Learning to read can be difficult for some more than others. For kids with learning challenges like dyslexia, it can be downright frustrating and discouraging. But challenging doesn’t mean impossible! There are many ways to overcome the challenges associated with this learning difficulty.
What Does Dyslexia Look Like In Children?
Dyslexia is marked by a child’s inability to recognize sounds and relate them to words and letters. Breaking down and learning new words (commonly referred to as “decoding”) can be especially challenging.
While this does make it more challenging to learn, it’s important to recognize that dyslexia does not mean your child is not smart or won’t be able to read. Helping kids with dyslexia read just means a different approach to learning.
Continue reading to learn about multisensory learning and how it helps children with dyslexia learn to read.
Learning With Dyslexia: Multisensory Structured Language Education (MSLE)
MSLE is a method of teaching that helps the brain learn languages by associating sounds and words with other senses. This method for learning with dyslexia looks a bit different than it would for the average child, but is proven to teach children with dyslexia to improve their reading skills.
While MSLE takes many forms, this teaching method should always be structured and repetitive to form habits. Programs that use processes from the Orton-Gillingham approach are preferred for their highly-structured and gradual language learning. This approach uses visuals, sounds, and touch to help with memory and learning language rules.
This method can help overcome many of the learning challenges your child faces, creating greater confidence in their reading abilities. It’s important to work with teachers and other educational supports to see what works best for your child and practice it at home too!
Repetition And Consistency Are Key
A key part of an MSLE program is repetition, consistency, and structure. This is something that you as a parent needs to get involved with as well as your child’s teachers. Make sure you’re practicing at home whenever possible, especially during school breaks. Ask your child’s teachers for different activities that have worked well with your child in the classroom and apply them at home. It could be reading out loud to them, giving them extra help on their homework, or practicing word games.
Help Kids With Dyslexia Read With These Fun Activities And Easy Tips
Using games and different methods to make reading easier for a dyslexic child goes a long way to easing frustration and building skills and confidence. Show your child that reading doesn’t have to be a frustrating activity with these tips:
1. Play Word Games Using Apps
Word games are a fun way to ease some of the frustration while learning to read with dyslexia. The Google Play Store (Android) and the App Store (iOS) both have categories for word games, so take your pick!
2. Read Line By Line
If your child has trouble reading paragraphs line by line, use a ruler to cover the next line. The next line can look crowded and make reading more difficult. Hiding the next sentence allows your child to focus on the current sentence.
3. Use Dyslexia-Friendly Fonts
Reading printed or digital documents that use certain fonts can help kids (and adults) with dyslexia. Plain, sans-serif fonts like Helvetica, Verdana, Arial, and even Comic Sans appear less crowded and easier to read. Using larger font sizes also helps!
4. Use Touch Techniques For Memory
Using different sensory techniques in games is both fun and effective. Touch techniques can include writing letters in sand or shaving cream, cutting letters from sandpaper, or using letter blocks. This helps your child associate letters and sounds with the feel of the letter. It also helps improve muscle memory when writing, so your child can recall more easily. Plan activities like this outside classroom time so your child is always practicing.
5. Tap Fingers To Learn Sounds Combinations
Finger-tapping has proven to be effective at teaching how sounds are segmented and joined together to make words. Your child can decode new words by tapping out the letter sounds using fingers.
For example, the word “cat”; the student makes the hard “c” sound and taps their index finger to their thumb. Next, they make the “a” sound and tap their middle finger to their thumb. Then the “t” tapping their ring finger to the thumb.
6. Teach Long-Term Strategies
While it’s most critical to address dyslexia early in your child’s life, it’s not a challenge that goes away. That’s why it’s important to teach your child long-term coping strategies including how to ask for help and advocate for themselves. Teach these strategies early on and it will become second-nature to them in their adult life.
Your Child Can Thrive With Dyslexia
You may feel a little disheartened if your child is diagnosed with dyslexia—but it’s not the end of the world! Many successful people have been dyslexics like Albert Einstein, Richard Branson, and Keanu Reeves. Dyslexia does not mean your child can’t reach their full potential. It can be frustrating for both of you but it’s important that you support them in their learning and give emotional encouragement. Reward their efforts, recognize strengths, and celebrate achievements to build their confidence in their reading skills.
Children with dyslexia often respond better when taught in small groups or individually. If your child needs more attention, our tutors are fully certified and experienced in teaching those with learning challenges. Book your free assessment today and see results with Scholars Education Centres!