How did you spell the word? If you didn’t end the word with -ck, you are not alone. 15-20% of the American population struggles to some extent with reading and spelling. Duck. How is the “k” sound in duck spelled? Is it ck or k? The majority of English readers and writers would say it’s spelled with a ck, but a writer with dyslexia might think -k alone should spell the “k” sound in the word duck. 70-80 percent of American children learn how to transform printed symbols into a phonetic code without much difficulty. In other words, converting the written word into sounds and vice-versa comes easily for the majority of kids. For the remainder of these children, the English language can be quite puzzling. These children often struggle to transform sounds into symbols and symbols into sounds, and this sound-symbol association is critical for spelling words in the English language.
The brain is an intriguing system. When most of us read, we activate highly interconnected neural systems that encompass regions in the back and front of the left side of the brain. For those with dyslexia, the brain’s circuitry isn’t as efficient; there’s an under-activation of neural pathways in the back of the brain. Are these people to suffer? Functional magnetic resonance studies (fMRI) have shown that a multisensory, sequential, structured instructional approach can actually change the way a dyslexic brain works.
Yale University Doctors Sally and Bernnett Shaywitz (http://dyslexia.yale.edu/About_ShaywitzBios.html), have shown the amazing neuroplasticity of the brain using fMRI studies. In 2004, they gave dyslexic children language-based tasks to perform while they underwent the fMRI. These same students then received Orton-Gillingham based instruction for eight months. A second fMRI was administered. The results showed that the brain’s left hemisphere which deals with language was more active than previously measured. Ins short, the brain’s circuitry became more efficient. Dr. Sally Shaywitz published her findings in her book, Overcoming Dyslexia, which is well worth reading for parents and teachers struggling to learn about dyslexia in their child or in the classroom.
Our application complements O-G programs focused on teaching the student the structure and code of the English language. What comes naturally to the majority of the American reading public, between 15-20% have difficulty knowing and applying the rules (https://dyslexiaida.org/dyslexia-basics/). When someone plays Dunk the Duck, they learn to think about the pattern of -ck versus -k at the end of the word. This encourages them to “think” about the word versus “memorizing” them to be successful.