How to overcome ADHD through immersion reading

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    Immersion reading is a powerful tool for those with ADHD. Discover how to overcome ADHD through immersion reading and what techniques are involved.

    How to overcome ADHD through immersion reading

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) presents several challenges to budding readers. Though not as severe as dyslexia, the condition leads to higher impulsivity, making the reading experience difficult due to concentration issues.

    Those with an ADHD diagnosis may be interested in new techniques to help them overcome their reading difficulties. Immersion reading is one of those techniques. This article explains immersion reading and how those with ADHD can use it to help them pay attention when reading.

    The challenges of ADHD

    Many assume that the struggle to pay attention is the only challenge that comes with ADHD. That’s not the case. The condition creates reading problems for many, with these challenges extending from childhood into adulthood.

    ADHD affects each individual differently. However, the common thread is that it’s a neurodevelopmental condition that alters executive functioning. As such, both child and adult ADHD can be classed as learning disabilities, though they affect the mental tools people use to learn rather than creating intellectual impairments.

    Several common ADHD symptoms can affect reading skills, including:

    • Difficulties focusing on the material

    • Time management challenges

    • An inability to sit still when reading

    • Issues with working memory and retention

    • Struggles with ignoring distractions

    Some people with ADHD also find it more difficult to process written material than they do verbal or visual materials, such as a full video, podcast, or webinar.

    Though ADHD medication can alleviate these symptoms, they don’t account for the mental health issues that come with reading challenges. Many with ADHD develop confidence and self-esteem issues stemming from their struggles with reading, but thankfully immersion reading can help.

    How immersion reading helps with ADHD

    As the name implies, immersion reading allows the reader to become more immersed in the content they wish to consume. In teaching, there are several techniques to aid immersion, including:

    • Using visual and verbal cues to keep students on track with their reading materials

    • Asking open-ended questions that encourage students to remember what they read without the need to re-read

    • Continued motivation, aided by apps and reading tools, such as audiobooks

    • Consistent assessment of the student’s progress, including their skills and reading comprehension

    • The creation of dynamic learning environments that make reading more fun

    In short, immersion reading is all about getting involved. It uses active strategies to encourage students to stick with difficult texts. Engaging the brain is the core concept. By engaging the brain and interacting with the text, the reader no longer sees reading as a spectator sport.

    They’re involved.

    That involvement encourages the student to keep trying, even when traditional reading techniques fail.

    Speaking of techniques, the following strategies can help someone with ADHD become more immersed in their reading materials.

    Technique 1 – Reading aloud or using text to speech

    Actively engaging with the material is key to immersion reading. When those with ADHD have to read quietly, they often find their attention wandering. It’s not that they don’t comprehend the material. Instead, their brains aren’t as focused, especially if there are distractions nearby.

    Reading aloud helps to retain focus by making the activity of reading more interactive. In the classroom, a teacher may read to students or ask them to read in turn. At home, the student can read aloud to themselves or use text to speech (TTS) software.

    TTS readers, such as Speechify, use natural-sounding voices to read aloud from different texts. Someone with ADHD could read along to this voice, helping them to better comprehend the material.

    Technique 2 – Assign personal meaning to the material

    Why does reading this particular piece matter?

    If someone with ADHD doesn’t have a clear answer to that question, their attention may wander. Without purpose, reading can often feel pointless.

    When using immersive reading, ask yourself why you’re reading the material. It may have practical applications, such as teaching you a new skill or helping you to study for a test. Alternatively, you could use a desire to participate in classroom discussions as a motivator for reading.

    Sometimes, the simple desire to enjoy a story is enough of a personal gain to encourage immersion.

    The point is that you need to have a reason to motivate yourself. Then, that reason becomes the reward for reading, helping you to maintain focus.

    Technique 3 – Warm up before you read

    Before somebody goes for a run, they’ll stretch and warm up their body. In addition to preventing injury, warming up prepares you for the task ahead.

    The same applies to immersion reading.

    If you have a big book to read, spending a few minutes preparing for the task may help you to stay focused. Try the following:

    • Skim your assignment to discover what you need to learn from the activity.

    • Depending on the material, you can skim the introduction, conclusion, and general content of the chapters.

    • Predict what the content may teach you. Your predictions can even serve as motivators because they make you more interested in discovering whether you’re correct.

    • Spend some time remembering what you already know about the topic. In addition to stimulating working memory, this prepares you to absorb more information on the same topic.

    Try immersion reading with Speechify

    Immersion reading is a powerful technique that helps those with ADHD overcome many of the challenges that normally make reading difficult. With Speechify, you can create an immersive reading environment using text to speech.

    Speechify is a TTS service that can read any digital or physical text aloud. From handwritten pages to text on the screen, Speechify can handle it all with its combination of AI-generated voices and optical character recognition technology.

    With Speechify, you can choose from dozens of voices and languages. These choices empower immersive reading by allowing you to select a voice and dialect with which you feel comfortable. Better yet, you can alter the speed of the readout, meaning you can slow down when you struggle or speed up when listening to a familiar piece.

    Speechify is available as a Google Chrome extension, as well as having apps for Android, iOS, macOS, and Microsoft Windows. If you’d like to get a taste of what Speechify offers, you can try it for free before you commit to purchasing the service.

    FAQ

    Can reading help with ADHD?

    Reading can be a calming influence on somebody with ADHD. Using tools, such as text to speech apps, can also help people to focus on their reading materials.

    Do people with ADHD have trouble with reading comprehension?

    Reading comprehension can be a challenge for those with ADHD. These struggles can lead to lower test scores and missed assignments.

    How to do academic reading with ADHD?

    Immersion reading techniques can help with academic materials in several ways. They give reading a purpose, in addition to using tools that make it easier to decipher complex language.

    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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