My students would rather have a few molars yanked out of their mouths than read a book. And they have every right to feel that way. For them, reading is a painful process and doesn’t always come together like it does for other kids.
But here’s the good news. Although my reading challenged kids are brain “wired” differently, it doesn’t mean they’re not super intelligent or can’t learn how to read. They just need methods to help “glue” the necessary skills that will allow them to succeed.
Enter Multi-sensory teaching where students learn to use many of their modalities that will aide in connecting all those short circuits to finally break this code we call reading.
I consider my approach to reading eclectic and utilize the philosophies of Barbara Wilson, founder of the Wilson Reading System, Orton Gillingham, and others. I believe in incrementally teaching kids phonemic awareness because a large majority of the words in our English language can be categorized by syllable types.
The six kinds are nicely mapped out in the Wilson method. It’s palatable for kids to be taught all of the 44 phonemic elements and then small segments of words. When they know the structure of each syllable, they can easily say each part of any word.
When plenty of opportunity is given to practice each reading component with lots of visual, tactile, and kinesthetic cuing, my students soon discover that sounding out multi-syllabic words is a piece of cake!
However, as important as this type of teaching is, setting the right tone for each child is critical. Students with dyslexia and processing weaknesses are typically very fragile. A wrong move on the part of the teacher and watch their receptivity fly out the classroom window. So I've learned to take things nice and easy, make sure they have grasped each little tidbit of knowledge before forging ahead, and allow them to build on that information with ample opportunities for practice.
Children with reading disabilities most certainly can be taught how to read. They just need to learn in the ways that are best for them.
Orton Gillingham syllable coding
How does it feel being a kid with dyslexia?
Dyslexia for a day