How to teach a dyslexic child

How to teach a dyslexic child

On today’s post I am going to share the most common warning signs of dyslexia. Dyslexia is really common and 1 in every 5 kids in the classroom has it. These warning signs can begin as early as preschool. So, if you are wondering if your child might have dyslexia, here are 6 major signs to look for:

1. Your Child Reverses or Jumbles Letters

If your child reverses the letters b and d or p and q or writes the letters m for w, they might have dyslexia. These letters may be flipped vertically or horizontally. The word “ now ” can become “ won .” You child might also mirror write entire sentences. Reversals in children under the age of 8 are normal, however by third grade this should be a thing of the past. At this point, if your child is still reversing letters and numbers or mirror writing, this is a huge red flag for dyslexia.

2. Your Child Has Difficulties Recalling Words When Talking or Writing a Story

“Mom, can you get me that thing ,” or “hand me that stuff .” If simple words don’t always flow out of your child’s mouth so easily, they might have dyslexia. Kids with dyslexia fill their sentences with pronouns or words lacking in specificity. Filler words like “um” may be used to take up time while your child tries to remember a word. A child with dyslexia knows exactly what she or he wants to say; the difficulty is with pulling out the right words. When a dyslexic child is asked to write a story, often they can’t think of the word they want to use or can’t figure out how to spell it. Recalling names, reciting the months of the year in order, or even remembering the days of the week can be a real problem for a dyslexic child.

3. Your Child Makes Many Spelling Errors, and Spells Things Phonetically

If your child spells words exactly as they sound without applying any spelling rules, they might have dyslexia. Dyslexics use highly phoneticized spelling when writing. For example, “ sed ” for “ said ” or “ shud ” for “ should ” is a common difficulty for dyslexics. Children with dyslexia also have difficulties distinguishing among homophones, such as “ there ” and “ their .” These kids might also reverse the order of two letters, especially when they involve double vowels, writing “ dose ” for “ does .” Sometimes, the vowels are just left out altogether.

4. Your Child Uses Substitutions When Reading

If your child substitutes a word that means the same thing but doesn’t look at all similar while reading a story, they might have dyslexia. For example saying the word “ trip ” while reading the word “ journey ,” or saying the word “ house ” while reading the word “ home ” are examples of substitutions while reading.

5. Your Child Has Horrible Handwriting

If your child has really poor, illegible handwriting filled with spelling errors, they probably have dyslexia. Some of the main signs of this type of poor handwriting include:

  • Tight and unusual pencil grip
  • Writes letters with unusual starting and ending points
  • Unusual spatial organization on the paper and not following the margins or keeping the letters on the horizontal lines.
  • Difficulties with punctuation, not applying capital letters and adding major run-ons and sentences with fragments.

How to teach a dyslexic child

Learn More about the Effective Orton-Gillingham Approach by Signing Up for our Free Course

Plus, get teaching tips and fun learning activities delivered straight to your inbox with the PRIDE Weekly Roar.

Join the Community

How to teach a dyslexic child

Dyslexia, or developmental dyslexia, is a condition in which a person has difficulty with word recognition, reading, writing, and concentration. Researchers estimate that up to eleven percent of school-aged children in the United States have some level of dyslexia.

If you have a dyslexic child, there are many things you can do at home to help him or her, starting with gathering as much information as you can about dyslexia. The more informed you are, the more you can do to help. Here are some other ideas to consider when dealing with a dyslexic child:

Provide emotional support by building a positive atmosphere. A dyslexic child often feels anxious and needs frequent reassurance from a loving parent. Make sure you encourage him through the difficulties and build his self-esteem by providing him with chances to shine in other areas outside the academic environment. Play up your child’s natural abilities, be they sports, art, or video games. Emphasize the importance of other skills and make sure your child understands that grades are not the ultimate measure of his value.

Focus on reading as a game rather than a chore. Read to your dyslexic child every chance you get, from traffic signs to labels to books and magazines. Point out new words and make spelling them part of the game. There are many books available that emphasize alliteration and rhyme, and they can be an excellent addition to your household. Above all, become a role model by showing your child that reading is enjoyable.

A dyslexic child usually needs more attention and help with homework than other children do. A dyslexic child also needs more frequent breaks. Pay attention and encourage “breathing time” when you see your child starting to get anxious and overly distracted. Use these breaks to play word games or encourage other activities, but don’t overdo it. Too much extra work can make a child with dyslexia feel overwhelmed and result in frustration and resentment.

You might also Like

Recommended

Readers Also Love

Related Articles

  • What Is Developmental Dyslexia?
  • How can I Tell if a Book is Appropriate for my Child?
  • How can I Improve my Reading Comprehension?
  • What can be Done if a Parent Refuses to Pay Child Support?
  • Why does my Child Have No Friends?
  • What is a Spirited Child?
  • Am I Addicted to Television?

Discussion Comments

We found a program that explained explains the seven main reasons some children have difficulty learning to read. The program is “Easyread by Oxford Learning Systems”. This is an online program that helps struggling children learn how to read. (It has a 96 percent success rate as well as a guarantee) It is especially optimized for dyslexic children and highly visual learners.

This program has helped our two children by using lessons that are less than 15 minutes per day, four to five days per week. I wholeheartedly recommend this program! Bhutan January 27, 2011

SurfNTurf – I have heard of that program. It is supposed to be really good.

I know that my friend’s son had a problem with dyslexia and she took him to Lindamood Bell. It is a center that offers remedial instruction for children that have difficulty learning.

They offer a comprehensive exam and then tailor the lessons in order to develop the child’s reading and math skills.

My friend’s son attended Lindamood Bell for about a year and he now reads at grade level even though he had difficulty learning due to his dyslexia.

Mutsy – Wow what a nice message. I have to say that there are programs for helping a dyslexic child.

Audiblox is a cognitive development program that you can use in the comfort of your own home with your child that will help with the cognitive processing problems of letter and number reversals.

The program costs $280 and includes a manual with seven programs along with blocks and a CD to use with your child.

The program is available for the school market as well. mutsy January 25, 2011

I agree that many dyslexic children can develop into successful students. I saw a movie about a true story about a student who struggled with dyslexia in medical school.

He eventually was able to graduate from medical school and become a doctor. It was such an inspiring story and really proves that there are no limits to what you can achieve.

How to teach a dyslexic child

Experts agree that the best practice for teaching children with dyslexia is to teach them by engaging all their senses (multisensory teaching ). This means using visuals, motion, body movement, hands-on, and auditory elements in their learning. Studies have shown that children with dyslexia draw from various regions in their brains while engaging in reading, so it stands to reason that using teaching approaches that stimulate various regions in the brain would ensure success for these learners.

“Children with dyslexia have a difficult time learning to read and write in a typical classroom setting. Most teachers often gear their lessons to students with auditory learning styles. The teacher relies mostly on talking to teach. Teachers lecture, explain and answer questions orally. The dyslexic learner cannot process this information using only his auditory modality. For this reason, dyslexic learners need to learn using an approach that simultaneously combines auditory, visual, and tactile learning strategies to teach skills and concepts.”

Karina Richmond, MA
Pride Learning Center

8 Ways to Help a Child with Dyslexia

Child1st resources are all designed to utilize multiple pathways to the brain, so you can be confident that no matter which product you select to use with your child, it is designed to do the work for you. No training is required because the lessons in each resource tell you exactly what to do.

Here are 8 helpful ways to teach in a multisensory way that works wonders for children with dyslexia.

1. Incorporate visual elements in learning

When new material is embedded into images, learning and recall become super-charged! Images are captured as quickly as snapping a picture with a camera, and those images are stored in visual memory. Children with dyslexia learn by observing and love visual aids.

How to teach a dyslexic child

2. Involve body movement in learning

Children with dyslexia learn most easily through hands-on activities. They need manipulatives when solving math problems rather than relying on pencil and paper. When learning math concepts, for example, let them see and understand what is happening instead of giving them facts or rules to memorize.

How to teach a dyslexic child

3. Use an explicit, systematic approach to teaching reading

It is best to not assume children will naturally fill gaps or make connections for themselves. They can learn to make connections for themselves, but in the beginning, when we are teaching reading or math, we assume all skills need to be taught.

How to teach a dyslexic child

4. Read out loud in order to utilize the auditory pathway to the brain

Children with special needs such as autism, auditory processing disorder, stuttering, and dyslexia see remarkable benefits from listening to themselves read aloud. We encourage the use of an auditory amplification device, such as the Toobaloo® to create this experience for them.

How to teach a dyslexic child

5. Teach children the art of visualizing as they read

If a child has struggled to read, chances are their entire focus is on trying to sound out words. When decoding becomes a child’s focus, the idea that words carry meaning will escape them. They assume “reading” means calling out words. It is so important to teach children to stop every few lines to make a mental picture of what the words are saying. Learning to visualize might be slow-going at first, but as you continue this practice, visualization will become an automatic process! Our reading materials will prompt you to utilize visualization while learning.

How to teach a dyslexic child

6. Summarize and give the big picture first, then teach the details

Children who have dyslexia (and many other learners, too) need to see the whole picture before you start teaching them details inside that global whole. One example in reading is showing children all the ways you can spell the sound of Long A. In math, showing the children a global view of the combination of numbers that make 10 will make it much easier for them to learn each individual combination. See the global map of the number combinations to 10 in the illustration below.

How to teach a dyslexic child

7. Teach from whole to part

For example, start by teaching the most basic sounds. Then teach whole words (using SnapWords®). After children can recognize whole words, it is simple to break those words apart into their phonemes (sounds). Children will be able to quickly detect words that are related by sound spelling.

How to teach a dyslexic child

8. Use a multi-sensory teaching approach

They learn instantly by snapping a mental pictures of content that is embedded in images or other visuals such as charts, graphs, organizers. They will enjoy having hands-on activities to practice concepts you are teaching them. When they hear themselves speaking or reading, they add another important pathway to the brain.

How to teach a dyslexic child

Do you have a dyslexic child? If the answer is yes, then you know the challenge that comes with caring for them and educating them as well. This is why you would have to employ certain techniques to make sure that the child may be able to read as well as can be expected from children with such conditions.

Fortunately for you, here are some useful tips on how to teach a dyslexic child to read sight words. However, before we go any further let us first define what dyslexia is so that we can understand why we need to learn new ways of teaching our dyslexic children have to read.

Dyslexia refers to a general term that denotes a disorder when it comes to reading letters and words thoroughly. Children with dyslexia often have difficulty interpreting the words that they see which can sometimes lead to miscommunication problems especially to those who are not aware of the child’s condition.

To combat this problem, you have to educate your child using different techniques as much as possible. Take needs that can make it easier for him to understand what he is reading and how to pronounce it correctly.

In answer to this predicament, we have prepared some tips on how to teach a dyslexic child to read properly. Here are some of those tips as follows:

7 Tips to Teach a Dyslexic Child to Read

1. Spare No Detail

First, you have to go into full detail when telling a story or reading. A child that has dyslexia sometimes has difficulty understanding individual words and concepts. Therefore, when discussing this story, make sure to describe every single detail that you can about the main character.

For example, if she has red hair, try to be as descriptive as possible regarding the red hair. This will teach your child to understand what the word red means. Once he understands the meaning of the word, you will eventually be able to learn about it much more easily.

2. Take Note of Your Pronunciation

If you’re going to teach him or her how to spell, make sure that you read the word or letter that you are teaching out loud while showing the letter to him. After this, you can teach him the proper pronunciation of the word as well.

Make sure that he or she sees how you pronounce the word or letter that he sees on the page. This way, he will be able to associate the pronunciation with the letter or word that you are trying to teach him or her.

3. Use Mnemonics

Another thing that you can do to teach a dyslexic child how to read is to make sure that you create a memory aid. These are what you call mnemonics. It will help the child remember essential words he may find challenging to understand at first.

Try to find any object that you can attach to the word for your child to remember. Sometimes, it would also help to compose a song about the word you’re trying to teach. Either way, you should find a way to make it easier for the job to remember the words as soon as possible.

4. Be Creative

Dyslexic kids will be able to remember the words more easily if they can associate it with a colorful picture or someone with an even brighter personality. You can do this by following the steps below:

You can write a practice word down on an index card. After this, you can ask your child to draw on it. Use this particular drawing to introduce the word to the child. You can read it out loud so that he or she could see and hear how you pronounce the word correctly.

As soon as she can read it on her own, try using another index card with the single word on it.

You can also use different colors when introducing words to children. That way, they will be able to associate color with certain words.

This goes into the next tip which is to employ the different kinds of senses that the human body has.

5. Utilize the Different Senses

According to research, children with dyslexia can learn faster if they can use different senses while learning. You can use pop up letters and allow your child to touch them while teaching them how to read.

By doing this, you will teach a child how the different corners of the letter feel. Once he or she remembers how it feels to touch the letters, she will then be able to write it down without difficulty. Eventually, the child will also be able to say it out loud.

Just make sure to show your face when you are trying to pronounce the word so that he can understand what he is trying to say. This way, he will be able to hear you say the words while seeing your lips move.

6. Memorize the Word

Ask the child to look at the word intently. Now, you can easily make him remember the words in his mind. Tell your child not to forget the word in his head. After this, you can take the card away.

Now, you can ask your child what letters she would see in her mind. Inquire how many letters she sees if she counts. If we’re dealing with a word, you should make the child remember the letters that she indeed saw first in the scene.

What are the letters or vowels that he or she sees? If she can visualize the word, she may yield more clues as to how you can help her as a dyslexic child.

You can also ask your child to write the words themselves. Of course, this comes after rigorous hours of training on how to read and write. Now, this would not be done in just a few days. You ought to be patient enough to wait until things happen for your child.

Make sure to practice some crucial words that you encounter with your child outside the home. This way, he will be able to associate the words that she is required to practice with a tangible memory.
It’s always easy to learn more when you can attach memories to the tangible things that you enjoy doing.

7. Explore Where the Word Came From

Learning more about the history of the word being used would be a great teaching tool for the child. Once they understand the origins of the word, he or she may end up doing more research on his own. If this happens, if he will not only learn about the practice word itself, but also about many other things regarding History and Geography down the line.

Final Words

These are just some of the many ways for you to teach your child how to read if he or she is dyslexic. Always remember that they are not slow learners. These children just have a different way of learning about words.

Using words accompanied by pictures can make it easier for a dyslexic child to read. By keeping this in mind, you will be able to help the child develop down the line.

How to teach a dyslexic child

Specific Learning Difficulties affect a significant percentage of the population – and dyslexia alone can affect up to 10% of us – 4% severely so. Teachers who aren’t trained to recognise the signs of specific learning difficulties can unintentionally hammer away at a student’s self-esteem.

If he’s good with words and he’s not performing academically, and if he can’t spell today what he spelled correctly yesterday, he must be being uncooperative, mustn’t he? The educational struggles of children with a learning difference can be compounded if their teachers have not had training in how to respond.

Some educators and social commentators point to an association between being from a deprived socio-economic area and an anti-school culture. Education’s not cool; playing the class clown, being disruptive, answering back, and being part of an anti-learning peer group is.

However, educators from the world of specific learning difficulties or differences often see this behaviour as more of a defence mechanism that hides an inability to read or spell.

Recognising dyslexia in the classroom

Let’s call him “he” as currently more males than females are identified as having specific learning difficulties (and, incidentally, a disproportionate number of these males are left handed). He doesn’t want his friends to find out how much he struggles with reading. He doesn’t want them laughing at him, or calling him thick or stupid, and so he acts up in class.

Tell him often enough that he’s not trying hard enough, embarrass him by expecting him to copy from the board or read out loud, penalise his assignments because of poor spelling, and you could be contributing to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As an illustrative example, one irate mum reported how devastating it was for her dyslexic son, whose one area of strength at school was in P E and sport, when he lost marks in his P. E. exam for poor spelling. This is cruel irony and it illustrates that sometimes a parent can play an important role in raising teacher awareness – which in this case she did.

The tragedy is that early recognition and intervention – the adoption of “dyslexia friendly” teaching strategies and help in identifying the coping strategies that are right for a particular student – are likely to turn school and classroom failure into success.

It’s appropriate to underscore that the intelligence of students with Specific Learning Difficulties and their ability to learn is not in question. It is their performance and achievement that may be affected by an inability to cope – that is, learn from – aspects of the traditional learning process. That’s why some experts in the field prefer the term “learning difference” to “learning difficulty”.

How to teach a dyslexic child

Dyslexia friendly teaching

Many children with specific learning difficulties will struggle to learn when on the receiving end of some traditional teaching methods. However, an approach which is “dyslexia friendly” works for everyone.

This approach might include multi-sensory teaching: small incremental steps delivered one at a time, with plenty of opportunity for repetition, so learners can proceed at their own pace and receive positive reinforcement as they learn. Each child is, of course, different and this will have consequences for the way in which they learn best.

1. Note taking

Copying from the board can be extremely difficult for students with specific learning difficulties. For the dyslexic student who struggles when reading printed text, deciphering someone’s handwriting can present an additional challenge.

Add to that a difficulty with the physical process of writing, something often seen in students who have both dyslexia and dyspraxia. Learn more about strategies for helping dyspraxic children in the classroom.

After decoding the word, the dyslexic student may have to consciously concentrate on the shape and direction of each individual letter, taking their attention away from what is being said by the teacher.

The student who has short-term memory issues may only be able to deal with a word or small parts of a phrase at a time, and the ability to work at speed may well be an issue. So when the student looks up again, and quite likely struggles to again find the correct place on the board, all of this takes so much time that the teacher has erased the information and moved on.

When it’s time to revise, the student has incomplete notes and may even struggle with reading his own writing. A buddy system for good note taking can help, and additionally, reinforce learning.

2. Making written material dyslexia friendly

Teaching strategies for helping students with specific learning difficulties to succeed can include the teacher providing the student with written notes for each session so that having to copy from the board is not an issue.

Keep the following in mind:

Bullet points may be more useful than blocks of text.

Dyslexic students may have particular difficulty with print that is black on white. If possible use a pastel shade for hand-outs. There is no consensus on which colour is best, but off-white/beige is particularly popular.

Don’t justify the right hand margin.

Include a vocabulary list of keywords that will facilitate reading.

3. Presenting information to students

Give an overview first, present the information, then summarise what you have covered. Ask students to verbally summarise what they have learned.

4. Study skills and strategies

To get information and ideas on paper, the learner may find mind maps and spider diagrams helpful. Writing frames can help with organisation. Encourage the student to use highlighter pens for key concepts. Using a ruler under a line of text when reading can help those students for whom words move around on a printed page.

5. Writing and spelling

Mnemonics can help with spelling difficult words the learner always struggles with (such as Big Elephants Can’t Always Use Small Exits to remember the spelling of “because”). Learning sight words may also help with spelling, writing and reading.

Here are some additional things to consider:

Some students will benefit from having a fatter pen or pencil to hold

It is becoming more common to allow students to use laptops in the classroom. A disorganised student who frequently loses his notes will benefit from having course material sent via email.

A particularly useful skill for the dyslexic student to master is touch-typing. While the student may always struggle with handwriting, touch-typing can become automatic and just flows through the fingers without conscious thought. The student works faster, and can cope with more information. Touch-typing can have the added benefit of introducing automatic access to spell checkers and improving reading comprehension skills.

How to teach a dyslexic child

Resources for students at home and at school

Touch-type Read and Spell aims to improve reading, writing, spelling, computer keyboard skills and self-esteem by teaching touch-typing in a dyslexia friendly way.

Furthermore, teachers or teaching assistants don’t have to have a qualification in working with students with specific learning differences to be able to deliver the course effectively.

Join the discussion! Please share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Share this:

  • Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)
  • Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)
  • Click to print (Opens in new window)
My goal is to show parents how to teach kids with dyslexia to read. There is a lot to know about teaching kids with dyslexia to read. Let’s break it down step by step.

If you have been around the Homeschooling With Dyslexia web site for any length of time, you know my passion for helping parents of kids with dyslexia. We have been navigating the seas of dyslexia since our oldest son was diagnosed some 16 years ago. It was a steep learning curve and we made lots of mistakes along the way. Learn more about our family story on my About Page.

There is a lot to know about teaching kids with dyslexia to read. This week, I’ll be breaking this important subject down into 5 days of learning. The links below will go live as each individual article is posted beginning Monday January 12.

Teaching Kids With Dyslexia to Read

1. Is it Dyslexia? Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia
Let’s start at the beginning and look how you can know if someone you know has dyslexia. From preschool to adults, we’ll look at the obvious and not so obvious signs of dyslexia.

2. How Dyslexics Learn: Teaching to the Dyslexic Strengths
Starting by dispelling the number one myth about dyslexia, we’ll look at the inherent strengths of the dyslexic mind. Having this understanding is imperative if you’re going to teach dyslexics in the way that they learn best!

3. Reading Methods That Work With Dyslexia
So we know what dyslexia is and how dyslexics learn, now lets look at how we teach them to read. This post will share the fundamental things that you need to know to teach anyone with dyslexia to read, write and spell.

4. How to Teach Sight Words to Kids With Dyslexia
We looked at reading methods that work but what about all of those words that don’t follow the rules? Remember, people with dyslexia need a different method to learn in a way that sticks. I will show you one easy and amazingly effective way to teach your kids sight words that they will never forget!

5. Building Fluency in Dyslexic Readers
Fluency is reading smoothly with understanding. If you are helping kids with dyslexia learn to read, you already know how elusive this skill can be. This post will teach you the truth about building fluency (and her sister – comprehension) in a way that really works.

Get Educated

If you are looking to get educated about dyslexia and how to educate, encourage and empower your kids with dyslexia, you have come to the right place.

For more information on getting started homeschooling your child with dyslexia, consider downloading my free ebook that covers things like understanding learning styles and teaching methods, how to create a positive learning environment and schedule, or how to set goals and get it all done.

For more information on specific strategies to teach your dyslexic child the way he or she learns, consider taking one of our Parent Dyslexia Classes. Classes now available are:

Or buy all 5 classes in our Foundation Bundle and receive a free download of my book, Dyslexia 101: Truths, Myths and What Really Works.

Stay in Touch

We have quite an active Facebook community where I frequently post articles of interest and encouragement. I also have a growing Pinterest Page with a wide variety of teaching tips for all subjects.

How to teach a dyslexic child

Telling the time is a struggle for many children with dyslexia. Even once they master this skill, understanding the concept of time and what they can accomplish in each number of minutes or hours doesn’t come easy.

I had the following conversation about time with my dyslexic son, Harry, yesterday.

Me–Don’t forget you have to be at Dave’s at 5 o’clock.

Harry–What’s the time now?

Me–It’s ten to five.

Harry–When will we be having dinner?

Harry–Okay, I’m going now. Can I go mountain biking on my way back?

A mountain bike ride takes well over an hour. At fifteen, Harry still needs help to plan his time or else he tries to fit in too much or misses appointments altogether.

Tips For Teaching Telling the Time

1. Start with sequencing

Harry needed to work on his sequencing ability before I taught him to tell the time. The idea of ‘before’ and ‘after’ didn’t come naturally to him. He also struggled with knowing his left from his right. These sequencing difficulties are very common for children with dyslexia.

At six, Harry would get out of bed in the morning and ask, “What’s for dinner?” when he meant breakfast. He struggled to say the days of the week in the correct order, and he had no idea about the months of the year.

In my book, I mention that most of the useful tips I’ve picked up for helping Harry came from other parents. When Harry was seven, I met a mother in the school playground who told me her dyslexic son had improved his sequencing ability using resources from the Learning Staircase. I promptly went home and purchased a DVD from their website. Harry worked on the days and months activities, and his sequencing ability improved.

2. Teach the time in stages

In my post about memory, I mention the working memory funnel. If you try to teach the time concepts of a quarter-past, half-past and a quarter-to, before the child understands the idea of what an hour is, their memory funnel may block. Don’t be in a rush to teach too much at once. The trick is to go slowly. I recommend Sally Raymond’s excellent step-by-step breakdown on how to teach the time here.

Once Harry had grasped the concepts of ‘to’ and ‘past’, I bought him a watch which colour codes ‘past’ and ‘to’ on the face. https://www.easyreadtimeteacher.com/buy/easy-read/wrist-watch/.

However, Harry disliked wearing a watch. I suspect this was due to his mild sensory processing disorder. He is very sensitive to certain fabrics and I have to cut tags out of his clothes. Find out more about SPD here.

3. Have conversations about time throughout the day

Drop time into your everyday speech. Say things like, “It takes ten minutes to get to school,” and “We’ll have dinner in fifteen minutes.”

Play games of estimating how long it will take to get to places. For more fun with clocks and time, go to easypeasyandfun.com.

Other time-related topics

Analogue vs digital

A child with dyslexia may prefer to read a digital clock face. Harry does, but I felt it was essential for him to learn to read an analogue clock. Phones aren’t permitted in school examinations and an analogue clock may be the only timepiece in the hall.

I dislike digital clocks. My dyslexia comes with a side-order of mild dyscalculia (difficulty with numbers). Perhaps that is why I also hate using the 24-hour clock. Working with bus timetables, and the like, is my idea of hell.

Time Management

When Harry started school, we used a picture schedule on a whiteboard to help him get ready in the morning. The pictures were a breakfast bowl, a toothbrush, some clothes, his lunch box, and his school bag. He ticked off each image with a whiteboard marker as he got ready.

Harry can now tell the time, but from my opening paragraph, you’ll have gathered time management is still a work in progress. He’s a teenager and dislikes being told what to do. As much as possible, I let him plan his social life, but I am aware I need to offer him support when he’s underestimated how long activities and journey times will take.

Organisation

Keeping things in their correct place is a massive help to get things done on time. If Harry knows where his shoes and his coat are, it makes getting out of the house much more straightforward. Because Harry also has ADD being tidy isn’t easy for him. Disorganisation is one aspect of ADD. For more on ADD read this. For tips on helping a messy child read this.

Travel time

In researching dyslexia, I discovered struggling with being on time has a technical name. I always thought it was ‘being hopeless’, but in fact, it is ‘temporal-sequential disorganisation’ and is an aspect of executive functioning common in people with dyslexia.

My being habitually late drives my husband crazy. To me, on time means anywhere up to ten minutes past the agreed time. To him, it means arriving early. It’s taken me years not to leave the house at the time I am supposed to arrive. I’ve finally put in place a system of going fifteen minutes earlier than I expect the journey to take.

I’m working on teaching this concept to Harry. I encourage him to use the alarm function on his phone. He’s having some success, but there is still a long way to go. I can see I’ll be keeping my support role for a while. I can’t complain. After all, it took me many years to learn how to get to places on time. These days I’m fairly good at it, as long as I can avoid using the 24-hour clock timetable to plan my journey. If I must use one, it’s anyone’s guess when I’ll arrive.

How to teach a dyslexic child

Telling the time is a struggle for many children with dyslexia. Even once they master this skill, understanding the concept of time and what they can accomplish in each number of minutes or hours doesn’t come easy.

I had the following conversation about time with my dyslexic son, Harry, yesterday.

Me–Don’t forget you have to be at Dave’s at 5 o’clock.

Harry–What’s the time now?

Me–It’s ten to five.

Harry–When will we be having dinner?

Harry–Okay, I’m going now. Can I go mountain biking on my way back?

A mountain bike ride takes well over an hour. At fifteen, Harry still needs help to plan his time or else he tries to fit in too much or misses appointments altogether.

Tips For Teaching Telling the Time

1. Start with sequencing

Harry needed to work on his sequencing ability before I taught him to tell the time. The idea of ‘before’ and ‘after’ didn’t come naturally to him. He also struggled with knowing his left from his right. These sequencing difficulties are very common for children with dyslexia.

At six, Harry would get out of bed in the morning and ask, “What’s for dinner?” when he meant breakfast. He struggled to say the days of the week in the correct order, and he had no idea about the months of the year.

In my book, I mention that most of the useful tips I’ve picked up for helping Harry came from other parents. When Harry was seven, I met a mother in the school playground who told me her dyslexic son had improved his sequencing ability using resources from the Learning Staircase. I promptly went home and purchased a DVD from their website. Harry worked on the days and months activities, and his sequencing ability improved.

2. Teach the time in stages

In my post about memory, I mention the working memory funnel. If you try to teach the time concepts of a quarter-past, half-past and a quarter-to, before the child understands the idea of what an hour is, their memory funnel may block. Don’t be in a rush to teach too much at once. The trick is to go slowly. I recommend Sally Raymond’s excellent step-by-step breakdown on how to teach the time here.

Once Harry had grasped the concepts of ‘to’ and ‘past’, I bought him a watch which colour codes ‘past’ and ‘to’ on the face. https://www.easyreadtimeteacher.com/buy/easy-read/wrist-watch/.

However, Harry disliked wearing a watch. I suspect this was due to his mild sensory processing disorder. He is very sensitive to certain fabrics and I have to cut tags out of his clothes. Find out more about SPD here.

3. Have conversations about time throughout the day

Drop time into your everyday speech. Say things like, “It takes ten minutes to get to school,” and “We’ll have dinner in fifteen minutes.”

Play games of estimating how long it will take to get to places. For more fun with clocks and time, go to easypeasyandfun.com.

Other time-related topics

Analogue vs digital

A child with dyslexia may prefer to read a digital clock face. Harry does, but I felt it was essential for him to learn to read an analogue clock. Phones aren’t permitted in school examinations and an analogue clock may be the only timepiece in the hall.

I dislike digital clocks. My dyslexia comes with a side-order of mild dyscalculia (difficulty with numbers). Perhaps that is why I also hate using the 24-hour clock. Working with bus timetables, and the like, is my idea of hell.

Time Management

When Harry started school, we used a picture schedule on a whiteboard to help him get ready in the morning. The pictures were a breakfast bowl, a toothbrush, some clothes, his lunch box, and his school bag. He ticked off each image with a whiteboard marker as he got ready.

Harry can now tell the time, but from my opening paragraph, you’ll have gathered time management is still a work in progress. He’s a teenager and dislikes being told what to do. As much as possible, I let him plan his social life, but I am aware I need to offer him support when he’s underestimated how long activities and journey times will take.

Organisation

Keeping things in their correct place is a massive help to get things done on time. If Harry knows where his shoes and his coat are, it makes getting out of the house much more straightforward. Because Harry also has ADD being tidy isn’t easy for him. Disorganisation is one aspect of ADD. For more on ADD read this. For tips on helping a messy child read this.

Travel time

In researching dyslexia, I discovered struggling with being on time has a technical name. I always thought it was ‘being hopeless’, but in fact, it is ‘temporal-sequential disorganisation’ and is an aspect of executive functioning common in people with dyslexia.

My being habitually late drives my husband crazy. To me, on time means anywhere up to ten minutes past the agreed time. To him, it means arriving early. It’s taken me years not to leave the house at the time I am supposed to arrive. I’ve finally put in place a system of going fifteen minutes earlier than I expect the journey to take.

I’m working on teaching this concept to Harry. I encourage him to use the alarm function on his phone. He’s having some success, but there is still a long way to go. I can see I’ll be keeping my support role for a while. I can’t complain. After all, it took me many years to learn how to get to places on time. These days I’m fairly good at it, as long as I can avoid using the 24-hour clock timetable to plan my journey. If I must use one, it’s anyone’s guess when I’ll arrive.