Friday, May 16, 2014

Helping Dyslexic Students Read

How to Help Struggling Dyslexic Students Learn to Read and Succeed!

As a dyslexic reading teacher and literacy blogger, I have received hundreds of emails and questions on how to help struggling dyslexic students and learning disabled students read and succeed. The simple answer is READ! My long held philosophy as a classroom teachers is find amazing books with wonderful stories and read and read! My students hear me say twenty times a day as we read, "track with your finger" the message is, see the words, hear the words and make connections (meaning) to what you already know and what you want to learn. Students that struggle with reading can have trouble with tracking, decoding, predicting syntax and context, discerning proper nouns, have a lack of background literary knowledge, and many other instructional deficits and or cognitive errors interfering with success. This can cause many struggling readers including me to lose interest in reading and shut down. The secret is the amount of time dedicated to on task reading, exposure to quality literature, and the modeled strategies of successful readers. 

Let the child be encouraged to tell over the story, which he has just read, in language of his own. Let his faults be pointed out to him, with such simplicity, and clearness of illustration as shall make him sensible of what is meant,–and with such kindness, as shall secure his gratitude for the corrections made: and those teachers who have not before tried the experiment, will, it is believed, be surprised at its results. Professor William H. McGuffey

Working out substantive differentiations or efficacious instructional solutions for a reading class that has poor reading performance is always a challenge. Creating positive students outcomes for many or all can be accomplished with outside of the box thinking. For the last eleven years the first twenty days of school are spent reading. We spend 200-300 minutes a day reading and modeling the absolute best practices in reading with me or their peers. I started this idea 11 years ago, and I now call the first 20 days of school Reading Boot Camp to male the educational point that without the ability to read and comprehend you will not thrive and succeed in school.

So many reading programs that promise to cure dyslexia or close the achievement gap, break the reading process down into so much confusing minutia that kills any real desire to dive in with your heart and soul. Standardization of district-wide curriculum and the reliance on basil reading programs create more problems than they prevent in many cases. I read books with my students that inspire, teach, confront, surprise, scare, excite, and demonstrate that books are amazing teachers and portals to great adventures. 

Sean Taylor M.Ed The Dyslexic Reading Teacher

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