Sarah Major, M.Ed. is passionate about working in harmony with a child's immaculate design to support their learning strengths. As a Title 1 Program Director and Designer, Sarah earned awards for creating her own multisensory educational resources that have now been sold in all 50 states and over 150 countries. By design, Sarah’s materials support students with dyslexia by engaging multiple pathways to the brain, utilizing sight, sound, touch, and movement.
Experts agree that the best practice for teaching children with dyslexia is to teach them by engaging all their senses (multisensory teaching). This means using visuals, motion, body movement, hands-on, and auditory elements in their learning. Studies have shown that children with dyslexia draw from various regions in their brains while engaging in reading, so it stands to reason that using teaching approaches that stimulate various regions in the brain would ensure success for these learners.
“Children with dyslexia have a difficult time learning to read and write in a typical classroom setting. Most teachers often gear their lessons to students with auditory learning styles. The teacher relies mostly on talking to teach. Teachers lecture, explain and answer questions orally. The dyslexic learner cannot process this information using only his auditory modality. For this reason, dyslexic learners need to learn using an approach that simultaneously combines auditory, visual, and tactile learning strategies to teach skills and concepts."
~ Karina Richmond, MA
Pride Learning Center
8 Ways to Help a Child with Dyslexia
Child1st resources are all designed to utilize multiple pathways to the brain, so you can be confident that no matter which product you select to use with your child, it is designed to do the work for you. No training is required because the lessons in each resource tell you exactly what to do.
Here are 8 helpful ways to teach in a multisensory way that works wonders for children with dyslexia.
1. Incorporate visual elements in learning
When new material is embedded into images, learning and recall become super-charged! Images are captured as quickly as snapping a picture with a camera, and those images are stored in visual memory. Children with dyslexia learn by observing and love visual aids.
2. Involve body movement in learning
Children with dyslexia learn most easily through hands-on activities. They need manipulatives when solving math problems rather than relying on pencil and paper. When learning math concepts, for example, let them see and understand what is happening instead of giving them facts or rules to memorize.
3. Use an explicit, systematic approach to teaching reading
It is best to not assume children will naturally fill gaps or make connections for themselves. They can learn to make connections for themselves, but in the beginning, when we are teaching reading or math, we assume all skills need to be taught.
4. Read out loud in order to utilize the auditory pathway to the brain
Children with special needs such as autism, auditory processing disorder, stuttering, and dyslexia see remarkable benefits from listening to themselves read aloud. We encourage the use of an auditory amplification device, such as the Toobaloo® to create this experience for them.
5. Teach children the art of visualizing as they read
If a child has struggled to read, chances are their entire focus is on trying to sound out words. When decoding becomes a child's focus, the idea that words carry meaning will escape them. They assume "reading" means calling out words. It is so important to teach children to stop every few lines to make a mental picture of what the words are saying. Learning to visualize might be slow-going at first, but as you continue this practice, visualization will become an automatic process! Our reading materials will prompt you to utilize visualization while learning.
6. Summarize and give the big picture first, then teach the details
Children who have dyslexia (and many other learners, too) need to see the whole picture before you start teaching them details inside that global whole. One example in reading is showing children all the ways you can spell the sound of Long A. In math, showing the children a global view of the combination of numbers that make 10 will make it much easier for them to learn each individual combination. See the global map of the number combinations to 10 in the illustration below.
7. Teach from whole to part
For example, start by teaching the most basic sounds. Then teach whole words (using SnapWords®). After children can recognize whole words, it is simple to break those words apart into their phonemes (sounds). Children will be able to quickly detect words that are related by sound spelling.
8. Use a multi-sensory teaching approachWhile most lessons in school depend on the student spending time memorizing and drilling, memorization is not the way children with dyslexia learn! They will successfully learn math if they can see and understand what is happening instead of memorizing rules for solving problems.
They learn instantly by snapping a mental pictures of content that is embedded in images or other visuals such as charts, graphs, organizers. They will enjoy having hands-on activities to practice concepts you are teaching them. When they hear themselves speaking or reading, they add another important pathway to the brain.
Since its inception in 2006, Child1st has emerged as the leader in providing resources that parents and teachers alike can pick up and use. By their very design, Child1st resources meet the needs of children without the teacher-adult having to receive special training. We exist so that every child has the opportunity to learn in their own learning language. Child1st