How to support a dyslexic learner at home
Dyslexic students have a learning difference. Their brain can’t hold information as efficiently as non-dyslexics, often making their learning a slow, difficult and hard process. However, with the guidance of a caring tutor and support in their home environment dyslexic students are capable of learning and becoming high-achievers. At Learning Works Geelong, our dyslexic tutoring clinic have tried and tested strategies that will help you to support your child at home.
We believe that one of the most important ways to help kids with dyslexia is to make them more comfortable reading. This can be done in part by celebrating even small victories and accomplishments.
Read Aloud to Your Child
Your dyslexic reader can achieve more . . . if you help. Reading to your child every single day is something that you can do as a parent. Hearing someone else read sparks creativity and curiosity for young minds. Dyslexic readers are often slow at decoding words, hearing someone else read aloud allows them to focus on the meaning of the text rather than stumbling over sounds. Your child may not be able to read the words, but they will become familiar sounds which will provide background knowledge for their future in reading.
Read High Frequency Words
When your child reads to you should work on six words at any one time. On the first few occasions you can read the words to your child before asking him or her to read.
- Write these words on cards and get your child to read them by sight.
- Make a place for the cards your child knows, these go in the ‘correct’ box or pile.
- Tell your child when they get a card wrong, this card should then be back on the pile to be read again.
- Games such as ‘pairs’ and snap are excellent ways of encouraging children to read these words at speed and without overthinking. Continue to revise words until they are known automatically.
Make words memorable
- Make the words memorable by talking about their shape, size and the sequence the letters are in. For example, good has four letters, a tail at the beginning, two round os in the middle and a tall letter at the end.
Praise, Pause and Prompt your child when they read
When your child reads a sentence correctly they should be praised, every single time. If they correct themselves after a mistake or when they remember a word and go back or get a word right after prompting children should be praised.
When your child is having difficulties with a words you should pause and give them time to tackle the problem alone. This pause should be as long as five seconds.
If words are read incorrectly you should prompt your child with clues about the meaning of the text, e.g., ‘You read….Does that make sense?’ If the prompt does not elicit the correct response, the adult should provide it. If your child has got the word slightly wrong you can prompt with clues about the look of the word, suggesting that your child should look again at individual letters. If your child pauses for too long you can suggest they omit the word from the sentence and keep reading until the end. If the word is not correct after two prompts, adults should supply the word and encourage the child to keep reading
Choose the right kinds of books
Make reading a fun experience by going to the library letting your child choose books they are interested in. At Learning Works Geelong we can help show you what level books your child should be working on. Children learn to read better from books they like. If your child gets fed up with a book and wants to change it, that’s OK. Only read a book again it your child wants to.
Model a love of reading by being involved and interested
Show interest in the book your child has chosen. Talk about the pictures. Talk about what’s in the story as your child reads through it. It is best if you talk at the end of a page or section, or your child might lose track of the story. Ask your child what they think will happen next. Use emotion and create suspension in your stories.
At Learning Works Geelong our dyslexia clinic models these strategies. With the right help from school, tutoring and your home environments dyslexic learners can learn to love reading and become high achievers.
Talk to your child about their dyslexia
Talking to your child about why they might find things harder to understand can be beneficial them. Not understanding why they can’t seem to do things other kids can often be very challenging. Explaining how dyslexia affects your child and what you can both do to overcome the struggles they face can create independence and a desire to want to read and learn.