Copperas Cove students’ reading and writing skills improve through multisensory camp

Special to Leader-Press 

Seven-year-old Lillyana Lortz reached slowly for her next Lego piece as she processed what she had learned to identify word parts and syllables. Crafts and games were just a couple of ways that Copperas Cove ISD teachers improved students’ reading and writing skills through the district’s inaugural multisensory camp for students with dyslexia. 
“It made reading fun,” the House Creek Elementary second grader said. 
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that may hinder reading, writing, spelling and sometimes speaking. Children and adults with dyslexia have a neurological disorder that causes their brains to process and interpret information differently.
Fourteen-year-old Lathan Mann improved his reading ability, starting at 117 words per minute and increasing to 170 words per minute withing the first two weeks the camp. Fifth grader Addison Ortegon measurably improved her spelling skills. 
“Using games and Legos to segment words was both helpful and fun,” Ortegon said.
The camp was designed to extend and enhance dyslexia services for CCISD students that receive these services during the regular school year. The camp was funded using ESSER funds. Teacher Sable Stephens-Wilson directed the camp.
“Our district is grounded in the Science of Reading and uses Wilson Reading Curriculum to serve our dyslexic students during the regular school year. Multisensory Camp stayed true to those principles and incorporated multisensory learning,” Stephens-Wilson said. “Multisensory learning improves brain function by providing visual, physical, and auditory cues.” 
Students rotate through seven, 30-minute multisensory stations that include reading, spelling, morphology, handwriting, computer skills, games, crafts, physical exercise that included cardio drumming, yoga, and fitness classes, and daily one-on-one fluency practice for each individual student to increase their skills and ensuring grade-level expectations were being met. 
“I now better understand contractions and I am now a more confident reader,” said 14-year-old Victoria Manning. “I love cursive handwriting.”
The Texas State Board of Education changed the requirements for the English Language Arts and Reading portion of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills to include reintroducing cursive writing to elementary school students.
“Cursive was the hardest thing that I learned at camp, but I really love it,” the 8-year-old said. 
Most learning methods in a classroom are based on reading and writing. CCISD works with students and parents to identify dyslexia as early as possible. CCISD hosted a parent conference about dyslexia earlier this year. The information is available via video at https://docs.google.com/document/d/14ZgPijcKA5Dvy_ga21yjYKjfvKiBPebHzRw7...
Parents who desire to have their students screened for dyslexia should contact CCISD Coordinator of 504 and Special Programs Lauren Hooten at hootenl@ccisd.com or 254-547-1227.
 

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