10 Easy Ways to Strengthen the Weaknesses Associated with Dyslexia

Dyslexia
is the new, hot topic in education around the globe, and it is
frequently featured in educational conferences, news articles, YouTube videos, and
even movies.  New estimates suggest
that as many as 1 in 10 children have this difficulty, making it the most common
type of learning disability.  Although dyslexia is common, many with this condition remain
undiagnosed.  Furthermore, many others who have received this diagnosis don’t
fully understand it and never receive the needed remediation.  So, how can
we help this underserved population? 
Here are some suggestions:
1. Because black text on a white
background can be visually uncomfortable for many with dyslexia,
provide them the option of using color overlays or nonprescription glasses with
color-tinted lenses.  You can make your own overlays by taking
transparent, colorful pocket folders or report covers and slicing them into
strips that can also be used as bookmarks.  You can get a selection
of tinted glasses that your students can use on sites like Amazon.com.  The most popular color seems to be yellow. 
2. Similarly, if changing the
color of the background is helpful for reading, it is likely that your learners
will also benefit from changing the background color when typing.  On a
Mac, using Word, this can be done by clicking on the Format drop down menu, and
then selecting background.  Here you can select another background
color.  Please note, this will not impact the background when printing
documents.  On a PC, this can be done by selecting the drop down menu, Page
Layout, then Page Color.
3. Play search games with letters and words that are challenging.  For example, if a
learner is having trouble discriminating between the letters “b” and “d,” give them
a magazine, newspaper or other print out and have them circle all the “bs.”  They don’t have to be able to read the text; they will just be
searching for the designated letter or word.  If you instruct a student to scan
one line at a time, you will also be strengthening his or her tracking skills.
4. Purchase a
book of jokes, or find some on the internet.  Go through each joke and
talk about what makes it funny.  Discuss double meanings, and make a list
of words that have multiple meanings.  Finally, encourage the learner to
make their own joke book.
5. If spelling
is a real problem, make a list of the student’s commonly misspelled words.  Use a
notebook and place one word on each page.  Have fun coming up with memory
strategies that will help the learner remember the correct spelling.  For
example, if a student is having difficulty with the word “together,” he or she may
notice that the word is made up of three simple words – to, get and her.  As
another example, one may notice that the word “what” has the word “hat” in
it.  The student might draw many hats in their notebook and then write down
the question, “What hat?”
6. Play fun, free internet games and videos that review basic phonics, such as Star Fall, BBCs Syllable Factory Game, Phonics Chant 2 and Magic E.
7. Make difficult letters, numbers and words with the learner out
of wet spaghetti, pebbles, raisins, pipe cleaners, a sand tray, shaving cream,
or clay.   You can also place challenging letters, numbers or words
on a ball or a balloon and play catch. 
Every time a participant catches the ball or balloon, he or she reads the first symbol or word seen.  Integrating a tactile and kinesthetic modality into lessons will make
them more enjoyable and memorable.
8. Use books on
tape or read aloud.  While listening, ask the learners to close their eyes so they can image the story in their head.  Many learners with
dyslexia never fully develop their capacity to envision or visualize a story,
because reading is so mentally overwhelming.  Helping these learners to
develop the ability to utilize their mind’s eye aids in reading
comprehension and memory.  Another option is to have the learner read
along, so they can begin to see and recognize whole words and phrases.  A great organization that offers books on tape
for struggling readers is Learning Ally. You can also purchase Franklin’s Anybook Anywhere so that books can be recorded at your convenience, yet played anytime – anywhere!
9. Have fun creating a
special reading area.  Make sure to come up with a fun name for this
place, such as “the book nook.”  Decorate it together.  You can
fill it with pillows, stuffed animals, blankets and other comforting
objects.  You can hang drapes around it, get a large bean bag, hide it
under a tall table, or build it around an indoor chair swing or hammock.  Have
books, highlighters, colored pencils and paper within reach.
10. Create a consistent
time every few days where the whole family  grabs a book and reads.  All
family members should congregate and read in a common room.  Make sure to
have munchies and other comforting objects at hand.  This is a time
to relax and enjoy the company of one another, so make this a cherished and
special time.

If you are interested in
purchasing some products that help students with dyslexia, consider downloading
a free sample of Dr. Warren’s Reversing ReversalsFollowing Directions, Making Inferences the Fun and Easy Way, or Reading Games.  These and more great publications are
available at www.dyslexiamaterials.com

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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2 replies
  1. Doug
    Doug says:

    Thanks so much for including Learning Ally in your wide menu of suggestions for readers who have dyslexia. It gives us a good natured smile to see that "books on tape" continues to be the common phrase when people refer to audiobooks. These days we have over 80,000 human-read titles but haven't distributed them on tape for more than a decade; in fact even CDs are virtually phased out and now everything is downloadable and portable to PCs, Macs, iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, and soon Android devices. Whatever assistive technology is used, it's gratifying to see so many specialists and learning professionals recommending accessible audiobooks as a proven accommodation for kids with learning differences.

    Reply

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