Skills Needed to Read
In order to read you need:Vision skills
- To focus both eyes on the same letter
- And track left to right
- To hear each sound in a word
- Match symbols (e.g. 'b', 'ay') to sounds
- And blend sounds into words
Most children with dyslexia struggle with focusing both eyes on the same letter, and then tracking across the page. These skills are not taught, yet you need them to read.
You can do manual exercises to improve these skills - but the most effective intervention is Engaging Eyes
Phonological awareness is the ability to hear each sound in a word. Without basic phonological awareness, a child will not be able to learn to read via phonics.
Some phonics programs teach phonological awareness, but most don't. There are several computer programs that teach it - we recommend Fluency Builder.
There are three ways you can learn to read:
- Phonics - learning to blend sounds into words.
- Sight words - learning every word individually
- Mixed methods - using sight words, phonics, and guessing from context
Phonics is the recommended way to teach reading. It is especially recommended for children with dyslexia.
Phonics teaches the ways each sound can be written (e.g. oa, ay ), and how to blend sounds to read words.
Sight words are often taught with flashcards. While this method does work for lots of people, it generally does not work for children with dyslexia.
It relies on you being taught a few hundred words, and then figuring out the rest yourself - which people with dyslexia generally aren't able to do.
Mixed methods can be confusing for the child, and is not recommended. Especially being taught to look at pictures and guess! Guessing should always be discouraged.