Homeschooling a Dyslexic Child: Tips and Websites That Can Help To Make Your Child Successful
Dyslexia. With all this talk about school at home, what about our kids with special learning needs? Today, I want to help those kids that have the most common learning “disability” out there- Dyslexia. Dyslexia is not rare. Statistics say that anywhere from 12%-20% of the population is Dyslexic. Unfortunately, I also suspect that many dyslexic kids are struggling with the home-school thing right now. Why? Several reasons:
- Their teacher isn’t there to help them with hands-on assistance
- Assignments will take longer for a dyslexic child to complete and curriculum from their teacher is likely to be generalized right now and not accommodating,
- Online and At-Home learning is asking children to read more than usual. There is less
verbal instruction, and children are required to read directions, read more content, and write more of their answers. These are tasks that take dyslexic children more time.
- Following directions is more difficult for dyslexic kids. At-Home school requires them to read instructions without verbal feedback. Teachers are not there to read the instructions aloud to them.
- Organizational skills can also be challenging for dyslexic children, and now they are being asked to work independently and have little organizational assistance.
- Dyslexic children are less able to get accommodations from their teachers in these weird extenuating circumstances.
- And lastly, dyslexic kids are likely to have dyslexic parents. This is not always the case; however, if this is true for you, this also means you may be having difficulty helping your child with school at home right now.
I am here to help and give you some practical tips. I want your dyslexic children to be successful in their new home-learning environment. There are ways to be triumphant in these challenging times. So, let’s start by giving your child all the right resources!
There are a lot of websites and resources that claim to help kids with dyslexia. I can’t possibly go through each one, so today I picked out my favorite FIVE. Before I begin, let me clarify that I am just a parent like you. I am not getting any kickbacks from anyone or any company for giving you my favorite five resources. These are genuinely my own tested and tried websites that I feel can help children. I have learned of these websites through my own experiences working with dyslexic kids as a teacher and having a dyslexic son.
- https://learningally.org/ ($12/month Audiobooks)- Learning Ally provides kids with thousands of audible books and even a few popular textbooks! Depending on the book, it will highlight sentences for the child and allows the kid to learn through listening comprehension. This is a game-changer for children who need to read novels for English class.
- https://snapandread.com/ ($3.99/month reads computer text)- If you have a child that has all their new homework or curriculum given to them online or on a computer screen, then Snap and Read might be an excellent fit for you. This website reads aloud any words that might appear on your computer screen!
- https://www.shmoop.com/ (FREE Gives chapter summaries for popular books, test prep, math drills, & essay writing help.) Shmoop is free and provides math drills for extra help with math practice, helps your child write better essays with writing guides, and I love that this website gives practical main idea summaries of popular books. Unlike Cliff Notes, these summaries provide main points without giving away too much information. My dyslexic child reads the outline of a chapter from Shmoop, and then audio listens to the chapter afterward. The summaries provide him with enough structure to look for main points but don’t give away all the details. In other words, he still has to read the book, but Schmoop gives him enough information to help him focus on main ideas. Schmoop improves his reading comprehension but does not do all the work for him.
- https://ttsreader.com/ (Free- highlights text, reads aloud, and converts speech to MP3 format)- TTSReader Text to Speech Reader reads files aloud and saves them as MP3 files. How does my son use it? He uses this website to aid in editing his OWN writing. He takes an essay or paragraph he has written for school and pastes it to the site. The website then reads his work aloud back to him while highlighting the text. This allows my son to hear his writing aloud, and he can listen for grammatical errors or weird sentence structure. He then can edit his writing with more accuracy.
- Livescribe.com (Prices Vary- $100 Notetaking help) Livescribe is best for older children or even college students. These are special smartpens that can record voice while you write, or take recorded notes and accurately transcribe the information. This technology is impressive and you have to check out the website to understand. Livescribe takes notetaking to a whole new level.
What else can you do besides apps, websites, and the right technology? You need to talk to your teacher. Here are some things to ask for that can make a world of difference for your child!
Ask your teacher for:
- Extra time to do the work
- Video chats where directions are verbalized rather than read
- Oral testing or video testing on things that need to be assessed
- Copies of the teacher’s notes
- A reduced workload or modified assignments
- As the teacher to honor content quality over spelling/grammar
- Hands-on learning if possible, like projects instead of worksheets
- Can your child record answers orally and submit assignments in MP3 format or video?
- Ask for examples of correct and completed work as examples of what the teacher wants and expects.
There are also things that you can do at home to help make your child more successful. These things include:
- Post your child’s daily schedule. Dyslexic children do better with a visual plan. Don’t just tell them what needs to be done. SHOW them visually.
- Give your child a ruler and have them read with it. This aids in reading a lot!
- Use large-print text or enlarge their homework. The smaller the print, the harder it will be to read.
- Help them organize their work
- Arrange the work from easiest to hardest. Do the “easy” things first!
- Help them read instructions, so they know what is expected.
- Break up large assignments into smaller steps.
- Eliminate distractions in the area where they are expected to focus on school work. Example, no bed, no tv, no iPod, lousy lighting, lousy noise level, etc.)
Your child wants to be successful! Most dyslexic children want to learn and want to show off their unique academic talents! With the right resources, your child can do that! School at home doesn’t have to be a set-back or another frustration. You and your child can do this!
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