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Unveiling the Future of Education: A Dive into “Neuroteach” by Glenn Whitman and Ian Kelleher

January 31, 2024

By Gerilyn Semro, MS - LD, MS - ASD, MA ELAssociate Member | Orton-Gillingham Academy Associate Principal, Horizon Academy In the ever-evolving landscape of education, the intersection of neuroscience and teaching methodologies has paved the way for groundbreaking insights and approaches. "Neuroteach: Brain Science and the Future of Education," authored by Glenn Whitman and Ian Kelleher, serves as a guiding beacon into the realms where cognitive science meets the classroom. This blog explores the key themes and takeaways from this illuminating book, shedding light on the potential transformation of education. “Neuroteach” is particularly relevant for Horizon Academy students, children with language-based…

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Phonemic Awareness: What it Is, and How it Impacts Reading 

December 26, 2023

Phonemic awareness is the best predictor of a child’s reading skills during the first two years of school. You may have heard a teacher, an SLP, or a school psychologist use the term “phonemic awareness” when discussing literacy or diagnosing a child with dyslexia. But what is phonemic awareness, and why is it such a big deal in a student’s literacy education? Who needs to learn phonemic awareness, and what does learning it look like? Background Information In 1997, the United States government established a committee called The National Reading Panel, a group whose aim was to assess the effectiveness…

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Storytelling: A Creative Approach to Enhancing Your Child’s Language Skills

November 21, 2023

As Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), we recognize the power of storytelling in the vast universe of language development. Not only is storytelling a rich tradition passed down through generations, but it is also a critical educational tool that can expand your child's language skills in creative and engaging ways. Our work in the classroom with students at Horizon Academy this quarter has been focused on narrative language development, which includes the ability to understand and tell stories.  But why is storytelling so important? Narratives are a fundamental way in which we communicate. They allow us to share our experiences, understand the…

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One Parent’s Perspective

October 25, 2023

Dr. Doug Burgess (Jordan’s dad) We knew Jordan was struggling but the school kept telling us that everything was fine. The testing they performed did not indicate that any interventions were needed. We kept getting the same answer from them. We knew everything wasn’t “fine” so we got independent testing done and received the dyslexia diagnosis. We had Jordan doing private Orton-Gillingham tutoring after school two nights a week. She was also meeting with an occupational therapist for her dysgraphia. At that point, she was going to school all day, and working twice as hard as many of those around…

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Music, a Tool for Unlocking the Dyslexic Learner

September 19, 2023

Did you know that music is the perfect tool to help our dyslexic students improve their reading?  At Horizon Academy students use all of their senses to learn.  Whether the subject is math, science, or reading we are up on our feet using songs, rhymes, or games to get learners actively engaged.  Students will be more likely to stay engaged and recall information when more senses are utilized.  This is where the music classes at Horizon support student brain development and offer a creative outlet.    Studies have shown that a music education program that builds from simple rhythms and tones…

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Out of the Darkness

August 22, 2023

Over the summer, our Horizon Academy community suffered a heartbreaking loss with the unexpected passing of Taiga Hughes.  Her death forces all of us to confront the horrible reality that suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for young people ages 10-19 in the United States.   At Horizon Academy, we are strongly invested in promoting student mental health and partnering with families to bolster emotional wellness, in addition to academic skill building.  Taiga’s death is truly devastating for us, and we are committed to doing everything we can to honor her life and prevent any other future tragedies.  The…

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How To Help Your Child Be Successful Following Multi-Step Directions

July 24, 2023

Have you ever prepared for a pitch or a presentation by writing down your talking points or even a script of what you planned to say, and practiced it repeatedly? When we speak on a topic, we generally want to make sure that our words are purposeful, concise, and to the point. Teachers have the same mentality when instructing our students!  It is very common for students with dyslexia, other learning disabilities, and ADHD to struggle with completing multi-step directions. Their working memory is not strong enough to hold on to the slew of words presented to them. They typically…

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Dyslexia Affects Math Learning Too!  

June 27, 2023

Research now shows that 30-70% of students with dyslexia have math learning difficulties, even without a formal math learning disability diagnosis. Dyslexic students may develop areas of unfinished learning or educational gaps because math is learned vertically.  Without a firm foundation and strong skills to link the learning of known to new math concepts and procedures, growth is affected. Students may struggle with multiplication facts, fractions and decimals, multi-digit multiplication, and long division procedures. These problems occur even with students who demonstrated strong number sense early. Many students have problems with sequence and understanding of order.  This can affect areas…

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One Orton-Gillingham Academy Fellow-in-Training’s Big Takeaways from the 2023 OGA Conference

June 5, 2023

Just a handful of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend the 2023 Orton Gillingham Academy Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. Not only did I get to meet my supervising Fellow and President of the OGA, Janet George, for the first time in person after having spent countless hours together on Zoom, but I also had the pleasure of meeting and mingling with word nerds whose obsession with literacy and dyslexia rivals my own. The conference covers a swath of dyslexia-related topics, from the history of English to executive functioning strategies for students with dyslexia to methods of applying the…

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By First Grade, We Were Losing Our Daughter: Anna’s Story Told By Her Mom, Jamie

March 31, 2023

I noticed Anna was having trouble even before kindergarten. She has an older sister, and I had also gone through preparing her for school. Anna’s letter retrieval was slow. She might know a letter, but it would take her a long time to name it. Other times, things just wouldn’t stick at all. With her inability to process quickly came a great deal of stress and frustration. Eventually, Anna developed reading anxiety and refusal. Unfortunately, her teachers at the time had received little to no training on language-based learning disabilities and were convinced that her problems were more emotional, stating,…

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