How to Homeschool Dyslexic Kids - Fun Strategies for Success

Posted by Erica Warren on

Finding excellent educational materials when you are homeschooling your children can be a challenge, but when you have a child with a learning disability, such as dyslexia, it is extremely important to utilize fun and engaging multisensory materials as well as cognitive remedial tools that make the learning process both enjoyable and memorable.
Homeschooling dyslexic kids

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia, a common condition that effects 5 to 10 percent of all people, is a learning disability that impacts decoding and comprehension of text as well as spelling and written language. Common causes of these difficulties are visual and/or auditory processing weaknesses that make it difficult to encode new, language-based information. Many also have a hard time accessing learned information, and they can experience word finding difficulties.

How Can a Student with Dyslexia Learn the Needed Skills in a Homeschooling Environment?

Although dyslexia is called a learning disability, it does not mean that these students are unable to learn. Instead, dyslexia is a learning difference that often requires an individualized instructional approach.  In fact, a homeschooling situation can be ideal, because the learning environment can be tailored to meet individual needs and the student can move at their own pace.  There are three key methods that can assure success: 
  • Use multisensory instruction: This is a teaching method that engages more than one sense and/or ways of processing. In fact, using all 12 ways of learning gives students many opportunities to connect with the academic content.
  • Implement cognitive remediation: This involves the use of specific targeted exercises that improve cognitive abilities such as attention, working memory, visual processing, auditory processing, memory, cognitive flexibility, and executive functioning skills.  To learn more CLICK HERE.
  • Integrate a playful and engaging approach:  Allowing young learners to bring their imaginations and passions into the learning environment can often capture the attention and motivation all types of learners.  To learn more, CLICK HERE.

Happy kids reading

What Types of Materials Do Students with Dyslexia Need?

Because kids with dyslexia can present with a number of difficulties, I will organize my suggestions based on the symptoms they may exhibit:
  • Letter reversals (b and d), symbol reversals (< and >) and word reversals (was and saw):
    • Place markers on a student’s body or desk to help them with directionality. For example, they might have a ring on their right hand or a "R" sticker on the right side of their desk and a "L" sticker on the left.
    • Color code common reversals to help students perceive the difference. For example, make the letter b, blue and the letter d, red.
    • Provide strategies: For example, turn the greater and lesser signs into a Pacman and explain that the Pacman eats the larger number.
    • Do fun activities that exercise directionality abilities from the Reversing Reversals Series.
  • Trouble with reading aloud and sounding out words:
  • Challenges with math word problems:
  • Trouble understanding jokes, punchlines, sarcasm and inferences:
    • Think aloud and explain the meaning behind abstract concepts, inferences and other “hidden” meanings.
    • Check for understanding to make sure concrete learners fully understand abstract concepts.
    • Practice interpreting jokes.
    • Practice finding inferences in billboards and magazine advertisements. Click here for other strategies.
    • Use the Good Sensory Learning Higher Order Language Bundle to exercise and strengthen these skills.
  • Difficulty following a series of written or aural directions:
    • Have a student explain their understanding of an assignment and correct any misconceptions.
    • Simplify directions and highlight keywords.
    • Provide oral directions, check for understanding, and repeat directions - if needed.
    • Offer a larger font with less content on each page.
    • Provide text to speech technology.
    • Play fun games and activities that strengthen these skills.
    • Consider some basic remedial assistance with the core skills required for language processing.
  • Trouble mispronouncing words:
    • Be patient and guide the student to the correct pronunciation.
    • Try not to laugh at funny mispronunciations as many kids get embarrassed and feel like they are being laughed at or made to feel stupid.
    • Practice difficult words by coming up with your own tongue twisters.
  • Difficulty rhyming words:
    • Spend additional time on this concept and show the idea visually by taking simple words such as cat and changing the beginning consonant.
    • Play hands on rhyming games.
  • Trouble mispronouncing words:
    • Work with a speech and language professional and help the student learn how to produce the proper letter and word formations.
    • Help students learn how to form the sounds with their tongue and mouth.
  • Trouble telling directions:
    • Place markers on a student’s desk or body to help them with directionality. 
    • Do fun activities that exercise directionality abilities from the Reversing Reversals Series.
  • Trouble recalling names or words:
    • Offer a word list that can help students recall common words.
    • Teach the student to use a thesaurus.
    • Teach memory strategies.  Click here to learn more.
    • Teach word finding strategies.
  • Difficulty with spelling:
  • Trouble learning how to read:
If you would like a discounted bundle of all of my products for dyslexia remediation, CLICK HERE.
Collection of dyslexia remedial tools at Good Sensory LearningCheers, Erica
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

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