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Ask An Expert: Dyslexia and Other Questions

Ask An Expert: Dyslexia and Other Questions

dyslexia symptoms

Are you the parent of a child who you suspect may be dyslexic?

Do you know what symptoms to look out for? In this interview we discuss how to identify symptoms of dyslexia in your child, how to make reading more interesting and what the expert thinks about supplemental products like Hooked on Phonics.

I’ve sat down with Becki Conner to get some of your questions answered.

Ms. Conner holds a Masters Degree in Early Reading and Literacy and has been a General Educator for 17 years and the District Reading Specialist for over 6 years.

Mom Loves Baby: So we’ll just jump right into it. What are some symptoms or signs of dyslexia?

Becki Conner: One of the early signs of dyslexia is a difficulty with rhyming. Student can’t hear the rhyme or copy a rhyme when given a word like PIN (fin, bin, win, kin).  Another sign may be a child who has a difficult time saying words like motorcycle, helicopter, or elephant.  They scramble the sounds of these multisyllabic words.  Not Being able to quickly and randomly name items is another quick signal that a child’s brain is having a hard time processing and recalling known information.

MLB: So what can a parent do who suspects their child may be dyslexic?

BC: Seek help!  Early identification and intervention is KEY! Talk with your school district and your pediatrician. The news about Dyslexia is everywhere now.  Most states have adopted Dyslexia Screening protocols and have set forth interventions for students who have been identified.

“One of the early signs of dyslexia is a difficulty with rhyming.”

Also, DO YOUR HOMEWORK.  Parent involvement is a must.  You are your child’s best and most important advocate. Don’t take NO for an answer.  There are lots of great websites out there to help.

Florida Center for Reading Research (fcrr.org) is a great website for activities to download and make for school or home use.  Reading Rockets (www.readingrockets.org)  is a great resource for parents and teacher for information about reading, dyslexia, and a range of other topics (info in Spanish as well).

 

Dyslexia Symptoms
jerry wang

MLB: My child says reading is boring, do you have any tips to make it more
interesting for him?

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BC: Find their passion,  something they LOVE and have them start reading about it.  If they love comic books, read comic books, if they are sports nuts- subscribe to Sports Illustrated Kids.  I also STRONGLY recommend that Closed Caption be turned on every TV and device.  They will get used to the words across the screen and they will read more than you think.

I used to let my son watch his 1/2 hour of TV but sound was on MUTE and CC was on!  If he wanted to know what was happening, he had to read.  He is dyslexic, by the way!

“Find their passion, something they LOVE and have them start reading about it.”

Start small.  Students who are dyslexic fatigue quickly when reading.  Make it fun and in shorter spurts.  They need to build stamina to get to the point they can read for a straight 30 minutes.  It takes time! Be patient.  I started my son reading SI Kids and just small passages about the sports at a time.  He was then later able to move to picture books about athletes he loved and then the Matt Christopher series became his books of choice.
Graphic Novels are AWESOME as well.  I am also a big proponent of audio books.  Have them follow along with the text if possible, but just getting them used to hearing books read, will help them as they become readers.  And NEVER, EVER stop reading to you kiddos.  I still read chapter books to and with my son at night when he was in high school.  It was a great bonding time.

“You are your child’s best and most important advocate. Don’t take NO for an answer.”

MLB: Do you suggest parents use supplemental products at home like Hooked
on Phonics?
BC: Nope… not a huge fan of supplemental products.  Save your money. Invest in a library card instead.  Reading books to and with your child will get you a lot more bang for NO bucks!
I would encourage parents to ask the teacher for whatever high frequency words students are expected to master and practice those during commercials on TV or during dinner or some quick fill in the gap times.  Constant exposure to those HF words helps make them automatic for struggling readers.
A lot of research points to the fact that many struggling readers are not fluent and automatic with their HF word knowledge.  It’s important!  I like the READ/SPELL/READ routine when it comes to HF word practice… read the word (or tell the child the word and have them repeat it) spell the word, then read it again… do that over and over… 5 words a week!

“Students who are dyslexic fatigue quickly when reading.  Make it fun and in shorter spurts.”

dyslexia symptoms

 

MLB: I read to my preschool age child on regular basis is there anything else I can be doing to set them up for success?

BC: Sing songs, learn poems and nursery rhymes, talk to them about books, what they see, what they think,  and KEEP reading to them.
Singing songs brings in the fluency and rhythm of words, plus it’s highly engaging.  Play with letter names and sounds.  Use shaving cream in the shower and name a letter and they write it and say the sound it makes in the shaving cream (like finger painting!
Go to the dollar store and stock up on cheap shaving cream!).  Hide letters around the house and go on letter/sound hunts, play letter/sound of the day and search all through the day with things that start with that letter or sound.
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