October 6, 2022
October is Dyslexia Awareness Month. Melissa Michaud is a teacher with the Limestone District School Board who works with students in the Learning Disabilities Support Program. She is passionate about teaching her students about what their learning disability is and how to advocate for themselves as students. It was a pleasure to sit down with Melissa and ask her the questions below:
Can you tell me a little about your role as a teacher in the LD program?
I am one of three Learning Disabilities Support Program teachers in Southview. We work with students from our area schools who have severe Dyslexia and oftentimes Dysgraphia. They come to me for a half day of intensive literacy and self-advocacy instruction.
What do you think the Right to Read report will mean for students in the future?
I hope that it will change the way we teach literacy in Ontario. I hope it will catch our struggling students early on and pave a smoother way for them to access the supports and strategies necessary to be more successful literacy learners.
What can the library do to support students struggling with reading?
The library can continue to be an active resource for our families. As of now, I rely on them throughout the school year but summers in particular. We recommend families visit and borrow books and resources to support their child and supplement what they are learning in school. Our librarians are knowledgeable and skilled in supporting kids in finding the ‘just right book’ that will help engage them to want to continue learning to read.
What do decodable books mean to your students and others with dyslexia?
Decodable books allow students to successfully read text that is at their level with controlled graphemes that represent the forty-four phonemes in the English language. For example, if students were working on the ways to read and spell the long /i/ sound they might read a book with words like, pie, highway, kite, and hi. This would allow them to read and practise with these graphemes over and over again to become more familiar and find success. As they master these pieces of the code they move on in a sequential manner until they’ve covered the approximated 250 graphemes in the English language. Most of our students will learn to read without major intervention but our struggling kiddos deserve the opportunity to practise with a text they can be successful with.
Looking for a just right book? Want to learn more about Dyslexia? Staff at all of the County of Lennox and Addington Library branches are always happy to help.
Patricia is a Library Assistant at the Napanee Branch. She is known for her fun and educational children’s storytimes and being a great resource for any reader seeking out the latest and greatest romance and chick-lit novels.