On the cover is Mariana Gillen, a 15-year old Girl Scout who is spreading dyslexia awareness and hope for young children struggling to learn to read in Tampa, Florida, through her project M.A.R.I kits.
The May 2022 issue of Dystinct Magazine brings to you:
1) Helping Dyslexic Students Work Smarter - by Don M. Winn (Educational Keynote Speaker, Award-winning Author, and Dyslexia Advocate https://www.donwinn.com)
Don M. Winn elaborates on three recent research studies that give educators and parents valuable insights into the brain's functioning and discusses how these conclusions can be put into practical use to help dyslexic learners and other struggling students work smarter, not harder.
2) The Dystinct Journey of Darcey Harcombe - interviewed by Zahra Nawaz (Social Media Influencer, Youtuber and Artist https://www.youtube.com/user/Darceyxh/featured)
An interview with 24-year-old social media influencer and artist Darcey Harcombe who shares her story of being diagnosed with dyslexia and dyscalculia as an adult and how she has taken charge of her struggles and is living her best life now.
3) Creative Writing or Creative Mess - 8 Steps to Support Young Children with Story Writing - by Brenda Larson (Teacher, Educator, Reading Specialist, Speaker, and Developer of Itchy's Alphabet https://itchysalphabet.com/)
Brenda Larson talks about why it is important for children to feel comfortable expressing themselves in print and outlines 8 practical tips to get students producing great pieces of creative writing.
4) Spotlight on Activate: A Modern One-Room Schoolhouse with a Dyslexia Focus - by Greg Brown (Progressive Educator and Founder of Activate https://activateschoolpdx.com/)
Greg Brown, the founder of Activate, the first of its kind micro-school for children with dyslexia in Portland, Oregon shares how the students at his school learn and thrive.
5) Assistive Technology: A Bridge that Empowers Access to Grade-Level Content- by Nanci Shepardson (Reading and Educational Specialist, Published Author, Professional Speaker)
Nanci Shepardson discusses how Assistive Technology (AT) tools act as a bridge that empowers children with learning difficulties to access grade-level content and elaborates on the guidelines for the successful selection and monitoring of AT tools.
6) The Dystinct Journey of Mariana Gillen (https://www.facebook.com/pqbd.kits) - interviewed by Zahra Nawaz
The story of 15-year-old Girl Scout Mariana Gillen who is spreading dyslexia awareness and hope for young children struggling to learn to read in Tampa, Florida, through her project M.A.R.I kits.
7) Leveraging the Power of Group Work: Working Agreements - by Dr Elizabeth A. VanDeusen (Director of the Augusta University Literacy Center https://www.augusta.edu/education/literacy-center/)
Dr Elizabeth A. VanDeusen outlines how Working Agreements can be a powerful tool for organisations operating in the ever-changing literacy landscape to clarify purpose and optimise group work, so educators are better prepared to serve students.
8) Spotlight on Set Apart by Heather Groce (Educator and Founder of Set Apart https://www.facebook.com/Set-Apart-Henry-County-107398780842916/) - interviewed by Zahra Nawaz
An interview with Heather Groce, the founder of Set Apart, an afterschool program and camp for struggling readers in the town of Spiceland, Indiana, leveraging on the power of the village to raise confident children.
9) Taking the "Write" Steps: Tips for Handwriting Instruction - by Candi Sellers (Educational Consultant, Author, and Advocate for neurodiverse learners https://www.theinstructionhub.com/)
Candi Sellers explains how handwriting can be an avenue for powerful kinesthetic connections for learning and provides valuable tips to add to an educator's instructional toolbox.
10) The Dystinct Journey of Simon Rumney (Author, Dyslexia Advocate https://www.facebook.com/dyslexicsunanimous)
Successful Author and Dyslexia Advocate, Simon Rumney shares his story of growing up in the 60s and how he was made to believe that he was lazy and stupid. As he was dealing with a mental breakdown later in life, his trusted psychologist helped him heal and discover his love for writing.
11) Equity, Inclusion, and Bilingualism- Using the Science of Reading in Second Language Programs- by Kim Lockhart (Classroom Teacher and Special Education Specialist https://twitter.com/mmelockhartldsb)
Kim Lockhart addresses the question, "Can children with dyslexia be successful in a bilingual program?" and provides valuable insights into instructional strategies that can support students who struggle to read and write in a second language.
💡If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?
This quote by Rumi is the verse of wisdom that I'd like to share with you this month. As parents and advocates of children with additional needs, we are familiar with the frustration of working against a system that is poorly designed. We could burn out easily if we get annoyed at every difficult conversation or IEP meeting that seems to head nowhere helpful. I feel like the only mindset that can keep us going and help us pick our battles with the system is to assume that we are being polished into becoming better advocates for our children at every setback.
In this issue, I have spoken to Greg Brown, the founder of Activate, a microschool for children with dyslexia in Oregon, USA and Heather Groce, the founder of Set Apart, an afterschool program and camp for struggling readers in Indiana, USA to show you two alternate models of education that can work wonderfully for children with learning difficulties.
On the Cover is Mariana Gillen, a 15-year old Girl Scout who is spreading dyslexia awareness and hope for young children struggling to learn to read in Tampa, Florida, through her project M.A.R.I kits.
I hope you enjoy reading this issue and all the specialist content covered.
Please get in touch with me if you have any feedback, ideas, or stories to share to change the narrative surrounding learning difficulties.
Zahra Nawaz Shafeeq
The magazine can be accessed on your mobile and tablet devices. Click the link below to access the Dystinct Magazine.