Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dyslexia - Phonic vs. sight words

By the middle of primary one, if a child is falling behind in reading than there should be immediate intervention and a one to one tutor should be found.

The dyslexic child finds it hard to live with being called stupid. He will be disheartened and start being a problem child or withdraw into himself. However with the right kind of one to one tuition he will be able to read and regain his confidence.

A dyslexic child will become discouraged if the story he is being asked to read is way beyond him. So choosing the appropriate material is paramount. The tutor should read the story aloud first. This way the child will be able to comprehend the story. If the child reads without the tutor reading the story the child will not be able to comprehend what he reads because of his constant hesitation of recalling words. As an example let us take the following sentence the child reads. He may read it something like this : “All the (pause to recall the word) monkeys are very (pause to recall the word) worried. After a(pause)while, the old (pause) monkey says…..”. If a child reads this way, of course he will not be able to comprehend the meaning of the sentence.When I read out the story to him just once, he was able to comprehend better than when he read only by himself even two or three times. This is simply because of his hesitation on recalling words not familiar to him as in the example above. A sentence,when broken up the way it is above, makes it difficult to comprehend. As such the parent or tutor must read the story at least once and preferably with expression. I read the story the first time and let my students read once, sentence by sentence, after me and then the whole story by themselves.

A dyslexic child can learn whole words by sight but his recall will be difficult. Often he will substitute a synonym for a word he is trying to recall; mouse for rat, home for house and end for finish.

As such it is best to teach phonic at the same time as teaching him sight words. Phonics will aid the dyslexic child to not only recall words but to make out or figure out new words as well. Of course there are many sight words that cannot be sounded and therefore have to be just learned as sight words- here, with, know and many other words.

Once he can read fluently he will want to read for pleasure. Once this happens then it will be difficult to differentiate a dyslexic child from a non dyslexic child- at least not from the stand point of reading. However, a dyslexic child should be encouraged to continue reading everyday or he may slip down in his standard.

The pace at which these dyslexic children improve their reading is simply amazing.

Lessons for dyslexic should be planned properly. Seeing a lack of suitable books for dyslexic children, I started writing my own notes. I introduce sight words from the 220 common sight words first introduced by Edward Dolch. These words are introduced as sight words as recommended by Edward Dolch even though about half of these words can be sounded out phonetically.

Lesson 3

For those of you who are new to this site, please go to my blog dated 4.3.2010 and start from there. Many of the important points on teaching dyslexic children are explained there.

For lesson 3 click here:


james willy said...

read your blog and the articles which was very informative. Only upon reading your blog did I notice that my daughter (now 12) was and I believe still has some of the problems you mentioned which is related to dyslexia. Keep up the blogging. very helpful.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you James.Don't forget dyslexic have special strengths too.Cultivate her special strengths.

Heidi said...

Excellent post!

fri said...

hi luqman
caught your article on parenthots and wanted to see more. how did you get to tutoring dyslexics? i have a son who's 9 (std 4) and dyslexic. Altho' he has had some help and could read english well, he has problems in other areas that i am still trying to comprehend. what do i do? appreciate your assistance

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you Heidi.

Luqman Michel said...

Hello Fri, My first blog will tell you how I ended up teaching dyslexic children. I have written a few articles in my blog on how to teach some of the most difficult things a dyslexic finds - without taking up his study time. What do you mean by other areas? Is it maths? Do read my blog from bottom up and then get back to me if you have any questions.

Kandasamy said...

Hello Lugman,
These are great postings. I stumbled upon your article on the STAR.And that was a great article.
I believe I am a dyslexic too, I really had tough time learning English. But overtime I have learnt, and I am looking at teaching dyslexic too.
Keep up the good work!

Luqman Michel said...

Hi Kandasamy, thank you. I am sure you will be a better teacher than me as you would be able to understand them better. You are free to you the material that I have tailored towards teaching dyslexic children. Let us together help the dyslexic children and reduce the illiteracy level.

Anonymous said...

very nice Mr.Luq. You are god sent to help my kid. May you live long for making be see my kid's future with hope.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you for your kind words and Blessings. It is messages like yours that make my efforts worth it. Feel free to write to me if you have any specific questions that I may be able to help you with.
May God be with you and guide you.

Karen K said...

I love reading your blog. My daughter has dyslexia but did not show any problems until grade 4 when the words became more abstract. She never had an issue with phonemic awareness and made straight A's up until grade 4 then hit the proverbial brick wall. Problem is that her teachers recognized she wasn't comprehending and put her into more phonemic awareness program and the real problem is that she spells everything phonetically. She does not understand the RULES of English so she writes unknown words phonetically....that is until she's has been exposed to the correct spelling a few times then it's in her brain. Now, she does word skip at times when reading and it will mess up the passage. Generally she can fill in blanks with context clues provided that there are context clues. She doesn't have a problem with information that is pre-taught, it's the cold reads that give her the most trouble such as short passages on standardized test with little redundancy and reduced syntax. She actually reads on grade level but does have a hard time building vocabulary especially vocab that doesn't fit a phonetic pattern. WE have since moved her out a traditional classroom and into a magnet program that teaches through real world hands on experiences and even builds vocabulary using greek and latin roots. What a world of difference. She's in a performing arts magnet and it teaches to her strengths. They teach the curriculum through the magnet so they do a lot of plays and performing with the concepts. For instance they learned a rap about the cell theory and put on a performance for the younger kids. That was a science grade. Now she'll never forget the cell theory :) When they learned about perimeter they took out a measuring tape and measured the stage. They do a lot of project based learning and collaborating. The problem now is, I can see the gaps from teh 2 years she spent in a traditional classroom listening to a teacher drone on, so we're trying to fill those in with a multi sensory program that does use a strong phonemic awareness program at the beginning which I pretty much skipped and moved straight to the part where you start dissecting the words. I must say that pulling her out of a traditional classroom and putting her into a classroom that teaches to her strengths and uses creativity, differentiation and a fun atmosphere has made a profound difference not only in her education but in her eagerness to learn. Really.....who wants to listen to a teacher drone on about facts then be expected to regurgitate them? They told me she wasn't retaining....well duh... you're boring.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you Karen for your comment. I regret this late response.I have stopped writing in this blog but maintaining it because many still visit it. Yes, you are absolutely right in that dyslexics do not have a problem with phonemic awareness. Yes, once they have been exposed to any word a few times they will be able to read that word and spell it correctly. I have written articles saying that my dyslexic students do not have a problem reading in Malay and Romanised Mandarin which both use the 26 Roman alphabets. However, I believe most of the writers on dyslexia speak only English and are therefore not able to quite understand as to what I am writing about.
Congratulations on having found the way that she can learn effectively. Keep reading to her story books and ask her to read it back to you and soon enough she will catch up on the 2 missing years. Wish you well.