Helping dyslexic students read can help to shift their confidence and lives enormously.
Angus was 15 years old when he came to me – and his reading level was that of an 8-year old.
This was not for a lack of trying on mum’s part.
Being a teacher, she had tried everything she had ever learned on how to teach literacy, but she said that her son got worse every year, feeling anxious, depressed and had given up hope. I could see it in his eyes. The downcast look of shame didn’t just break his mum’s heart.
It made me promise to do my utmost to help him in the short time we had: he came and stayed with me for four days only.
Having only been exposed to the phonics-approach of reading, which mum had successfully used on most of her students, was clearly not working for Angus.
He actually believed he was dumb – and my job was to prove to him that he was wrong about his assumption: But telling someone how smart they are is not enough.
Maybe you too have a child that feels that way and you keep telling him or her how clever they really are, which is true, but it won’t be believed.
We have to help them to prove it to themselves. They need to see progress quickly and they need to have enough enjoyment getting to a competent literacy level to keep reading and improving all the time.
Having experienced such a transformation in only five days is amazing, but naturally it’s only the beginning and the rest is up to practicing reading more and more.
At the age Angus was at, I still went back to the basics, as even with the alphabet, spelling and comprehension, it requires the use of a different part of the brain to learn, to process and to remember. Being focused and using the visual pathway, which is usually much more comfortable for a dyslexic learner, takes practice and when it has become a habit, competence and confidence are a by-product of the new way of learning and taking information on board.
Need Help to Get Your Dyslexic Student Reading?
As many students are now in lockdown and cannot partake in person, I have created a version of a program that is mostly online, but also includes the personally tailored touch. We connect once a week, after receiving the ‘homework’ from last week, via zoom.
Details of my online program and the options available can be found here.
The homework I am receiving prior to the zoom call may be photos of creative models done in plasticine, an essay or some other example from the online program.
During our call we go over what has been done, what could be improved and what’s ahead until the next call, giving an outline of the online week or weeks ahead. With motivation and commitment, the six months reading program can be mastered in three months…and it takes three months to create strong neural pathways that make reading a whole brain experience, with strong connections between the left and the right hemisphere.
Dyslexic learners are more comfortable on the right side of the brain, where pictures, creativity and problem solving live. It’s a gift we want to not only preserve, but enhance, while still connecting the more linear, sequential left side of the brain.