As a parent of a dyslexic child, you know that difficulty with reading affects your child in various ways, causing misunderstandings about words, feelings of inadequacy because of the inability to read smoothly, and a lack of motivation to achieve at school or at home. Reading exercises are extremely helpful in getting your child to enjoy time with books, and to experience a sense of achievement. The following activities can help to reduce reading struggles and help to foster positive self esteem for children with dyslexia.
PHONICS FOR DYSLEXIA
The English language has about 44 phonemes, which are the speech-sounds expressed by the 26 letters of the alphabet. Phonemic awareness is the understanding that words are made up of individual sounds and that the combination of sounds makes each word unique. The sounds can either be blended or segmented — the former is essential for reading, and the latter is used for spelling.
Because phonics is so important in learning to read, it’s important that your dyslexic child gets a lot of practice. Phonics is usually taught through games, songs, and actions, which makes it fun to learn.
READING WITH YOUR CHILD
Reading is one of the most important things a parent can do for a dyslexic child. While you’re reading, talk to your child about the words on the page, linking them to the pictures. Ask questions like, “Why do you think the dog is sad?” or, “What do you think happens next?” Make up a funny song together about the characters in the book. These activities help in understanding words and relating them to actions.
READING WHILE ON THE GO
The world is filled with words and each word is an opportunity to practice. Ask your child to read street names or find a certain word, such as “juice” or “salt,” on products on the shelves at your local grocery store.
Join the local library with your child and ask the librarian to help you find books that will interest your child. Subscribe to a children’s magazine that is a fit for your child’s age and hobbies.
The best practice a dyslexic child can get is to read aloud, and what better place to do that than in a familiar home setting, in front of encouraging parents? Reading out loud enables children to:
- Gain confidence
- Focus on one word at a time
- Develop a natural reading rhythm
- Remember what has been read
Let your child choose the reading material, but encourage the choice to be something that is challenging. A fun way to read aloud with your child is to read from comic books where you each take the part of a different character.
Homemade or store-bought board games and flashcards are an excellent way to encourage your slow reader. Games like Scrabble or crossword puzzles are good for assisting in reading, and free worksheets downloaded from the Internet are an excellent resource.
ADDITIONAL HELP FOR READING STRUGGLES
Reading help for dyslexia is essential if your child is to grow and develop successfully. Dyslexia need not be a disadvantage in today’s world, as there are many aids and exercises available. The world of books opens up and expands the imagination, and helps kids realize that they can achieve the seemingly impossible.
At Brain Balance, academics is a key component to our program. We target specific deficient cognitive skills and academic subject areas like reading in an effort to not only improve skills but, more importantly, stimulate growth and development in the part of the brain that controls those skills. In this way, we are not just compensating for a weakness, we are correcting the problem for lasting results.