Why can they read better upside down than the right way up? Is it easier to read writing on a different colour background? Does size really matter? Are words all jumbled up?
I'm no expert on dyslexia, but these are all problems I've come across in diognosed dyslexic children when trying to help them read (or write). And what really gets me disheartened is when children with these problems grow up hating the idea of reading.
Its then that I ask myself: how can we make reading fun for these children?
I guess its likely that they'll always have some problems with reading in our society. Whilst there are some books now make more accessible to children with dyslexia, everyday writing is generally not! And worst of all, many people do not even really know what dyslexia is (apart from problems reading), so how can they even look to help others?
So what is dyslexia really?
Dyslexia is a very broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or comprehension accuracy in being able to read,and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, or rapid naming.The British Psycological Society (1999) defined dyslexia as:
evident when accurate or fluent word reading and/or spelling develops very incompletely or with great difficulty. This focuses on literacy learning at the word level and implies that the problem is severe and persistent despite appropriate learning opportunities. It provides the basis for a staged process of assessment through teaching.’
As I said before, all this of course means that those with dyslexia will naturally find reading hard.
This being the case it is particularly important that they see why it is worth persisting if they are to ultimatly enjoy the experience.
Ideas for helping anyone with reading difficulties enjoy reading (especially those with dyslexia):
- Seek out books with a good plot at a simple reading level
- Read exciting stories to them straight from the book. Make it a book with good pictures, so they can easily re-tell the story to themselves without worrying too much about the words.
- Play games with children that show words and pictures (but don't rely on reading ability) to give them as much word exposure as possible.
- Let them enjoy audio books once in a while. Buy books with accompanying audio and help them follow along where possible.
- Investigate the possibility to visual dyslexia- this may mean that they see words better on a certain colour, or parts of their vision are missing.
- Talk to them about what they see and make sure you understand their perception of books and reading. Use this to inform how you approach the topic with them.
That's just a few thoughts off the top of my head.
If you have any other thoughts, ideas, or experiences then I'd love to hear them.