Hello! As a parent of a dyslexic, dysgraphic, and ADHD gifted kid there has been a HUGE learning curve in my life, to say the least. I have spent countless hours researching, reading, watching videos and webinars, taking classes and talking to every professional I could find. Not to mention talking with hundreds of parents of kids like mine.
As this is my first blog post to Teachers I am going to start with the basics. First and foremost – THERE IS NO REASON a dyslexic kid should not be reading every day and loving it. Period. No excuses! How can my students to read if he or she can’t read or reads so slowly and painfully they hate it???
With your help of course!!! They will need you and their parents to help them on this journey, especially in the beginning. It is VITAL that your dyslexic students read at their cognitive level while they are (hopefully!) being remediated.
If you have students who are struggling with eye reading – let them read with their ears!!!! After all, ALL three types of reading, Eye Reading, Ear Reading and Finger Reading – also known as braille, does the very same thing: it stimulates the mind! All reading has the same effect on the brain no matter which kind. For most kids learning to read with their eyes is not a big deal – its obviously the way 9 out of 10 kids learn. But what about our kids? The 1 in 10 Dyslexic kids? Here is a great article from the DailyMail.com.uk about what our kids see when they eye read. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3480257/What-s-REALLY-like-read-dyslexia-Simulator-reveals-letters-words-appear-people-condition.html
So if eye reading doesn’t work so well – so what? Dyslexic kids can use their ears to read! Better known as Audio Books!! Two years ago while in 4th grade my daughter read over 4 million words between Sept and May of her 4th grade school year. 4 MILLION!!! All on audio books. Most times she also read it with her eyes as well using an amazing program call Voice Dream Reader. She loves reading now.
All the teachers I know always have such great books for kids to read. There is NO reason why your dyslexic and struggling ADHD students cant read them right along with the class.
So how can Teachers help get this reading started???? Try one or ALL of these!
Bookshare.org is an amazing website where children who are US Students can read books from 663,444 plus books FOR FREE!!! Read the requirements here https://www.bookshare.org/cms/bookshare-me/who-qualifies. The voices are synthesized but you can use many programs to make them sound incredibly human. Here is a very cool set of recommendations by people who use Voice Dream Reader: https://www.applevis.com/forum/ios-ios-app-discussion/what-are-best-high-quality-voices-voice-dream-reader about which voices sound best with specific genres of books.
My daughter’s favorite is Sharon. Your child can pick from any voice they like. A woman’s voice or a Man’s voice. A Brittish accent or one from another country like India. They can choose how fast they want it and they can even choose a child’s voice!
Another great option is Learning Ally. This a source for over 80,000 human read books. It is also an amazing source of support and information for parents. It does cost $135.00 a year but there are some school districts who will pay this for your child. If not, paying $12 a month is chump change if it gets your kid to love reading!!!!
As a treat, I pay for my daughter to use Audible.com as well. It does not have the synchronized reading (unless you pay additionally to Amazon to purchase the Kindle book for Whispersync. She loves it for large books – especially adventure books when she reads before bed or when she wants to build legos while she reads. (Yes – it is ok to let your kid just listen and play while they read! Trust me, it’s a good thing a LOT of reading happens that way!)
One note about Bookshare and Learning Ally. For a students school textbooks to be downloaded into a digital/ear readable format it must be done by school officials. At our school either the school psychologist or the resource room teacher do this for each student with an IEP or a 504.
Here is a great Bookshare.org article about two teachers and the success they have had helping their students use Bookshare: http://bookshareblog.wpengine.com/2018/04/when-it-comes-to-reading-this-school-is-all-in/
It is such an easy process to get Bookshare to your school and to set up an account for each of your stuggling students.
Schools can sign up here: https://www.bookshare.org/signUpOrganization