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    Watch Michael Douglas Discuss Dyslexia in His Family

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Michael Douglas explains how a family history of learning problems prepared him for dealing with his son Dylan's dyslexia. Learning challenges "make you tough," he says. Douglas's awareness and candor will inspire you.

    Online Spelling Games to Jumpstart Your New Year

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Mastering new skills is easier when we are actively engaged in the process of learning. When we practice spelling with a game, it feels like we're having fun instead of doing a chore. Online spelling games can also:

    • reinforce familiarity with words we've encountered in our reading
    • help us notice and remember letter patterns
    • keep interest and concentration levels high by turning practice into play

    Why not check out some spelling game sites today?
    One good example is, which offers a variety of spelling games that you can customize with your own word list or choose from a large number of word lists organized by grade level. Games are grouped into three levels of difficulty. Try these two to get started:

    Stop the Scramblers from digging tunnels to the surface by unscrambling the words from your list. After a little experience, you'll be able to beat them! This game is timed, but pressure is low. It makes spelling practice entertaining.

    Farkle Frog
    This game combines dodging obstacles with spelling. Your goal is to help Farkle the Frog collect the letters to spell words before the time runs out. It is one of the "hardest" levels of spelling games, but with some practice, you'll be great at steering Farkle across the freeway and through the log maze to collect the letters you need.

    If you have already discovered the fun of using games to help with learning, we'd love to hear from you. Tell us at The Literacy & Language Center about spelling and other language game sites that you've found.

    Happy New Year!

    Happy New Year from The Literacy & Language Center

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Five Steps to Spelling Peace of Mind

    Last updated 3 years ago

    There are well over a million words in the English language. The good news is that we don't have to spell them all! It's the words we use often - the ones we have to keep looking up - that are mostly responsible for our "shaky" spelling skills. Concentrate on these words when you use the following suggestions:

    List it
    Each time you have to check the spelling of a word, or blush when somebody points out a spelling error in your email, put that word on a list. This may be tedious at first, but once you make it a habit, it becomes easy.

    Try some of these ways to make your list effective:

    • Separate the list into word groups that have a common element. For example, if you have laughable, legible, knowledgeable, and plausible on your list, you can separate them into an "able" group and an "ible" group.
    • After each word, rewrite it as separate syllables. For example, "to get her" is easier to remember than together.

    Practice it
    A few times a week, give the words on your list a workout, using just a few of them each time.

    - Spell a word in your mind, paying attention to its syllables and the part that gives you trouble such as "one T or two T's." This is useful for homonyms like their/there and road/rode as well.

    - Write out each word on your list. Writing a word, especially in cursive, helps implant the order of its letters in your mind.

    - Say the word aloud, stressing its syllables or the troublesome parts.

    - Test yourself. Use flashcards, have someone else read the words for you to spell, or make up a test of sentences with blanks for the words on your list.

    Imagine it
    Create a mnemonic device - an image that reminds you of the word and helps you understand its meaning. This image can be an idea like this: The word "there" contains its opposite "here." Or, it can be an actual picture that you find, draw, or take with your camera.

    Use your word and picture images to make flashcards for the words on your list. Write each word on one side of its own card. On the other side, add syllable divisions of the word. If it is a new word for you, add a definition that makes sense to you and a sentence that helps you understand the meaning in context. If it helps you to memorize a spelling rule such as which words end in "sion" or "tion," write the applicable rule on your flashcard, too.

    Take it with you
    Riding the bus, waiting for an appointment, or just plain bored? Practice your spelling!

    • Take your flashcards with you wherever you go.
    • Put your word lists and pictures of your flashcards on your phone or tablet.
    • Look up words on your phone or tablet browser just for fun!

    Reinforce it
    Make a second word list. Use it for the words you've mastered. Give it a name like "My Success List." After you've tested yourself and are confident of a word's spelling, move it onto that list. Read the list over occasionally to reinforce spelling and congratulate yourself.

    Make up your mind to break free from the "bad speller" label. By making word-awareness part of your life and practicing your skills, you will be on your way to new confidence. You can do it!

    The staff at The Literacy & Language Center will be happy to talk with you about the ways we can help your child with spelling and other literacy skills.

    Student Writing - Lady Bugs

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Lady bugs are like assistants to farmers. Farmers grow tiptop crops when lady bugs do their jobs. These colorful dotted bugs eat annoying insects that eat the farmer’s valuable crops. People adore lady bugs. 

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