Dyslexia can be tricky for a child to understand. After all, it can often be hard enough for an adult to understand!
A dyslexic child might not understand why they struggle to read and spell. This can have a negative effect on their mental health.
- A child doesn’t understand why they are falling behind in lessons. This can lead to an erosion of self-confidence and motivation.
- A dyslexic child may feel that they are stupid. The don’t understand why their friends can easily read aloud and they can’t?
- A child with dyslexia often ends up feeling exhausted. They have to work extra hard to complete the same amount of work as their peers.
Therefore, it’s important to talk to your child about their dyslexia to improve their leaning experience and confidence.
It is important to explain to your child why they find reading and spelling difficult.
When your child understands the reasons why they find spelling and reading difficult, their self-esteem will improve and allow them to learn at their own pace. Understanding dyslexia will also help both you and your child find the areas in which they are struggling with most, and where they need extra help.
The Strengths and Challenges of Dyslexia
It’s also important that your child knows that dyslexia is not something that needs to be cured. It is not a disease. It is simply a part of who they are, which comes with its own strengths and challenges. Some things will come easily whilst others will be more difficult.
Whilst dyslexia can make reading and writing difficult, it’s important to find your child’s strengths and what they are good at. Ask your child what they enjoy and find their passion. Dyslexic brains are uniquely wired. This means they can be especially good at a number of things. Such as:
- People Skills
- Visual Thinking
- Pattern Recognition
When your child recognises dyslexia has its benefits as well as it challenges, then they can start to rebuild their confidence.
Encouragement and Praise
Encouragement and praise are very important when talking with your child about dyslexia. Reward your child’s achievements, no matter how small. Praise things like the correct spelling of a tricky word or the reading of a paragraph. This will let your child know that they are doing a good job and help to re-build their self-belief, motivating them to keep trying and improving.
The Way Dyslexic Children Learn.
Let your child know that they can learn to read and write well. They simply need to learn in a different way. Dyslexic children need a Structured Literacy approach. Explain to your child that learning may take longer than their peers but that it will happen. Encourage your child to think about how they might be able to adapt the way they learn. Explicit instruction in Structured Literacy is first and foremost, but other helpful strategies include:
- Mnemonic memory strategies
- Mind maps
- Picture association
- Technology to help with organisation and notetaking
With your child find the areas where they need the most help. Find techniques to navigate these areas. Using the appropriate strategies will allow your child to succeed in the areas they find difficult. This success will lead to self-belief and help to re-build their confidence.
Structured Literacy is an evidence-based approaches that is aligned to the knowledge and practice of the IDA (International Dyslexia Association). Structured Literacy includes both the Orton–Gillingham, or OG, approach. Structured Literacy teaches systematic word, identification and decoding strategies. When your child understands they need to be taught in different way confidence in their learning will increase.
The Orton-Gillingham Approach
OG was developed in the 1930s to help children with dyslexia. It explicitly teaches the connections between letters and sounds.
The OG approach breaks down language into the smallest parts or simplest sounds so it is accessible to a child. After this OG shows the child how to rebuild the sounds into words. Children move from one step to the next as they master each level of language skills.
The Science of Reading.
A dyslexic child will need to be taught by a teacher who understands the Science of Reading.
The Science of Reading is not a system designed to teach reading. It is process which uses science to inform the teaching of reading, to help children become competent readers.
The Science of Reading has identified 7 key areas for literacy instruction:
- Phonemic Awareness
When teachers are shown how to teach their students with the mechanics of reading, their pupil’s learning capabilities improve dramatically.
To learn more about the Science of Reading you might consider joining the Facebook group “Science of Reading-What I Should Have Learned in College”, here.
To learn more about dyslexia, how to talk to your child and effective strategies read these books:
Dyslexia Explained by Mike Jones
And What I Need by Tiffany James
You can also visit our Dyslexia Explained YouTube Channel, for helpful videos about dyslexia, here: