The first step for children at school is to learn to read.Once they have achieved this goal they are expected to read in order to learn.
If children who are dyslexic are not given sufficient support at an early stage with literacy and do not become proficient in reading then they will encounter difficulties at school later on.They can fall behind their peers due to their poor reading skills.
In Turkey children are expected to learn to read with 3 or 4 months of starting school. In some cases children have already learnt to read when they start school. Since 2006 Turkish children are taught to read by the “Sound based sentence method” (ses temelli cumle yöntem).Sounds are learnt initially.After these sounds are combined to form syllables,later on syllables are made to form words and finally words to form sentences.
As children progress with reading they learn to recognize and say the word as a whole, although longer more difficult words may be broken down into syllables. Dyslexic readers find it difficult to automatically recognize words. Whereas an average child will need to see a word 4- 10 times for automatic recognition – a child who is dyslexia may need to come across that word more than 40 times. For this reason constant practice is essential.
In the school settting all children generally often get insufficient reading practice, apart from reading their text books.Also nowadays at home because of the lures of the TV, internet and playstations children tend to read less and less ! For this reason parents need to play an active role to encourage child to read and to improve their reading skills.This is specially crucial for a dyslexic child in order that they can catch up with their peers.
How to Choose an Appropriate Book
The books should look attractive
Don’t go for books, which are easy to read, but whose stories are babyish and boring. Choose an exciting story . Consider your childs interests - for example if he is interested in football choose a book connected to this theme.Don’t limit yourself to just books – but comics,magazines, anything your child might want to read.
The writing should not be too small or too big.
Avoid books where the vocabulary is too complicated.
Style – keep it simple!
Look for a simple and direct style.Avoid books with long complicated sentence structures full of sub- clauses.Read several books written by the same author with him as it’s easier to guess what’s coming next if the style is a familiar one.
Keep it short!
Your child may have a short concentration span for this reason choose books that are short, exciting and satisfying and that match the interests of your child. Short stories can be more rewarding for dyslexic readers, who will gain confidence from finishing a book. Also choose books with short chapters.
Eye – catching, age-appropriate illustrations will help to encourage young readers to read the book. It will also help to explain difficult words and identify characters.
The book should be not too hard for your child to read
How can I tell if a book is too hard ?
The Five Finger Test
Encourage your child to test a page of any book before reading it. Let your child put a finger on each word he cannot read. If more that five fingers are used on any one page,he will not be able to read it without help.
Tips to help your child
Read to your child on a regular basis,sharing the enjoyment of a good story. This is important because it introduces him to a much wider vocabulary and also you can act as a good role model for reading.
Visit libraries and bookshops with your child. Encourage your child to like books.
Set aside a time for reading each day when you can be alone and undisturbed with your child.
Remember dyslexic kids have good days and bad days. You may find that their reading ability can fluctuate a lot.
Summer holidays are very long in Turkey – so make sure you maintain reading practice during this period.
Keep a record of the books your child reads – make bookmarks,prepare a blog, take photos.. This helps to show what your child has achieved.
Once your child can read by himself , each day your child should practice a minimum of 10 minutes reading out loud and 10 mins of silent reading.
Read aloud reading
This exercise is designed to make the child aware of both the sound and sight of the words; and their flow, as it stores both together in your memory.
When your child is reading out loud and he makes a mistake – immediately give him the correct word – don’t make him struggle sounding the word out – as it will interrupt the flow of the reading.
It is more difficult to know what's going on when your child is reading silently. You will have to ask questions to monitor his comprehension after he has read silently. For your child to be successful explain the most important words or any new vocabulary prior to his reading silently. Do some reading yourself to encourage him while he's reading silently !!!
NB Your child will have better comprehension when he reads silently
Use a pointer- such as a pencil or your index finger, and move it along the line you are reading. Sometimes find it difficult to keep their place and also this can help to speed up their reading.
Alternative Reading Techniques you can try with your child:
Echo Reading- involves you reading one line of a story and your child repeating the same line after you have read. Increase the number of lines read at one time as the child's reading improves. Ask your child to follow the story with their finger to be sure he/she is looking at the words. Let your child read first with easy materials.
Choral Reading- involves a story that your child has read before or that is easy for him/her to read. Read the text together. Lead the reading by using expression and appropriate pacing.
Reader's Theatre is a read-aloud activity. Roles are distributed and each person reads when his/her character speaks. This should be done with easy reading materials for your child that includes conversation..
Partner Reading involves sharing reading. You read a sentence or half the page, and ask your child to read one sentence or half the page. As reading improves each partner can read an entire page or section.
Taped Stories provide good samples for listening to fluent reading. Parents could tape themselves as they read a book to their child. When using a taped story have the child follow the text with his/her finger or read along to help with fluency. Have children tape their own stories and evaluate their reading for fluency.
Repeated Reading involves your child in reading the same books or stories more than once in the same week.
One minute reading. You could find a short simple passage for your child to read (preferably one that doesn’t contain conversation).Get your child to read this passage for 1 minute (3 times ).
Please note : before your child reads the passage out loud - ask them to read it silently.
Afterwards you can count how words your child read in 1 minute (minus the number of mistakes). . The number of words read results can be put on a graph to show progress.
You could also tape record your child reading orally,before and after you begin this activity – to demonstrate progress made.
1. READING TOGETHER
You and your child read the words our loud together. Make your speed as fast or as slow as your child's. Your child must read every word. If your child struggles with a word and then gets it right, show that you are pleased. Never let your child struggle for more than 5 seconds.If your child struggles for too long or gets a word wrong, then:
Just say the right word yourself, and
Make sure that your child repeats it properly.
2. READING ALONE
When you are reading together your child may want to read a bit alone. You should agree on a signal for your child to tell you to be quiet. This could be a knock on the book, a wave of the hand.When your child struggles for more than 5 seconds, or struggles and gets it wrong, you say the right word for your child. Make sure that your child says it right as well.Then you both go on reading together, until your child feels good enough to read on alone again, and asks you to be quiet. You must always remember to go back to reading together when your child has had problems with a word.
TRY OUT SOME OF THESE TECHNIQUES AND SEE WHICH ONES YOUR CHILD PREFERS.
Remember reading difficulties may be a challenge, but they are not a disaster ,there is a lot a parent can do to help their child !!