October is Dyslexia Month

Dyslexia and Your Child

“It is sobering, but not surprising, to know that how much time one spends reading influences academic achievement. However, it is also a great relief to know that there are many ways to gather words even when reading is not easy.”

– Kyle Redford, Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity Education Editor

Early indications can include: strengths in math, building, geometry, problem-solving and imaginative play, and creative abilities; difficulties with speech and language, slow speech development, difficulty following   instructions; problems with memory and sequencing, trouble learning nursery rhymes, putting toys in a pattern or getting dressed, finding it hard to carry out two or three tasks in a sequence; poor concentration, being easily distracted; trouble discriminating between letter sounds (van/fan); trouble with gross & fine motor skills, didn’t crawl well or stumbles, can’t use scissors, slow development of    dominant hand; has a hard time with orientation (left/right) and direction (reverse order, backwards writing).

Use this knowledge:

  • Talk and sing with your child
  • Say Nursery rhymes together
  • Work on simple directions, sequences, patterns, right and left, forward and back
  • Give your child choices and let them dress themselves
  • Work with scissors and drawing
Mom reading

Games and Activities

  • Draw lines in the sand or on paper, practicing the right-to-left pattern for reading.
  • Practice spelling words with magnetic letters on the fridge, or with clay. Sometimes being able to feel the letters helps.
  • Write your words in large letters on cardboard, then cut them out. Cut each word into pieces, like a puzzle. Look at the pieces & try to fit them back into words. You can also illustrate the words if you like.
  • Make each letter as you spell the word by forming your body into the letter! Fun and active.
  • Tap the table to separate words into their syllables, or into separate letters (one tap for c, one for a, one for t).
  • Read your book in slow-motion or sing the words. You don’t have to follow a tune, but Jingle Bells or Happy Birthday work well.
  • As you find new words, write them down on a piece of paper with a short description. Put the pieces of paper in a jar. At the end of the week, one “judge” will take all the words out to read; the one they choose as the winner gets a prize for the person who discovered it!
  • Say a sentence out loud. Then collect a block for every word you hear, then repeat the sentence while stacking the blocks in a tower.
  • Make spelling cards with at least 3 variations of a spelling word, only one of them correct (for example, Family, Famlie, Famely). Draw faces, hats, beards, etc. to make them look like people. Lay them out in a line-up and then pick the one that is correct. You could arrest the others, or send them to jail.
  • Read along with your child. They will hear your pronunciation of new words and your changes in voice as you are excited, scared, or happy.
  • Pick up a book on CD! Hearing a story is just as good as reading it yourself sometimes.
Dad daughter talk

Conversation with adults brings many skills to dyslexic children: vocabulary building, developing transferrable conversation skills, using high-level thinking and context development. Ask for: retelling of events (helps with sequencing), summarizing of the day (thinking skills), the best word for something (word retrieval), and their opinions on a subject (critical thinking). Also make sure to discuss feelings, especially how others might feel – empathy is a skill that can be built up with practice!

“On a subtle level, vocabulary is often used as an unconscious gauge to determine someone’s level of intelligence.”

 – Kyle Redford, Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity Education Editor

Practicing writing

Handwriting Exercises

Hand skills (using your writing hand):

  • Crumple a piece of paper
  • Roll a ball on a hard surface, up to your elbow & back to your hand
  • Form clay into a triangle shape using thumb & first two fingers, then roll back into a ball

Practice tasks (on wide-ruled paper):

  • Draw a series of parallel vertical lines, trying to make them the same length & straight
  • Draw horizontal lines, trying to make 3 lines fit between each blue line on the paper
  • Draw clouds (bumpy lines) inside the lines to practice curves and round letters
  • Use a large paint brush to practice drawing straight lines in the air, or to practice the letter in the air

Books in Our Collection

For Kids:

“Back to Front and Upside Down” Claire Alexander (JE Alexander)

“If You’re So Smart How Come You Can’t Spell Mississippi?” Barbara Esham (JE Esham)

“The Wild Book” Margaret Engle (J Fiction Engle)

“Fish In A Tree” Linda Mullaly Hunt (J Fiction Hunt)

“Best Kept Secret: The Third Generation” Ann M. Martin (J Fic Mar)

“May B.” Caroline Starr Rose (J Fiction Rose)

“My Name is Brain Brian” Jeanne Betancourt (J PBK Fiction Betan)

“I Have Dyslexia: What Does That Mean?” Shelley Ball-Dannenberg (J 618.9 Ball-Dann)

For Teens:

“Ahgottahandleonit” Donovan Mixon (Y Fiction Mixon)

For Adults:

“Living With Dyslexia”    Nicola Brunswick (371.91 Brunsw)

“The dyslexic advantage: unlocking the hidden potential of the dyslexic brain” Brock Eide (616.85 Eide 2011)

“Secret life of the dyslexic child: how she thinks, how he feels, how they can succeed” Robert Frank (618.92 FRA 2002)

With help, Dyslexia can be treated. Check out these resources for more information.


http://dyslexia.yale.edu/ – the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity

https://www.nessy.com/us/ – website; also have an app! Hairy Letters by Nessy.

“What is Dyslexia?” a video on YouTube by Kelli Sandman-Hurley. www.youtube.com/watch?v=zafiGBrFkRM

www.dyslexiadaily.com – internet resource directory

www.zaner-bloser.com – a handwriting program that deals with dyslexia

www.crossboweducation.com – has an online test for visual stress