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Tips for Providing At-Home Reading Help for Dyslexia

Has your child been diagnosed with dyslexia? If so, you are probably wondering what you can do to help him or her. We’re going to share some of our best tips with you below. But first, here’s a little information about dyslexia and its impact.

Why does dyslexia make reading difficult?

A neurological disorder, dyslexia affects how the brain interprets the symbols that we use for reading.

Symbols? You mean letters and words?

Yes. We learn to read by learning to associate symbols with sounds and meanings.

Our system of writing is based on a shared understanding of a unique set of symbols we call letters. For example, the letters c-a-t spell cat and means a domestic feline only because we have learned to associate that sound and meaning to those words.

This association of letters or sets of letters with specific sounds is called phonological awareness. Recognizing letters and sounds and putting them together to make words is called decoding and it can be tough for someone with dyslexia.

In addition to reading using phonics or phonological awareness, most of us learn to quickly recognize certain words in a process called rapid automatic naming (RAN). Using RAN, your mind doesn’t hesitate when seeing these words but rapidly associates them with their assigned meaning. This process can also trouble the reader with dyslexia.

The mind of a person with dyslexia has to work so hard to translate and interpret the symbols that represent the words in a book that there is very little brain power left to understand what is being read. For students, this lack of automaticity (quickly processing the words in a sentence) causes reading comprehension problems which interfere with their ability to learn from reading textbooks.

Tips to Help Your Child with Dyslexia

If your child has dyslexia, they may have difficulty keeping up in class despite being very bright. They may also start to feel frustrated when trying to read. But there are steps you can take to help your child. We’ve shared a few of our favorites below.

Treat reading as a separate subject.

Imagine how hard it would be to complete a history test if you didn’t understand anything in the textbook and had to rely solely on what your teacher had discussed in class. How long would it take you to complete a worksheet if all of the instructions were written in a language you didn’t understand?

If learning to read is a challenge for your child, leave the task of reading out of his other subjects. When your child brings home a worksheet or reading assignment for one of his other school subjects, help him by reading the materials to him. This will help him keep up with his schoolwork while he continues to improve his reading skills.

Co-read using the “to, with, by” method.

This popular method of reading instruction is described by Peggy M. Wilber in her book, Reading Rescue 1-2-3. The method is implemented exactly how you would expect. To begin, select a book that is at your child’s current reading level. Then read the book to the child. Use a piece of paper or your finger to underscore or highlight the words as you read to her.

After you’ve read a small section or page of the book to your child, ask her to read the same passage with you. This should be a relaxed exercise. If your child hesitates at a word, read the word for them without comment and allow her to continue. Then, as a final step, ask your child to read the passage by herself.

Give them the tools to succeed.

It is okay to use assistive technologies to support your child’s learning. Tools such as sophisticated spell-checking and speech to text apps can help your child complete their school work efficiently and confidently. Many physical and digital tools have been designed specifically to assist students with dyslexia.

In addition to assistive tools, programs such as Learning Technics IQ Express can help your child grow and learn. Our brain-training exercises help children strengthen their brain’s processing abilities and gain focus.

Your support is the most important ingredient to your child’s success

The most important thing that you can do to help your child learn to read is to be a constant source of support and encouragement. Celebrate each success. Help your child to see setbacks as challenges to be overcome rather than failures. And, always be your child’s advocate. Together you’ll achieve great things!

Check out last week's blog post here!

June 20, 2017

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