Friday, October 19, 2007

Show # 69- The Development of Reading- Nina Straitman

“We read to comprehend and to make an emotional connection to a character or to gain knowledge.” Nina Straitman

Nina Straitman is the Language Coordinator for the Centreville School, a school for children with language based learning disabilities in Wilmington, DE. Nina is also a clinical specialist in Developmental Medicine at AI duPont Hospital for Children. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and a master’s in Speech/Language Pathology, giving her wonderful insights into the development of language both from a social science and medical perspective. She has a particular interest in the development of language, reading comprehension and writing in middle school students.

I spent the afternoon recently over at Centreville, talking to Nina about reading and reading instruction, but you’ll find we ended up talking about so much more, including:

-Finding out that reading is an extension of oral language development. The levels of reading disability are higher in the deaf population than in the blind population, indicating that a large part of reading development is an auditory event, rather than just a visual event.

- Learning to read has to do with language development as much as learning how to decode and encode written text.

-Development of Syntax happens from the early development of words into early sentences – two word combinations

-Comprehension cannot be taught by having a child read independently and then answer questions independently- it must be an interactive process.

-As of July 2007, all text must be accessible. This means all new text books will have to be accessible- this means they will have to have an audio version as well.

-The last stage in language development is the ability to use specialized language, with vocabulary and expression of sophisticated thoughts that goes beyond ordinary conversational speech.

We do talk about how specialized instruction in reading differs from the usual reading instruction taught in schools, and why this makes such a difference for children with learning disabilities.

Nina also wanted to let you know about the Learning By Design website, and the SpellTalk discussion group. If you are an educator or a parent interested in keeping up on the latest in reading research, this is an excellent resource to check out.

We’ll have even more next week, so stay tuned!

As always, I’d love to hear from you- we are going to have a new blog up soon. In the meantime, please send all email to and voicemail to our new number: (206)-203-4616

Click here to listen to Reading Development - Nina Straitman

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