Help with Learning to Read for a Dyslexic

Updated on June 23, 2008
J.J. asks from Stillwater, OK
23 answers

My 9 yo boy is slightly dyslexic and has always had a really hard time with reading. He learned is letters and sounds fairly easily at about age 6. He is just now finally starting to "catch on" to reading. He just gets so frustrated as do I. Looking for ANY ideas to help him get this easier (or at least get it at all) He has been ok in schoolwork so far but thats with just about everything being read to him and then he does the work. I really want to get him to the point over the summer that for forth grade he can read and do the work mostly on his own. I dont mind helping him some just dont want him dependant on it.

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S.W.

answers from Montgomery on

Find a Sylvan learning center near you. They will test him and teach him how to read.

Dyslexia, can sometimes be corrected with glasses. But sometimes it is the brain flipping things. They can teach him tricks he can use to overcome this problem.

I hope this helps.

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T.H.

answers from Little Rock on

As a former 4th grade teacher, I can't stress how important it is for him to practice reading this summer. Find something he enjoys: car magazines, comic books, hunting magazines, Sports Illustrated for Kids, I don't care what, just find him something he LIKES. The more he practices, the easier it will be for him when school starts. He needs to see the enjoyable side of reading. Read to him. They still love it! Find a great story (Bridge to Terabithia, Indian in the Cupboard, Sign of the Beaver) and read it together! He needs to see that reading can be fun!

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W.M.

answers from Decatur on

You may already know this, but just wanted to help
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Health & Wellness specialist W. Mayfield.
email [email protected]____.com

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R.S.

answers from Tulsa on

Both ladies who responded have great advice. My son also had "dyslexia" which I found out is a catchall term for "has trouble learning to read". He also flipped d's and b's and e's.
We found a set of books he loved. It was the HP series. I know alot of people are against HP so I'm going to suggest another set of adventure books, the first is called "Bloody Jack" by L.A. Meyers. It is about a girl who is orphand in England and grows up to be a part of his majesties royal navy and a pirate and all kinds of adventures.

Read the first book or too out loud too him. First it lets him know your serious about reading, Second it puts sound to words he may not recognize right now. Third, your his mom and you said so, and if you read, he'll read.

You see, the trick is to take his mind off of "learning to read" and just make it reading. As natural as breathing. The complications of it will come with the practice of it.

Jedidiah now reads at a sophomore college level and he is a junior in high school. You see, there was never anything wrong with his mind, just his brain..LOL
Luck to you!
R.

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T.F.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Hi I have worked with special ed children for 9 years and I heard that if you get a see-thru colored sheet and put it over what your child is reading it will help. this has been used in the classroom that I have worked in before and it seemed to work. But then again what works for one child may not work for all children.

Good luck.

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C.R.

answers from New Orleans on

I really don't have concrete advice for you...just encouragement...my husband is also dyslexic. He never made it out of high school because no one recognized it. He was incredibly frustrated all of his life and made to feel really stupid! He still has problems "digesting" words when he reads and trips over writing. Now that I pointed out to him how he flips letters, he notices and has an easier time sounding things out. It's an ongoing process. It's a good thing your son has you so that he can get through this at a young age! Good luck!

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T.S.

answers from Little Rock on

I also have a 9 y.o. son who is dyslexic and homeschooled. Here are several suggestions:

Have him evaluated by a specialized opthamologist (MD) for eye tracking/developmental problems. Some kids that appear dyslexic have eyes that do "weird" things and improve with eye therapy (ours didn't have that problem)

Get "Phonics Pathways" and use a blank paper to cover up all the lines below the one he's reading. You can use another paper to cover the ones above it if that helps. They use what they call "eye-robics" to help train the eyes to track correctly from left to right.

For spelling issues, have him use sidewalk chalk to write his words on the driveway/sidewalk. Also let him use sandpaper under his paper. The tactile stimulation helps program the correct sequencing in the brain, especially for dyslexia. It looks funny, but helps quite a bit.

Although this will be difficult, you've got to force him to do all his reading. Dyslexia is something that each individual has to take responsibility for adapting to. The longer you read for him, the less reason he has to figure out what will work for him.

I also know of a woman here in Little Rock who specialized in helping kids with dyslexia through reading therapy, etc. She's getting ready to move soon (I think to Hot Springs), but she may know of someone else who does it. Let me know if you would like that info. (One suggestion she made to us was for him to play the electronic game "Simon" because it forced them to follow a specific pattern)

Finally, pay close attention to HIS attention. Our son's dyslexia gets markedly worse if he's tired or having a bad attention day.

Good luck, it's tricky. Most therapists, and even the school systems no longer consider dyslexia a learning disability and do NOTHING to help kids trying to deal with it. Our son struggled with it for 3 years before I found someone who understood it and could help. He still has his days where it's rough, but he's getting much better. He enjoys reading and has recently finished the Narnia series, as well as Eragon. God bless.

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A.O.

answers from Birmingham on

I taught my husband to read whom is a severe dyslexic 24 years ago. I learned the method from Loma Linda University in an effort to help him learn. Take a piece of burlap and glue it to a light board. Have the person trace the letters and the words with the index and middle finger on the burlap. This imprints the letters and the correct position of the letters with the sensory receptors. The rough texture and the larger motion help send the signals to the brain. The use of a pencil is smaller with less impact. I can say this it is an old method and may be outdated, however my husband learned and by the time our son went to school he could help him! He went on to be very successful in owing and operating a business. Including contract negotiations and blueprints. I hope this helps in some way and glad to share it

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C.S.

answers from Oklahoma City on

The only thing I can suggest is get him to read, read and read some more. You might try flashcards with longer than typical sight words. I'm quite dyslexic, but it took awhile for anyone to figure it out. I learned to read through word-recognition. I still can't sound out words to save my life, but I have a reading vocabulary of over 10,000 words, and, in fact grew up to be an English Lit major! So there is life with reading after dyslexia, I promise. :)

When he gets frustrated with a word, tell him what it is, write it on a notecard to add to the pile of flashcards. Help him practice with them until he gets confident with the words he can read. If you can help train his brain to see overall shape of the word, the order and direction the letters appear in his mind matter less. You might look around for a speed-reading course for kids (there are a few in some homeschooling curriculum, etc). Speed-reading short-circuits the need for reading the letters, and can REALLY help a dyslexic kid.

Dyslexia can be tough, even at its mildest. I never did learn the multiplication tables, much to my mother's dismay! But it can be overcome if you're both willing to be creative and work around the outside of the problem. Good luck, and God bless!

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H.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I had dyslexia problems that hit me in third grade. My teacher realized I got the right answers in math but wrote the numbers in the wrong order. My eye doctor did theorpy with me in veiwing numbers of different length (4digit or 6 digit, etc) and being able to write them down immediately. I had to practice viewing letter charts while holding something over the right eye and then with the left. I also did theropy with balance toys. The one I remember is a shoulder width teater tooter. This all was for dyslexia. Then when I read I had to use a ruler or book mark under each line. I could comprehend stories when I wasn't reading the same line over and over. I hope this helps. Dyslexia affects more than we realize, but after some theropy for a year and using the book mark method for a few more years I do very well reading without any vises.

PS-- be careful with the different colors, my friend wears blue shaded glasses for his dyslexia, but some use yellow. Before using colors too much get some help from an eye doctor. Dyslexia is a link in the brain issue and each person is unique in what causes it.

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R.S.

answers from Pine Bluff on

Hi J., just wanted to give you some encouragement. I'm dyslexic as well. I'm almost 50 and have been very successful in my life in general. This is something that you learn to work with thru the years. Hopefully he will have teachers that will work with him and you should continue to do so as well. Always make sure the teachers are aware going in to a new school year. My oldest son is as well and is now a pharmacutical rep for a large corporation. At 4 he would write his name but in a perfect mirror image....some days are worse than others....you learn to compensate and work around the issues. I wish you luck in your endevour but continue to encourage him and let him know that he can succeed no matter what. Good luck...R.

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C.S.

answers from Hattiesburg on

hi there:

My name is C.. I am now retired from teaching. to be sucessful One should create an area . Table chair screen for him , just like an office area. If fact a corner of his room or the kitchen will do. The screen is for isolation and focus. Oh yes, light. the print of the book that he will work with should be large so that there is no confusion
about the letters. Two: make it part of his responsiblity.and three :make a reward. A trip to what ever he likes. And weekly or several times go to the library. Dyslexic also have some acting out and selflothing behaviors that make learning "hard"

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C.D.

answers from Little Rock on

hi, my daughter has difficulty with school work. i asked for helpon mamasource and found a wonderful tutor. she has really helped alot. she is wonderful with children. she might be able to help with some suggestions for your son. if you would like i can talk to her. hope this helps.
C. d

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M.K.

answers from Monroe on

I don't know what to tell you really. My parents worked with me all the time. I read a page out loud, then they read a page. My mom read to me with me following with my finger all the time. Practice makes perfect. The more he reads, the better he'll be. My daughter is going into the 2nd grade and she's required to read at least 10 minutes a day by herself and we read at least 10 minutes a day together doing the "now it's your page to read" thing. She's come a long way since we started doing this 4 weeks before school lets out.

Have you tried hooked on phonics? Lots of people do well with that, and they have a version for older kids.

Also, has he officially been tested? If so, the school must provide special services to improve his reading and help him stay on grade level.

you might also try sylvan or huntington learning centers for one-on-one instruction that isn't coming from you, since you are more likely to get frustrated than a teacher who deals with this on a more regular basis.

If he's having as much trouble as you say, he's more than likely more than just "slightly" dislexic. I'm mildly dislexic and I have days where I have to read whole paragraphs again to get all the letters and words in the right order, but I never struggled to read as much as you say your son does. I was always a SLOW reader, but I could read, and I didn't WANT to read, but I could read. If you read his stuff to him, he's going to become dependent on you and want to know why he has to read, since you can just read it to him.

M.
and Amara 8/25/01

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R.L.

answers from Shreveport on

Take a look at nogreaterjoy.org. They should have an article regarding this in their articles. They home schooled their children and their oldest is dyslexic and they recently had an article about it. Debi Pearl taught her to read and tells how she did it.

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S.L.

answers from Tulsa on

Try a process known as "Sight words". It is a flash card based word association program. It helps the child to recognize the whole word, rather than try to sound it out phoenetically, like most schools teach. Here are a few web links I found to give you a start...

http://www.quiz-tree.com/Sight-Words_main.html

http://www.msrossbec.com/sightwords.shtml

http://www.fcboe.org/schoolhp/shes/sight_words.htm

http://www.janbrett.com/games/jan_brett_dolch_word_list_m...

http://www.gamequarium.com/readquarium/sightwords.html

http://www.starfall.com/n/matching/sight-words/load.htm

These links refer mostly to those words that are not able to be sounded out pheonetically, but if you apply the technique of associating pictures with the words (his mind will see the word as a picture, rather than a puzzle of a word), then he can make great strides during a single summer.

When you are working with him, if you give him a word that he can't read, have him "see" the object it represents in his mind... like h-o-u-s-e is "the place we live in".

You might also look for a special tutor in your area who features a "sight word based curriculum"

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B.S.

answers from Fayetteville on

Hi, I am a homeschooling mom too. I have three boys who all have had trouble reading. I thought they were dyslexic. I have had eyes tested by kid eye doctors and they always said things were fine. Then, I hired a tutor for my yongest son. She did some research on reading problems and found an ophthalmologist in NW Ark, the Fayetteville area, Brian Buell. He diagnosed my youngest son with Binocular dysfunction. His eyes are not level and they do not work together. He says that about 1/3 of the population has this problem and they correct it with glasses. I can't tell you what a relief this was because we have really been treated badly by many of the "scholarly" homeschoolers. I homeschool because I believe the Lord calls me to and I am able to teach the things they are good at in a way they can learn. Anyway, the doctor says that after puberty it is too late for correction, that means it is too late for my older boys. If you do not live in this area, please give this man's office a call and find out if there is someone in your area who can test your sons eyes for these type problems. And, don't take the responsibility or the guilt for his reading ability/disability on yourself. God made your son the person he is for His purposes. Your job is to make him the best him he can be...maybe he is never going to be a great reader, he can still be a great follower of Jesus and that is really the point...right.
Hope this helps.

By the way, the doctor asked how I found him... I just wanted to tell him that God led us to him. I left his office so thankful.

B.
Brian Buell, P.A. ###-###-####
P.S. I have a great tutor and if you live in the NW Ark area, I would be happy to give you contact info. my e-mail is [email protected]____.com

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S.W.

answers from Tulsa on

A couple of suggestions.
1. Language experience approach-- have discussions with him about special items/events/activities/anything. Then write down what he says word for word. Kind of like dictating a story. Then you can do reading activities with those stories. It'll help because he'll be learning to read using his own words and ideas
2. See if you can get him hooked up with a preschool student to read to on a weekly basis. Let him pick out easy picture books that he thinks the student might enjoy and have him practice reading the book before he goes to read to the preschooler. This will help improve his fluency, it will help with his confidence because he will be helping another child learn to read, and it will help with his decoding skills because he will be reading books that might be more on his level (without feeling stupid for reading "baby books").
3. Try to make reading fun. It's not all about sounding out words. there's a lot more to reading than that (using grammar and context cues, for example). Ultimately, if you remember that reading is making meaning from print (not sounding out words), then you can have a lot more fun with it. Help him to learn that reading can help him enter and explore new worlds and meet all sorts of people. Reading should be an adventure, not a chore.

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D.G.

answers from Little Rock on

Hi J.
You've gotten lots of good advice here, but I'm surprised no one has mentioned the books "The Gift of Dyslexia" or "Brain Gym". I have two dsylexic sons. The "Gift" worked for my first son, but did nothing for my second son. The "Gym" worked wonders for my second son.
Good luck and don't give up. You just need to keep looking until you find something that works for your son.

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J.C.

answers from Baton Rouge on

hi J., don't feel like ur alone with this. my son was both adhd n diylexic n was in 6th grade b4 it became apparent. anyway i started having him read me funny books as it was really about all he liked. anyway in 6 months he caught up to his class in reading. don't get me wrong it wasn't easy but it can b done. also if u do any driving have him find the roads/hiways u need it helps them rearrange the numbers the way they should b. just write them down like they should b n he will learn to put them right when he looks at them. good luck to u n feel freeto contact me at anytime.

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J.A.

answers from Mobile on

I use to teach the Scottish Rite program for dyslexia. It was time consuming but I saw a real difference in the children. Try going to this web site http://www.tsrhc.org/dyslexia.htm.

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E.B.

answers from Baton Rouge on

I had a college professor that was dyslexic, so he printed all his papers on yellow paper. He said that it helped him focus on the words better, than if they were printed on regular white paper. You could try different colors of paper to see if he reads better on certain colors.

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S.R.

answers from Tulsa on

You've gotten some great responses that I'm sure will be very helpful. My youngest didn't have problems learning to read, just motivational problems. She saw absolutely no reason to learn since she had 2 parents and an older sister to read to her. That way she could play with her blocks or color while someone read to her! Multi-tasking at an early age! She did finally learn, mostly because I kept having the follow my finger, you read I read, sessions. The good news is she graduated with honors from a difficult high school and did well in college also. And last but not least, Tom Cruise says he's dyslexic and he's done pretty well for himself, no?
Hang in there and be consistent. Someday you'll look back at this stage and be proud of your success.

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