Windy Row keeps up with the latest research in dyslexia and shares it with parents and teachers through our blog, newsletter and Facebook page. Here are two examples of recent research and how the findings may affect children, parents and teachers.
Children with dyslexia have a hard time understanding the connection between letters and their sounds; it turns out they may also have difficulty connecting spoken words with their meaning.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University asked adults with and without dyslexia to play a video game that depended on recognizing characters by the sounds they made. They found that adults with dyslexia had a much harder time with the game than adults without dyslexia.
For parents and teachers of children with dyslexia, this may mean a change in how they give directions. For example, parents and teachers may find that a lot of background noise is more distracting to children with dyslexia. The children may listen better if the parent or teacher makes sure the children are paying attention first before asking a question or giving directions. Also parents and teachers may find it beneficial to break up directions into smaller pieces and wait for the child to complete each piece before going on to the next. Children with dyslexia learn to read when the process of reading is broken up into small stages. The same technique may work with verbal instructions.
Researchers at the University of California-Davis and at Yale School of Medicine have confirmed what many parents and teachers have known for a long time. The earlier dyslexia is found, the better. Waiting until the third grade to identify and respond to dyslexia is unacceptable.
The senior author of the research has stated, "We now know that the achievement gap between typical and dyslexic readers is already present and large at first grade. Developmentally we know that reading growth is greatest in the very first years of school. This mandates that the screening and identification of children with dyslexia occur early, even prior to first grade."
For parents and teachers of children with dyslexia, this means that advocating for early identification of reading problem is essential. If you believe your child has a reading problem, take heart: you are probably right and anyone who says you should just wait ("boys read later than girls," "she would read if she paid attention in class") is wrong. At Windy Row we see children as young as kindergarten age.
If your child is already in 3rd grade or beyond, help is still possible--at Windy Row we work with children who have been nonreaders for years. We have tutored teenagers who are complete nonreaders and had them reading short words in 5 months--and restored their self-respect in the process.
Please call us to discuss your child's reading challenges.