Singular Minds
December 1, 2005 • Volume II, Issue 3
Prolinguistica Dyslexia Correction Center
Laura Zink de Diaz

Quote of the Month
From a posting to Dr. Stephen D. Krashen's list-serv, November 30, 2005:
The first of several observations from: “Children’s and young people’s reading habits and preferences: The who, what, why, where and when, ” Christina Clark and Amelia Foster National Literacy Trust, December 2005, a study of about 8000 children, 2300 elementary
and 5875 secondary in England.
When asked who taught them to read, the overwhelming response was “MOM”! (Or more correctly, Mum).
For the sample as a whole: Mom 84% ; teacher = 72%
For those on free/reduced lunch: Mom = 78% ; teacher = 69%;
For those not on free/reduced lunch: Mom = 85% ; teacher = 73%.
For reluctant readers, Mom = 82% ; teacher = 70%
For enthusiastic readers, Mom = 87% ; teacher = 75%.
A question for the skill-builders: If the children are correct, if their mothers did help them out, how did all those moms do it with being up to date on phonemic awareness and systematic, intensive phonics?
Excellent question!


Clay Night and Support Group
December is a busy month for everyone, and experience suggests that these activities will not be attended. So... let's look to January, 2006. The next Clay Night will be January 12, 2006. Next Support Group meeting will be January 19, 2006. Enjoy the season! !

Good Stuff to Read

An Interview With Ron Davis, Creator of the Davis Dyslexia Correction Method
By Jennifer Brady for
Wow! Read this informative interview at:

Lazy Readers Book Club
Looking for good books, but too busy to read War and Peace (1,185 pages)? issues a list of ten "short" books for every age on a monthly basis. November's recommendations included:
- Lilies of the Field, by William E. Barrett (Adult, 128 pages), about German nuns who build a chapel with the help of a black ex-GI (later made into an Oscar winning film with Sidney Poitier in l963).
- Amelia Bedelia, by Peggy Parrish (Children, 64 pages), the first in the popular series about a maid who takes directions very literally.
- Piggie Pie, by Margie Palatine (Children, 32 pages), very funny book about pigs who disguise themselves as other barnyard animals to hide from a hungry witch.
- I, Juan de Pareja, by Elizabeth Borton de Treviño (Young Adult, 192 pages), Newberry Prize winner about a slave in the service of the great Spanish painter, Velazquez.
There is no cost to sign up for this service, and you can sign up for the monthly e-mail newsletter with book recommendations at:

Second Time Around - If repeating a grade doesn't help kids, why do we make them do it?
By Susan Black, ASBJ
Making students repeat a grade hasn't worked for 100 years, so why is it still happening? And why do government officials, school leaders, and teachers persist in recommending retention as a remedy for low student achievement -- even when researchers call it a failed intervention? Linda Darling-Hammond, executive director of Columbia University's National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching, has a one-word answer: assumptions. Many schools, she says, operate on the assumption that failing students motivates them to try harder, gives them another chance to "get it right," and raises their self-esteem. Those claims aren't true, Darling-Hammond maintains. The widespread trust in retention is uncritical and unwarranted, she says. It ignores several decades of research showing that, for most children, retention:
• Fails to improve low achievement in reading, math, and other subjects.
• Fails to inspire students to buckle down and behave better.
• Fails to develop students' social adjustment and self-concept.
Read the rest at:

An Overview of National Research on the Effectiveness of Retention on Student Achievement
If Darling-Hammond didn't persuade you, you can read even more about this. After reviewing the many controlled studies of grade retention this study concluded that:
Low performing students who have been retained in kindergarten or primary grades lose ground both academically and socially relative to similar students who have been promoted. In secondary school grades retention leads to reduced achievement and much higher rates of school dropout. At present, the negative consequences of grade retention policies typically outweigh the intended positive effects. Read the rest at:

Are Schools Passing or Failing? Now There's a Third Choice ... Both
Our leaders in Washington and the state capitals have not trusted teachers, principals and superintendents to grade and assess their own students rigorously. And so, ... The new age of precision testing has arrived. Thanks to No Child Left Behind, all children must take a state test every year beginning in third grade, and many schools spend much of the year prepping for it. We now have federal and state tests, as well as federal and state rating systems to measure performance precisely. Unfortunately, it may be that the more we test and the more rating we do, the less we know. Read the rest at:


That's all for this month. I've been in and out of the country a lot since the summer. Nonetheless, I'm always eager to hear from you and offer support when it's needed. If you need to contact me and discover that I'm out of the country when you call, feel free to send me an email ( Whenever I'm gone, I make sure I have access to the internet and check for messages every day. You can be sure I'll get back to you as quickly as possible, no matter where I am!

Next Issue of Singular Minds: early January, 2006

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