Tips to teach reading to kids with dyslexia
- Quick tip 1Make reading multisensory.Make reading multisensory.
Help connect letters and sounds by engaging the senses, like writing a word in shaving cream while sounding it out.
- Quick tip 2Tap out the syllables.Tap out the syllables.
Say a long word out loud and tap out each syllable. This can help readers focus on and remember each syllable.
- Quick tip 3“Scoop” words into phrases.“Scoop” words into phrases.
Instead of reading word by word, try pausing between short, meaningful phrases: “The gray cat / jumped / on the red ball.”
- Quick tip 4Use a whisper phone.Use a whisper phone.
Help readers hear subtle differences by making or buying a phone-shaped tube to amplify the sounds as they read aloud.
- Quick tip 5Listen to audiobooks.Listen to audiobooks.
Use free tools that read text out loud. Audiobooks and text-to-speech (TTS) can help kids become better readers.
What’s the best way to teach kids with dyslexia how to read? The most helpful approach is called structured literacy. This way of teaching reading is:
- Systematic: Reading skills are taught in a logical order. Kids have to master the basics before moving on to more complex skills. Example: A teacher makes sure kids can blend two letter-sounds before asking them to find those blends in words.
- Explicit: Teaching is clear and direct. There’s no guesswork. Example: A teacher points to each letter in the word sit and says, “The first sound is /s/, the next sound is /ĭ/, and the last sound is /t/.”
- Diagnostic: Teachers constantly assess students to make sure they’re mastering concepts before moving on. Instruction is individualized. Example: After working on blending sounds, a teacher notices one student needs more practice.
Structured literacy helps all kids learn to read. But it’s extra helpful for kids with dyslexia, who often have trouble with the basic skills of reading. Structured literacy helps kids build a solid foundation so they can develop more advanced reading skills.
See a structured literacy lesson for grade-schoolers and middle-schoolers.