Often families seek answers in the IAHE Homeschool Discussion group about dyslexia. Many helpful suggestions have been offered, and we are compiling some of them here for future reference.
A computer program/game I like a lot is “Nessy“. My daughter has played it before and the lessons go really well with the lessons I teach my dyslexic tutoring students. (I am an OG tutor and my own daughter is dyslexic). Cheryl C.
Reading Horizons Discovery at Home is Orton-Gillingham based. The teacher guide portion is very important, the computer software is a bonus, and great reinforcement, but if I were to only choose one- choose the instructional materials! Lindsey L.
Orton-Gillingham based. This has the most scientific evidence behind it for dyslexic children. I even use it for non-dyslexic children and it helps. It is a multi-sensory way to teach phonics. There are many “systems” that use this that are good. All About Reading, All About Spelling, Barton are all good. You can also become a tutor yourself. I went through Dyslexia Institute of Indiana to become a tutor. Heather G.
About Reading and/or All About Spelling. I have a 7 yr old who is blossoming daily with this program. It’s still hard for her, but we are seeing progress!!! Jamie B.
A couple of families found that their middle schooler made great progress when she started learning Latin (Visual Latin). Donna M. and Hillary M.
All About Learning Press is also a curriculum to check out that may help her in this area. I would also encourage you to look at the HSLDA site under the Struggling Learners link. They offer a good deal of advice as well. Becky Z.
Spelling improved by leaps and bounds when I started teaching the phonograms from Spell to Read and Write, to my oldest son. Michele D.
Logic of English Essentials has also been good for my struggling learners. We’ve also used All About Spelling (and Reading), IEW resources and Spell You See. Not all with the same student, I have six children and review homeschool curricula.
For spelling, the key is an Orton-Gillingham approach, consistent daily review and patience. One of my learners responded well to a tinted overlay for her books, when she was younger, the type that isolate a line or two in the book helped, these didn’t help another child. Hillary M.
I have dyslexia. In the 80s, you just struggled. I am thankful that my mom was there to help me, and that God has allowed me to help others with the same issues. After learning from my own experiences, and being a teacher in the schools before I had children, I saw the same struggles in kids and realized a few things. One, spelling seems to be one of those skills that you have or don’t have. I still think basic phonics is important for everyone, but not all kids are going to be champion spellers. As for reading, many children with dyslexia tend to be more visual and auditory learners. Having them read aloud taxes them. When reading aloud or silently, sometimes they have to read once for getting the words right, and read again for comprehension. That gets less frequent as they get older, but with more reading the better it gets. As for writing, I find that allowing the child to type their papers produces more effort and better results. The child feels liberated by the fact that spell check is there to help and less stifled by the spelling. This frees them to be able to write with more ease and confidence. The best help for the child is knowing that their parent believes in them. Betty B.
Regardless of being a late bloomer or dyslexic, working on basic phonemic awareness would be good. Phonemic awareness is a set of pre-reading skills. Things like knowing letters make sounds, a group of letters make words or syllables, a group of words make sentences.
The Florida Center for Reading Research has a bunch of free activities and games you can play. That way you can reinforce basic reading skills while you observe him going forward. Alison S.
Reading to your child daily and reading a lot of different kinds of books will help. In college when they talked about how a book opens being something learned, I didn’t think much about it. And a few years later, I had second graders in my science class coming from Hebrew language class. We made small books for observations, and they would often make them backwards (for English), just like the little books they made in Hebrew class. “Which way do English books open?” was what I found myself saying each time. Talk to your child occasionally about how the book opens, the title page, the table of contents and glossary (if applicable). They can learn a lot by just looking through a book before you read it to them. They also can learn a lot from reading favorites over and over… and over! I remember one little Golden Book from my childhood. I learned to read by driving my mom crazy asking questions, like “Why does the o and the y say that together in toy?” Debbie B.
The Bright Solutions website is a wonderful place to start. It is a resource website from Susan Barton, author of the Barton Reading & Spelling System. She gives honest, science based information with tons of links, checklists of symptoms, and even videos to help parents understand dyslexia. We used Level 1-8 of the Barton System and they are amazing! With consistent practice and perseverance, my child’s reading and spelling skills changed tremendously. We also used Handwriting Without Tears, had him start learning to use a keyboard early (in 2nd grade), used a word prediction software for awhile, and have used Math U See for all but one year of our homeschooling journey and now he is a 9th grader. We did go to a PhD for an official diagnosis in 2nd grade so we would have the paperwork at an early age if we ever needed it for other things. My son reads well, but enjoys listening to audio books through Learning Ally. Rachel T.
All About Spelling program Alison S.
For handwriting I HIGHLY recommend Handwriting Without Tears. It is the go-to curriculum for Occupational therapists. Alison S.
For writing we use Institute for Excellence in Writing. Michele D.
If the writing help you are seeking is not handwriting, but creative writing, etc. Write Shop is awesome. There are levels for all ages. Also, the physical act of writing was akin to torture for one of my daughters, I let her type it on the computer or she dictated and I wrote for her. She still proceeded with making edits to her rough drafts, etc., but the lengthy writing was separated from the thought process of getting out the thoughts. Hillary M.
Bravewriter is where we ended up. Julie J.
Here are some pointers on writing. Tell her not to stress about spelling as she does rough drafts. Get it down on paper!!! That’s the first goal. Have her read her own work back to you. (I often can’t read little one’s spelling anyway. Only they know what they wrote.) They will figure out for themselves if they have left a word or two out and will ask for help. Help. Teach them how to put an arrow above where to insert a left-out word or phrase. Help her spell the word or phrase (or write it out/type it for her) and let her literally cut and paste it. Often I have seen teachers of young students and of older dyslexic students ask beforehand what words the children will need before they begin writing. Kids have ideas in their heads; it’s just hard to get them down. Help her to spell these words. (List on a board, a paper, in the back of a writing notebook, etc.) And an easy picture dictionary is a great help. (One left from babyhood may be lurking in your bookshelves.) Also, get a key ring and laminate their sight words or other words that they need regularly. When they are writing, the words are in alphabetical order ( This helps in the long-run with abc order, which is really difficult when you have problems spelling.) This is just for rough drafts. Revision comes next in the writing process & you still aren’t that concerned about spelling. She just needs to be able to read her own writing. (Sometimes that’s a stretch.) After her writing is revised (revision and editing are NOT the same thing), then you can edit. When kids are young &/or dyslexic, I edit with them and then type out their final draft for them. Keep the difficulties of spelling separate from the creativity of writing. I often write down or type up stories that my littlest grandchildren “write”. They talk; I write. They even know to revise. “No, wait, change that part to…” Do that as well. Teaching to get ideas down on paper is important. Bodie Thoene is one of my favorite authors and is so severely dyslexic that her husband reads back to her what she has written. Her writing is so beautiful. I am amazed. Debbie B.
For math, you will need a multi-sensory program. We use Singapore with the Home Instructors Guide. Others have found success with Math U See and Right Start Math. Alison S.
“Math U See” is good for dyslexic kiddos. I will say that math just tends to be hard for them. Heather G.
RightStart Math Julie M.
Using graph paper also helped (an accidental discovery as we were using it for math only previously). Hillary M.
Testing for Dyslexia
The school system does not test for dyslexia specifically. They give the child a battery of tests. When certain scores are incongruous, they assume dyslexia. As a homeschooler, do you really need an official diagnosis? It’s really only good for getting accommodations on standardized testing. Otherwise, I would just begin using curriculum based on the Orton-Gillingham method, the gold standard in dyslexia instruction. O-G works for ALL children, but dyslexics benefit the most. Alison S.
Support for Families of Children who are Special Learners
For inspiration through the frustration, this book was written by a mother and son, The Boy Who Couldn’t Read. Susan H.
I have to brag on my daughter. She is a homeschooling success story. In spite of dyslexia and other problems she is a published author. Her newest book, Christmas Harmony, is in the top 50 on Hot New releases in Contemporary Christian Romance. Rebecca W.
To visit the IAHE Homeschool Discussion group, click here.