Regardless of the various debates about how to teach children to read, you can’t deny the fact that children need to know the phonograms fluently in order to decode new words with ease. When teaching dyslexic children, you MUST be explicit, systematic, and cumulative with your teaching.
Explicit: direct explanations of the goals you have for your student, explaining letter-sound symbol relationships, giving lots of practice and feedback.
Systematic: has a definite logical sequence of concept introduction, ordered from simple to more complex.(Synthetic and analytic)
Cumulative: spiraling your lessons so that students are practicing previously learned skills while adding in new learning.
Students must also learn these skills in a multi-sensory manner, meaning they experience the learning through visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile activities.
This type of learning, the gold standard for dyslexic learners, is often call Multisensory Structured Literacy (MSL). Click here for a more thorough explanation of this type of instruction.
When working with dyslexic children, you need to present information in a sequential way. Righttrackreading.com does a fantastic job of summarizing information about teaching children the phonemic code. Here is an excerpt from their page. You can find more by clicking on the link above.
West Virginia Phonics Lessons
At a recent dyslexia conference, I bumped into a wonderful lady, Dr. Mary Dahlgren, who introduced me to this fantastic resource. Interestingly enough, it is gone from West Virginia’s site. However, Dr. Dahlgren saved the files on her site www.tools4reading.com. You are not going to believe the gift that has been given to us to the fantastic educators who created these documents. Click on the image below to access her page with these fantastic lesson plans!
Navigating the Phonics Continuum of Skills
Part of my current job is to help teachers know how to help their struggling readers. After evaluating their phonological and phonics skills, I recommend instruction that be helpful. In doing this, I’ve created a sort of continuum of skills that children need to progress through. Scattered throughout the information are hyperlinks that take you to various sites that have activities or information on that particular skill. Below you will find my take on this continuum of skills. Click here to learn the sequence of skills.