How to help students with dyslexia read

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    If you’re wondering how to help students with dyslexia read, the multi-sensory phonic method is the best option. But there are many more methods to try.

    How to help students with dyslexia read

    Dyslexic students deal with many struggles, including learning new words and remembering the sequence of the things they read. However, they also often have difficulty reaching the expected reading level for their age.

    There are many misconceptions about dyslexia that experts have debunked. In the past, it used to be treated as a lack of intelligence, but today we know it’s a matter of learning differences and brain structure.

    Therefore, we know how better to help struggling readers and teach parents, guardians, and educators to notice signs of dyslexia at a young age. Here, we’ll discuss learning tools and tips on ensuring students with dyslexia don’t have a hard time in the classroom.

    What is dyslexia and how it impacts reading

    According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is “a learning disability with neurobiological origins.” While it’s difficult to estimate accurately, experts believe between 15-20% of the population struggles with some degree of dyslexia. Furthermore, many dyslexic children are genetically predisposed to dyslexia.

    So, what are the most common signs of dyslexia? Overall, children with dyslexia have difficulties with word recognition, spelling, and decoding. The underlying issue of these symptoms is the lack of phonological awareness or the ability to manipulate words and sentences. However, symptoms of dyslexia also vary depending on the student’s age.

    For example, preschoolers may not notice rhyming in nursery rhymes. Second-grade or third-grade students may have issues with understanding what they heard or may not see similarities and differences in letters.

    Finally, teenagers with undiagnosed and untreated dyslexia may have issues learning a foreign language or summarizing a story in their native language. Ultimately, untreated dyslexia can lead to low self-esteem, mental health issues, and behavioral problems.

    Helping kids with dyslexia read

    Teaching reading comprehension requires literacy skills and takes extraordinary effort and knowledge for students with dyslexia. Whether you’re teaching a five-year-old or an adult, learners with dyslexia deserve extra time and attention.  

    We need to highlight the fact that students with dyslexia are often brilliant and are great visual learners. Still, teachers working with dyslexic students should have knowledge of special education to achieve great results.

    Because dyslexic students have a difficult time with phonics, or the ability to match letters to sounds, they require a slow and structured approach to learning.

    Therefore, systematic phonics-based reading instructions are the go-to solution. Children don’t learn automatically in these programs by just being around books. Instead, the child receives direct instructions and clear word meanings and has their reading broken into manageable tasks.

    Best tips for helping students with dyslexia read

    Students with dyslexia may have a number of obstacles to overcome for reading and learning, but that doesn’t mean they are lacking in other abilities. For example, dyslexic children are often great at detecting softer sounds and have advanced musical abilities.

    That’s why it’s crucial to make help students with dyslexia find the right learning paths for them. One of the best solutions is the Orton-Gillingham approach, which encourages teachers to focus on all senses, easy-to-understand instructions, and positive reinforcement.

    However, there are many more excellent and practical tips teachers and parents should keep in mind when working with a dyslexic student:

    • Present language in smaller, more manageable chunks.

    • Take the time to explain exam strategies.

    • Offer several learning choices.

    • Include L-shaped cards into everyday learning.

    • Create and post visual schedules and frequently read them aloud.

    • If possible, use large-print font for worksheets.

    • Allocate as much time as possible for reading and writing.

    • Use colored strips and bookmarks to help with focus.

    • Play audiobooks if reading physical books aloud is not possible.

    • Create a glossary of important terms.

    • Whenever possible, use step-by-step instructions and read them aloud.

    • Make sure all directions are as simple as possible.

    • Check in with the student frequently to be sure they understand an assignment.

    • Create self-monitoring checklists.

    • Provide extra time for taking exams.

    • Don’t ask the student to read aloud, which can lead to embarrassment.

    • Don’t punish the student for lost or forgotten items.

    • Allow students to use voice recording apps instead of note-taking apps.

    • Whenever possible, make learning fun.

    Finally, teachers and parents should consider including text to speech apps and headphones in a child’s learning process. A screen reader can read the assignments from the screen, so the child will save time and understand better what they need to do. Headphones can also help achieve better focus and reduce distractions in the classroom or at home.

    Speechify makes reading easier

    Many tools can help students with learning disabilities like dyslexia develop better reading skills. For example, text to speech software can read any digital text aloud, which is an important learning strategy.

    Speechify is one of the best text to speech solutions available, and its creator was a dyslexic child who relied on screen readers to thrive. You can use Speechify online as a mobile app or a Chrome extension.

    Users can choose between over 30 natural-sounding voices, change reading speeds, and even take notes. Try Speechify for free today—it will make a world of difference if you’re struggling with dyslexia.

    FAQ

    How do dyslexics learn to read?

    Young students with dyslexia learn to read using systematic phonics-based instruction, which is the practice of matching letters to sounds. Furthermore, they learn best using workbooks and worksheets that contain familiar letter-sound patterns.

    What can teachers do to help students with dyslexia?

    Teachers can help students in many ways, depending on grade levels. The best teaching methods include adapting to the child’s learning style, practicing phonological or phonemic awareness, working in small groups or individually, and using assistive technology like screen readers and text to speech apps.

    What is the best thing for dyslexic people to read?

    Learning strategies for dyslexic students revolve around making sure the student is set up for success. The three stages of reading fluency are decoding simple words, reading sight words, and navigating unfamiliar words. Students with dyslexia often enter reading programs that make reading fun, rely on books that promote decoding skills, audiobooks, and use text to speech tools.

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

    Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify

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