The Home Schooler
A Biblical Light on Education -
With Special Emphasis on Home Schooling

Vol II, # 5 - November 1997



1) Dyslexia
2) Foundations to Teaching
3) Dr. Cates' Schedule


A Little Different Twist

Prepared for Paul Cates, Ph.D.

by Faith Christian Ministries

First, of all let us define dyslexia. What is dyslexia, or what does it mean? From the Latin "dys" means bad or hard and "lexia" meaning language. Dyslexia has been defined over the years in several different ways.

Some textbooks have inappropriately referred to dyslexia as an inability to read. I have found no one in over thirty two years that I have not been able to teach how to read.

Dyslexia is more then just a reading disability; it is a language communication disability affecting reading, writing, speaking, and listening. We could describe dyslexia as a generic word for those who want to use the label for several different types of disabilities.

Dyslexia consists of a syndrome of characteristics, which varies in degrees according to the severity and kind of "dyslexia" that an individual has. It is not attributable to a vision or hearing defect alone. These defects can affect the ability to learn to read but are not the overall characteristics that I am referring to in this article.

This reading and language communication problem persists beyond the time when most childhood developmental conditions have matured.

There is also a difference between a sub level of intelligence, which is retardation and this problem. There is also a difference between illiteracy and this disability. Illiteracy is a person who for one reason or another doesn’t possess the knowledge of reading or writing.

A person- child or adult- with these problems has a hard road to walk through life. Many adults, as well as many of the children affected by these problems think that they are dumb, stupid, or just lazy. The fact is many of these persons have the same or higher intelligence quotient than those who learn to read easily and don’t display the following problems.

Although this field is very complex, I want to discuss three paramount categories that can contain many of the problems that this field represent. They are visual dyslexia, auditory dyslexia, and a combination of visual and auditory dyslexia.

Reading, writing, speaking and listening requires the proper use of both the left and right hemisphere of the brain and the proper integrating of information in/out of both of these sides.

Visual dyslexia is characterized by reversals of letters and numbers, faulty sequencing, coding and/or decoding, of letters in words, numbers in a series, and events in a narrative. Visual dyslexics also have problems with disorientation in time and space relationships, and problems in processing, interpreting, and recalling visual images.

Auditory dyslexia is characterized by problems with integrating and processing what is heard. Auditory dyslexics also have problems with recalling sounds and being able to put a sound with the letter it represents.

The third category is a combination of the first two in varying degrees. When an individual has a combination of visual and auditory problems it is more pronounced. This category is becoming more understood with new tools of assessment such as the T.O.V.A. and the T.O.V.A.-R and the T.O.M.A.L.

Gestalt perception is the total perceptual field. This is a very difficult task for the person with these problems. All of the smaller parts of the visual field should be understood in relationship to the whole. A person with these problems has a hard time putting the smaller parts of the visual field into a meaningful whole.

Approximately twenty percent of the earth’s population is estimated to have problems in language communication affecting reading, writing, speaking , and listening. This is becoming more to the front lines as English has now become the universal language of the whole world.

It is possible for a person to have a high IQ and have these problems. It is also possible for a person with an IQ of 80 who is not one of these individuals to have a higher reading average than his IQ. IQ and reading do not correlate. You can have a lower IQ and have no processing problems affecting your reading and language communication.

This individual has "large" gaps between his performance skills and his IQ.

In young children many of the symptoms of this problem can be related to normal or slow developmental growth of the child both mentally and physically. Don’t run for a label for your child but do seek help to develop these delays or to help with these problems.

It is important to seek help early so that your child can "shine" in a different light. It is important for this person’s friends to be able to help him, not hinder him- this includes family- immediate and relatives, friends and teachers and fellow "Christians".

People have different needs which run at different speeds. Pushing someone too fast can be painful as well as damaging. So can holding a person back.

How do you deal with these problems. First, seek help. Help that is willing to give you solutions not "labels". Second, work with individuals that will help you as a parent to understand your child and that he or she is "not out to get you", "destroy you", "make your life miserable", "embarrass you in front of your relatives". Work with someone who is willing to help you reduce the pressure at home. Work with someone who can help you alleviate some of these problems interfering with proper development.

These persons have to look at things in a different way than a person who don’t have these problems. They learn differently. They learn at different speeds. They interrupt things differently. They process differently. Many times they compensate.

Visual problems have been easier in the past to alleviate than auditory problems. This doesn’t mean that the visual is always remedied quicker than the person who has auditory problems or a combination. It is hard to alleviate any of these problems "totally". The chances of having some residual effects that don’t go away is always very high.

The length of time that it takes to alleviate these problems depends on several factors, including the severity of the problem, and the age of the individual with the problem.

The stigmatism of "Being Dumb", the  frustration of failure; these things are hard for anyone to cope with. Help the person to realize and admit they learn differently early. Don’t hide the problem or don’t discuss the problem like it doesn’t exist.

There is nothing wrong in being "different". That is how God made each of us to some degree.

There is nothing wrong in seeking "help". We all need help to some degree.

There is nothing wrong with taking longer to do something. Remember the "turtle won the race"!!!

There is nothing wrong with seeking special assistance for a course whether that be a elementary course, high school course or college course. The body of believers is there to compliment and "help" one another.

There is nothing wrong in declining to write on the blackboard when the room is full of people. There is nothing wrong with explaining why you cannot do this!!!

Would you ask a leg amputee to get up and run a marathon?

Would you ask a person who needs glasses to read  without them?

There is nothing wrong with asking, " How do you do that again?". Not everyone gets the correct message and retains it forever. Believe me, I know- I am a pastor.

There is nothing wrong with being "Special"!!!


Foundations to Teaching

Foundations To Teaching

Every Child To Read

This is the first of many articles that I am going to do addressing the issues of reading and setting a good reading foundation for any child.

I am going to discuss such issues as "Everyone and Everything Teaches", "Seeing Affects Reading", "Listening Affects Reading", "Talking Affects Reading", "Ways To Grow Into Reading" and many more.

Learning to read and learning to read well and with enjoyment is one of the most important achievements in a child’s early intellectual life.

Parents are the key to opening the door to the confidence, satisfaction, and knowledge that reading provides.

Researchers are finding more and more evidence to indicate that a child’s character, personality, and intellectual disposition are practically formed by two years of age.

"Train up a child in the way he shall go and when he is old he will not depart from it."

"And thou shalt teach them diligently..."

Parents play a crucial role in the intellectual growth of their children and also in creating good and happy readers.

First and most importantly, you must realize that everyone and everything teaches.

You cannot stop your child from seeing, touching, tasting, hearing and smelling. BUT these senses must be guided. You don’t have to understand how the brain works to teach well. Good drivers don’t have to know how the engine works.

Learning is natural. Try to stop it!

The brain, weighs about two and one half pounds of tissue which is connected to the sensory modalities and has an electrical and emotionally charged base.

If it is triggered by a laugh, smile, wink, pleasant touch, pleasant voice or pat, the learning machine purrs and is happy.

With the introduction of frustration, anger, violence or rejection, it gets clogged and learning is adversely affected.

A baby becomes frustrated if not fed, changed or LOVED. A child can be daunted and crushed by too many "NOS" or too many whacks. Parents can unintentionally discourage a child with learning materials or even toys that are inappropriate to his age.

Children mature at different rates as well as their body parts mature at different rates. Mental development is affected by a child’s physical development and both are influenced by surroundings and inheritance.

"Train up a child..."

Surroundings offer the opportunity for learning. Doing what others do. The surroundings can be rich or poor. The bedroom of the child can have books, bells and balls - or it can be bare and boring.

Abilities are affected by inheritance but they can be enhanced or retarded by the quality of experience the surroundings afford.

Examine your own background as parents. Heredity may determine whether your child is aggressive, passive, insightful, thoughtful, impatient or impulsive.

Give your heredity garbage to the Lord and ask for wisdom in freeing yourself as well as your child from your inherited and his inherited emotional baggage and frustration. Supply him with a Godly enriched environment and educational opportunity. One you maybe did not receive.

Developmental Overview-The Infant

In the first year of your child’s life you will see an incredible process of differentiation occur. At first the infant will not know the difference between mother and father. But through the first year he not only learns to make these distinctions but to see himself as separate from the people and things around him.

During the first months of life a child physically responds to hunger, noise, and discomfort in one way; he cries.

He learns to display one obviuous and general emotion, excitement, by three or four months and he can learn to express both positive and negative excitement.

By the twelfth month he will be manipulating adults with a smile more than a cry.

Body control moves from the head downward during the first year. Neck and head muscles develop control before the trunk. This control travels from the "inside" to the "outside," from the arms to fingers, from large muscles to fine ones. The child will go from no grasp to a firm grasp, holding objects between thumb and finger to clapping to a rhythm and even babbling a song.

The child matures from lying to grasping to crawling to walking.

The first year, let things happen naturally.

Encouraging performance before the physical readiness may retard ability. In other words, Don’t Push!!!

The One Year Old

The one -year old knows Mom, Dad, Grandma, definitely Grandpa, and DOMINATES all of them. Many walk by one, or at least stand alone.

The one -year old now walks into experience. He explores every room, nook and cranny in the house.

His pupils seem to be enlarged as he stares at things and people and information of every kind pours into his brain.

Adults are especially scrutinized, so be VERY careful of your behavior and those around you.

"Train up a child..."

From twelve to eighteen months a child concentrates on standing, walking, and stepping over obstacles with balance, and finally climbing.

During this period, a child develops from creeping to walking, to climbing and running. Before long he shows a preference from reaching with one hand. He can scribble in circles and play catch. He can walk backwards and is ready to operate a kiddy car. He will learn to fill and empty and pull and carry.

In the second half of this year, there is a shift to language development.

Between eighteen and twenty-four months, a child’s vocabulary will increase from fifty simple words such as

Hi! ; Hot ; Bottle ; No/uh.huh ; Spoon ; Daddy ; Pretty ; Boat ; Me too ; Baby ; Mommy ; Light ; Truck ; Hat ; Doggie ; and names of pets and family members, to more than three hundred words.

The Two-Year-OLD

He can walk, run, and climb. He then must "explore".

He is beginning to speak but communication isn’t entirely effective. Mom and Dad and child quite often don’t understand each other.

He is coordinated enough to pile six blocks. He can climb up and down stairs alone and copy a vertically drawn line. He can kick a ball. He can carry a load. He does not cooperate at play except to play simple catch and toss with a ball. He holds and hoards and doesn’t like to share.

After two he will participate in art play, l haikes to see action toys work and he loves clay.

Toilet training occurs, and since he likes water play - WATCH OUT!!

He can fit pieces in a puzzle and fill and empty. He likes to touch, watch, imitate, and be dependent on his Mother.

Words, words and more words. He learns words easily and uses talk when he plays. His attention span is short. He responds to BRIEF commands.

The Three-Year- Old

He has learned a lot of forms and concepts and has been flung back and forth between frustrations and paradoxes. BUT HE MADE IT!!!

He begins to see himself with identity. He is more sure of himself and can begin now to understand that there are one or two people in the world besides himself.

When we see him control himself, we appreciate it.  Suddenly, a whirlwind love and affection courtship develops, which makes the child’s behavior even better. He loves and is loved.

He has dominated the physical world. He now turns to the social world. He is so anxious to learn he even asks questions. "This go here?" as he helps set the table. "Hammer go here?" as he puts things away.

He walks with balance, not with arms outstretched. He can alternate standing on one leg. He can jump, march and run to music. He can unbutton. He can roll a ball and throw underhand. He can dodge, throw, stop and go and turn abruptly.

He can count to three and may even be able to point to three objects. He can compare objects and point out likenesses and differences. He enjoys building things. He can draw lines and even intersect them to form crosses. He can sort and combine and even WAIT HIS TURN!!!

He begins to share toys and become sensitive to people. He tries to please and likes to guess. He likes to get "dressed up". He loves parties. He can rest for ten minutes. He takes turns. He talks to adults. He listens to stories. He enjoys praise and simple humor. He loves trips.

This is a great year - ENJOY

The Four-Year-Old

Expansion of mental energy. Thinking occurs. He can make up  rhymes and loves big new words and explanations. Thought creates more growth.

He forms bigger and bigger words and bigger and bigger thoughts.

He can count to five. He points to the number "8" and says, "That is "66"!"

His world stretches to big and little fibs and tall tales. He calls names and threatens people he shouldn’t - like big brother and sister!!!

He is an expert at bugging adolescents. He always wins, doesn’t he?

He has the words in his head but he hasn’t learned the rules.

A cow can be purple. A tree doesn’t have to be green. Anything can be anything!!

Four-year-olds like skills. He is getting ready to be five and he talks about that. He is getting ready for school.

He wants to have "real" school and his own "school books"!!!

He can skip on a line and throw overhand. He is almost there in motor control. He is self sufficient in personal care. He is very social, poised and proud of what he can do.

He quotes Mom and Dad and any other authority figures like they are god. He likes rules if they have been laid down!!!

The Five-Year-Old

A child’s emotional pattern - the way he reacts to a problem, whether he is angry or happy, demanding or withdrawn - are evident. The foundations of his personality are already in place.

The five-year- old will generally take time out to organize himself. He has gathered in a lot of things in the past four years and needs to consolidate the gains. He will give a succinct answer, while the four-year-old embellished it.

The five-year-old has his place at the table, his bed, his bike, his hat, his universe, and can cross the street safely. Mother is usually the center of the world.

Physically, the five-year-old can sit longer, explore the neighborhood, lace his shoes, hang from a tree limb, and knows right from left.

Socially he is cooperative at play and enjoys playing house or trucker. He conforms to adult ideas and seeks adult help when needed.

"Train up a child..."

His interests widen swiftly and have a purpose. He asks, "What?" and "How?". He knows his address and telephone number. He should be able to count and say the ABC’s.

This is the time he will play drums or cymbals in a rhythm band, build stores with blocks, be an animal trainer for the circus, visit the fire station and the green house, plant seeds and watch plants grow, cook for a seasonal party, play with puzzles, talk about new baby, nap on a rug, sing happy songs with fingerplays, be read to and have a place at a library table, hear Christian Mother Goose, and play active and quiet games.

Focus of all this - preparing for reading.


When a child can do the activity. If you put a marble and a container in front of a child and he reaches out and plumps the marble in the container, there is readiness for that action.

If you stand him on his feet and he takes haltering steps, he is ready to walk and can learn to walk.

Before three, spontaneous behavior is the key to whether the child is ready to learn something particular.

Famous People With Reading Problems

Thomas Edison ; Albert Einstein ; Winston Churchill ; Michael Heseltine ;  Woodrow Wilson ; George Bush ; George Patton ; Jackie Stewart, a racing driver ; Duncan Goodhew, an olympic swimmer ; Tom Cruise, actor ; George Burns ; Whoopi Goldberg, actress ; Susan Hampshire, actress ; Danny Glove, actor ; Cher, actress, singer.

You can e-mail Dr. Cates at

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