Solving Dyslexia: 15 Weaknesses and 10 Steps to Remediation ~ Guest Blogger, Dr. Erica Warren

Testing has taken over my life at work, so I am super excited to have a guest blogger today!  Erica Warren at Learning Specialist Materials and Good Sensory Learning is talking today about a hot topic ~ dyslexia!  And, after reading her post, head on over to her blog Learning Specialist Materials to read more super informative information about learning and learning styles!
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New estimates suggest that 1 in 10 children have dyslexia, and that it is the most common type of learning disability.  Dyslexia is a language-based issue that impacts academics in the areas of word decoding, reading comprehension, reading fluency, word retrieval, writing, spelling and some mathematical computations such as word problems.  Although dyslexia is widespread in schools, many students remain undiagnosed.  In addition, many others that are diagnosed never receive the needed remediation.  So what can we do to help these underserved individuals?  First, we can learn to recognize the common warning signs so that these students can be formally tested.  Second, we can learn how to help these students strengthen the weaknesses associated with dyslexia.

15 Common Weaknesses:

1.    Difficulty with rhyming words
2.    Difficulty memorizing letters, words and number sequences
3.    Mis-sequencing of syllables in a word (aminal – for animal)
4.    Sees letter and number sequences correctly but may remember and recall them in a different order
5.    Skips and misreads words
6.    Difficulty sounding out words
7.    Difficulty spelling
8.    Word finding problems
9.    Problems with rote memorization
10. Repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, and substitutions, of letters, numbers and/or words
11. Trouble understanding inferences, jokes, or idioms
12. Difficulty tracking from left to right
13. Complaints of dizziness, headaches or stomach aches while reading
14. Difficulty discriminating between similar sounding letters and words
15. Difficulty interpreting word problems

10 Ways to Strengthen the Weaknesses Associated with Dyslexia

1.    Allow students to use color overlays and help them select the color that is most soothing for them.  I make my own color overlays by taking transparent, colorful report covers and slicing them into strips.  They make great book marks too!
2.    Play sorting games with common reversals like the letters “b” and “d” or the words “was” and saw.” Have the students organize the letters or words into separate groupings or categories.  As an additional fun option, you can even ask your students to use letters or words that they cut out of magazines. 
3.    Find jokes on the internet or get a joke book.  Have fun going through each joke and talk about them.  Talk about double meanings, what makes them funny and make a list of words that have more then one meaning.  Then, help your students to make their own joke book.
4.    If spelling is a real problem when writing, allow students to use a computer with a spell check.  You can also scribe for them, and consider purchasing speech to text software such as, Dragon Naturally Speaking.  Over time, these options will help students with dyslexia learn the correct spelling as they will continually see the words spelled correctly.
5.    Make a list of each student’s commonly misspelled words and write them in a notebook.  Place one word on each page.  Have fun coming up with memory strategies with the students that will help them remember the correct spelling.  For example, if they have difficulty with the word “what, ” they may notice that the word “what “ has the word “hat” in it.  Then they can draw a hat on top of the word “what.” 
6.    Perform eye tracking exercises with the students to strengthen the eye muscles.  This can be done by placing two objects about 1-2 feet in front of the student.  Make sure to place the objects about 16 inches apart.  Have the students look back and forth between the objects as quickly as they can for a minute.   Do this at least twice a day. 
7.    Play ping pong with the students or have them watch others play ping pong.  Ping pong is a wonderful game that strengthens tracking as well as other visual processing areas.
8.    Make difficult letters and numbers with the students out of wet spaghetti, shaving cream, or clay.   Bringing a tactile modality as well as the “fun factor” into lessons will make the material more memorable.
9.    Make a collage with the students that focuses on one or two difficult words or letters at a time. 
10. Have the students use books on tape.  While listening, ask them to close their eyes and visualize the story.  Many students with dyslexia never fully develop their capacity to visualize, because the process of reading is so mentally taxing.  Helping these students to develop the ability to visualize will aid them with reading comprehension and memory.  Another option is to ask them to read along with the recording, so they can improve their sight word vocabulary and begin to see whole words and phrases.

If you are interested in purchasing some products that help students with dyslexia, consider downloading a free sample of Dr. Warren’s Reversing Reversals, Making Inferences the Fun and Easy Way, or Reading Games.

About the Author
Dr. Erica Warren is a reading specialist, educational therapist and author of multisensory, and mindful educational materials.  She resides in New York, where she works one on one with students as a “personal trainer for the brain” and an educational consultant/teacher trainer. Dr. Warren offers her own materials at Good Sensory Learning and Teachers Pay Teachers. You can also get free advice and resources by following her blog here.

Thank you, Erica, for some wonderful and informative information!

3 comments

  1. WOW! Such a great read! I've used reading overlays to help students with tracking, but I love the colored report covers (much cheaper!)

    Leigh
    The Applicious Teacher

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  2. Thanks for posting! I have a few students struggling with dyslexia this year.

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

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  3. There is one thing I would like to add, that with dealing with kiddo's with dyslexia is it is very important to make them understand that they are not dumb (as so many think they are), its just their brain works differently, and some of the most important people in our world's history are/were dyslexic's so its no barrier to a bright future. This knowledge comes from having two sons who are on the dyslexic band (one mild, one bad) and helping at my local school with the programe they have to support children with dyslexia. Their self perception is the biggest barrier to thier schooling success.

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