My amazing girl is dyslexic. We have learned to not only be ok with this but to thrive with it. However, there are some difficulties that come with dyslexia that people don’t always talk about. I am going to share some of those with you as well as a tip or two as to how we are trying to overcome these difficulties that dyslexic children struggle with. Dyslexia is not the end of your world. It’s just a change in perspective.
7 Things Dyslexic Children Struggle With
- Use songs in learning.
R loves music and some things can be learned easier if she is using music to learn them.
- Get moving.
Instead of just memorizing the information, R will put together her own motions to go with whatever she is needing to memorize. Acting it out seems to help her to retain the information longer.
- Find creative ways to work through it with them.
R is in acting now and she works hard to memorize scripts but working through the scene with me multiple times. For her, the repetition of hearing it, doing it, and seeing it, work to help her retain more.
But you can read!
- Read what they are interested in.
If your child is interested in horses, grab books about horses. If they love legos, grab a book about that. You are more likely to get a child to read something they are interested in anyway.
- Be consistent.
When R was younger we spent the entire summer reading 1 page a day of the Richard Scarry Books. At first, she hated it. However, with practice every single day she learned to read better and by the end of the summer was reading a few pages a day. It’s ok to take it slow and keep it simple.
- Have read aloud time.
Sometimes children with dyslexia look like they can read. In reality, they have either memorized the book or the word. For situations like this, it helps to do read aloud time with your child. It will help you to see where there are learning gaps. Do not have them read aloud a lot. This could really frustrate a child with dyslexia. Instead, start small and be consistent.
Skipping Words When Reading
- Use a pointer.
Either let your child use their finger or use a pointing stick to make them touch each word as they read. This simple step will cause them to slow down and actually see each word instead of moving on.
- Cover words.
You can also cover the parts of the sentence your child isn’t reading yet so they have to work on one word at a time. This will help to reinforce the words while teaching your child to read in order.
- Correct where you need to.
I know many parents who will let their dyslexic child make a mistake because of their dyslexia. Don’t. Your child will only learn it the wrong way if you let them. Slow down and have your child find the missing word.
- Ask comprehension questions.
Did leaving out a certain word change the flow of the reading? Did it change the meaning of the sentence? Show your child that. There is a kind way to do it though. Make sure that you are asking if a sentence makes sense or if they should go back and read it again to make sure. Eventually, your child will start to pick up these problems on their own and correct the mistake.
Getting Easily Overwhelmed
- Cover everything but the sentence you are on.
We like to use a sheet of paper and cover everything we aren’t reading at that moment. This simplifies the reading and helps your child to focus on the task at hand.
- Large Print Books or a Kindle
Large print books put fewer words on the page. This can relieve some of the stress. You can also use a reader like the Kindle where you can make the font larger. Seeing fewer words on the page can make it easier.
- Give breaks as a reward, not as a cop-out.
It can be easy for both of you to get overwhelmed when working on a new concept. Sometimes a break from the work can make a great reward. Instead of letting your child stop because they are overwhelmed, set a goal and let the break be the reward when it is achieved. For example: Read the next two sentences and you can have a five-minute break to cool down.
- Correct, correct, correct.
Don’t let your child slide on word guessing. Have them read aloud to you and make sure they are saying each word correctly. If they do not, ask them if that word makes sense there. Instead of pointing out the problem, see if they can see the error.
- Sound it out.
Make them sound it out. Even if the word is one they have read a hundred times, having them sound it out will make them practice learning the word and learning how to handle a word they have never encountered. It will also help you to see if there are any learning gaps with certain phonemes.
Separating out Background Noise
- Find a quiet environment.
For R this meant taking her school work to her room. She was able to work alone where it was quiet without me constantly shushing her brother.
- Find a noise alternative.
R uses a Kindle Fire kids on the IheartRadio channel with headphones. Her music is an acceptable background noise for her and she is more willing to work with it in the background. Find the option that will work for your child and you may see an increase in learning.
- Find another way to teach it.
Does your child need to read the information? It may be better to let them listen to an audio book. Leave reading time for reading time and teaching time for teaching time.
- Play to their interests.
Your child will be more likely to remember something if it is about something they enjoy. For R, that means we read a lot about big cats, tornadoes, and princesses. This simple shift in reading helped her to enjoy it and remember better.
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