Jul 102013

You CAN help your child overcome dyslexia at home using proven reading intervention programs!

I taught my boys to read at home, and lots of other parents have done the same.  

All you need is a list of GREAT reading intervention programs to choose from and information about how to choose a program. This page will teach you about how to choose a great reading intervention program for your child.

Teaching your child how to read isn’t rocket science. It really isn’t.  All you need is to chose one of the quality reading intervention programs. If you get the right program, it’s not that hard to teach your child to read. It’s repetitive, but it is not difficult.

Your child’s school may want you to think “only a highly qualified person” can teach your child. Seriously though… If you can read, you can teach your child to read. I taught my son with severe dyslexia to read and it was a LOT easier than I thought it’d be.

If you’re going to teach your child to read at home, you’ll need to educate yourself about the method used for teaching a child with dyslexia how to read.  There is a specific method, called the Orton-Gillingham method (O-G). The O-G method has been proven to work when teaching children with dyslexia to read. O-G is the method I used.

To effectively teach your child to read, you need to know three things:

  1. You’ll need to know more about the Orton-Gillingham method (what it is).
  2. You also need to know what multi-sensory instruction is (it’s closely related to the O-G method).
  3. It is also helpful if you know your child’s learning style.

Orton-Gillingham Reading Programs involve providing instruction in ALL four learning styles simultaneously. The VAKT learning styles are at the heart of the Orton-Gillingham method. If you don’t know what multisensory instruction is, click on this link to learn about multisensory teaching.

If your child is a visual learner, your child needs to be taught using images.

If your child is a kinesthetic or tactile learner, he needs to be taught through movement or hands-on learning.

Children tend to learn through each of the channels at varying degrees.  Therefore, if you teach your child using multi-sensory instruction with a heavy focus on your child’s learning style, then learning will be maximized.

Using Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs to overcome dyslexia isn’t a quick road to reading. However, using O-G multisensory instruction is a way of teaching that will maximize your child’s ability to absorb the information as you teach. 

The specific Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs that are best for your child will depend on the VAKT learning styles being used most heavily within the program. If the program’s teaching methods match your child’s learning style(s), then your child will learn!

The intensity of your instruction is a big factor in how well your child will learn to read. You can have the best O-G program on the planet, but if you don’t use it daily for a meaningful lesson length, then your child won’t make good progress.

Another major factor in how easily your child will learn to read is your child’s working memory strengths or deficits. Working memory problems make it more difficult for your child to remember your teaching. Cognitive Enhancement programs can improve memory issues, so they are highly recommended as a companion program when working on your child’s reading skills.

Intense, repetitive instruction is a big key for getting info into your child’s long-term memory.   Sometimes a child can require 300+ repetitions to retain the concepts he’s being taught. So, as I said earlier, teaching your child is repetitious, but it isn’t rocket science.

True Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs are based on teaching using all of the learning styles simultaneously. Some reading intervention programs only use one or two of learning styles. They may opt to use a single channel instead. Limiting the number of learning styles being used will eliminate at least one learning avenue. That is big issue if the learning style NOT being used happens to be your child’s best learning style!

Some reading intervention programs use a limited number of repetitions. They may have you teach your child the sound for the letter “b,” 10-20 times, but O-G methods require you to teach your child until your child learns the sound-letter combination. You may have to teach the combination 50, 100, or 300 times! (Hint, computer-based practice programs are GREAT for getting in the needed number of repetitions.)

If you choose one of the reading intervention programs that does not address your child’s primary learning style, your child will not learn from the program.  Reading intervention programs aren’t true Orton-Gillingham programs if they don’t provide instruction through each learning style. The program must includeauditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile elements. An example of this would be saying the sound of a letter out loud, while tracing the letter with a finger in a pan coated with liquid soap.

In my opinion, the best way to teach your child is to determine your child’s primary learning style(s) first. Then use ALL of the learning styles for teaching your child while using your child’s primary learning style most often.

No matter which of the reading intervention programs you use, you’ll have to provide *intense* repetition for your child. If you use ALL of the learning styles in your repetition, it can make teaching and learning more fun!

By changing activities every few minutes and presenting the phonemes in different ways, you will be able to keep your child engaged in your lessons for the necessary length of time.  Daily reading instruction is needed. A minimum of 40-60 minutes of one-on-one instruction per day is required to overcome any measurable level of dyslexia.

No matter which of the O-G reading intervention programs you choose, the program will start with the most basic aspects of reading instruction. You will begin by teaching your child to recognize the phonemes in both auditory and spoken forms. Once your child masters both hearing and speaking the phonemes, then his new phonemic awareness skills can be applied to printed text.

You also need to know that reading is primarily an AUDITORY activity. Many people think reading is “visual learning” because it is printed on a page, but the processing of the words being read happens in the language center of the brain. Fluent readers “say” words in their brains as they read. Brain scans, called fMRIs, show the language center of the brain is activated during reading. This is why deaf children typically have more difficulty learning to read, and blind people have less difficulty learning to read using braille.

It is not a piece of cake to teach your child how to read using one of the Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs. It takes time and a combination of programs. I combined about six reading intervention programs when I taught my sons to read.

I also took an Orton-Gillingham training course to be sure I covered all of my bases. Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs have been shown in numerous studies (over decades) to be effective for most children with dyslexia. If you can afford the training, I highly recommend it.

Are Reading Intervention Programs Necessary?

It’s important for you to know the following breakdown of reading disabilities:

  • 60% of kids learn to read with “standard” instruction (phonics or whole language – doesn’t matter – these kids will likely learn to read given any reading instruction at all).
  • 40% of kids struggle and need specific, detailed instruction in how to read.
  • Of those 40% who initially struggle, 10-15% will have significant difficulty learning to read. They require intense, specific, sequential, multi-sensory instruction (an Orton-Gillingham reading intervention program) to learn to read.
  • There are approximately 3% of children who will be unable to learn to read. Their IQs may actually be below average, not just pulled down to below average because of specific learning disabilities. Some kids have low IQ’s, but their IQ scores go up as they receive proper instruction.

Using one of the proven reading intervention programs with your dyslexic child can help your child become educationally successful!

reading intervention programs