Guest Post by Kara Masterson
Dyslexia is an oft-heard of but somewhat misunderstood learning disorder affecting thousands of children and adults. The ability of those affected by this disorder to read, write, and process information is much different than the ability of an unaffected individual. Parents and teachers often struggle alongside these students to help them learn in a way suited to their needs. There is much argument over the best way to help these students, but some tried and true methods are consistently recommended.
Provide Multi-Sensory Experiences
Dyslexic students have trouble processing visual and auditory information; thus, a traditional approach (i.e, rote memorization and repetition) may not work for them. Encourage the dyslexic student to create skits and puppet shows, utilizing different types of media such as slide shows when teaching, or creating games to review material can help these students retain the information and obtain better grades.
Provide Audio Whenever Possible
Hearing the words in a book while also following along and reading the text can help the dyslexic student retain the information. Books on tape can be found at multiple libraries, and are obtainable at no cost through the National Library Service.
Encourage Reading of Any Appropriate Materials
Reading is a struggle for dyslexic students, and many will avoid it at all costs. Reading is hard and the books they’re assigned are boring, in their opinions. Have your students talk about what kind of things they’d be interested in reading. Do they have a favorite book or author? How about a favorite type of TV show? Then help them select material based on their interest.
Introduce the Phonic Alphabet Chart
Although there are only twenty-six letters in the alphabet, there are a total of 44 sounds these letters make. This chart helps break up each word into its individual sounds. Using the phonic alphabet will provide a visual for the dyslexic learner to remember how to use the different sounds a word makes to write that word.
Incorporate Computer Software
Because dyslexic learners are often highly visual learners, using educational computer programming can help develop and hone their reading skills. There is a wealth of highly recommended software, such as Crick Software, Wordshark, or Ghotit Real Writer.
Develop a Trust With Your Student
One of the most important things an educator can do to help their dyslexic students is to develop a trust with them. Many dyslexics suffer low self-esteem in relation to their struggles to keep up with their unaffected peers. Trusting their teachers can go a long way towards helping them develop the skills they need to succeed.
While these strategies can be utilized by many educators, it is recommended to complete a masters in higher education. This level of degree affords educators more resources to help their dyslexic students.
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