Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Scary Stories are good for your children," says host of the Art of Storytelling Show.

Eric James Wolf, professional storyteller and host of the Art of Storytelling Show, is available for print, radio and television interviews to speak on how scary stories can be used to teach important life skills to children.

Scary stories and ghost stories have been used for thousand of years to gather interest in young people towards learning a new subject. Eric Wolf says “From ghost stories to strangers giving your child candy; scary stories have been used to help young people identify danger in the world.” Useful scary stories and ghost stories are based on truth, teach valuable skills and leave the audience feeling empowered against the villain or evil of the story.

Eric Wolf host and producer of the Art of Storytelling Show with over 100,000 downloads to date is the longest running, most successful show ever produced dedicated solely to perfecting the art of storytelling.

For more information:

The Definition of Success for Dyslexic students.

Recently I was asked to present at a conference on my success as a dyslexic person.  I don't feel particularly succesful.  I have the same amount of frineds as everybody I know, maybe less.  I am married and I am a sucesful step parent.  I have a business that is not really the runaway success I want it to be (yet).  But when I turn off my fairly well developed mind of the critic.  (and where did I develop this idea of the critic you may ask? - don't get me started.)

I find that I am very succesful.  I live in my dream house to my dream woman.  I have my dream job and I work really hard at it with some very specatcular results.  If not the spectacular fiscal success - I have developed some substainsial results - and I am looking forward to even more in the coming months.

In every measure of the word success - I can say that I am successful.  I set goals and I accomplish them - I have setbacks and move past them.  I am a functioanl dyslexic person.  Except that is not really the term I would use - I am really a functional whole person.  I am something that I was never taught in school.  Somehting that is not in the curiculm.  A sum of the whole l that is harder to find then then the numbers.

I am a human being.  Dyslexia is just a term to help the world understand and forgive my limitations of my humanity.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

No Computer Allowed....

I had to go to court to support a friend and I discovered a sign that blew me away - no computers or electronic devices allowed.  Can you believe it?  In defense of the need for privacy the court has gone to far I think.  How are people with out decent handwriting to function?  What if I had wanted to take notes?  Or if I had needed to demonstrate to the court some evidence of some sort or other that is on my computer.

I probably would have needed to bear the $$$ of printing - trust it to government to be the last refuge of the luddite.  All hands raised for the courts.  Truth, justice and paper only please.  From an evidence stand point I think the computer and electronic documentation too easily changed.  Not that paper is any more solid really.

The assumption is that all attendees can write and then read a sentence in notes.  But times are changing and many people keep notes on there laptop or even blueberry - expect of course in the Court system.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ten Rules for Faking it...

Again my readers inspire me...  I have not set foot inside a english classroom in years or discussed current remedial reading teaching techniques since 2000, But I can rest assured that this basic tenet of teaching has not changed in the last ten years.

Don't teach the student how to cheat, fake it or get by.  Instead make them slog through the material, because it's honest and necessary

What other handicapped group is forced to submit too such a rule?  Are blind people forced to live with out canes because it makes them more honest.   Children with glasses forced to live without them to be more real?

I wonder how many of teachers teach kids how to fake it?  I mean at what point do we look a child in the eye and say; "Well you are 3 years behind the learning curve here are ten survival strategies that might be useful for you to know."

Maybe this did happen to me - I just don't remember it.  But I don't think so.  This is a big problem in modern education - people who have consistently failed to learn to read should be taught basic survival strategies.

Lets go through them here...

1) Lie - Well this was the hardest one for me and probably the biggest lesson.  The powerless always have the right to lie to the powerful and who is less powerful then a student who can't read in a modern classroom.

2) Cheat - I am still not a fan of cheating cause I grew up a good kid.  But I do believe in getting help from my friends on homework - I believe in many places that is called cheating.  I just call it group support.  Hint - you have to use your own handwriting if you can.

3) If all else fails just don't respond.  A raised eyebrow may just prompt the answer to appear.  Silence is the best defense of the cornered.

4) Sit strategically - The front row is great for hearing the teacher.  But if the teacher likes to pick people out during class.  Sit in the back behind the biggest kid you can find.

5) Get your homework done early - But think about not completing certain tasks tactically.  Remember certain tasks take a huge amount of energy others much less.  Weigh your options and choose not to take some.  A captain of sinking ship can't save everything.

6) Books on tape are at the library and librarians are willing to find them for you - need I say more?

7) Pick a day of the week and never do any reading and writing on that day - ever.

8) Don't Cheat on Tests - This is fairly important rule - I have never met a test cheater who didn't get caught - of course I also did fairly well on non essay tests without cheating.

9) The goal is too pass - getting an A is great - but man a C- is just as satisfying when your working your ass off

10) Dear Reader - What rule do you think should be inserted here?

a) Send out an SOS and Ask for Help - admit to the adults who are kind and trustworthy that you need their assistance.

b) Laugh more - need I say more?

c) Stop the Blame Game - Blind people don's feel guilty for not being able to see - they might get frustrated sometimes - but they don't blame themselves for not being able to see...


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Functional Illiteracy

While everybody learning to read is a worthwhile goal.  Yea Reading!   I question the timing of the goal in educational settings and I question the value of forced literacy given the digital age we live in.  But I wanted to examine the intense pressure we place on individuals who for whatever reason can't read and the underlying realties faced by people who are illiterate in a society that is based on the power of the written word.

I mention this because my hand writing is pretty much illegable - and that's if I am focused and really working hard.  Forget reading a note from me if I am busy or in a hurry.  Reading for me is a well won prize - but not when I am doing something else like say driving.  Many a time have I been lost from not being able to read the road signs because the driving needed to be focused on.  I prefer to have a navigator and I avoid a cell phones in the car like the plague...  I have always been convinced that they are too much of a distraction.

Literacy for me is based on two things desire and access to successful readers.  Numerous studies have demonstrated that successful young readers are more likely to have parents who read books in the house.   Children copy what they are exposed too and we know that.   We recognize that literacy in the United Sates is no longer in question.  The question is how will be behave towards those who can not or will not be taught to read or write.

I am a big fan of literacy campaigns and giving books away as much as the next fellow...  But can we get over any shame or embarrassment at being unable to read or write.  Maybe we could just assume that if some one can't write - it's not from a lack of trying.  That if some one can't read - it's not for want of desire.  Let us treat those left behind in the literacy wars as battlefield casualties.   Exempt form the needs of service they are the handicapped few who can with distinction serve our country or our people in other ways without the need to ever pickup a book, fill out a form or test.