note: Words highlighted in BLUE and underlined are links...
I've retired!!! But the website goes on. I will continue to answer questions and provide information through the GUESTBOOK as long as I am able.
5/7/17 This is the response from Etta K. Brown, author of Learning Disabilities - Understanding the Problem and Managing the Challenges, when asked to evaluate the PIreading website.
Dear Mr. Round
Thank you for your kind inquiry regarding visual processing.
my years in the business, I found that children had diagnosed
themselves by third grade, and could tell the teacher exactly what she
should do to modify the classroom and her instruction to accommodate his
number one in all visual activity should be to allow the child to
accommodate for his own disability. He will place the reading material
where he can see and comprehend it. Unfortunately, what the teacher
thinks about placement of reading material has nothing to do with the
abilities of the child, and if he cannot accommodate the opinions of the
teacher, he is out of luck in the regular classroom, and has to go to
special education because he has special needs. And, if you ask the
teacher what is wrong with turning a textbook upside down to read it,
even the best teachers will become some sort of advocate to get these
different children out of the regular classroom, and into special
education where those teachers specialize in teaching children who learn
"differently" , and they don't pay attention to the students needs
as an experienced School Psychologist with a MEd in Special Education,
and an Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology and a Licensed
Educational Psychologist, it is good to have that frustration out of
the way. What we are addressing is a child development problem, and
that is not a concern of the education system. We as educators have to
deal with the child that comes to us, and teach him as best we can. It
would seem reasonable to simply place the reading material in any
position in which the child can read it. However, we don't accommodate
the child's development, we try to modify the child to function within
what "education" has determined to be the correct way to do things.
am in complete agreement with what you present on you website, but
would question whether you are teaching, or advocating for modification
of teaching techniques, by making every teacher a special teacher
capable of teaching any child that comes to them. There are varying
degrees of difference and special needs within every child. Every
teacher should be aware of this an able to make accommodations within
their class of "regular" children.
I think your techniques should be brought to the attention of
administration to heighten awareness of the developmental needs of these
children. A review of the research reveals the following:
Do babies see upside down?
It is believed that newborns tend to see things upside down in their
initial days. According to some researches, images first reach our
brain through the eyes in an upside down manner. The former then flips
them over so we see the images the right side up. But, if the brain of a
newborn is not yet practiced enough to flip the images, that may result
in your baby having an inverted vision. Then on your website I found:
experimenters found that fishes, frogs and toads (but not mammals) also
could regenerate the optic nerve and recover vision if the nerve was
cut carefully without damage to the main artery to the retina.
The key here is not mammals. Mammals are the product of their heredity and environment. To address an infants developmental issues, one must find that specific sociological/environmental experience which causes the brain to flip the images the right side up.
Research results suggest that this activity occurs somewhere between
4-7 months after birth. So, my research of the literature with learning
disabilities revealed that gross motor activity (running, jumping,
climbing, etc) causes integration of neural reflexes resulting in
maturation of the nervous system. Perhaps there is some physical
activity in the infants neural development, equivalent to the gross
motor activity of childhood, which gives the brain the stamina it needs
to flip things over to an upright position within the central nervous
is much in the literature that reveals that faulty child rearing
practices cause irreparable damage to the developing child, and that the
greatest damage is done during the first six months of life, the period
during which this particular activity takes place.
exciting research project would be to identify those specific events
occurring during the first six moths of life that have such permanent
impact upon development. The challenge is to identify it and train
parents to implement the practice. Until we find a properly motivated
researcher, we are left with letting children tell us what works best
for them in the classroom. Then we have to remove the prejudice
associated with the question of whether words written upside down are
spelled correctly, or whether a term paper written upside down deserves
the same A as the one written right side up.
Thank you for sharing your insights, and for contacting me. I truly enjoyed this experience.
Etta K Brown
1/29/15 Some really interesting responses from teachers and parents of dyslexic kids on ExperienceProject.com. Here's the link: http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Can-Read-Upside-Down/1147475
10/17/14 I guess there is a negative side of success. The kids I had been working with in the Spring and over the Summer are all doing so well that they no longer need my help (that's good!), but now I need to fill those spots. Although I am working with 5 new students at New Hope, none of them is dyslexic. They are simply experiencing the "normal" difficulties learning how to read.
I'm looking for more dyslexic kids to help! If you know of anyone in the eastern CT and Rhode Island area, don't hesitate to e-mail. I'm even thinking of doing this by SKYPE so that Reading for All can help kids nationally and even internationally!
5/23/14 An interview with RJ's mom, Chevette, reveals much about the struggles dyslexic kids go through in school. In the first part of the video, Chevette talks about the difficulties she had in school in the 70's and 80's. The 2nd part is about what her son has been going through for the last 5 years or so.
Chevette Jeffries Interview Part 1:
Chevette Jeffries Interview Part 2:
4/15/14 This has been a good month for Reading for All and PI Reading. Mason, a student who I have been working with for less than a year, is now "on-level" (according to his teachers) and is reading conventionally. He still reads better upside down which is a bonus (he has two possible approaches instead of one). By "graduating" him out of tutoring, I have now been able to take on a new student in that time slot.
I also had a meeting with another student's evaluation team. The team added accommodations to her IEP that would allow her to read upside-down and use an inverted computer screen (including testing). This is the 2nd student who oficially has PI written into his or her IEP. That's a big step in the right direction!
I've also taken on a 2nd new student on Saturdays. RJ's family lives close to 2 hours away, so we're meeting at a library at the half-way point. Interestingly, when I first screened RJ for PI, he actually did slightly worse inverted. But, after talking to his mom, I learned that he read upside down in 1st grade and his teachers prohibited him from doing it that way. Since he's now 11 years old and still reading on a 1st grade level, we decided to "give it a go" with PI. He had nothing to lose at that point.
Here's a video of RJ reading Harry Potter (level 5.5) after several weeks of PI reading. He is much more confident and a lot happier.
3/26/14 Many years ago, when I first began teaching in the inner city, I came up
with a plan to get my 2nd graders reading. The problem was not that
they didn't want to read at home. The main problem was that they had
nothing to read.
So, since I am an avid flea-marketer, I began acquiring cheap books and
establishing a classroom "lending library" - nothing elaborate - just a
bookcase with whatever I could purchase cheaply.
You'd be surprised what you could buy for a quarter in those days, but
if it was a decent hardcover I'd splurge and go up to a dollar or two
-or sometimes more.
Anyway, I became friends with the "Booklady". All she had was books -
hardcover, softcover, adult schmaltz, classics, kiddy books, adolescent
series - you name it. We talked about what a shame it is that kids don't
read much anymore, and I told her about my inner city kids and my idea
of how to get them reading. She was so excited by the idea that she
began putting aside titles that she thought might be appropriate.
She started collecting Harry Potter books for me, because she knew the
kids loved HP. But soon she was coming up with dozens of Boxcar Kids,
Goosebumps, Saddle Club, Babysitter's Club, Pokemon - literally (pun)
anything a kid might want to read. Even comic books were added. She was
so excited to hear that 2nd graders were reading books one, two and
sometimes three levels higher than their expected reading levels, that
sometimes she refused to take any money at all for them.
It was a huge success and the books kept pouring in. Soon I began
selling them to the kids for whatever I paid for them and simply giving
them away to the neediest students.
Anyway, I did that for years - long after the atmosphere changed and the
PTB began requiring teachers to all be on the same page, doing the same
thing at the same time. Eventually I was forced to stop doing it
But I still used to stop and talk to her and pick up a book here and
there for myself . When I began focusing on dyslexia and PI back in 2009
the Booklady was fascinated. She began talking to other customers about
this inner school teacher who was getting dyslexic readers to read by
turning their books upside down.
Anyway, last Sunday I approached her to say hello and she grabbed my arm
and said "I really need to tell you something." I noticed that she was
beginning to "tear-up" so I was expecting the worst.
Booklady began telling me about an "older woman" who stopped by her
booth a few weeks back. The woman mentioned how much she would have
loved reading if she just hadn't had this problem with dyslexia all her
life. It ran in the family, and even her daughter had it.
So she began telling her about all of the dyslexic kids that this
teacher friend of hers helped simply by turning their books upside down.
And the woman was fascinated. She took a book from one of the shelves
and flipped it over and gave it a go right there in the aisle. And then
The woman began to cry. Really cry.
She pulled up a chair and sat down and began to read the book - really reading
for the first time in her life. So she was crying, and Booklady was
crying and she kept saying "So simple. Something so simple...."
And as I listened to this story, I began to tear-up, too.
Something so simple can make such a difference in a dyslexic person's life.....
2/7/14 Video of a "dyslexic friendly" classroom where kids are allowed (even encouraged) to hold their reading materials in the way that is best for them. New Hope Academy is a small multi-graded K-3 classroom on the Rhode Island/Connecticut border where I've been tutoring for the last 4 years. Hear the teacher comments on what it is like to have children reading in so many different ways.
1/28/14 - My efforts to get the word out about PI go on. In addition to being on a number of teacher and dyslexic forums, Suzanne Arena and I did a radio talk show in Woonsocket, RI last week. Hopefully, at some point I will be able to get access to the audio recording and make it available here.
Thursdays is currently tutoring day for me with 8 students at New Hope that I work with and 5 spread over different parts of Rhode Island. As funds become available through Reading for All I will add a day on and expand my reach to more kids and adults. This month there have also been a number of new videos added - including one of a PI screening that turned out NOT to be dyslexia at all. Looking forward to a busy Spring!
12/12/13 - READING for ALL is our newly formed non-profit tutoring outreach for dyslexic individuals in Rhode Island and Eastern Connecticut who either can't afford these services or do not have access to them. Currently 12 individuals are obtaining services free of charge and more will be added as we obtain financial support.
I also had the pleasure this month of addressing the Scottish Rite Masons at a fundraiser for the Children's Dyslexia Center of Rhode Island. I was joined by Rhode Island dyslexia advocate Suzanne Arena and her son. Here's the video.
More good news this month - According to his teachers, Mason is now reading ON LEVEL ! Here's a testimonial from his mom:
Mason has an i.e.p and has received services in school since he was in preschooll.
My husband and I had Mason independently tested when he was in 1st
grade. His Neurologists diagnosed him with Dyslexia and ADD. Mason was
put on the waiting list at the Dyslexia Center. He began tutoring in
2011. Masons reading improved, however he was always one grade level
behind in his reading. I was introduced to Steve and his method of
reading from a friend of mine. He graciously accepted to tutor my son
on a voluntary basis. He worked so well with my son. He took his time
and I was impressed how well Mason took to the concept. I have to admit I
was a little unsure at first but that all changed when II went to his
parent teacher meeting last week. In the four months of working with
Steve, Masons reading improve to the point where he was actually reading
at grade level. He was taken out of his special ed class and put in a
reading group in the regular education classroom. Mason can read with
confidence now and that is priceless to me I hope
more children will be exposed to Steve's method. It made a huge
difference for my son.
* Videos of Mason's progress are included in the PI video collection on YouTube.
11/9/13 - Two new students since my last BLOG entry, Bethany and Antuan, and the formation of READING for ALL - an innovative non-profit service providing free tutoring to dyslexic children and adults in nearby Connecticut and Rhode Island. To read more about READING for ALL, please click this link.
8/2/13 - Found a wonderful book entitled The Upside-Down Reader, by Wilhelm Gruber, a reading teacher who works(ed) with learning disabled kids in Germany. Evidently the book was published right around the same time that I discovered my first PI reader in 1999. It's a Reading Level 2 book and is full of interesting and brightly colored illustrations. Unfortunately it's out of print, but can still be obtained through Amazon. Here's the link to view the first 15 pages on Amazon.
7/18/13 Suppose all PI readers/writers were treated like celebrities like this New Zealand woman....
Here's Maree writing upside down.
6/12/13 Mason just completed 2nd grade and has had a hard time learning to read. Unless he can catch up, it has already been decided that he will be going into a SPED classroom in the fall. Out of sheer desperation, his mom called and asked if I could evaluate him for PI. She knows that he is bright and does not really feel SPED is the answer.
In this video I ask Mason to read from a book he is somewhat comfortable with - Danny and the Dinosaur (RL 2.2). When he gets stuck on a word it is evident that Mason relies heavily on the picture-clues. Even though he is very familiar with the first pages in this book, Mason makes quite a few errors. As we go along I ask Mason to try reading the book sideways (90 degrees to the right) to see if there is any improvement.
Watch the video and you decide if it makes a difference....
Unfortunately, I ran out of memory in my camera. Had I not, you would have seen, as his mother did, that Mason did even better with the book turned completely upside-down. Next week I will record him reading PI and will post to show progress.
5/19/13 Please take a look at the 5/19/13 comments from "FourSquare" at the bottom of My Guestbook . She's a 6th grade Special Ed teacher who discovered her first PI reader by accident. Fortunately, FourSquare remembered that a crazyman going by the avatar "Teacherman" had posted numerous times about Print Inversion on the AtoZ teacher's forum.
I hope she keeps us filled in on his progress...
5/12/13 A very exciting couple of weeks...
While continuing my tutoring at New Hope Academy, I have taken on two new students in Cranston, Rhode Island. Interestingly, they are a mother (in her 30's) and her 10-year -old son son who have been struggling with dyslexia for many years.
Suzanne knows her stuff when it comes to her (and her son's) disability. She is an advocate for her son and has taken on the task of being a "squeaky wheel" for all children struggling with dyslexia in our RI public schools.
In the meantime, I have been working with Suzanne and Cole to see if PI might help them. As always, I've video taped the sessions (with their written permission, of course) and have uploaded them to the PI YouTube channel. Take a look at the last 6 or 7 videos of them using PI to become better readers.
4/11/13 It was an honor for me to speak at the United Opt-Out Occupation of the DOE this past weekend. Although a bit nervous, it helped to know that my audience was on my side and we were gathered there for the "common good" - to put a stop to High Stakes Testing and the privatization of the Public School System.
Also new: - I've added a new web page to the site entitled Peer Review of PI Reading and Writing . I'm hoping to build a collection of reviews by educators who have actually used, or witnessed the use of, the PI intervention on their students. The first review is by Bryce Thompson, teacher at New Hope Academy in East Killingly, Connecticut. He has two of my PI kids enrolled in his class this year.
3/19/13 The United Opt Out National Occupation of the Department Education in Washington, D.C. is coming up in just a few weeks. I'm getting a bit nervous about giving a speech in front of a crowd that big (It's much easier talking to 26 little kids in a classroom).
Also, have recently begun working with two new PI students at another RI school. This brings the total of confirmed PI kids I've personally worked with to over 20. Here's one of the newest kids, Leland , on his first day working with me.
2/14/13 Began working with two more PI kids at New Hope Academy - one who reads best upside-down and one who reads best with the text held sideways. Here's a video of 6 year old Alexandrina reading Dick and Jane after just 6 tutoring sessions.
1/21/13 - Well, my YouTube resignation video went viral (275,000+ views) and continues to rise. A couple of good things have happened as a result of it. I've been asked to speak at the United Opt Out National occupation of the Department of Education in Washington, DC this Spring. It looks like I'll be speaking on April 5th at 9:20 in the morning. Diane Ravitch, Stephen Krashen and Kris Nielson, along with a host of others trying to bring about change in the Public School System, will also be there. Very exciting!
Also, as a result of the video, I was invited to visit a Montessori school to see if that might be a "better fit" - which I did a few weeks ago. What a great approach they have to education!! No standardized testing.... No "one-size-fits-all"...... Kids actually able to communicate with one another..... I could go on and on.
The Montessori "Madmen" were kind enough to offer a full scholarship to their training, too. Unfortunately for me, it take a full year of going to school full time (or three entire summers) to complete. Ah, if I were a younger man I'd jump at this opportunity! At 61 it just doesn't make sense for me. I think I can be more effective by continuing to promote PI - and tutoring.
Another positive result of my resignation video is the extra exposure my PI video collection is receiving thru YouTube.. Although I haven't transferred all of my older ones from Dropshots yet, there are videos of my newest PI kids (filmed this past week) you might be interested in.
12/15/12 - Quit my teaching job this past week and it seems that it was the best thing I could have done. It's on YouTube and has gotten over 40,000 hits in the last two days. Hundreds of comments, 99% positive. I guess I should have done this years ago. Thank you, everyone, for your support!
I would also like to offer my condolences to the families, friends and neighbors of those killed and injured in the CT shootings. This was every teacher's and parent's worst nightmare come true. Our thoughts and prayers should be with them at this time.
10/23/12 - Well, I've been back at school since the end of August. This year's class consists of 26 second graders, and they are challenging, to say the least. Luckily, I have an open-minded principal who agrees that we should do "whatever it takes" to help our lowest performing students, so during the first week of school I easily identified my two lowest performing students as PI, and, with the principal's and parent's blessing, began tutoring them after school. Their progress has been excellent and their parents are thrilled.
Well, about 2 weeks ago another of my students approached me and said that he had tried PI and found that it helped him, too. After Desmond demonstrated his PI talents to me, I called his parents with the good news that he was not "at risk" (as all the previous standardized testing had indicated).
In fact, he was above level and likely one of the brightest students in my class. They came in for a meeting with me, and after learning about my work with Print Inversion, and seeing their son read and write with amazing ease, gave me written permission to video tape him.
Here are the amazing videos of a boy who, without this simple accommodation, would most certainly have been heading for a life of academic failure.
Video #1 - Desmond taking his Spelling Test PI
Video #2 - Desmond reading 1st grade through 5th grade words in isolation
Video #3 - Desmond reading Charlotte's Web (grade level 4.5)
8/13/12 - Thanks to learning specialist Lynn Marshall, M.Ed from Alpharetta, Georgia for permission to add her questions and comments to the GuestBook. Her keen observations while working with a struggling high school senior and her desire to work in his best interest led her to this site.
On a more personal note, I would like to announce the birth of my newest granddaughter in Bangkok, Thailand on August 7th. My wife and I are thrilled that we were able to be there for her birth.
I can't help wondering, as Megan stares at me with those big blue eyes, how long she will continue to see me upside-down...
7/22/12 - Your Smithfield Magazine recently published a nicely done article entitled "From Humiliation to Exhilaration" , (pg 2) about retired school teacher Mary Frappier, a Print-Inverted reader and writer who we interviewed earlier this year. A second article, entitled "Promising Research on Upside- Down and Backwards Reading" , (pg.2) appears in the same issue.
Special thanks to Patti Shaffer for her work on both pieces.
6/29/12 - My favorite PI video - Things have slowed down for the summer, so I'm going to re-feature a video shot close to three years ago. Brianna was one of 5 low-performing First Graders who I had identified as PI readers in September. After a month of reading upside-down, I decided to introduce her to writing upside-down. This video is a recording of her first attempts at inverted writing. I love the part where she asks,
"The "d" goes this way...., or this way?"
6/1/12 Newest PI Student Does Even Better on a 90 Degree Angle! - James' mom gives us some background on her son in the GuestBook. (Scroll down to the 6/1/12 entry by Karen M.)
Then watch these three videos:
Video #1 shows James reading a GL4 GooseBumps book before I introduce him to PI.
Video #2 is James reading a different part of that same GooseBumps book three days later. Notice that he's found that holding the book at a 90 degree angle is best for him.
Video #3 was taken one week after beginning PI. He is now reading a GL7 book called The Hunger Games.
As Karen says, we'll keep you posted on his progress...
5/20/12- An Observant Tutor Recognizes PI - Please read today's addition to the GuestBook (be sure to scroll down to the bottom). It's a story from a tutor who stumbled on PI while helping a seven year old boy learn to read, and she recognized it for what it was - real reading!
Let's hear it for open minds!!
5/16/12 Isaiah Demonstrates Print Inverted Writing - For a Print Inverted reader, the ability to write upside-down comes naturally. Isaiah and I sit down to compose a story about Harry Potter - with Isaiah doing all of the writing. My purpose in filming this video is to show Isaiah's natural ability to write completely inverted. If you are using a lap-top to view this video, flip it over and watch him write from his perspective. Here's the finished product...
5/4/12 Jacob's Latest PI Spelling Test After learning that Jacob took his latest spelling test "right-side-up" and did poorly, I asked his teacher if I could have him re-take it PI. Like every other PI kid that I've worked with, he wants to rush the transition to "right-side-up" before he's ready, and the results are never good. The biggest battle with PI kids is getting them to be proud of their unique talent and comfortable using it - no matter who is around. Interestingly, he does all of his numbers conventionally in the 1st video. The 2nd video is of his test.
4/30/12 PI Presentation to Teachers - On
Thursday, April 26th,
my wife and I presented the topic of Print Inversion to the teachers and
principal of the James McGuire Elementary School in North Providence, RI. The presentation described how I first
noticed PI in one of my students over 10 years ago, how the MIT research
project began, and touched upon a few of my wife’s observations when working
with PI students.
1-hour session ended with several authentic videos (100% unrehearsed and uncut)
of students reading and writing effortlessly completely upside down.
would like to formally thank Mrs. Volpe, Mr. Meagher, and the dedicated teachers of James McGuire
Elementary School for their open-mindedness and willingness to consider any intervention that might help their
struggling students find success.
4/12/12 In her own words - Kyra writes "Before I started reading and writing sideways I had trouble seeing the words. When I would read the words the letters would vibrate and go off the page. When I would write it was sloppy! Now that the paper is sideways I can write better and write faster and I can spell better. My dad and I are happy and proud. Now that I read sideways the words are not jumbling and going off the page and I can read 5th grade books like Harry Potter". There's more... Here's her paper.
4/09/12 - Support From Canada Psychologist, Teacher and Researcher Dr. Shelagh Robinson has taken "outside the box" right into the Looking Glass. Read her latest blog to see how mirror reading and Print Inversion can be used to help make kids smarter.
4/01/12 - New Video - Reader's Theatre Performance of Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone. Final Cut Pt 1 - Chapter 1 - The Boy Who Lived...
3/24/12 - New Video - Here a recent video of Tiger, Isaiah and Jacob practicing for our PI Reader's Theatre presentation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Their reading is coming along nicely, but it looks like we still have to work on "stage presence"...
3/21/12 Do you remember Born Under a Bad Sign by Albert King?The song was written just for him and the third verse goes like this:
I can't read, haven't learned how to write
My whole life has been one big fight
Born under a bad sign
I been down since I begin to crawl
If it wasn't for bad luck,
I wouldn't have no luck at all
Now I wonder how many people know that Albert King played his guitar upside-down and backwards - Hhmmmmmmm.....
I wonder if anyone told him you can't play guitar like that???
3/20/12 - New Video! Here's an interview done this past Sunday afternoon with the parents and teacher of Isaiah, Kira and Jacob. The parents describe what it was like for their child to read and write before they were introduced to Print Inversion and how they are doing now. Mr. Thompson is not only Kira's dad, but he is one of the PI kid's classroom teachers. Here's part 2 of the interview and here's part 3.
3/2/12 - New Video! My newest PI student fresh from the Public School System. Three weeks ago labeled dyslexic/dysgraphic and excused from taking written spelling tests. Here he is taking his Weekly Spelling Test the only way he can - Print Inverted... And here are Tiger, Isaiah, and Kira taking their tests today,, too.
2/15/12 - New Video! Interview with Mary - A 74 year old reading teacher who struggled with Print Inversion as a child - with no one to validate her hidden talents. Here's the rest of the interview.
2/12/12 - New Video! On our 2nd day together (fall, 2010) I had Isaiah take the PI letter test. It's obvious when you see this video that he was truly a PI kid. At that time he could not read or write in the "standard" way. Here's a video of him now reading the words from the Fry list.
2/8/12 Came across a catchy tune from the 70's called Dyslexia . I don't remember ever hearing it before. Here are the lyrics:
Sometimes my world goes upside down
Sometimes I see things backwards
When I go walking in town, can't get back home
Someimes I see things right to left
And I know that's not right at all
But since I bumped into you, I bump into walls
And no one knows what's wrong with me
They think that I got dropsie
Is dis love?
Or is dyslexia