TIPS FOR MANAGING DYSLEXIA
Dyslexics have many strengths; oral skills, comprehension, good visual spatial awareness/artistic abilities. More and more dyslexic children could become talented and gifted members of our schools if we worked not only with their specific areas of difficulty, but also their specific areas of strengths from an early age. To do this we have to let go of outmoded viewpoints that a dyslexic child must first fail, in order to be identified.
These are the children of our future and they have a right to help and support before they develop the dreadful sense of failure which is so insidious.
Class teachers dealing with dyslexic children need to be flexible in their approach, so that they can, as far as possible, find a method that suits the pupil, rather than expecting that all pupils will learn in the same way
TIPS FOR PARENTS
- Surround your child with reading.Read out loud to him/her, modeling phrasing and intonation. Allow the child to read anything and everything, many times if they like. Have them read out loud, giving corrective feedback. Make reading a positive experience. There are all kinds of ways to support your child’s reading. More of these ideas includes:
- Listening to audio books and have your child read along with them.
- Make sure he/she spends some time reading alone, both quietly and aloud.
- Re-read their favorite books. It may be a little boring for you, but it helps them learn.
- Take turns reading books aloud together.
- Talk about the stories you read together and ask questions like, “What do you think happens next?”
- Use schoolbooks, but you can also branch out into graphic novels and comic books, too. Reading things your child is interested in or excited about can be motivating.
- Encourage reading fluency.Have him read a short passage several times while you record the time it takes. Children often enjoy seeing if they can improve their time, and the repetition helps establish fluency.
- Build vocabulary.Ask your child to tell you a new word he/she has learned every day. Talk about what it means, look it up in a dictionary, and make up sentences with the word. Play a game where each of you uses the word in a sentence at least twice that day, then again that week. Post a “New Vocabulary” word list and add to it daily or weekly.
- Play games.For a young child particularly, playing games is fun and instructive: clap so she can hear how many syllables a word contains; segment word sounds and blend them back together; call attention to alliterations in songs, poems, and nursery rhymes.
- Go high-tech.Use computer resources, including apps, digital learning games, and websites with learning games.
TIPS FOR THE TEACHERS
- Instruction must be explicit, intensive, systematic, supportive, tied to regular classroom teaching, guided by individual assessments, and motivating. When homework is set, it is important to check that the child correctly writes down exactly what is required. Try to ensure that the appropriate worksheets and books are with the child to take home.
- Students learn more effectively in small groups (1:3) than in a whole class or larger groups. Seat the child fairly near the class teacher so that the teacher is available to help if necessary, or he can be supported by a well-motivated and sympathetic classmate.
- Encourage pre-teaching: prior to reading a text. Relate everything to real experiences. Generalize with visuals, toys, common household items, field trips. Break tasks down into small easily remembered pieces of information.
- Increase vocabulary by bringing words to life. Select high-utility words. Use new words in conversation and in writing and make sure students have frequent contact with new words in order to “own” them. It’s important to teach pronunciation and strategies to read, and to learn new words (roots, affixes). Teach multiple meanings of words, concentrate on figures of speech, synonyms and homophones, always making them concrete.
- Have your child read controlled texts at his level. Have him build speed and knowledge by reading the same words in different contexts. A structured reading scheme that involves repetition and introduces new words slowly is extremely important. This allows the child to develop confidence and self esteem when reading. Don’t ask pupils to read a book at a level beyond their current skills, this will instantly de-motivate them. Motivation is far better when demands are not too high, and the child can actually enjoy the book. If he has to labour over every word he will forget the meaning of what he is reading.
- While writing on the blackboard, ensure that the writing is well spaced. Leave the writing on the blackboard long enough to ensure the child doesn’t rush, or that the work is not erased from the board before the child has finished copying.
Above all, there must be an understanding from all who teach them, that they may have many talents and skills. Their abilities must not be measured purely on the basis of their difficulties in acquiring literacy skills. Dyslexic children, like all children, thrive on challenges and success.