I have been homeschooling kids with dyslexia for 20 years! Where did the time go?
As far as dyslexia goes right now in our homeschool, I am mainly focused on an 11-year old who is a good reader but needs help with spelling and my two youngest, both boys who are nearly 8 and nearly 5.
I tutor my nearly 8 year old most days with a mixture of All About Reading and The Wilson Program. I don’t often recommend The Wilson Program to parents because, although it is an excellent program, it is not as user friendly as All About Reading.
This little guy LOVES learning to read. He is moderately dyslexic; nothing comes easy but it is coming. I realized that we have developed some daily habits that are helping him have this success and so it is these things that I am sharing with you today.
Let him move a lot in the morning. This could be jumping on our well-used trampoline, building elaborate forts or just running around in the backyard. I encourage him to get outside before school every morning because exercise has been proven to help with academic achievement.
Eat a healthy breakfast. Because this kid tends to have some attention and focus issues (mainly overcome by short, intense lessons throughout the day) I insist on him having a healthy breakfast every day. This might be yogurt and granola, some whole grain bread and nut butter with fruit and lots of water!
Having a regular routine. Since several of my kids have variations of ADD & ADHD, we keep a regular routine so that they always know what is happening next. Whenever we get away from this routine (as happens to all of us) it becomes hard for them to get organized and focus is way more difficult.
Review, review, review! A few years ago, I learned of the term ‘over learning’. Over learning refers to the process required for language information to really stick in the mind of a dyslexic. A lack of automaticity in remembering sounds, digraphs and sight words results in frustrating lessons and a lack of fluency. So I review all of his sounds and sight words every day. We make a game out of it, almost like a warm up where my little guy tries to read them faster than I can flip the cards. There is a lot of laughing and talking during this time.
All About Reading. While our older kids are doing their morning routines, we start his reading. It is easy with so many kids at home to teach for this intensive time to get cut short or not happen at all unless I’m intentional to get to it early in the day.
Using lots of discussion. Learning to read and write and spell is difficult for kids with dyslexia. To break up the pressure during the time that I dictate spelling words, I will ask my little guy what the word means and to use it in a sentence. This often results in interesting and or hilarious conversations – almost like a prize for writing his words.
Take notes. Everyday, after teaching reading, I make a list of areas of strength and weakness so I can tailor the following day’s lesson to exactly what he needs. For example, if he is confusing the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’ I’ll make flashcards with words that contain those letters so he can get more practice.
Monitor learning. I don’t know why this is but some days learning is easier and some days it is just hard – like the information just won’t go in. If it’s a good day, we work longer. If it is ‘one of those days’ we cut things short and move on to something else.