Dyslexia: What Teachers (& Parents) Need To Know (Part 3)

This is part 3 in a series about Dyslexia. The author, Robin, is a mother of 4 boys, 2 of whom have dyslexia.  She has been taking her sons to private tutoring and researching as much as she can about dyslexia for the past 7 years.

dyslexia series- sticker 3

Kids with dyslexia learn best kinesthetically.  Here is a list of ways to help them learn material if they are struggling with other areas.

  • writing words in the air
  • large invisible letters on a wall with their finger, have them point to where each letter is in a different sequence so you know they visualize the word
  • write on the board  in large letters
  • Have them write their letters inside a square box so they remember which direction the letter goes.
  • Practice tracking with the child using fun finger pointers, a pen, or a ruler
  • Play fluency games: a list of letters repeated in a different order on each line.  Have them read as many as they can in a minute and see if they can beat their previous time every day.  You can also use words as they begin to read more.
  • Sand is messy so make a board with fine sandpaper that students can write letters with their fingers.
  • hair gel in a large zip bag gives them a squishy surface to practice spelling words.
  • Teach students WHY a word is spelled the way it is, give them a rule to apply or a saying to go with the rule.  One of the first that my son learned was the FLOSS rule which states that when a small word with a single short vowel sound ends in F L S (or Z), you double the last consonant.  And the word floss demonstrates the rule.  Other words are jazz, miss, grass, fluff, doll…you get the idea.
  • Give instructions in steps and allow more time to complete assignments or shorten the assignment to help the child feel successful by completing along with the rest of the class.

One final thought.  Kids with dyslexia often have distortions when looking at a page with a lot of text.  Copy work on to colored paper (blue is the most common to help) to eliminate the stark difference between black print and white background. The distortions are part of what is called Irlen’s Syndrome.  The Irlen method of using colored overlays or lenses was discovered by Helen Irlen.  It is common among people with all kinds of learning disabilities such as dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, and various other visual processing disorders.  The disorder is not only associated with dyslexia, although many people with dyslexia are helped by the Irlen method.  

distortion 2 distortion 4

Remember, these are smart kids that just learn differently.  Find what works best for them.  You will be their best friend if you show that you try to understand them.  Encouragement goes a long way with a child who puts forth a great effort that seems effortless to others.

{MINDY’S 2 CENTS: I had Irlen’s Syndrome as a kid. In elementary school, I was in the gifted and talented classes, but I had a hard time reading. I complained of having headaches while reading and said the words seemed to swim on a white page with black printing. My GATE teacher referred us to a specialist from the Irlen Institute who tested me to see how well I did on reading and different tasks when I had colored lenses on. Light blueish-violet was the trick! That particular shade of blue caused no color distortion (when I looked at a white wall it was still white), and my reading problems went away!  The specialist said that without the colored lenses (or colored transparency on the page), I wasn’t blinking so my eyes would become fatigued. The colored sheets did the trick, and I wore blue-tinted lenses for many years as a kid. This was a relatively inexpensive fix (not funded by the school district) and it did wonders! Turns out, my sister also needed colored lenses (a different shade) for depth perception instead of reading.  They weren’t the coolest glasses ever, but it made a world of difference in my studies, self-confidence and ability to get through scholastic tasks. Now I don’t really seem to have the problem, but boy am I glad my teacher knew enough about Irlen’s Syndrome, dyslexia and other learning circumstances to suggest this to my mom.}

Stay tuned for more in our Dyslexia series (symptoms, tips & tricks for parents and teachers)!

DISCLAIMER: The medical information in this article is merely information – not advice. If you need medical advice, you should consult a doctor or other appropriate medical professional.


2 thoughts on “Dyslexia: What Teachers (& Parents) Need To Know (Part 3)

  1. Here’s more on the FLOSS Rule:
    When a one-syllable root word has a short vowel sound followed by the sound /f/, /l/, or /s/, it is usually spelled ff, ll, or ss.
    – ff – ll – ss
    puff hill boss
    sniff well miss
    cuff doll pass

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