Thursday, February 25, 2010

How to choose a dyslexia tutor

In this dyslexia blog article I give some tips and hints about how to find and choose a dyslexia tutor:

Many parents may feel they need the help of a professional to assist their dyslexic child.They may feel out of their depth and need specialist help.In some cases children may work better with someone from outside the family,rather than with a mother or father. Of course, financial aspects need to be taken into account when considering whether to hire a tutor.

To find the right tutor for your son or daughter can take a lot of effort and time . In Turkey it is much harder to find the right match as there are very few experienced and qualified dyslexia tutors available!! Unfortunately this shortage of qualified teachers is due to the fact that there is a desperate lack of specialised dyslexia training courses for teachers in Turkey.
(N.B There is a course for teachers etc. run in Ankara by the Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Learning Disabilities Association (Özel Öğrenme Güçlüğü Eğitmenlerin Eğitimi - Dikkat Eksikliği Hiperaktivite ve Özel Öğrenme Güçlüğü Derneği).

In order to find a suitable tutor parents need to be prepared to do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions.Very often parents in Turkey are reluctant to ask searching questions, however it is crucial if you want to find the right person for their child.

First of all ask for recommendations from other parents ; or if your child is seeing a psychologist you could ask them.They are a number of online internet sites where private tutors advertise.

Contact those tutors you think may be suitable and ask if you can arrange to see them to discuss their experience and qualifications.Check if they will charge for this initial visit.

Talk to your child before them come and explain to your child why you want to hire a tutor and how they can help them with their school work.Remember that if you can get their co-operation from the outsight they will work better with the teacher !

Interview several tutors preferably with your child.Remember to get your child’s opinion about those tutors you have interviewed. Don’t forget it is crucial that the tutor relates well to your child !!

Ask for a copy of the teacher's CV.

You could ask the tutor also for references which you could follow up.

Consider the following factors : teaching qualifications, experience of teaching dyslexic children, plus any specific dyslexia teacher training.Consider who well they relate to your child. Have they a friendly and approachable manner ?? Ask them how long they have been tutoring and how many dyslexic students they have tutored…

Of course it is preferable if the tutor has experience of dealing with children with dyslexia.However in Turkey is not easy to find properly qualified and experienced dyslexic teachers .You may find someone who has a background in special needs teaching ,guidance teaching ,or psychology maybe a possibility to consider.You may also want to look at students who are studying teaching etc ..

Ask about their teaching style and approach .For dyslexia students they need a mutli-sensory approach. Mutli-sensory teaching means helping a child to learn through more than one of the senses .Tutors need to try to make lessons fun and enjoyable as possible.A tutor should be willing to prepare a number of short , varied activities to do in the sessions in order to keep the child’s attention and interest.

Discuss how much the lessons will cost per hour and the terms and conditions.Remember if a teacher has more qualifications and experience expect to pay more.If you hire a student you should pay less.

Ask about the length of the sessions – 1 hour is the maximum for a lesson.Remember dyslexic children generally suffer from concentration problems so too long a lesson will be counter- productive.

Ask about what happens if you cancel or miss a lesson and if you have to purchase books or other materials.

Discuss when and where and how frequently lessons will take place.

If possible, arrange tutoring for the times of the day when your child is ready to learn.If the lessons will take place after school remember to allow some break for your child before they start their private lesson.

Generally two lessons a week is recommended for dyslexic students. It may be better for lessons to take place at your own home as your child may feel more relaxed in his/her own environment.

If you have a report from a psychologist concerning your child you should show this to the tutor.

Set clear goals for the tutoring. Is there something specific your child needs help with ? Are they just going to help them with homework or are they going to assist them with areas they are struggling in ; for example mathematics, reading , writing.. ?

Discuss how they will interact with your child’s school – If you have a good relationship with your child’s teacher and school then you can discuss with the tutor how you could all work together to assist your child.Sadly often it Turkey very often teachers and schools do not wish to co-operate in such a way !!

Ask if the tutor will give homework and how much.Remember your child will already have normal school homework to do .It is important however for children to go over topics covered in the private lesson briefly in order to re-inforce learning.

Ask your child’s tutor to give reports regularly to update you on progress.

From time to time try to observe your child working with the tutor and assess how the lessons are going.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

School Projects and Assignments

This dyslexia blog article gives some tips and hints about helping your child with a school project :

Completing a school project can be quite a challenge for many students, in particular those with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia.They may have problems organizing themselves and getting the project done on schedule, plus they may struggle with writing and editing.On the positive side they may have a lot of creativity and inventiveness that they can put to good use in their project.

First of all make sure your child starts a project as soon as the teacher gives them out.

Work out with your child how long the project will take to complete and make a timetable which your child should keep to .

Remember that you will need to allow more time for your child to complete the project.

Your child will get more tired easily so it is best if they do a little bit of the project over several days rather than trying to complete it all at once.

Together read the instructions given by the teacher carefully.

After talk about the project and brain storm ideas for the project. Discuss what your child needs to find out and where they will obtain the information from.

Consider how they will present their project. Possible options include posters / booklets or brochures / a report/ powerpoint or an oral presentation.Some options may be easier for dyslexia students to do depending on their particular strengths – For example, a powerpoint presentation may be a better option because it involves writing short bullet points rather than lots of long sentences.If your child is good at art work then they may prefer to do a poster.

Make sure your child keeps on the subject of the topic ie if it is about trees don’t start talking about flowers in the project.

After selecting a Project topic do some online and library research. You may need to teach them how to do online searching.For a useful information about this go to
Remind them to keep a record of books and websites they looked at to find information.

After this initial research your child may need to change his/ her project if they can not find enough information on the topic. Likewise if there is too much information they will have to narrow down the subject.

They will need to make an outline of the project before they starting writing - this is a kind of skeleton which will ensure your child keeps on track of the topic. The outline should include sub-headings. Make sure this outline sticks to the rules given by the teacher.For those at secondary and high school the outline should include a table of contents, introduction, conclusion and a bibligraphy.

Your child could use a graphic organizer to help students sort out their ideas. A graphic organizer is usually a one-page form with blank areas for the student to fill in with related ideas and information. Graphic organisers are good for visual learners.
You could use a 5 W’s chart ( who / what / when / where / and why to stimulate ideas.See this site for some examples :

There are all different types of graphic organisers; including mind maps .A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas or tasks linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea.

Make a draft copy of the project based on the outline or mind map.For dyslexic children it would be best to do this on a computer as later it will be easier to amend.

Edit the project twice – once for content ( check that your child has covered the project requirements etc ) – secondly for grammar and spelling.If your child has used a computer then they can make use of spell check. It is also a good idea if a family member can do a final check for errors.

Collect all the materials required to start the project eg pictures, stationary etc .

The final stage is to consider how your child is going to display and present his/ her project. They should make sure their project looks neat and is eyecatching.Pictures mounted with a border can look impressive.Titles should be in larger writing .Pictures should be glued in carefully.

For a good powerpoint presentation about helping kids with projects see :

Friday, February 12, 2010

10 Best Dyslexia Resources Online in 2010

I recently read that another blogger Eric James Wolf has listed my dyslexia blog as one of his recommendations for the 10 best dyslexia resources online in 2010 !!I was pleased to hear this good news and to know someone out there in cyberspace reads my blog !!

I started out writing this blog because here in Turkey dyslexia is an unknown subject .Teachers and parents alike are oblivious of the problems students can encounter if they are dyslexic.

I like to think I can share some of the information I have gained in my journey to help my son with other mums and dads like me.Sometimes I get demoralised and disheartened but writing the blog helps to keep me positive.If I was in the UK things would be a lot easier as there are many support groups and plenty of resources available. As a parent living abroad its difficult as you are dealing with an education system you are unfamiliar with ,plus you are not a native speaker.Sometimes you can feel quite alone in this situation.Despite these many problems, I hope to continue to help my child the best way I can and also to continue to write my blog.Good luck to Eric and other bloggers writing about dyslexia..

Go to the following blog to find the full list of recommended blogs on dyslexia :
Teh Dyslexic Storytellers Blog

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

101 Ways to Get Your Child to Read

101 Ways to Get Your Child to Read : A useful short guide for parents of children with dyslexia ...

Patience Thomson won the Quick Reads Learners’ Favourite Award in 2009 for her book “101 Ways to get your Child to Read” . In a previous dyslexia blog article I talked about Quick Read books .. These are short books designed for for adults with literacy problems.

This is an accessible, friendly and valuable book for all parents which gives tips on how to get your child to read if they can’t or won’t read..

Patience Thomson is a writer, lecturer and expert on reading. She was a head teacher at a school in London for children with specific learning difficulties and she co-founded Barrington Stoke, a publisher of books for reluctant readers.

When receiving the award she said "I am thrilled to win this award. It is an immense tribute to the parents, pupils and colleagues who, over the years, have taught me so much about the true nature of reading difficulties and how to overcome them”

If you look at the NIACE web site you can find a short podcast where Patience Thomson is talking about her book..

Quick Reads 2009: Interview with Patience Thomson - [1 MB] March 4, 2009 - 17:11

You can buy the book from :

101 Ways to Get Your Child to Read
Patience Thomson
ISBN: 9781842996713
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
1.99 pounds

For a review of the book see :

Monday, February 1, 2010


Here is a great resource for those who have pre-school children .As I have mentioned in other dyslexia blog articles early identification of dyslexia is very important. If parents and teachers can be made aware that a child may have problems learning to read early on, then there is more chance that the child can catch up with his peers.

Get Ready to Read !

This site includes a screening tool which can show how good your child’s pre-reading skills are as well as offering ideas of activities to boost literacy skills …

Get Ready to Read! (GRTR!) is a programme from the US designed to help build the early literacy skills of preschool children.

It is an initiative of the National Center for Learning Disabilities., USA.

It provides a screening tool to assess reading skills in pre-school children.

There is a 20-question research-based screening tool which can be used with four-year-old children by a teacher or parent. The score will show if your child's pre-reading skills are weak, strong, or somewhere in between. This tool is designed to screen a child twice during the year before kindergarten. The screeening tool is in English and Spanish.

In addition there are activities and resources to help improve childrens literacy skills. These include interactive games as well as printable activity cards.