Dear ADDitude: Will My Dyslexic Child Ever Read for Fun?
"My daughter has been diagnosed with dyslexia. Motivating her to read during the school year is especially difficult; during the summer, it is downright impossible. Do you have any recommendations for motivating a child with weak language skills?"
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2 Comments: Dear ADDitude: Will My Dyslexic Child Ever Read for Fun?
Our daughter used to hate trying to read. She was dyslexic. We put her into educational therapy in gr. 4, which works on rewiring the brain – based on the concept of brain plasticity. Within a month we noticed significant improvements. She is now a great reader (which amazes my husband, who as an adult can only motivate himself to read something he’s highly interested in because it takes so much effort for him). During her therapy, I would find books of interest to her – which happened to be humour. The home part of therapy had her following with her pointer finger on the page, under the words as she read them. They key was that she had to use her off-hand index finger (left hand, as she is right handed) to follow along. She was so unmotivated that often times I would have her sit on my lap and hold her hand so she didn’t have to make the effort to move her hand along as she was reading. We did this for about 10 minutes a day. She did eye-tracking exercises and other therapy/”games” once a week for four hours with a therapist. We did this for a few years. When reassessed by a psychologist at the start of high school, she was no longer showing signs of dyslexia, though she still had ADHD and another learning disability. Being able to read easily is such a gift to her!
While I don’t have dyslexia, I do have ADHD and reading text is very difficult for me so I listen to audio books. When reading text my eyes bounce around, I go on thought tangents triggered by just a word or phrase, then I loose my place, have to find it, then have to reread to remember the context – it is a vicious cycle and as a result it takes me a long time to read written text. The words literally vibrate on the page or fade away…its bizarre BUT I love learning and I’m a curious person and I listen to audio books like a champ! I made it through life not being diagnosed but found that technical books were easier in print than any other topic but audio and can listen to and comprehend any topic no problem. I think it might be helpful for kids to mix audio and text and highlight important content or just go audio and make notes on content to help with retention. And finally once I tried medication reading text became infinitely easier – I can focus on the words and experience less loss of focus and resist the day dream. I’m an Architect by the way, so she’ll figure it out and be just fine is my guess. Anyway you can help her find an easier path to success and understand her own learning needs is an awesome gift.