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Developing Research-Based Resources for the Balanced Reading Teacher


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I was shocked to see the criticism of the Helen Irlen method, Reading by the Colors.  I attended a National Reading Conference hosted by Dr. Marie Carbo, where high school teachers gave personal testimonials to the validity of this theory. 

You mention brain-base research and teaching on your website and claim that we do not know enough about how the brain works and how neurons are formed to actually utilize this research in our classrooms.  You say that there is still so much for us to learn about how the brain functions.  But, by putting this sarcastic comment on your site, you give the impression that you KNOW there is absolutely no possible way that someone's eyesight could actually be connected as described in Dr. Irlen's book.  Are you also a trained optomologist?  Have you also conducted intensive research and study in this field as Dr. Irlen?  Have YOU personally visited with individuals that suffer from this disorder and benefit by the use of the overlays or colored lenses?  I imagine that you haven't.  By allowing such slanderous remarks on your website you give the impression that this woman's work is just a foolish notion and that there couldn't possibly be any validity to it.


I am also insensed over the sarcastic comment regarding Irlen Syndrome. My daughter has multiple learning difficulties, including severe SSS. She went through every reading program we could find, every "research based" program for dyslexics, speech language therapy, vision therapy, etc. and nothing could get her past a 2nd grade reading level. Testing in 6th grade showed she had severe deficits in rapid naming but that her knowlege of phonetics was in the high range. Trying to read even short passages caused severe eye strain, headaches, nausea and emotional strain.

I finally took her for testing to see if SSS could possibly be a reason she could not read. Low and behold, she was classified in the severe range and needs fairly dark colors to read with. After getting her colored lenses, a dark turquoise color, her reading level jumped 3 grade levels. She in now reading at a 5th grade level and challenging herself to read harder books. It doesn't cure her reading issues because she has developed a lot of bad habits due to LACK OF DIAGNOSIS. Had this been discovered earlier in her school career, a lot of bad habits and reluctance to read could have been averted.

People who continue to ignore this as a possible problem for children with reading difficulties may be dooming those same children to a lifetime of reading difficulties. All because they don't like colors.




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Last Updated 8-7-03