Updated: May 14
What is a parent to do in order to get their dyslexic child to read more?
Think of it like this….When is the last time you really wanted to push a wheelbarrow filled with bricks up a steep hill? Tough right? I bet you are not going to do it often, or at all, if given the choice.
Dyslexia can make reading feel like pushing that ton of bricks. It is difficult. It most likely causes stress, anxiety and ultimately avoidance.
The solution is to pick “just-right” activities. These activities should not be tough. The activities should reinforce skills. Practicing skills will build automaticity, will foster success, and will increase confidence. Try some ideas from the list below. I bet you will see results.
Ideas to weave into your home activities.
Get some decodable texts. Most students need decodable text to practice phonics skills. Reading decodable text is a great way for kids to practice what they know and build confidence. This link provides free online decodables. Enjoy. Fly Leaf Publishing Decodables. Here is another link for book purchases. High Noon Books. See here for a comprehensive list of decodable books.
Choose just the right books that interest the learner. Ask them about topics they are interested in. Using books to learn more is a great way to engage the reader. If you know the student’s instructional reading level, choose books one to two levels below that level. For instance, if the reader is at instructional level E in school, read books at home leveled C and D. Here is a link for free leveled text. Wilbooks Free Online.
Expand the reading selection. If the learner loves music, try song lyrics and poetry. This is a great link. You can read poetry or add a beat to make it musical. For example, try this. Read the lyrics and sing along to the song HAPPY, by Pharrell Williams. Lyrics to HAPPY
Read Poetry for Kids.
Here is a great poetry link: Poetry4Kids A fan favorite is called My Pencil. The author, Ken Nesbitt, does a great job of reading it out loud with great intonation.
Shell Silverstein is another very popular poet for kids.
Encourage Reading in Daily Activities.
When you are passing by road signs, or in a store, or reading a recipe, you can gently encourage your child to read certain words that they know how to read. This helps show kids the purpose of reading and that reading is all around us!
Personalize the book. Kids love to see their names in books. Here’s a link for purchasing a personalized book. Students like to see their own names, family pets, and favorite friends and relatives in stories. Technology allows you to create an extra special book. Personalized Books.
Read graphic novels. Graphic novels bridge the gap from picture books to full fledged novels. Text is brief and the pictures help the reader understand the story. The Yak Pack has decodable graphic novels and sight word graphic novels. Here are some Top Graphic Novel suggestions, and a list of graphic novels for older students from Yale. Here are graphic novel suggestions from Reading Rockets Suggested Reading List Reading Rockets
Create a story map or a cartoon.riddle Make an entertaining story about one of the characters in the book. Write the dialogue in speech bubbles. Kids will love to read the comic to friends and family. If you’re really excited, turn their writing into a script and videotape them Wriddle | Write, Draw, Record.
Readers Theater. This provides opportunities to read and reread with expression. Who doesn’t like adding a prop to make it feel authentic. Video taping or using Zoom is a great way to show off their reading to friends and family. You can find free scripts here: Readers Theater Scripts.https://www.readinga-z.com/fluency/readers-theater-scripts/
Listen to audiobooks. This will help them with one-to-one word matching. It also builds vocabulary and reading expressions. This link has a plethora of resources. Audiobooks.
Read to your learner. Ooodles of research supports the benefits of students listening to a good book. Try to end your reading time with a suspenseful event. Cliffhangers leave the listener wanting more. Here is a list of great read alouds: Read Alouds.
Make a home library, book shelf or crate. Let the learner pick any book they want. Don’t worry about it being too easy. Comfort level and confidence are most important. You can gather ideas here: Home Library Ideas.
Incorporate apps. Ever feel like you can’t compete with the computer screen or a tablet? If you can’t beat them, join them. See the list below.
Wondering about the best tools, games and apps to work on reading at home? Here are some top picks.
Drill Sound Practice
First off…this is my FAVORITE app for repeated practice of sounds. This is also known as sound-drill. Knowing the letter combinations for sounds is an essential skill for reading. I just love the Mayerson Academy OG Card Deck. It is visual and auditory. It is available on smartphones, tablets and Google. Check out your preferred app store. At the time of this post, it is FREE.
Click here for a demonstration video. Demonstration Video
Phonics Skill Practice
Next up…..Free and Low cost. A mix of phonics practice and reading opportunities. These activities are embedded with lots of sounds and colors to maintain high interest.
Read Books Online
Read, Read, Read. A variety of ways to get kids hooked. These offer a variety of book choices. Prices vary. Most are low cost.
Read Kindle books on your computer or tablet through Kindle Cloud Reader
Colorful engaging stories Wanderful Interactive Stories
Leveled high interest books Epic
High interest and won awards for ease on apps FarFaria
Builds vocabulary fluency and comprehension with audio tales. Tales2Go
Allows students to move words around to change what happens in the story. Witty Wings
Instruction and Support Programs
Last but not least….paid subscriptions that provide practice AND instruction. Costly, but worth the price if you use them often.
Both LexiaCore5 and Nessy follow typical sequences for phonics instruction. Both provide colorful and engaging activities. Kids find this fun and don’t necessarily associate it with difficult school work. Can’t go wrong with either choice.
Lexia has wonderful reteaching prompts.
Nessy has great videos to help the teaching point come alive. They are also offering free practice worksheets organized by skill. Check it out here. Free Learning Resources | Nessy
To explore more game options, here is a list of phonics apps from OG.
Try to remember, reading time will increase as they become efficient readers. When activities are frustrating and difficult, kids don’t want to do it. Incorporate a few of these at home ideas. Don’t do too many at once. Choose wisely. Keep things light and fun. You will be surprised to see the results.
“Games aren’t just filler in education. They have the ability to introduce, reinforce, or even assess learning of a given topic.” – Kara Carrero
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