Thursday, 15 April 2010

Using your finger!

I would like to say that if you need to use your finger to keep your place when reading a book it is unlikely that you will find reading on a computer screen very easy! Leaving the smears of a greasy finger, following the words on a screen is not a good idea. Mind you if the computer screen is adjusted so that you no longer need to use your finger, then that is a different story! It is harder to change the appearance of a printed page to suit your eyes.
So what is this finger stuff all about? People who read fluently aloud from print are looking at words’ well ahead of their mouth’ as they read. If you cover up the word they are about to say, they will not really bother. A non fluent reader will stop and make you take your finger away. They have not seen the word yet!
This is similar to the pianist who is sight reading music. As the page is turned, they continue playing, seamlessly. They are holding the notes in their head for several seconds before they play them.
A person with sight reading problems will see and play each note one by one. It will sound very mechanical. A bit like listening to someone who appears to have specific reading problems, reading aloud. The bigger their difficulty the more like a machine gun they will sound, lacking musicality, intonation or for the techies amongst you… prosody.
I would expect then people who are diagnosed as dyslexic who are also musicians to have difficulties with sight reading whereas if they are playing from memory or improvising it would sound perfectly fluent...musical.

I may be wrong. So this is a challenge to anyone dyslexic to let me know if they can sight read easily!
Reading poetry is similar. An extreme form of fluency is required to sight read poetry successfully.
Sibelius other than being a great composer is also the name of a brilliant computer programme which can be used on screen with any music. Several years ago they produced little application which allows the user to set the RGB (colour background) to whatever works for them.
Now how can sight reading music be a phonics problem? Just a thought that I must bury away back in my head.

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