How Can I Support Children Who Are Struggling to Read and Write?

May 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm 1 comment

posted by Mary DeCamp Cotterall ’87, Reading Specialist, Michigan

Recently, a parent approached me about a fabulous program her son participated in. It was called Ron Davis Dyslexia Program. She was so passionate about this program that she wanted me to get trained. Her 12-year-old son was a non-reader until he worked through this program. She says he is doing extremely well in school now. I have read the Ron Davis website and contacted a woman in my area who is trained. Yet, I wanted to know if anyone out there has any information about this program or any other programs that are successful with children who have been diagnosed with dyslexia. I would like to be more knowledgeable in this area.

As a reading specialist and the mother of a daughter who has been diagnosed with dyslexia, I would appreciate any information about children who struggle to read and write. About three or four children in every classroom of 25-30 in my building truly struggles to read and write. What methods have been effective for you? What strategies do you use with these children? I am an avid reader so I have read some of the material out there. Please recommend any books that you have read, as well.

I look forward to hearing from you all.

Mary DeCamp Cotterall taught in the Nanuet Public Schools for 5 years and then was a 4th and 5th grade teacher in Michigan for 13 years.  She is currently her district’s elementary reading specialist.

Entry filed under: dialogue, literacy, special education.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Ellen Silver  |  May 12, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    I have had great success tutoring my son, age 8, who was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 7. I am using the Barton Method, which you can find out about at It really integrates reading and spelling and has helped him immensely. He went from barely reading 1st grade level books (after repeating first grade) to devouring 4th grade level novels in the past 6 months of working with the Barton method. He now knows how to check his work for spelling issues and punctuation, and we are working our way through many spelling rules. It is really well put together for parents to use to tutor their own kids, and totally worth the money spent.

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Alisa Algava ‘08, leader of a small Hudson Valley progressive school
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Bill Ayers ‘84, UIC professor, Chicago
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Keith Berman '03, founder/president of Options for College and Bank Street’s LinkedIn moderator
David Bowles ’08 (SFC ’93), museum educator at the Rubin Museum of Art
Elena Canaras ‘07, Special Education teacher, Hawaii
Virginia Casper, Bank Street faculty member
Jim Clay ‘88, director of a Washington DC Quaker preschool
Mary DeCamp Cotterall ‘87, Reading Specialist, Michigan
Judy Coven ’77, retired public school teacher and former Antioch University faculty member
Leslie Day '93, adjunct instructor at Bank Street and author of Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City
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