Teaching Reading to Students with Dyslexia
The primary image that people get in their mind when they consider dyslexia is of someone who sees words “backwards.” This is a huge misconception. Dyslexia is a broad term covering many types of difficulties with information processing leading to problems with reading, writing, grammar, and even math.
A diagnosis of dyslexia does not mean that your student will never learn to read. It simply means that he or she may need reading help for dyslexia that takes advantage of personal learning strengths. A reading program that is tailored to their unique learning strengths can help you in your journey of teaching reading to a dyslexic student.
Reading and Dyslexia
When evaluating your child’s reading issues, you’ll probably notice that he or she struggles in one or both of the areas of decoding words and reading fluency. For students with dyslexia, reading challenges can also lead to challenges in other areas of learning. But with early intervention and by using strategies that incorporate the learning strengths of dyslexic students naturally, those challenges can be overcome.
Reading skills are like building blocks in a pyramid. The blocks that support successful reading include:
At least one (and usually more) of these blocks are affected in students with dyslexia, meaning that students need specific dyslexia reading strategies aimed at putting the pyramid back in order.
The Reading Skills Pyramid visually depicts the patterns of concept acquisition that children follow in becoming successful readers up through third grade.
How to Help a Child with Dyslexia Read
It’s important to recognize that traditional ways of teaching reading to children don’t usually work for people with dyslexia. However, there are reading strategies for dyslexic students that emphasize their learning strengths. These include:
- Using multisensory techniques that incorporate as many of the senses as possible
- Incorporating assistive technology such as audiobooks and text-to-speech software
- Building confidence by progressing and introducing new words slowly
- Playing games with sight words such as “Concentration” or “Go Fish” that turn memorization into recreation
- Taking frequent breaks during instruction
- Systematic phonics instruction
Online Reading Programs for Dyslexia
The freedom and flexibility in homeschooling allow parents to teach their children the way they learn best. Because students with dyslexia often respond best to visual methods of teaching, families often seek out online dyslexia reading programs. The multimedia approach means that students are accessing multiple senses to make sense of the concepts, which can lead to better understanding and retention.
Parents should read to their kids, help them sound out words, and guide their reading activity, but they can’t learn for their child. That’s where using an online reading program for dyslexia that aids independent mastery comes in. An ideal reading curriculum for dyslexic students would:
- Be self-paced so that students could move ahead when instruction comes easily and be able to review when concepts are less clear
- Be multisensory and include plenty of visual instruction and support
- Combine instruction in phonics and sight words
- Include explicit instruction in all the rules of reading
- Teach strategies both for decoding and spelling new words
How Time4Learning Reading Helps Students with Dyslexia
Time4Learning offers fun, computer reading instruction which helps reinforce reading skills at home through educational activities and learning games. The foundation for making sense of how letters and sounds connect is called phonemic awareness. Time4Learning provides both phonemic and phonological awareness exercises that can be found throughout its language arts curriculum.
Once they’ve made the letter/sound connection, though, traditional teaching methods for reading are often inadequate for students with a learning difference such as dyslexia. These students need to engage as many of their senses as possible in their reading lessons, and they need a lot of repetition for the lessons to stick.
Time4Learning is an especially effective reading curriculum for dyslexia because not only is it multisensory, but lessons are able to be repeated as often as necessary for students to retain what they have learned. The comprehensive curriculum covers each of the key areas that students with or without learning disabilities need to master to become successful readers.
The highlights of Time4Learning’s approach to teaching reading are:
- Provides high-quality, research-based instruction and engaging learning activities through a variety of delivery systems
- Emphasizes the reading/writing connection with thematic lessons
- Stresses educational fundamentals in a creative atmosphere
- Is individualized and self-paced, providing consistent assessment and guidance
- Lessons developed by experts and correlated with state and national standards
Choose your subject and grade level to experience demos of Time4Learning’s interactive curriculum.
Have other questions about homeschooling a child with dyslexia? You may find the following pages helpful.