What If My Child is Dyslexic?

low reading comprehension in 4th gradeIf you think your child has dyslexia, or s/he’s already been professionally diagnosed, then the Tiger Tuesday Reading Program is by FAR the best program available for him or her. In fact, it was developed expressly for struggling readers who work with Dr. Linda, Dr. Al, and other tutors at STRONG Learning!

As you know if you read the page on How We Learn to Read, the very first step in reading is connecting the sounds of our language to the visual symbols. But that’s where dyslexia causes the problem. Whereas many children seem automatically to associate sounds and letters, dyslexic children don’t. The condition or “disability” is a brain-related, often genetic issue, where the “normal” neurological pathways that connect the visual and auditory cortexes of the brain don’t “talk.” (No, dyslexia isn’t reading backward. That’s, unfortunately, a popular myth.)

That doesn’t mean that dyslexics aren’t intelligent or can’t learn to read. But it does mean that they will generally need more practice, more repetition, in order to learn to read. That requires understanding and patience on the part of parents who aren’t dyslexic—because the process will take longer. Imagine that you’re taking a trip, you’ve marked the most efficient route to get where you’re going, and en route, you come upon a washed-out bridge. You can still complete the trip, but it’ll mean that by going an alternative way it will take you more time to get there. The same is true for dyslexics learning to read. Because of neural plasticity (the brain’s ability to change itself), with time, alternative connections between the two cortexes can be established, but it will take longer.

The point is, of course, that dyslexics usually have to practice even more than people without it. But practice is hard for children with dyslexia. If you’re an adult with dyslexia, you already know how important reading can be in your everyday life, so you have an incentive to practice. Not so with children. None of us likes to do something over and over that we’re obviously not good at, especially when we don’t see any progress and we don’t know why doing it will help us anyway. By the time children are diagnosed with dyslexia, they’ve often developed a sense of humiliation or shame. They know when other children can do things that they can’t but they don’t understand why.learning to read with cards

So the first step in teaching a dyslexic child to read is disarming the anxiety, shame, or resistance to the whole idea of reading. And how do you do that? By making the process of reading FUN. That’s the entire point of the Tiger Tuesday Reading Program. By making practicing the symbol-sound connections part of a game, and learning them a condition for playing (and winning) games, then practicing isn’t the drudgery that most struggling readers have come to experience. Including word-decoding practice as part of the process of finding out what wacky adventure Tiger Tuesday will get involved in, by making reading just a part of the process of putting on a play, by using a variety of multisensory activities to strengthen those connections, from singing to drawing to writing to unscrambling words and sentences, dyslexic children learn to read.

They have no idea how or when it happened. But it doesn’t matter. Besides, none of the rest of us have no idea how or when we learned to read either.

Phonics Centered — Consistent with Orton-Gillingham — Multisensory