Aug 012013

Teaching methods for providing multisensory reading instruction to your child:

First, think of a ‘language triangle’ which emphasizes the simultaneous linking of auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile pathways (Post, 2003).

Using multisensory teaching methods involves having your child see the letters, phonemes, or words, while saying the sounds represented by the letters, phonemes, or words.

In addition multisensory teaching methods include simultaneously using a kinesthetic / tactile tracing action to write out the letters, phonemes or words. Your child will act on all three pathways simultaneously.

It is an important teaching method to teach the visual element (the letter(s) or word) as a representation of its auditory sound. In other words, it is important to teach letter sounds, rather than letter names for the purposes of reading instruction.

As an example of multisensory teaching methods used for reading instruction, your child will see an “S”. Then your child will say the sound of “S”, written as /s/, and would vocalize /s/.

When your child said /s/ (auditory), she would also trace the shape of an “S” on the carpet with her bare feet (tactile), or use large, full arm movements to write a huge “S” on a chalkboard (kinesthetic).

As she traced the shape of the “S”, she would see it, which would add in the visual component. She would feel it with her bare foot, and as she says the sound aloud, she’ll hear it.

Almost any specific, sequential, reading instruction program can be made into a multisensory program by using teaching methods that include auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile activities added to the instruction.

tactile learning activities
teaching methods
multisensory math instruction

Jul 102013

About Speed Reading for Kids:

Some children with dyslexia or ADHD can learn to speed read, especially if they are highly visual learners. Often they can speed read better than typical individuals, but they do have to be able to read first. Therefore, if your child has dyslexia, start with a good, proven reading program to teach your child to read, then come back to this page.

Our Fun with Speed Reading for Kids

I HAVE to tell you that I have been amazed (truly I have) at how well and how quickly my children, with mild to severe dyslexia, have learned to speed read.

Initially, I was skeptical.. VERY skeptical.. when I read that children with dyslexia can often learn how to speed read better than typical readers. I wrote to George Stancliffe of the **American Speed Reading Project and found him to be encouraging and sincere.

The cost of the American Speed Reading Project’s program, “Speed Reading 4 Kids“, is relatively inexpensive, so it is well worth a try if your child can read above a third grade level. A complimentary copy of this program was sent to me and we found it to be nothing short of amazing.

My children, who have mild to significant dyslexia, can read a 200 page chapter book in ten to fifteen minutes with amazing retention and recall. Children with dyslexia, being visual learners, often do better than typical children in this program.

Becoming speed readers has been a great esteem builder for my children as well. By reading so quickly and so well, they can amaze and entertain their friends, read more than I ever dreamed they could, and they use their speed reading skills at will.

I have found that my children still use slower, more purposeful reading for their textbooks, but they enjoy speed reading for magazines, newspapers, books at the library, etc.

You can’t use Speed Reading 4 Kids effectively until your child has learned to read at or above a third-grade level, but once your child has mastered basic reading skills, I highly recommend giving this program a try. Teaching your child this skill will help them tremendously throughout life.

Jul 102013

Text-to-speech software and books-on-tape can help children with specific learning disabilities in the area of reading keep up with their peers in other areas of learning.

These assistive technology solutions can help your child ‘read’ books that are beyond his reading level.

The main methods of dealing with reading difficulties are through text-to-speech converters, subtitled educational content, books-on-tape, and audiobooks.

Highlighted Text-to-Speech and Video curriculum for children with dyslexia

If you need a curriculum that will be interactive, has teaching videos, has built-in audio, and a highlighted text-to-speech capability, I’d HIGHLY recommend Odysseyware from Global Student Network (GSN).

GSN offers a variety of learning platforms, but their offering of Odysseyware is my favorite to date. Why? Because Odysseyware includes teaching videos that are on topic. There is a button your child can press to have text on the lesson page read aloud. As the text-to-speech reader is narrating the page, each word is emphasized (bolded and enlarged) as the word is read. This lets your child follow along directly with each lesson.

The variety within each lesson that includes audio, visual, and the highlighted text creates a varied learning environment that is likely to hold the attention of kids with ADHD better than standard curricula too. You can request a demo of the Odysseyware and buy a one-year subscription that will provide your child with unlimited access to their courses. If your child finishes one course, he can just move on to the next!

Books on Tape or Audiobooks:

Books on tape are audio tapes or audio CDs that contain a recording of the book being read aloud. Text-to-speech converters are software programs that read text aloud, often while highlighting the text on the computer screen.

The most widely known provider of books-on-tape is the **Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic ( organization, which is now known as “Learning Ally“. Learning Ally has screening procedures, requires annual membership, and certification that an individual has a disability in the area of reading. In order to play audio recordings provided through Learning Ally, you must purchase a specialized player to play the recordings. The greatest benefit of Learning Ally is the organization has been around for years and has a vast collection of recordings. Additionally, you can make a request for any materials they don’t have on hand and Learning Ally will consider the request for recording. Also, you borrow the materials, and return them, much as you check out materials from the library.

Another large source of books on tape is **”Books On Tape“. This company has a number of children’s books, mostly for the 9-12 age group, on tape or CD. No special players are required, but you do have to purchase the books on tape (and they aren’t cheap).

Given that you are going to use the purchase option, you’ll find a great selection and great prices for thousands of Children’s Audio Books on Amazon. Many recordings of popular books are available, and you can search for MP3 children’s bookstext-to-speech or for a specific title by adding the title of the book to the search box.

Text-to-Speech Programs

Text-to-speech converters are good because they can help a child follow along with the reading by highlighting the text as it is being read aloud. There are several text-to-speech programs on the market, some with better voices than others.

Microsoft offers a free text-to-speech reader called **Microsoft Reader. This text-to-speech program comes with a couple of voices that are usable, but might be difficult for a child to clearly understand (particularly if the child has auditory processing issues). If you download and use this program, many users recommend acquiring **AT&T’s Natural Voices to go along with the program. You have to purchase the voices, but there are several to choose from and the clarity is excellent.

Another text-to-speech program that is great for use in browsing the Internet is the **Opera browser. This browser is recommended for reading websites, but the Microsoft Reader will perform the same task. The main difference is that the Microsoft Reader requires a cut-and-paste operation to load the text to be read. Opera will read directly off the website.

With the different options, it is difficult to know what to use, or whether you should use anything. At a younger age, you may want to limit the use of books on tape to leisure reading time. It can help a struggling child build an enjoyment of books. It will be critical to continue working on reading decoding skills.

As a child gets older, however, and is studying more complex materials from textbooks, it is beneficial for the child to have books on tape. With books on tape, the child can concentrate on learning the material rather than trying to concentrate on decoding. Books on tape can help a child’s learning keep pace with his cognitive capabilities.

We use books on tape for our Science text to insure the proper pronunciation of the words is learned, and for a variety of history books. We work on reading separately from other academics. When we are working on reading, we do not use books on tape, but do occasionally a text-to-speech program called **”Thinking Reader“. There are a limited number of books available for this program, but it is great for the books that are available.

Whichever program you choose to use, your child will have fun with the program. If the child has fun with the program, and books on tape, it will help him engage in reading and with books. This benefit will be worth more than words can tell!