Students with slower processing speeds or executive-function problems are often no different from their peers in math proficiency in first and second grade; but as they confront multistep computations in upper elementary school tests, their scores tumble because they lack the skills necessary to produce organized, efficient output.
Math-specific concepts seem to be particularly difficult to master. In addition to being abstract, these concepts contain terms that confound students with visual similarity or auditory similarity between homophones.
A common response to students who are having counting problems is to simply have them do daily counting practice; however, students with counting and comparing difficulties also benefit from practice that utilizes patterns and relationships.
Villaseñor received rave reviews for Macho and went on to publish a number of non-fiction works, including Rain of Gold, based on his parents’ journey from Mexico during the Revolution to modern-day Carlsbad, California. He sold the publishing rights to the book for $75,000. But when the publisher insisted on billing the book as fiction, to boost sales, and changing the title from Rain of Gold, the English translation of his mother’s village in Mexico, to Rio Grande, he remortgaged his home and bought back the rights. “They wanted a “Mexican” title for a Mexican book, but Rio Grande is a John Wayne movie,” he said in a 1992 interview with People Magazine. The book also had to remain nonfiction, he said, “because I wanted my children to see examples of real Mexican heroes, since I grew up thinking Mexicans could only wash dishes and work in the fields.”
Carmen Agra Deedy sings these lyrics often, after masterfully telling the story of falling hard for her first book. She was eight, it was Charlotte’s Web, and it began a lifelong addiction to stories and reading and books. But Deedy doesn’t always tell how troubled her addiction is. She has dyslexia. She is a dyslexic bibliophile. None of her accomplishments have come easily. She taught herself the craft of storytelling. Her reading has always been labored. And her award-winning children’s books battle their way from brain to printed word with great difficulty.
Gareth Cook is a journalist and is currently a writer for The New Yorker and a series editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He spent seven years as the Boston Globe’s science editor reporter, and during that time won the Pulitzer Prize (2005), the National Academy of Sciences Communications Award (2005), and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Ocean Science Journalism Award (2005). In awarding the Pulitzer to Cook, the judges commended him for “explaining, with clarity and humanity, the complex scientific and ethical dimensions of stem-cell research.”
Jeanne Betancourt is the author of 75 novels for children and young adults; more than a dozen film and television scripts; and an adult nonfiction book. She is a recipient of the American Psychological Association’s National Psychological Award for Excellence in the Media and several Children’s Choice Awards. Betancourt also received six Emmy Award nominations for her After-School Specials, written for ABC Television and featuring teens dealing with critical social issues.