My child has dyslexia, what do I do?
After parents receive a diagnosis of dyslexia for their child, their first question is typically, “Now what?” followed by “Will our child be able to learn to read?”
The good news is yes, children with dyslexia can and do learn to read!
How they learn is through structured literacy.
Structured literacy is a research-based approach to teaching reading that’s effective for all students but essential for students with dyslexia or other reading issues.
So, what it that exactly?
Structured literacy instruction is systematic, meaning it’s organized in a logical order
It’s cumulative, where it’s sequenced from easiest concepts to the most difficult, and each step is based on concepts previously learned.
Structured literacy is explicit. It includes the direct teaching of specific concepts where rules are explained. For example, in a structured literacy approach, students are explicitly taught that the letter “j” is never used to spell the /j/ sound at the end of the word. We use “ge” or “dge” depending on the sound of the vowel in the word. (“ge” after a long vowel like in page and dge for a short vowel sound like in “bridge”) Grasping concepts is not left up to chance, and students aren’t expected to just pick up ideas through repeated reading and spelling, as more traditional approaches to teach reading do.
Multisensory teaching is also a major component of the structured literacy approach. Teachers engage more than one sense at a time, for example, by having a student say and write a letter simultaneously or read a word while rubbing a finger over a rough surface like sandpaper.
A structured literacy approach is also diagnostic. Students receive continuous assessment, and content must be mastered before moving forward.
Finally, it’s also highly individualized to meet the needs of each unique student.
Your first step after a diagnosis would be to ask your child’s teacher about what type of approach he or she is using in the classroom.