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Methods to Help you Improve Your Dyslexic Child's Reading

Dyslexia is generally classified as a cognitive disability, impairing the afflicted persons comprehensional fluency in reading and writing. Because if its loosely bounded definition, it is difficult to gauge the percentage of a population afflicted with it; conservative estimates usually put the figure at between five and ten percent. Dyslexic children are generally slower to learn to read and write: they have poor attention when dealing with written text, and their amassment of a wide vocabulary is inhibited. Other early signs of the condition are the jumbling of letters within words, and the mirroring of letters themselves. Teaching a dyslexic child to read can be a challenge, but with the application of some specific techniques, the process can be made easier.

Since dyslexia largely affects the child's assimilation and recognition of visual symbols, a more auditory approach to teaching is known to be beneficial. By focusing more on the enunciation of words, as opposed to their written forms, the child may be assisted in learning. Try to engage the auditory aspect of the child's mind, instead of making the lesson a purely visual exercise. In the earliest stages of teaching, when introducing the child to the letters of the alphabet, try to shift the focus away from the letters being staid lifeless symbols. Let the letter A be an apple - the letter B a banana- and so on. Dyslexics are seemingly hampered by the arbitrary, abstract nature of symbols, during their learning stage: by bringing the letters of the alphabet to life, you may, to some degree, overcome this obstacle. Choose a short sentence to read out, and have your child repeat every word after you have uttered it. In this way the words are being lifted from the page, and made into real, auditory objects. As the learning advances you can have the child repeat the words of the sentence in groups of two, then three, after you have spoken them. By utilising this technique, the child will eventually be able to repeat the whole sentence. You can change roles: let the child be the one to start reading the sentence, with you repeating each word: by letting them take the lead you will be validating and building their confidence.

A tried and tested technique is to attach labels to objects around the house, with the name of each object being clearly stated. Once again, this brings words off the daunting, lifeless, imposing page, and into the real living world. Week by week, the labels can be removed, and the child asked to rewrite the names. Another approach would be for the labels to all be peeled off, placed on a table, and the child asked which goes where.

The best advice is to try as best you can to make these reading and writing lessons fun! Many dyslexic children become scared by the printed page: intimidated by the incomprehensibility of reading and writing, and frustrated by their own slow development, as opposed to the advances made by the rest of the class. By making a game of these foundation lessons, you will be building a secure base, on which your child's future learning can be constructed.

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