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Reading with Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects the way that children see letters and numbers on paper.  They see all the letters and numbers, but they see them out of order and jumbled.  Many people with dyslexia describe it by saying that the letters seem to float around the page.  Because reading requires that a child sound out letters in order, children with dyslexia have a difficult time learning to read.  If your child struggles with dyslexia, here are some strategies that may help.

Point to Beginning Letters

As your child reads, have them point to the first letter of each word they come to.  Be patient as they practice this skill.  It may seem simple to you, but remember if the letters are out of order in their minds, it will be difficult for them to repeatedly identify which letter comes first.  Pointing to the first letter of each word will help them remember to start sounding out the word with that letter.  That in turn will help them sound out the word correctly.

Highlight Each Line

It can also help for children to be able to focus on only one line of writing while reading.  You can do this in several ways.  One simple way to do this is to hold a bookmark under the line they are reading.  Their eyes can then follow the edge of the bookmark so that they don’t get lost in the page.  You can also purchase a reading guide strip for them to use.  The guide strip has a colored strip in the middle that fits over one line of printing.  The child reads only what is in the colored area and then moves it down to the next line when they are ready to continue.

Experiment with Colors

As weird as it may seem, experimenting with various colors of both backgrounds and texts can benefit children with dyslexia.  You can change both the background and text colors within reading programs on computers and tablets.  You can also buy tinted plastic reading sheets that change the color of a printed page.  It is different for each child, but you may find that a certain combination of colors gives your child an easier time reading.  Play around with different combinations and see what works.

Dyslexia affects each child differently, and it does make reading challenging.  Not every strategy will work for your child, but you can help them learn to read efficiently.  What other strategies do you use to help your dyslexic child read?

Photo by:  Lori Greig

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