Teaching Dyslexic children

If a child's difficulty with reading could not be explained by low intelligence, poor eye sight, poor hearing, inadequate educational opportunities, or any other problem, then the child must be dyslexic.

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin.

It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.

Children who lack phonemic awareness are unable to distinguish or manipulate SOUNDS within SPOKEN words or syllables.

They would be unable to do the following tasks:

Phoneme Segmentation: what sounds do you hear in the word hot? What's the last sound in the word map?
Phoneme Deletion: what word would be left if the /k/ sound were taken away from cat?
Phoneme Matching: do pen and pipe start with the same sound?
Phoneme Counting: how many sounds do you hear in the word cake?
Phoneme Substitution: what word would you have if you changed the /h/ in hot to /p/?
Blending: what word would you have if you put these sounds together? /s/ /a/ /t/
Rhyming: tell me as many

Phonological processing refers to understanding of sounds used in our language, ranging from big chunks of sound (words), to smaller chunks (syllables) and eventually to phonemic awareness (every sound within a syllable).

Both phonemic awareness and phonological processing are auditory processing skills. Therefore, they can (and should) be taught before letters are introduced.

The goal of teaching phonics is to link the individual sounds to letters, and to make that process fluent and automatic, for both reading and spelling. In other words, phonics teaches students symbol-to-sound and sound-to-symbol.

Phonemic awareness skills can and must be directly and explicitly taught to children who lack this awareness.

If a child lacks phonemic awareness, they will have difficulty learning the relationship between letters and the sounds they represent in words, as well as applying those letter/sound correspondences to help them "sound out" unknown words.

But for phonics to work, a student must first have solid phonological processing and phonemic awareness.

There is no quick fix or silver bullet for dyslexia. It can take from 1 to 3 years to get a dyslexic child reading and spelling at grade level, depending upon their level of severity, the frequency of their remediation, and other issues.

The Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Method is the correct method for teaching dyslexic children. It was developed in the early 1930's by Anna Gillingham and a group of master teachers. Dr. Samuel Orton assigned Anna's group the task of designing a whole new way of teaching the phonemic structure of our written language to people with dyslexia. The goal was to create a sequential system that builds on itself in an almost 3-dimensional way. It must show how sounds and letters are related and how they act in words; it must also show how to attack a word and break it into smaller pieces. And it must be a multi-sensory approach, as dyslexic people learn best by involving all of their senses: visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic.

The Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Method is different from other reading methods in two ways: what is taught, and how it is taught.

What is taught:

Phonemic Awareness is the first step. You must teach someone how to listen to a single word or syllable and break it into individual phonemes. They also have to be able to take individual sounds and blend them into a word, change sounds, delete sounds, and compare sounds -- all in their head. These skills are easiest to learn before someone brings in printed letters.

Phoneme/Grapheme Correspondence is the next step. Here you teach which sounds are represented by which letter(s), and how to blend those letters into single-syllable words.

The Six Types of Syllables that compose English words are taught next. If students know what type of syllable they're looking at, they'll know what sound the vowel will make. Conversely, when they hear a vowel sound, they'll know how the syllable must be spelled to make that sound.

Probabilities and Rules are then taught. The English language provides several ways to spell the same sounds. For example, the sound /SHUN/ can be spelled either TION, SION, or CION. The sound of /J/ at the end of a word can be spelled GE or DGE. Dyslexic students need to be taught these rules and probabilities.

Roots and Affixes, as well as Morphology are then taught to expand a student's vocabulary and ability to comprehend (and spell) unfamiliar words. For instance, once a student has been taught that the Latin root TRACT means pull, and a student knows the various Latin affixes, the student can figure out that retract means pull again, contract means pull together, subtract means pull away (or pull under), while tractor means a machine that pulls.

How it is taught

Simultaneous Multisensory Instruction: research has shown that dyslexic people who use all of their senses when they learn (visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic) are better able to store and retrieve the information. So a beginning dyslexic student might see the letter A, say its name and sound, and write it in the air -- all at the same time.

Intense Instruction with Ample Practice: instruction for dyslexic students must be much more intense, and offer much more practice, than for regular readers.

Direct, Explicit Instruction: dyslexic students do not intuit anything about written language. So, you must teach them, directly and explicitly, each and every rule that governs our written words. And you must teach one rule at a time, and practice it until it is stable in both reading and spelling, before introducing a new rule.

Systematic and Cumulative: by the time most dyslexic students are identified, they are usually quite confused about our written language. So you must go back to the very beginning and create a solid foundation with no holes. You must teach the logic behind our language by presenting one rule at a time and practicing it until the student can automatically and fluently apply that rule both when reading and spelling. You must continue to weave previously learned rules into current lessons to keep them fresh and solid. The system must make logical sense to our students, from the first lesson through the last one.

Synthetic and Analytic: dyslexic students must be taught both how to take the individual letters or sounds and put them together to form a word (synthetic), as well as how to look at a long word and break it into smaller pieces (analytic). Both synthetic and analytic phonics must be taught all the time.

Diagnostic Teaching: the teacher must continuously assess their student's understanding of, and ability to apply, the rules. The teacher must ensure the student isn't simply recognizing a pattern and blindly applying it. And when confusion of a previously-taught rule is discovered, it must be re-taught.

Source: http://www.dys-add.com/


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