Children with dyslexia will have to put more effort into reading and writing. The good news is that learning opportunities are everywhere–if you know how to recognise them.
Here are simple activities for children with dyslexia you can do at home to help your child improve on reading and writing skills and gain confidence as well.
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- Journaling. This is one good way to do get him to practice writing. Encourage him to write daily, but don’t make it seem like a chore. If he misses a day or two, simply nudge him gently to continue. If he has no idea what to write, have him start with one, two or all of these: one thing he is grateful for, the highlight of his day, who he thankful for, one thing that could have made his day better, what his plans are for tomorrow, to name a few.
- Blog. Because publishing requires a more refined form of writing, blogging is one of the best activities for children with dyslexia. It offers a way to increase writing skills. Pick a topic that interests your child so he will enjoy the art of writing.
Reading is still by far one of the best activities for children with dyslexia–despite their fear or aversion of it. The solution is to make it fun for them.
- Comic books. Read these out loud with your child using different voices to make learning fun!
- Read e-books. E-books for smartphones and tablets are interactive. There is even an option that reads the story for a child or says words after a child taps on the screen. These can help improve phonetics. These also allow children who struggle to read to follow the story.
- Mould clay. Because children with dyslexia have trouble connecting the words they see to words, an activity that can help is to mould clay, especially letters that he has difficulty with such as “b” and “d.” Older kids can also shape words and numbers.
- Use note cards or flashcards. The visual and tactile nature of using notecards will help a child master words as he reads them out aloud. Also, because a notecard can contain one or a few more words, it’s less stressful for a child to read compared to a full text on a page.
- Draw in the sand. This is another great activity to learn writing (and squeeze in some drawing) the tactile way. When activities for children with dyslexia are made fun, the child will learn more and be encouraged to get past hurdles.
- Read everywhere. Whether at the grocery, toy store or restaurant, point at objects/words and ask your child to read them. This extra practice will go a long way to reinforce words that he has already learned and learn new ones.
Choosing books for children with dyslexia
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Good old books are here to stay. However, there are certain tips to follow on choosing a book for a child with dyslexia:
Understanding reading level
While every child is different, a good rule of thumb is that if your child is unable to read five or more words on a page of a book, it is fair to assume that the book might be too difficult for them.
This will cause them to get frustrated and lose interest in the book at the drop of a hat. Definitely not something you want for your child. Thus, it is important to get a feel for the level of reading your child is at.
You can do this either by reading with your child and observing how he reads or you could even get feedback from the teacher, especially if he is attending specialised classes for dyslexic children.
Short and sweet
As most children suffering from dyslexia take a long time to read and process the written word, it would be good to start out their reading journey with books that are written in short sentences and have short paragraphs. This will help to maintain your child’s interest in the book as well as to encourage progress, which will help boost your child’s reading confidence.
Pay attention to the format
The way the book is spaced and formatted can make a big difference for a child with dyslexia. Thus, when you’re out looking for books for your child, pick those that have wide margins, a clear sans serif font and headers, sub-headers and other signposting such as pictures and headers.
Books such as this are considered dyslexia-friendly books for kids because they help the child process the word on their own terms and not get confused by fancy lettering etc. The headers and pictures also guide your child in not only reading but understanding what they have read.
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- Play board games. Word-related games such as Charades (can help with syllables), Scrabble (spelling and comprehension) and Boggle (focus and words). These games assist in mastering difficult words–both written and verbal–and learning new ones.
- Play online games. Encourage games such as Ruzzle and Words With Friends to be played with the entire family. The friendly competition can push a child to improve.
Activities for children with dyslexia don’t have to be confined in school or at home or don’t always have to be about written words. Taking a child to a museum caters to his nature of being a visual learner.
Here are some places in Singapore you can head to: