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Letters to the Editor - May/June 2016


Year-Round Honors Science Program at Columbia University

To the Editor:

How can I prepare for Columbia’s  math science program test?

Jericho, New York

Herbert H. Lehman College

To the Editor:

I think this issue is worth more exploration. SO MANY of our students spend their first (and second, and sometimes third and fourth) semesters of college in  developmental classrooms,  and many never make it any farther.  Students have such a troubled relationship to these classes they are signs of their own shortcomings, they are  being forced to go backwards  before they can move forwards, and so on.  I think that these courses are the ideal place to start introducing students to new ways of knowing and approaching the world.  Yes, the material being covered is the same material that they were exposed to in high school (or elementary school), but THEY are not the same   they bring years more experience and sophistication to the table this time around.  And the setting is not the same   this is college, a qualitatively different experience, and helping them gain a sense of  what college is  in these courses could make all the difference. 

The challenge is to overcome the emotional momentum attached to these subjects, and the stigma attached to these classes, and get them to really engage.  All the while covering a densely-packed syllabus and preparing them for a daunting standardized exam.  I am not sure exactly how to do this, but I think there is a lot of opportunity here.

New York

Dr. Sally Shaywitz, Yale U School of Medicine

To the Editor:

I am so glad to read about your work in the field of Dyslexia. The education of all people is necessary. I probably am dyslexic. I am a 67 year old retired elementary teacher. I have been working to understand my disability sense I started college in 1965.  I realized that my college teachers really didn’t know how to help students with learning disabilities. They tried speed reading remedial classes.  Of course that didn’t help me. I only used sight reading.  I did not know the sound of the letters.  When I came to a word I had to guess or ask for help.  I could not take notes well...most of the time I could not read my own notes taken during class.  I often ask other students if I could copy their notes.   Finally, I found workbook that I used to teach myself the sounds of letters.  I spent the summer in 1969 diligently studying how to pronounce the simplest one syllable words.  I was difficult and laborious, but I was so happy to be able to pronounce words using the phonetic rules and going through a process that helped me get my vowel pronounced correctly. I still had a long way to go to build comprehension skills as well as spelling, writing. 

To make a long story short I have spent my life trying to learn how to learn. 

I can’t tell you how glad I am that you and your husband have devoted your talents to research in this field. I hope school systems will take this learning disability seriously. I have horrors just thinking what my life would have been like if I hadn’t taken steps to find ways to learn how read, spell, and write not to mention math.

Lucille Traylor
Little Rock, AR

Dr. Harriet Fields: Health Care Activist in Africa

To the Editor:

Your inner beauty shines through like a beacon of light beckoning to the poor and infirm. Do not stop,you give out hope and courage to those you reach out to. Saw you interviewed on TCM, and looked up your bio. God bless you and keep you in His sight.

Anthony Reis
Montréal, NY


Hello Harriet

I watched your grandfather W.C Fields’s old movies The Bank Dick and It is a Gift on TCM last night. This past Sunday my family and I also watched another old movie of his If I had a Millions in the living room of my apartment. I truly love your grandfather’s best comedy movies.

Susan Hatch
Sun City Center, FL

Dr. Mary L. Farrell, Director, Regional Center For College Students With Learning Disabilities, Fairleigh Dickinson University

To the Editor:

How lucky so many of have been, to experience, first hand, Dr. Farrell’s teaching skills. She is not only an expert in the field but her warmth and compassion for her students promotes not just their ability to read but their general love of learning. As a Psychotherapist in Teaneck for 30 years, I have referred many children to her program. I have also experienced the gift of ‘Mary’ who has worked personally with members of my own family. We see her as a shining star.

Carole Rothstein
Teaneck, NJ

Dr. Harriet Fields: Health Care Activist in Africa

Harriet, I remember you from Teachers College where I was in the MEd, Teaching Nursing of Children program pretty much the same years as you.  I agree with you that entering (& finally leaving) those thick wood doors were a launch to a wonderful personal and professional future!

Susan Stucki
Chicago, IL

Dyslexia in the Prison Population

To the Editor:

I am a dyslexic specialist in northern Michigan - took training in 1986 and was the first Director of the Michigan Dyslexia Institute Center in Harbor Springs, MI.  I am a Fellow at the Academy of OGPand E.  Currently have taught at University of Florida.  Your article is great and so needed.  Keep up the good work.

Jane Andrews
Petoskey, MI


To the Editor:

We need to focus on the STEM/STEAM/MARINE SCIENCE Educational Pipeline in Brooklyn  that connects elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, and workforce development organizations.

Scott Krivitsky
Brooklyn, NY 


To the Editor:

As a recently retired intervention specialist trained in an Orton-Gillingham reading method, I have seen first hand how successful these types of programs are for students struggling with dyslexia.  Now that I am retired as of 7/1/15 I was interested in finding out more about what can be done to help inmates who are still struggling with reading and writing as adults.  Thank you for your information.  

Jo Pergola
Kent, OH


To the Editor:

Dr. Moody, I have a child with dyslexia and recently have become involved in efforts to pass legislation to ensure screening and remediation for dyslexia for kids in Missouri.  I am looking for research and resources to better educate our lawmakers.  Thank you.

Lee Walter
St Louis, MO

Dr. Harriet Fields: Health Care Activist in Africa

To the Editor:

What a wonderful description of the beautiful, powerful woman you have become! Thank you for sharing your personal story. You continue to be a great inspiration to me and, I am sure, many others. Your partnering with me on my anti-bullying project was entirely fruitful. I will continue to inform, and perhaps include you, in my future endeavors. Love you!

Susan Dubilo
Westfield, MA 

Ada Byron, 1815-1852, First Woman to Anticipate Computers 

To the Editor:

Most interesting subject.

More appropriate heading: First woman to anticipate programming for computers. The Analytical Engine was never completed, but I saw a partial construction of Babbage’s design in a London museum. The lady is most often referred to as Ada Lovelace.

Victor Auerbach
Hamilton Square, NJ 

Ana Maria Martinez, Opera

To the Editor:

Thank you, Joan,

Ana sung beautifully today - Ave Maria, on 3/11/16 at Nancy Reagan’s funeral, Ave Maria is my 7th great-grandfather’s composing - Franz Shubert. May the arts always portray to the glory of the Lord! 

Thank you and staying well blessed to all and your beloveds ... 

Charles Kolb

The Road to Becoming a Piano Tuner

To the Editor:

David what a great story!  I’m your age and about to retire.  I have a grand piano and I have an 
excellent Russian piano tuner.  I can tune unisons but would like to learn how to tune a piano just for the fun of it.  Can you recommend how to do that in the Boston area? Thanks.

Joe Provino
Arlington, MA

College Board President Gaston Caperton Speaks Out on Living with a Learning Disability

To the Editor:

This is a great example of over coming a disability of any kind with help and encouragement from other people.

Mary Mowen
Keyser, WV

Sandra Makielski, Educator 

To the Editor:

I’m 45 but I want to go back to school and be in Sandra’s class!!! Very inspirational! 

Jacqueline Mullen



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