One such difference is dyslexia, a reading disability caused by a defect in the brain’s processing of graphic symbols. Dyslexia is a neurological medical diagnosis that is not just simply reversed.
It can be difficult for children with learning disabilities to find enjoyment in reading. They often have a hard time tackling books, and can become discouraged.
The important thing to remember is that there are many tip and tricks out there to aid in their struggle, and allow them to become amazing readers.
Here are some tips to assist children with dyslexia in becoming better readers:
- Reading in Groups – For children with dyslexia, reading in small groups can often be more beneficial than one-on-one reading instruction. Small reading groups can provide a positive example and elicit encouragement, especially if there are others within the reading group that have a learning disability. If they witness a fellow classmate (maybe even a parent or sibling at home), overcoming a reading disability, it shows them that reading can be fun and that they to can overcome a learning difference. Reading in groups also allows them to follow along while listening to others, and provides them the opportunity to discuss what they have read. This increases their comprehension and word association.
- Drill/Repetition/Practice – It is important to provide multiple exposures to skills. Continuous practice and repetition of reading lessons will help in moving students progressively towards a stronger understanding and independence in the learning process. As the age old saying states, “Practice makes perfect!”
- Provide Material that Motivates – Children/students can be motivated to read by material they find fun and exciting! Examples of such material include comic books, mystery stories, and even directions for interesting projects or games. When young minds get caught up in the excitement of the activity, they often do not even realize the hidden reading exercise within it. (20 something years later, I now realize what all those “fun craft projects” in school really were. Well played teachers, well played.)
- Break Down the Task – Have a child breakdown an unknown word into separate sounds or parts they can sound out. Large words can be overwhelming to children with dyslexia. By breaking them down into segments, it can make them more manageable. The same goes for large reading assignments. Cut the task down into smaller segments, creating mini milestones. As the milestones are met successfully, they create a sense of accomplishment and will encourage them to continue reading.
- Use Recorded Books – Recorded books provide a great way for those with dyslexia to listen while visually following along. Students can spend less time decoding words and instead increase their fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Learning Ally (a non-profit designed to help students with print disabilities, including blindness, visual impairment and dyslexia) provides audiobooks, as well as sections for parents, teachers, and students with information and learning tools.
It is important to remember that every child is different, and what works well for one may not necessarily work well for another. Take the time to discover what works best for your student, and allow them the chance to become the super star reader that is hidden within them.
“Effective Reading Interventions for Kids with Leaning Disabilities” by Kristin Stanberry and Lee Swanson
“Strategies for Summer Reading for Children with Dyslexia” by Dale S. Brown