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Reading Comprehension Strategies for Dyslexics

Dyslexia, a learning disability that affects reading, writing, and spelling skills, can present unique challenges when it comes to reading comprehension. Reading comprehension is a critical skill for success in both academic and non-academic spheres, making it essential for parents to support their dyslexic child in this area. This article aims to provide parents with an understanding of reading comprehension strategies that can help their dyslexic child thrive, along with practical examples for implementing these strategies at home.

Understanding Working Memory and Reading Comprehension

Working memory, the cognitive system responsible for temporarily holding and manipulating information, plays a significant role in reading comprehension. Dyslexic children often face challenges related to working memory, making it more difficult for them to understand and retain information from the text. Addressing these challenges is a crucial step in developing effective reading comprehension strategies for dyslexic children.

Reading Comprehension Strategies for Dyslexic Children

This article provides a comprehensive overview of effective reading comprehension strategies tailored specifically for dyslexic children.

Direct and explicit instruction

Clear, specific, and detailed instruction can be particularly beneficial for dyslexic children, as it helps them understand and apply new information more easily. Parents can use direct instruction at home by breaking down tasks into smaller steps, providing clear explanations, and offering guidance as needed.

Example: If your child is learning to identify the main idea in a text, start by explaining the concept of the main idea and its importance. Next, model the process by reading a paragraph together and identifying the main idea. Then, provide guidance as your child practices the skill independently. Offer feedback and encouragement throughout the process.

Phonics Instruction for Reading Comprehension

Phonics instruction, which teaches learners to decode unfamiliar words, is essential for dyslexic children. Parents can support their child’s phonics learning at home by providing age-appropriate resources and practicing phonics skills together regularly.

Example: Choose an engaging, age-appropriate book and read it with your child. As you encounter new or challenging words, pause to practice decoding them using phonics skills. Encourage your child to sound out the word, identify letter-sound correspondences, and blend the sounds together to form the complete word. Reinforce these skills by playing phonics-based games or using educational apps that focus on phonics.

Graphic organizers

Graphic organizers are visual tools that help dyslexic children organize and understand complex information. Parents can introduce graphic organizers at home by helping their children visualize the main ideas and supporting details from a text. Examples include mind maps, Venn diagrams, and flowcharts.

Example: After reading a chapter of a book together, create a mind map with your child to visually represent the main ideas and supporting details. Write the chapter title in the center of a piece of paper, and draw branches extending from it for each main idea. Add smaller branches for supporting details, using colors or symbols to differentiate between ideas. This process helps your child synthesize and organize the information, making it easier to comprehend and remember.

Mnemonic devices

Mnemonic devices are memory aids that make unfamiliar information more concrete, meaningful, and memorable. They can be especially useful for dyslexic children who struggle with working memory. Parents can implement mnemonic devices at home by teaching their children different techniques, such as first-letter mnemonics, acronyms, acrostics, and visual mnemonics.

Example: If your child is learning the order of the planets in the solar system, teach them the acronym “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos” to represent Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Create a visual mnemonic by drawing a simple illustration for each planet, incorporating the first letter of each planet’s name into the image to reinforce the memory aid.

Paraphrasing and summarizing

Paraphrasing (restating the main idea in one’s own words) and summarizing (providing a concise overview of a text) are effective strategies for improving reading comprehension in dyslexic children. Parents can practice these skills at home by encouraging their children to put the main ideas and supporting details from a text into their own words.

Example: After reading a short story or article together, ask your child to paraphrase the main ideas by explaining them in their own words. Then, guide them in summarizing the entire text in just a few sentences. This process helps your child internalize the information and enhances their overall understanding of the text.

The RAP (Read a paragraph, Ask yourself about the main idea/details of the paragraph, and Put it in your own words) strategy

The RAP strategy can help dyslexic children improve their reading comprehension by encouraging active engagement with the text. Parents can introduce the RAP strategy at home by reading with their children and guiding them through the process.

Example: As you read a text together, have your child read a paragraph, ask themselves about the main idea and details, and then put the information into their own words. Encourage them to take notes or draw simple illustrations to represent the main ideas. By actively engaging with the text, your child is more likely to retain and understand the information.

The SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) strategy

The SQ3R strategy, designed for expository texts, promotes reading comprehension by guiding learners through a systematic approach to understanding new material. Parents can implement the SQ3R strategy at home by introducing the steps and providing support as their child practices the technique.

Example: Choose a nonfiction book or article to read together. Guide your child through the SQ3R process by surveying the text (looking at headings, images, and summaries), generating questions based on the survey, reading the text to answer those questions, reciting or summarizing the main points, and reviewing the material to reinforce understanding. This structured approach helps dyslexic children engage with the text and promotes better comprehension.

Supporting your dyslexic child in developing strong reading comprehension skills is crucial for their success in both academic and non-academic contexts. By understanding the challenges dyslexic children face and implementing evidence-based strategies such as direct and explicit instruction, phonics instruction, graphic organizers, mnemonic devices, paraphrasing, and summarizing, you can provide valuable support and empower your child to thrive. Remember, every child is unique, and it is essential to be patient, flexible, and supportive as you work together to find the strategies that best meet your child’s needs.

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  1. Pingback: Parent's Guide to Engaging Dyslexic Children in Summer Reading - Dyslexia Classes

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