By Joyce Wilson
Dyslexia is one of the most well-known learning disabilities, with 1 in 5 students facing the challenges it presents. Although it used to be widely believed that boys were more likely to be dyslexic than girls, recent studies from Yale University show the disorder affects both boys and girls equally. While dyslexia can present some roadblocks to the intellectual development of many children, it can be overcome with creative approaches to learning. Here are three activities that can help children get beyond their struggle with dyslexia.
Play Word Games
A great way to help children pick up new words and phrases is to play a game that engages their minds in different ways. Whether it’s Scrabble, a crossword puzzle or a homemade flash card memory game, by adding an element of fun to the learning process you encourage them to develop new strategies in recognizing different words and making connections to words they already know. Games like these put more focus on a single word, instead of sentences and paragraphs, which helps young students stay focused on the basic elements of language. Word memorization games can be highly effective to help dyslexic children get ahead.
While reading is typically a solitary activity, having children read aloud can help them approach the text in a new way and inspire them to develop their reading comprehension abilities. When dyslexic children read out loud, they must externalize their thought process, which makes it easier for you to recognize which words or phrases trip them up and provides you with the opportunity to help guide them along in real time. As children become better at reading out loud, you can have them memorize short monologues or poems and perform them for a small group, which will improve their public speaking ability while forcing them to internalize the syntax and semantics of the text they’re reading. Another activity akin to reading aloud is to put the words into song, and whether you go with songs written for children or a karaoke machine with the latest pop songs, music is a powerful mnemonic device not only for remembering words, but also the order they go in.
Practice in the Real World
The classroom isn’t the only place where children can develop better reading skills. One of the most effective strategies for helping dyslexic youngsters boost their reading comprehension is to have them practice in a real-life environment. Walk through public spaces and read anything you encounter while out and about. Street signs, menus, advertisements and food labels all give children a chance to practice their reading in a practical way, which will help them not only improve their abilities, but it will also help them make the connection of how reading can be applied in the everyday situations.
Joyce Wilson loved being a teacher, and though she has recently retired, she hasn’t lost that passion. She continues to educate (and help educators) by mentoring teachers in her area. She is also the co-creator of TeacherSpark.org, a resource for teachers to gather fun, engaging lesson