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“Dyslexic Child – The Alphabet” Post

Dyslexic Child – The Alphabet

  Explain to the child that

  • Our alphabet has twenty six letters.
  • And there are other alphabets that have more letters.
  • As we only have twenty-six letters, fifty two if we include capital letters, we use them in combinations to create other sounds such as ‘th’ and ‘oa’.
  • The letter ‘y’ acts as the vowel ‘i’ more often than a consonant. So we have A,E,I,O,U and Y as vowels.

Real Words versus nonsense words – don’t use them.   There is nothing to be gained in giving any child ‘nonsense words’ to read unless it is part of a test conducted by trained psychologists or related professionals. Teachers should not be doing this for any reason. There is a huge number of real words that can be used to help children learn to read. On the other hand, I’ve seen words described in reading tests as nonsense words when they are real words, though rarely used.

Using nonsense words only confuses. Every time a child sees a word it registers in the memory. So why register nonsense letter combinations. A child needs to see a word between 40 and 60 times to be able to read it – and preferably in context.

If your child hasn’t seen a word that many times and can’t recognise it or read it, then this is a matter for the school while the parent takes control of learning at home. Parents can follow straight-forward guidance that is provided on this site, along with worksheets and lessons, to reinforce children’s learning.

The quality of the graphite in grey lead pencils is lower than it used to be. Good quality graphite will glide over the paper. Hard to find anymore. So, a child, even a young child, may find a pen easier because it has less friction with the paper. A grip on the pen may also help.

Modelling printing or writing

  • For dyslexic children, texts need to be in bigger type so they can differentiate letters more easily.
  • Use Dr Jon Lieff’s suggestion of making bigger spaces between words http://www.searchingforthemind.com/
  • With all children, writing skills lag behind reading skills. However, model good writing style at all times.
  • Speaking of small letters, make sure the stem on ‘h’ and ‘d’ and the others makes the length of the letter double. The same applies to letters with a tail such as ‘p’ and ‘g’ as the tail should also double the length of the body of the letter. This should help your child differentiate the letters. Many writers, even teachers, make the stem and tail too short and I think this adds to children’s inability to differentiate letters. An ‘h’ should not look like an ‘n’.
  • Explain to your child that the way some letters appear in books and magazines is different from the way we write those letters. Good examples are ‘a’, ‘g’ and ‘y’.
  • Reinforce the hand-writing style by drawing it in the air and then writing the letters on paper.

Some activities to reinforce correct letter formation

  • To reinforce the stem and tail on letters, ask your child to make an umbrella out of the stem on all these letters and draw a kite tail on the tailed letters. This makes a good activity on large paper as well.
  • On another occasion, ask your child to colour in the ‘body’ of small letters. For example, colour in ‘c‘ and the round part of ‘d’. This helps a child to see that the body of letters all sit on the line and are (should be) the same size.

How to help your child with hand-writing.  Writing is a very important intellectual activity in its own right, and should be encouraged. It is unwise to put greater emphasis on keyboard work in the belief that the keyboard will dominate your child’s education later on.

  • If a child feels frustrated when writing then tell him it’s like drawing and it’s a form of art.
  • Write some letters in large, ask your child to copy them, and then see if she can turn each letter into a picture.
  • To strengthen a child’s hand muscles, you could set up a potato peeling activity at the kitchen bench on a regular basis.

How to pace the dyslexic child’s learning.  When teaching a child writing,

  1. Work on the small letters first, then much later,the capital letters. Many books and classroom methods teach the two together. Especially for a child with a learning difficulty, concentrate on one at a time.
  2. Starting with the lower case, work on letters with only straight lines.
  3. Then work on letters with round shapes, followed by letters with stems and tails.
  4. Don’t overload the child. Do the same with capitals at the appropriate time to introduce them – straight lines such as capital ‘L’ and follow up with letters with rounded parts.
  5. Say to your child, “All capital letters stand on the line,” meaning none of them has a tail.
  6. Regarding small letters, say “The body of the letter sits on the line.” Explain that the body of the letter is the round part.
  7. Ask your child to write small letters such as ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘u’, ‘o’, ‘p’ ‘q’ etc. Then ask them to colour in the body of the letter. This reinforces what the body is and where it sits.
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