Beyond Phonics

Differences between good and poor readers and spellers are associated with significant differences in sensitivity to word structure at the morphological level. Insensitivity to morphological aspects of word structure also characterizes adults who spell poorly [Carlisle, Moats].

Explicit instruction in both orthography and morphology is effective for teaching word identification, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and spelling [Abbott, Berninger, Carlisle, Nagy]. English spelling problems that arise at a phonological level can often be solved with instruction in use of morphology [Bourassa, Treiman, Kessler]. While basic knowledge of grapheme-phoneme relationships may be sufficient for students to read and spell one-syllable words, analysis of word structure, made possible by knowledge of morphology, is needed to learn to read and spell multi-syllable words.

Problems that poor readers have with applying morphological rules to identification of unfamiliar words are due primarily to more basic weaknesses in phonological processing. Because morphemes are units of both sound and meaning, deficits in phonological processing contribute to confusion of similar-sounding words and word parts, failure to recognize similarities of structure, and failure to either store or retrieve words with precision [Carlisle].

Virginia Berninger noted that three different codes are involved in spelling — phonology, morphology, and orthography. These three codes activate common and unique brain regions, but the specific activated brain regions associated with each word code may change during the course of a child’s development in learning how to spell. For example, beginning readers create orthographic codes from the relationship of letters and phonology. Morphology plays a greater role in the longer, more complex words in middle school and high school curriculum. Berninger wrote, “Our research is telling us good spellers are taught, not born, as is often assumed. Unfortunately, what happens in most schools is dyslexic children learn how to read and then get dismissed from special education classes even though they still need specialized instruction until they learn to spell.” Spelling is not systematically and explicitly taught in many classrooms in the United States [Berninger, Moats]. Too often, spelling is taught as a visual rote memory activity that resists “reasoned sequenced instruction” [Moats]. Awareness of morphology makes unique contributions to reading comprehension and to spelling [Nagy, Berninger, Moats]. Researchers agree on several recommendations for informed instruction of reading and spelling that include knowledge of morphology:

  • Foster word consciousness by integrating the teaching of word identification, vocabulary and spelling [Berninger, Carlisle, Moats, Nagy].
  • Focus on spelling [orthography]-meaning relationships through exploration and direct teaching of derivational morphological features and processes [Silliman].
  • Use word study to promote curiosity and interest in how spelling represents meaning and to support the development of strategies for solving problems regarding word meanings [Berninger, Moats, Nagy].


Good readers attend to the parts of words, both spoken and written. The meaning of a word is the sum of its parts. 80% of derived words mean what their parts suggest, as long as multiple meanings of the base elements are taken into account [Nagy]. English orthography often delineates the meaningful parts of words, preserving them in spelling even when the pronunciation of the morphemes may vary:

  • define   →  definition
  • wild   →  wilderness


Related words are activated in memory when they have meaningful connections and when they share structural elements at the morpheme level, especially when spelling reveals those connections [Nagy]:

  • relate   →  relative   →  relation   →  relationship   →  interrelate


Morphological awareness helps understanding and memory of differences between homophones:

  • site   →  situation
  • cite   →  citation


People with awareness of morphology can organize their mental dictionaries so that related words are associated and are more readily retrieved. Adults who read accurately and fluently have accumulated wide networks of word families for ready access and cross-referencing in the lexicon [Nagy]. Pattern recognition reduces the load on memory and facilitates retrieval of linguistic information [Berninger, Carlisle, Moats, Nagy]:

  • scribble   →  inscribe   →  subscription   →  scribe   →  describe   →  script


Author: Nancy Cushen White, Ed.D. Prof. Cushen White has been awarded for her significant contributions to the field of literacy education by a number of internationally recognized organizations such as the International Dyslexia Association. She holds various degrees and credentials in the field of literacy education. Besides her work as an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California-San Francisco, Professor Cushen White has been specialising in the area of gifted children with learning differences for several decades.

Reading and Writing Relationships: An Overview

Prerequisites for Language Learning

Spoken language mastery is essential for reading and writing.  Some of the most influential cognitive abilities that provide a foundation for speaking, reading and writing are: attention, verbal working memory, executive functioning and processing speed. These cognitive abilities are closely related and share common functions.  For example, students need to pay sustained attention to speech sounds as well as recognize and manipulate speech sounds in words.  Learners demonstrate this ability in reading while decoding words whereas in writing, this ability is revealed through spelling.  Another example is verbal working memory.  This cognitive skill is limited to the amount of material working memory can hold and in the length of time the manipulation of language can be expressed. When students are reading text, they often hold a completed sentence in working memory and then reread the preceding sentence to enhance their understanding.  During writing while composing phrases, sentences and paragraphs, writers are using verbal working memory.  A third cognitive ability is executive functioning whereby students need to plan, self-monitor and alter plans during language tasks.  For instance, both readers and writers need to self-monitor for visually similar words (of/off) and homonyms (sail/sale). Last but not least is processing speed, the rate at which learners are able to retrieve information and execute plans.  Proficient readers and writers are able to rapidly name several elements of a given category while students with slower processing speed may be accurate in their responses, but their production is almost always very slow.  In order for students to develop fluent reading or written expression, they need structured teaching as well as enough practice using their reading and writing skills.


Reading and writing are not identical skills but do share the cognitive abilities mentioned previously.  Before actual reading begins and as an aid to comprehension, two pre-reading exercises can help to support the reader’s ability to focus attention on the reading material.  One such exercise is to recall background knowledge, internalized from life experience about a topic, and then match that knowledge to the text.  Another is to identify new and unfamiliar words from the assigned text and learn their meanings from the words and phrases around them.  Once this is completed, the actual reading begins.  A competent reader engages in the following:

  • activates phonological awareness skills (how letters and sounds correspond)
  • recognizes how the sounds blend together to form words
  • decodes the words printed on the page
  • realizes word recognition
  • attaches meaning to those words
  • reads with fluency
  • comprehends what has just been read


A main component of fluent reading is word recognition, the ability to recognize written words correctly and automatically. This ability helps to ensure writing words correctly as students learn to represent letter forms in memory as well as the strategies for their automatic retrieval from memory.  Students who read effortlessly over time enjoy successful wide-reading experiences.  As a result, they are at an advantage for being exposed to learning more words and growing their vocabulary.  This word exposure not only enhances their reading comprehension but also creates better spellers.  In addition, children who develop good understanding of what they read may display a greater interest in writing.  They become aware of the word relationships in a variety of sentence patterns and how authors structure text along with the rules that govern it.




Writing is the act of scribing words and sentences on paper.  Therefore, it is necessary to have facts and experiences to share.  Prior to writing both at the sentence and paragraph levels, the writer needs to consider the topic and summon background knowledge and ideas in support of that topic.  Following that, students should exhibit a clear understanding of sentence structure as well as the rules for correct grammar.  Additionally, it is important for writers to construct a plan that structures and organizes their paragraph-level writing.  Such a plan ensures that each sentence links logically with the preceding sentence to produce a smooth flow or cohesion.  Writing, which incorporates word recognition and reading comprehension, places the greatest demand on verbal working memory and relies on the skills that follow:


  • mechanics: handwriting
  • phonology: speech sounds that make up words (e.g., bit = “b”+“i”+“t”)
  • semantics: word meanings and concepts
  • morphology: meaningful parts of words (roots, affixes, and inflections such as -ed verb endings that indicate past action)
  • syntax: rules for the order of words in sentences (simple to complex) and grammar rules
  • discourse: narrative structure versus expository structure


Even more than reading, writing depends on the mastery of the most basic skills such as spelling and hand- writing. Through direct and explicit instruction, teachers need to systematically teach a hierarchy of formal spelling rules that transition from short and long vowel patterns to irregular word spelling. Without this instruction, writers who struggle with spelling may lose track of their thoughts as they try to spell a specific word used in context or process sound-symbol relationships (phonology and morphology).  In addition, it is important and necessary for students to receive handwriting instruction. The development of legible handwriting enhances spelling, aids writing fluency and frees mental energy for higher order cognitive skills, especially at the multi-sentence or paragraph level.


In closing, the underlying cognitive abilities, attention, verbal working memory, executive functioning and processing speed are critical in their support of learning to read and write and need to be considered as linguistic skills are taught. Although it appears plausible that the features of reading and writing are the same, it is evident that they are not totally equal.  What is most important to remember is that the automatization of reading and writing skills is essential.  Students benefit most when instruction is direct and explicit, and sufficient review and practice are provided.

Author: Terrill Jennings  She has taught and directed language arts programs for children with dyslexia for more than forty years. She has authored two books on writing with her colleague Dr. Charles Haynes and is an accomplished presenter who has given workshops nationally and internationally.

Dubai Inclusion Policy Framework: Making Inclusion Outstanding

Reading Center and Action Dyslexia introduce:

FREE WORKSHOP: Dubai Inclusion Policy Framework: Making Inclusion Outstanding

Event Details

Tuesday, 10th of April, 2018.
3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Almas Tower Conference Center (behind JLT metro station).
Entry Is Free

Scroll down and find all the related documentation for free.


The presentation identifies key principles within the Dubai Inclusive Education Policy Framework (DIEPF) and benchmarks the eight strands against current inspection criteria. The goal: to highlight the path to outstanding inclusion.


We will explore inspection and compliance issues for school leaders and class teachers and offer related strategies and solutions.

The first part of the conference will:
  • Focus on the eight strands of the DIEPF
  • Match these strands against UAE Inspection Framework performance indicators
  • Clarify the route to outstanding inclusion.
  • Analyze in detail key compliance issues within each strand .
  • Provide opportunities for participants to focus on and receive guidance in school-based issues.
Compliance with the DIEPF requires fresh approaches to criteria for placement on the SEN Register and how progress is recorded, tracked and monitored for impact. It also creates challenges that can only be met by well written, SMART IEPs which are regularly monitored for impact. We will also offer “outstanding” or “best practice” strategies and solutions to these challenges.
Using “skeleton” proformas and checklists that list key issues from the 10 strands of the Framework, participants can begin to audit their schools against a range of challenges. Including identifying, monitoring, evaluating, and responding to students with special educational needs. Soft copies of the proformas and checklists will be available for school customization. Opportunities will also be included for sharing issues and solutions among participants to ensure the intellectual capital of the conference is made available to all. In addition, sample IEPs and SEN policy documents will be presented for participants to mix and match against current documentation.


The second part of the presentation focuses specifically on:
  • 3.10 ii. Ensure that a student’s education is primarily provided by classroom teachers and other educators within a common learning environment.
  • 4.5viii. Ensure that classroom teachers and other educators working in an inclusive common learning environment will…. apply formative assessment, universal design for learning (UDL), differentiation and other learner centered activities, so that students can pursue and achieve curricular-based learning goals.



By the end of the presentation participants will be equipped to answer the key questions:

  • How effective is our teaching, learning, monitoring, evaluation, and culture of inclusion at building the achievement of students with Special Educational Needs?
  • How does our impact measure up in relation to ability?
  • What evidence do we have to support our position?
  • How can we use strategies within the universal design for learning to close the achievement gap?

 Speaker: Neil MacKay – Inclusion Expert from UK

Neil MacKay is an internationally acclaimed inclusion expert and one of the most in-demand speaker/trainers helping bring teachers and parents together to support children who learn differently. As a consultant specialising in Dyslexia and other SEN issues Neil has worked with Education Departments of the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore, Jersey and Malta on teacher training and awareness initiatives, and delivered teacher training in Bangkok, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and Hong Kong. He is the International Consultant for the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand and launched the Kuwaiti Government’s Dyslexia Friendly Schools Initiative.

Neil has authored and co-authored books, articles, papers, and curricula on dyslexia and inclusion, with his most recent book, “Total Teaching”, being released in 2014.
Working with parents has been a new initiative over the last two years. This ground breaking project, which teaches parents how to support their children and home with aspects of reading, writing, spelling and learning for tests and exams, began in Liverpool and now has spread around the UK, Europe ,Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. The unique feature of the project is that parents are actually taught with their children and then supported to practice the techniques under Neil’s supervision.
We are very fortunate to have Neil for two world class workshops. Please RSVP early to assure your seat.

LSA/TA Level 3: Practical Solutions for Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Behavior Management in an Inclusive Classroom

We’re proud to announce that Lexicon Reading Center is now offering a Learning Support Assistant and Teaching Assistant (LSA/TA) Level 3 Course, accredited by the British Dyslexia Association (BDA).

Course Modules


Assessment Criteria

Workbook Self-study: workbook must be completed within 6-9 months of starting the course. The course will be marked by the BDA (the British Dyslexia Association).

Course Structure

The course will consist of a 2-day, face-to-face training followed by online modules and assignments. The later ones can be submitted in a maximum of 9 months from the course start date.

Course Accreditation


The Trainer – Brenda Ferrie

I have been working with learners with dyslexia since 1994. I had just qualified as a Maths teacher (as a second career) and during my first teaching position, I became intrigued with these bright boys who could not get anything down on paper. I went back to back to College to do my RSA Level 7 in SpLD. This move opened up so many different and exciting opportunities for me. I teach and assess learners across the age range. I have also been involved in training teachers to level 5 and level 7 on the OCR courses as well as a level 5 course that I developed for international schools across different countries. I was involved in the government sponsored initiative to train teachers following the Rose Review in 2009. Now I work with the British Dyslexia Association as one of their Lead Tutors on their new Level 5 course and am also involved in developing a new level 5 dyscalculia course. I also deliver some of their accredited and onsite training courses.

Course Schedule

Limited seats! Register now

Please contact us at
or 04-4547003 / 050-7954428

Affordable Subject Tutoring Expertise with UK top Qualified Teachers



As a result of this partnership, Lexicon Reading Center will be able to offer students and parents Lexicon expertise and understanding of each child’s potential and learning style combined with EvoTuition subject expertise and curriculum speciality – through their highly qualified teachers in the British, American and IB curriculum.

All that at an affordable, private, 1-on-1 tutoring hourly rate of AED 160-180.

How Lexicon and EvoTuition Complement Each Other?

  • EvoTuition’s well-established technology framework, combined with Lexicon‘s trained facilitators’ skills, make this new high-quality service accessible as center or home-based sessions.
  • This collaboration will make it possible for Lexicon Reading Center and EvoTuition to broaden access and learning opportunities to more children.
  • Children will benefit from EvoTuition’s British, American and IB curriculum expert tutors.
  • SAT, GCSE, A-level and other exam preparation specialist support by UK top qualified teachers.
  • Sessions are offered as center-based or home-based sessions for convenience.
  • To maximize learning outcomes, sessions are offered in a blended model of a live online tutoring combined with Lexicon trained facilitators.

Ask us about the new modality: a Lexicon onsite trained facilitator combined with an expert tutoring online instruction

About the Partners

Lexicon Reading Center helps children who learn differently and provides guidance to parents and educators on dealing with them. The center provides help for children who learn differently so that they can bridge the gap between conventional teaching methodologies and their unique learning styles to enable them to reach their academic potential.



EvoTuition provides the UK’s best online private tutors who teach from age 7 to 18 with tutors specialising in the British and American curricula, including IGCSE and International Baccalaureate. EvoTuition UK based tutors are highly qualified and experienced with excellent parent and student feedback. The online tuition rooms use high-quality video chat and live interactive whiteboards for a highly effective learning experience. Tutors are ID checked and all lessons are recorded to ensure safeguarding.

FREE Workshop: IEP Goals and Motivation

Focusing on Motivating Operations (MO’s) to Increase Compliance for Students with Behavior Problems in Inclusive Classrooms

Picture: “Operant Conditioning” from ClassofMotivation


In this interactive workshop, participants discussed their questions with the speaker. The workshop provided answers to the following questions:

  • What is an IEP?
  • What is a Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)? How do you plan to transition a student into an LRE?
  • What is IDEA and what is the goal of Mainstreaming?
  • Areas of Concern and Planning: Selection of areas for goals
  • Analyzing previous learning history and Acquisition
  • Assessing Deficits and Barriers to Skill Acquisition
  • How do you write appropriate goals and how do you monitor whether progress is being made?
  • Prioritizing Goals/Targets based off Progress
  • Writing Feasible, Meaningful Goals
  • Example Goals
  • Motivating Operations and Skill Acquisition
  • Discuss troubleshooting
  • Q and A

>>Click Here to Download the Workshop’s Presentation<<


Mari Ueda-Tao, MA, BCBA, holds a Master of Arts Degree in Psychology with a focus in Behavior Analysis from the University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She is currently the Chief Clinical Officer for Applied Behavior Consultants, Inc. Mrs. Ueda-Tao also serves as the Liaison for International Services. She oversees all clinical services across the agency.

Mrs. Ueda-Tao is responsible for all in-home and center based programs, including behavioral assessments and developing behavior intervention plans for children and adults with developmental disabilities, specializing in the treatment of Autism. In addition, she has conducted training sessions on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), including Positive Programming for Parents, skill teaching techniques, and in-home behavior intervention strategies. She has experience in clinically supervising a number of behavior consultants, specializing in early, intensive intervention techniques, including comprehensive work with infant/toddler age ranges.

Mrs. Ueda-Tao is a member of the national and state-levels of the Association for Behavior Analysis. Internationally, she has trained a number of teachers and parents on the implementation of ABA principles with children with Autism in Algeria, Bahrain, Dubai, Ethiopia, France, Iceland, Philippines, Portugal, Romania and Singapore.


Sarah Jocson is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst based in Sacramento California. She has been in practice for 15 years and currently works with children ages 1.5 to 6.5 years old at ABC’s Center Based Program in Sacramento, California as the Center based Senior Behavior Analyst. Sarah trains paraprofessionals and parents on program implementation and has experience working with children, preadolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities as well as, paediatricians, teachers, and other paraprofessionals. Sarah has been in the field working with individuals with Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) and communication or language disorders, creating behavior intervention plans and programs, in-home, for clients at care homes, and in their school placement.

Event Details

Monday, January 22, 2018
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Cassells AlBarsha Hotel (behind Sharaf DG metro station)
See map

Registration is necessary via e-mail.

Please RSVP to:

Important note: Attendees who wish to receive a certificate must pay a separate fee of 50 (fifty) Dirhams. Children are not expected to participate.

Summary of Shadow Training: Facilitating Inclusion of SEN Students


We’re glad to announce the final update of our FREE 4-Week Learning Support Assistants Training Program.


From October 15 to November 16, 2017, the Lexicon Reading Center offered A FREE Training program for support assistants. This campaign was launched as part of Lexicon Reading Center support of KHDA inclusion policy and the SEN focus of DSIB (Dubai School Inspection Bureau) for the academic year 2017-2018.


Lexicon Reading Center understands the key role of LSAs in facilitating inclusion of SEN students (students with special education needs) in mainstream schools. Yet, there are several challenges schools face in equipping those key personnel with the necessary skills set that enable them to play their role efficiently.


Lexicon Reading Center has brought world renowned experts in behavior management and IEP goals implementation in inclusive classroom setting to provide the participants with hand-on practice on how to work with SEN students in inclusive classroom settings.


The training was imparted by Dr. Megan Miller (BCBA-D) & Ms .Claire Ellis (M.S, BCBA), Rudolf Stockling
(MSc Psych; Grad. Dip. Couns.; Dip.Ed.), Dr. Steve Chinn (PhD, AMBDA, Mark College, UK), and Dr. Michael M. Mueller (Ph.D., BCBA-D). It was provided, cost-free, to approximately 84 school staff members, and it was related to basic classroom management. This was the first time an initiative of this nature happened in UAE.

Methodology and Results

The course included pre and post assessment to measure the training gains objectively.  Participants had the chance to be observed in their classrooms by Lexicon trained members, who gave direct feedback on practical implementation of strategies in working with children. Based on just the basic classroom management training alone, the following improvements were seen:


  • 7 out of 9 schools increased their performance from pre to post test relating to basic behavior management terminology by at least 5%.
  • 8 out of 9 schools increased their performance from pre to post assessment relating to hands on demonstration of skills by at least 15%, with one school almost doubling its performance
  • All of the participants reported enjoying the training experience.

Program Structure


Week One

Pre-course Skills Evaluation of Participants including teaching demo by Dr. Megan Miller (BCBA-D) and Ms. Claire Ellis (M.S, BCBA).


Week Two

  • Functional Behavior and Aggression in Classroom by Dr. Michael Mueller (Ph.D., BCBA-D).
  • Practical Strategies for Behavior Management and Differentiation for Students with Dyscalculia by Dr. Steve Chinn (Ph.D., AMBDA, Mark College, UK).


Week Three

Classroom Observation of LSA and their implementation of IEP Goals in Behavior Management and/or Academic Difficulties by Rudolf Stockling (MSc Psych; Grad. Dip. Couns.; Dip.Ed.) and his assisting team.


Week Four

  • Developing and Implementing IEP Goals for Students with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia by Rudolf Stockling (MSc Psych; Grad. Dip. Couns.; Dip.Ed.).

Bottom Line

If you have any questions regarding this program or any other intervention of Lexicon Reading Center, please contact us at or 04-4547003 / 050-7954428.

Cost-Effective Literacy Solution for Inclusive Schools


Inspired by the recently announced ‘Dubai Inclusive Education Policy Framework’, Lexicon Reading Center is proud to offer a comprehensive in-school Literacy Solution, which aims at achieving the following main objectives:


  1. Working with schools to identify students with literacy gaps and needs.
  2. Review the identified students IEPs and/or help in developing new targets.
  3. Identifying curriculum differentiation needs for the identified students.
  4. Provide evidence based literacy intervention for students with reading and writing difficulties. A hybrid model of integrated online and offline components for literacy intervention.
  5. Training school teachers and LSAs to play a dynamic role in implementing a successful literacy intervention approach for their students.
  6. Working with schools to build a structured progress monitoring and evaluation system.
  7. Preparation for the next DSIB inspection cycle:
    – Help completing the SEND School Evaluation Form (SEF).
    – Help auditing the school SEN Register.
    – Help developing the School Improvement Plan (SIP).
    – Inspection process orientation and practice.

Program Cost

Number of Students per School Full Academic Year Program Fee per Students.


 How the Program Works

  • We will identify the literacy needs of each child in the program.
  • We will then train your staff to deliver the training and re-train as needed.
  • We provide training to assist you in the inspection process.
  • And we will assist in the documentation required by the next DSIB school inspection.

For Enquiry and/or Registration, please contact us at

Dr Steve Chinn

Dr Steve Chinn (PhD, AMBDA, Mark College, UK) is an internationally regarded expert trainer and lecturer in the area of Dyslexia, Mathematics and Dyscalculia and is the author of several publications, including the highly acclaimed The Trouble with Mathematics.


Dr Chinn has served on the councils of the British Dyslexia Association and the Dyslexia Institute and has more than thirty five years of teaching experience.


Steve set up the first Post Graduate Course for maths and dyslexia which was accredited by the British Dyslexia Association for Associate Membership (Numeracy) status.


FREE Workshop: Social Skills Teaching in Inclusive Classrooms Setting

A multi-ethnic group of elementary age children are listening to their teacher read a storybook in class.

Developing and Implementing SMART IEP Goals

The purpose of this training is to provide educators and parents with effective strategies for developing IEP goals related to social skills teaching within an inclusive classroom. The presentation provides an in-depth review of determining and implementing IEP goals across the lifespan using currently available social skills assessments, evidence-based teaching strategies and evidence-based social skills models.

>>Click Here to Download the Workshop’s Presentation<<


Dr. Megan Miller (Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA) graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from John Carroll University in 2004. She obtained her M.S. in Psychology with a Specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis from the Florida State University-Panama City Campus in 2007. She earned her PhD in Special Education and Behavior Analysis at The Ohio State University in 2015. Her early training in behavior analysis occurred at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism as a Volunteer/intern in 2003. Since that time, she has provided services to over 100 children diagnosed with autism and other disabilities primarily in home settings .

Event Details:

Tuesday, 14th of November

6.00 pm – 8.00 pm.

Cassells AlBarsha Hotel (behind Sharaf DG metro station)

See map


Registration is necessary via e-mail.

Please RSVP to:

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