have to look out for your reader.

Adrian Ojeda :                  But the other problem with that is, you actually have to know what your student’s reading fluency is. So if you don’t know, that’ll be a huge issue to begin with. And you got to find that out. The other thing to keep in mind is, [inaudible 00:31:12] testing or other types of reading. There’s very different types of ways to measure fluency. And that’s where you really need to be careful, because there’s a difference between fluency and stamina. I can read something pretty quick after a paragraph, a page. Give me like ten chapters, I’m not going to be reading at the same pace. One, because I’m processing it. Two, just cause you get tired. So, that’s something to keep in mind. Just because you heard your kid read that first page, and killed it, maybe after two or three he’s making so many mistakes, now he’s not going to get the book.

Adrian Ojeda :                  So you really have to be careful, not just fluency, but also…great, how long can you sustain that for? So, what I’m usually doing, if I know my kid’s got a 5.2 grade equivalent for reading fluency. Give him like a 4.9, 4.8, something just under it cause, again, I want him to enjoy reading. You have to look at what the point of the activity is at times, and if you’re practicing fluency then obviously push that. But, if you’re giving them assigned reading every night, because you want them to enjoy reading, you want them to engage in it. Give them something that is maybe a little more readable for them.

Amanda Selogie:              What are your thoughts on having them read aloud? Like if they’re going to read for 20 minutes, maybe ten of the minutes they read to themselves and then ten minutes they read aloud. I’ve gotten that as a suggestion

Adrian Ojeda :                  I’m a big fan of that, just because I like to help monitor what my kids are doing, right. I don’t want to just assume that they’re reading fantastically and then find out at the end of the book when I start asking questions. They thought Slytherin was slippery slopes, right? Uh no, that’s not even close. So, I really, I really want them to read out loud, and a certain point, what I’m telling parents is yeah they don’t always have to read out loud. You can, ten…five minutes and then say okay, you keep reading. Especially if the kid wants to keep reading but doesn’t want to do it out loud, that’s huge. Just let them do it. Just, again, monitor for that so you can help.

Adrian Ojeda :                  The other thing that I do talk to parents about when, when a student is reading and this is something that I see teachers and parents and I used to do this too, when they would make a mistake, you would just go “Oh no.” And then you give it to them. That is one of the most crippling things for a student developing their reading fluency because then what it really establishes is this. Well, if I make a mistake, either A. It doesn’t matter or B. Someone is going to give me answers so just keep going anyways.

Adrian Ojeda :                  So, you don’t self monitor, and you really can kind of be this really negative effect on your fluency and so there’s a lot of strategies you can do where…say hey that last sentence doesn’t make sense. Sometimes the student will still say yes. Because maybe it does. Maybe it does, right? Maybe they said something slightly different, but it just don’t make sense. The other one is…read it back to them. Say, “Let me read that last sentence back to you,” and you read it exactly the way that they did, and you sometimes I do have to do a bigger pause. I’m like, “And the friendship, yeah there it goes.” So you’re getting them to help identify that and sometimes yeah, they’re not going to catch it. And then by that point, you just kind of cover the word up and be like “Okay, you said the. What’s the first letter in that? T? What letter is there? Oh it’s just an A. Yeah so you see the mistake? That’s awesome. Keep going.”

Adrian Ojeda :                  The other thing is that when you’re doing that, you obviously don’t want to do that like every ten seconds, right? There’s a little bit of a give and take, where you know [inaudible 00:34:32] a three syllable word and then they messed up the word ‘then’ and said ‘the’ instead, I would not stop them for that. Let them keep going. But, if its something where they’re doing it all the time, go ahead and take a quick pause and kind of help them out with that.

Vickie Brett:                      And I think, what you were touching on, the quote unquote lower level is more so building that confidence, right? So, if they’re just going to read twenty minutes by themselves, like maybe you’re giving them a lower, if they’re at [inaudible 00:34:59] give them a 5.9. And then when you’re reading out loud with them, but I like being able to be like, “Look, five minutes and that’ll be fine.” But I think that’s what so hard with parents is that time. It is consuming, and for teachers as well. Because that would be great, you know, if they’re covering it up and you’re having a dialogue, but for one word that was 2 minutes, right, and it’s like the teachers don’t have that.

Vickie Brett:                      I think it’s great for parents to hear that. And, before we get your information for parents to contact you, we always like to hear of on building the confidence, like a success story, which I’m sure you have so many.

Adrian Ojeda :                  Yeah, so. I always go to this one which was not that long ago, actually. It was a sixth grade boy, and he walked into the learning center. He would make eye contact, shoulders slumped forward, just looked sad. And, you know he was coming in for an evaluation, his first day. He had dyslexia. He was basically a nonreader, and we started working with him. And it really wasn’t until the end that I started finding out some of like how impactful this was for this kid that, you know, the mom had said. You know, we go to a restaurant, he just orders the same thing over and over because he can’t read the menu. And he’s too embarrassed to ask for help in front of family and friends, and so. You know, this student started with us, and I think by about halfway through, I saw this completely different kid, where he would smile. He stood up straight. He made eye contact and asked questions, and he basically went from essentially being a nonreader to reading at about a fifth grade level. So, within a year it changed where he needed to be reading.

Adrian Ojeda :                  I would say over the course of about six, seven months, and this was someone who that the school district was like, I don’t know that we have the resources to help them. So, what we’re really going to do to make sure they can access curriculum, is we’re going to give them text to talk, and he can press the audio feature on his book. He can raise his hand and ask things to be read. Well, you have a kid that won’t even look you in the eye. There’s no way he’s asking for help. So, the fact that this kid was able to come in and do the intervention. He did go to school with us for about three months as well, and then afterwards he was just a completely different kid. Just happy. He wanted to read. He still needed some help, but I mean, this was huge. This was huge for his life.

Amanda Selogie:              Yeah, it changed his life, because who knows where he would be two years later. I mean, it’s kids like that that end up dropping out of high school, right? So it’s very life changing. We love hearing stories like that. So, if parents are listening and you’re saying “I’ve never heard of Linda Mood-bell before or if they just want to talk to you because you’ve got some great insights. How can they get ahold of you?

Adrian Ojeda :                  So, you can honestly just go to lindamoodbell.com and you can find a learning center near you. Even if we don’t have them, there’s pop up ones we do over summer, and breaks all the time if there’s a need in the community. I know that they’ve gone to some places like [inaudible 00:38:07] because there was like eight parents who were like “We’ve heard about you. We want you guys in our community, but we can’t drive or take a plane. Can you guys come to us?” So we’ve figured out a way to send people there for like six to eight weeks which is enough sometimes for intervention. The other thing you can just send me an email. My name. So, adrian.ojeda@lindamoodbell.com Send me an email, give me a call.

Amanda Selogie:              Excellent, better email him. [inaudible 00:38:40] busy. Well we really appreciate you making the trip down here from Palisbury, or where you would normally be working. You don’t necessarily live there. We really appreciate it and we hope you guys enjoyed this episode. We’ve definitely are taking your suggestions in to account, and reading and reading strategies were one of the ones that we knew we had to get somebody in. So we’re very thankful for Adrian. Maybe we’ll have you back to talk about writing, cause reading and writing are very close. And then we’ll throw in math at a certain point. We hope you guys enjoyed this episode. Take a look at when we will be dropping the event that we had yesterday. So should be a good one. Talk to you later.

Vickie Brett:                      Bye!

 

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