If you have been around the blog for a while you know that R is dyslexic and dysgraphic. However, R is also an incredible reader. As I type this my nine year old is working her way through the Harry Potter books. This seems to stump a lot of people because she is dyslexic. I will say it didn’t come easy. A lot of hard work went into teaching her to read. If you have a dyslexic student that is struggling with reading I want to share how my dyslexic child became a strong reader.
Phonics – I can not say enough for a phonics based approach to teaching reading. R has learned to see the word as a series of sounds and this has helped her. I am not saying that phonics will work as well with all dyslexic children. Some don’t grasp this concept as well. For R, it has been life saving though. I used Hooked on Phonics with her and it was a great foundation for her reading.
Get Hands On – Instead of having your dyslexic child just work on reading constantly, get hands on. Instead of having them read words, build them with playdoh or letter cards. Sometimes for children with dyslexia they need that hands on component to make a skill stick.
Read every day – From a young age I sat and worked with R on reading. Books like Little Critter are a great next step after the Hooked on Phonics books are completed. For R, we started with making it through one page of a book. I would help with words that she struggled with. As she became a stronger reader, I would increase the amount she needed to read. Look at where your child is with their reading and pick an amount that will work well with them.
Use games and interactive sites – Sites like starfall are a great way to capture the attention of a child with dyslexia. There is a reward as the child is learning in the form of small games and interactive components. Don’t underestimate these games and sites. They could be just what you need to back up what you are already working on.
Youtube can be your friend – There are many different phonics songs and videos on Youtube. Sometimes music is just what a child will need to cement a difficult area with reading. My kids really enjoyed the Rock n Learn Phonics. If you find something that your child enjoys and learns from, play it often for your child.
Kindle can be your friend as well. – There are many reasons we love our Kindles. You can increase the size of the words. This means that instead of seeing a page full of words, your child will only see a smaller amount. For a dyslexic child, this can take away the overwhelming feeling that they will fail before they begin. If you sign up for Kindle Free time your child will have access to many free leveled readers that they can download and read. This has been a huge resource instead of buying leveled readers.
Word Pointers – Word pointers like the word pointers Mrs. Jone’s Class made are a great way to remind dyslexic students to only focus on one word at a time. With my daughter, it was the norm for her to try and use the context of other words to guess the rest of the sentence instead of sounding out the word. Using these pointers causes a child to slow down and focus on one word at a time.
Patience – This will be the harder one. Teaching a child with dyslexia to read is going to take more work and more time. It’s important to manage your expectations so that you don’t hold the child to an unrealistic standard. Don’t take it easy on your child because of dyslexia but don’t expect them to keep up with children who don’t have dyslexia. Instead, understand that teaching a dyslexic child to read will be a process that will take time and energy.
Is your dyslexic student reading? What did it take for you to get to this point?