Reading can be a significant challenge for a child with dyslexia, a common learning difficulty affecting language processing skills.
However, with the right strategies and support, dyslexic children can develop strong reading abilities.
In this article, we will share some advice for parents and teachers on how you can support a child with dyslexia as they learn to read.
We’ll focus on strategies to not only help them learn but to allow them to enjoy the journey.
Let’s get into it.
Understanding Dyslexia And How It Affects Reading
Dyslexia primarily affects the ability to read and spell words.
Children with dyslexia may struggle with letter recognition, decoding words, and understanding what they read.
It’s important to understand that dyslexia varies between individuals and, as we always say, it is not related to intelligence at all.
Techniques To Help A Dyslexic Child With Reading
Below are some tried and tested tips to help a child learn to read, but you may also like to read our post on how to support a child with dyslexia on their learning journey.
Create A Supportive Environment
As with any child with a learning difficulty, a supportive environment is crucial.
A supportive, pressure-free environment is a great aid for a dyslexic child’s reading development.
Make sure the child feels comfortable and understands that it’s okay to find reading challenging.
Avoid comparing them to peers and focus on their individual progress – giving plenty of praise, not only for getting things right but for effort, too.
Try Multi-Sensory Reading Techniques
Multi-sensory techniques are highly effective for children with dyslexia.
These methods engage multiple senses at once, helping to reinforce learning.
For example, we find that using flashcards with images and words can encourage the child to trace letters and words with their fingers and read aloud together so they can hear and see the words simultaneously.
Use A Phonics-Based Approach
A phonics-based approach to reading, which focuses on the relationship between sounds and their spelling, is beneficial.
This method helps children decode words by sounds, aiding their ability to read new words independently.
Encourage Regular Practice
Regular, short practice sessions are more effective than long, infrequent ones.
Try to build in time for consistent daily reading practice, keeping sessions short to avoid fatigue or frustration.
Choose Appropriate Reading Materials
Select reading materials that are interesting to the child and appropriate for their reading level.
Books with a structured, predictable layout and clear font can make reading easier.
Also, books with a strong narrative or engaging subject matter can motivate children to read.
Encourage Reading Aloud
Reading aloud allows children to hear the rhythm and flow of language.
Take turns reading with the child, and when they read, be patient and give them time to sound out words.
Leverage technology such as audiobooks and reading apps – Reading Eggs is a handy one.
These tools can provide a multi-sensory reading experience and often include features tailored for learners with dyslexia, like text highlighting and adjustable text size and fonts.
Visual Aids And Colour Coding
Use visual aids and colour coding to help the child with organising and remembering information.
For example, you could highlight different parts of speech in different colours, or use graphic organisers to map out stories.
Engage the child in what they find useful here – what visual aids and colours would they like to use?
Help build the child’s vocabulary by discussing new words, using them in different contexts, and encouraging the child to use them in sentences.
A strong vocabulary can significantly improve reading comprehension.
Focus On Comprehension
Ensure that the focus isn’t just on reading the words correctly but also on understanding the content.
Discuss the story, ask questions about what they read, and connect it to real-life experiences or other books they’ve read.
Writing can reinforce reading skills. Encourage the child to write regularly, which can be in the form of a journal, letters, or stories.
This helps in understanding sentence structure and improves spelling.
Build Reading Confidence
Build the child’s confidence in reading.
Praise their effort and progress, and celebrate achievements, no matter how small they are.
Work On Phonemic Awareness
Phonemic awareness, the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words, is foundational in reading.
Play sound-based games and activities that focus on rhyming, alliteration, and sound matching.
Ask For Professional Support
Consider seeking support from professionals such as educational psychologists or specialist dyslexia tutors.
They can provide tailored strategies and resources to support the child’s reading development.
Communicate With Teachers Or Parents
Close communication between parents and teachers can be highly beneficial for a child’s reading journey.
Strategies that are tried and tested in the classroom should be shared with parents so that success can be continued at home.
Always be patient and understanding, and try to make reading a fun and enjoyable activity.
Your attitude towards reading can greatly influence the child’s motivation and attitude.
Incorporate storytelling into everyday activities where possible.
Listening to stories can enhance imagination and interest in reading.
Reading at bedtime is a great tactic for building a good relationship with reading and language.
Also, ask the child to tell their own stories, which can be a fun way to engage with narrative structures without the pressure of reading.
Encourage Other Interests
Encourage the child’s other interests and strengths.
A well-rounded approach to learning can boost overall confidence and academic passion.
Further reading: A Guide On How To Get A Dyslexia Diagnosis
Our Final Thoughts
Helping a child with dyslexia with their reading requires a multi-dimensional approach.
Practice patience and understanding always, and praise them for their effort as well as their successes.
Lean on the technology that’s available to encourage reading and make language and reading as fun as possible.
Remember, each child with dyslexia will have a unique learning journey, and with the right support, they can not only improve their reading skills but also develop a lifelong love for reading.
If you would like to chat with us about dyslexia assessments, contact us here.
To arrange an assessment for a dyslexia diagnosis, please visit our assessments page here.