The foundation of treatment
All of the effective strategies are based in a ‘multi-sensory’ approach that incorporates, in the learning process, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.
In that respect, a child may be shown the word, asked to say the word, hear it spoken by the teacher, write the word on paper, and write the word or letter (using his finger) on a rough surface. Consequently, the child is receiving varied feedback (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) regarding how that word looks, sounds, feels, and is written.
Kinesthetic tends to be especially important (once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget…)
The Orton-Gillingham approach is commonly used, and incorporates this multi-sensory approach.
What you can do
Here are some considerations:
Read to your child daily, assuming that the person reading to the child is a good reader and can clearly and accurately pronounce the letters and words. In that regard, there’s no sense in confusing the child further. Books on tape can be helpful otherwise and Kindle is becoming popular (read-aloud option)
Two second rule
When reading to your child and taking turns, use the ‘two second rule’. When your child struggles, wait two seconds, then quickly pronounce the word for your child and move-on with the reading. Otherwise, the reading experience becomes burdensome, boring, and your child will resist. Moreover, basic reading passages have lots of repetition of words, so you’ll re-encounter that word soon enough.
Practice makes perfect
Practice writing by tracing and progressively moving to free-hand. Tracing and writing of problem letters (b’s, p’s, d’s…) is helpful. There are also various helpful tricks (“bed” featuring a picture of two people – pictured as the ‘b’ and ‘d’ – holding between them an ‘e’ on which a person is sleeping…)
“Those letters are jumping around…”
Use off-white paper or background with larger-size (14 pt or more) comic sans font to reduce the letters appearing to “move around on the page” (a common complaint from kids struggling with dyslexia).
Technology is our friend
Practice phonics on-line; simply google “free phonics games” and plenty of sites will be available for daily, fun-filled practice. There are also inexpensive ‘apps’ that can be downloaded. I also refer parents to any number of commercial software products that provide comprehensive instruction, in a child-friendly manner, on the computer.
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