Using multisensory reading techniques in your daily reading
instruction will greatly help students with reading and language issues. Students with specific reading disabilities like dyslexia can learn to read faster and with less struggle when using Multisensory Reading Techniques. Here are my top10 examples of multisensory reading techniques teachers can use.
Word Dance - Take a difficult word that students need to master and create a word dance, a series of gestures and kinesthetic body movements that help students visualize concepts through dramatic gestures. Students can use American Sign Language gestures or create their own gestures.
Air Writing - As the name also suggests, this technique will see students using their fingers to write letters or words in the air or on a flat surface. Again they say the letters and the sounds as they write the letter forms and or words in the air.
Word Building - Find a set of fridge magnets or a set of scrabble letters, word building exercises can be fantastic for learning. You can make a set of letters and or phonemes to target specific phonics goals. Vowels appear in specific clusters within a single word, and building words using the digraphs help students see common patterns. For example, you could have one color for consonants, consonant blends, diphthongs, and another for single vowels, diphthongs, digraphs, and diphthongs. If you add in sounds for each letter, the student will be engaging colors, sounds, phonemes, and letters all together as one concept to build individual words. With physical magnets and scrabble letters, touch will also play a huge role and the shape will be attained easily.
Sand Writing - After grabbing a tray, lay out some sand and allow the student to write with their fingers. For many, this will keep them engaged whilst using sight, sound, and touch once again to spell words and write letters. With all of these exercises, students will need sound each letter or word as they write and the connection will then be made. In truth, sand could even be replaced with shaving cream or any other similar substance.
Sandpaper - Sometimes, paper just isn't enough to engage the touching element which is where sandpaper can come in and play a pivotal role. Much like magnets, students will get a feel for the letters whilst connecting this to the sound as they talk aloud. Again, different colors can be used and words can be spelled on the table after cutting the letters out.
Broken Telephone - One person whispers a message to the ear of the next person through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. Although the objective is to pass around the message without it becoming misheard and altered along the way, part of the enjoyment is that, regardless, this usually ends up happening.
Read, Build, Write - Using sight words, magnetic letters, and then a marker, students can follow this process for each word. With three boxes on a piece of paper, the teacher and student can first ‘Read’ the word together. Then, the student can use the magnets to ‘Build’ the word before using the marker to ‘Write’ the word.
Story Sticks - For more advanced practice, story sticks can be a great addition for comprehension. Often, students will struggle to answer questions on a story but what if you were to introduce simple colored sticks? Whilst reading together, the teacher could hand across simple sticks asking questions such as ‘where does the story take place’ or ‘who is the main character’.
Shared Digital Reading - Nowadays, there is a multitude of digital resources available and this includes audio versions of most chapter books as well as printable excerpts of books. Whilst reading in small groups with the teacher is preferred that is not always possible in large classrooms, students can use these to follow the story and share and underline points of interest.
Chuncking and Tapping - Finally, the tapping system is yet another great technique to test. Taking a simple word like ‘cat’ as an example, the word begins with a harsh ‘c’ sound which will bring their index finger to their thumb. With the short ‘a’ sound, their middle finger can be tapped. To finish, their ring finger can tap the thumb for the ’t’ sound. With this, words will become segmented and easier to understand and remember.
There we have it, ten fantastic techniques that encourage students to use more than one sense which will improve understanding as well as memory recall in the future!
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