KeySpan Foundation Supports Ohr HaLimud’s “Operation Read” Program

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Ohr HaLimud has received a grant from the KeySpan Foundation for the organization’s “Operation Read Program,” which will enable children with dyslexia, between the ages of seven and nine to learn to read well.

“The Key Span Foundation was created to enhance the quality of life in the communities we serve, and one of our focus areas is education,” said Bob Keller, Executive Director of the KeySpan Foundation. “Our goal is to get involved in community projects that support the education of our children. We believe that education is our best natural resource and that reading is the key and look forward to our new partnership with Ohr HaLimud.”

“We are very excited to have the KeySpan Foundation join our team.  This support will help us help the children,” said Mrs. Leah David, Founder and Executive Director of Ohr HaLimud, “The Light of Learning.” “Dyslexia affects one in ten children, and many of them have come to our center for help. Cost is a factor and we are working very hard to raise the necessary supporting funds to make sure that every child can get the help they need. Our mission statement is simple…. All Children Must Read! Every time a new partner joins the team, another child gets a chance to read.”

The KeySpan Foundation grant will be used to provide a free intake language screening for children ages 7-9 years old that apply for the program. “The language screening is a pivotal part of our program,” said Mrs. David. “It allows us to see where the child is holding in all aspects of their reading, writing, spelling, and to make the proper recommendation for the course of remediation. The screening starts out looking at basic skills including left and right relationships as well as a child’s pencil grip. We look for letter name recognition and the letter-sound relationship.  We look at auditory discrimination in conjunction with letter-sound recognition. We check sight word vocabulary as well as the ability to read single and multi-syllable nonsense words.  We check spelling and the understanding of spelling rules. We look at how children work with prefixes and suffixes. We ask the children to write sentences and stories. We check grammar as well as punctuation. We read stories and check reading comprehension. We go through a series of questions that most of our children can not read on their own, yet these oral questions allow the children to have their intelligence shine.  Furthermore, they allow us to see how each child reasons and thinks.”

Dyslexic children are known to have average to above average intelligence. We spend time just talking to our children. We get to understand how they feel, and what they think about school. What is it like for them in their classrooms? We want them to walk away from their first visit at the Learning Center with the understanding that we know how they feel. We also give our children the hope that they will read, write, and spell like the rest of the students in their classes.  We make them feel smart! They leave our screening feeling good about themselves. Most boys and girls come in frowning and scared, and they usually leave smiling and hopeful. The screening session also allows us to spend time with the parents. We get to answer their questions and alleviate many of their fears.

The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators explains dyslexia in the following way:

“The word dyslexia is derived from the Greek dys, difficulty with, and lex (from legein, to speak), having to do with words. We encounter words in their many forms when we speak, read, spell, and write, as well as in mathematics and in organizing, understanding, and expressing thought. A definition, based on information from neuroscientific and linguistic research, is difficulty in the use and processing of linguistic/symbolic codes – alphabetic letters representing speech sounds, or numeric symbols representing numbers or quantities. Such difficulty is reflected in the language continuum that includes spoken language, written language, and language comprehension. Children with dyslexia typically fail to master the basic elements of the language system of their culture despite traditional classroom teaching. Since language is the necessary tool upon which subsequent academic learning is based, people with dyslexia often encounter difficulty in all educational endeavors. Dyslexia has its genesis in human biology. While not the result of neurological damage, it is the product of neurological development. Dyslexia commonly runs in families and varies from mild to severe. Most importantly, the use of the Orton-Gillingham approach by a skilled and experienced teacher can significantly moderate the language learning and processing problems that arise from dyslexia. Indeed, the Approach, used early enough and by qualified practitioners, has every likelihood of eliminating the emergence of notable reading and writing problems.”

Ohr HaLimud-The Multi-Sensory Learning Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching children with dyslexia to read. The programs at Ohr HaLimud utilize the scientifically based Orton-Gillingham Approach to teach reading, writing and spelling. The After-School Learning Center is open to all children. Our staff is professionally trained and dedicated to our mission. At the Ohr HaLimud Learning Center their students say, “Yes I Can, and They Do!”

Mrs. Leah David founded Ohr HaLimud, “The Light of Learning,” in September of 2003. Mrs. David started the program to help her bright 7-year-old daughter learn to read. After numerous tests and evaluations it was discovered that her daughter had dyslexia. After researching many options, she determined that the best approach to teach her daughter to read, spell, and write would be the Orton-Gillingham Approach. Mrs. David began Ohr HaLimud, and implemented this multi-sensory strategy to teach the building blocks, rules, and structure of the English language. Ohr HaLimud is in its fifth year and many of the children who have walked through their doors are now on the road to educational success because they can read. Her own daughter has been in a mainstream school for two years and is working on grade level. Whether children attend the girls’ school or the after-school boys and girls’ reading program, the goal is the same: “All Children Must Read!”

The “Operation Read” Program is now seeking approximately 25 children, boys and girls, between the ages of seven and nine who are exhibiting delays in reading, writing and spelling. Children who are accepted into the program will receive specialized (1-1) Orton-Gillingham remediation in Ohr HaLimud ‘s after school program at a very special rate. The program takes place at the Ohr HaLimud’s Multi- Sensory Learning Center, which is located at the Ohr HaLimud Girls School, 1681 42nd Street, Brooklyn.  For information and an application packet please call Ohr HaLimud-“The Light of Learning” at 718-972-0170 or visit them the web at ohrhalimud.org

All Children Must Read…Don’t You AGREE!