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Dyslexia Parent Advice & Tutor Help




Teacher, Tutor & Parent Dyslexia Help Phnom Penh

Tutoring your own child or another child can make a huge positive difference for the student. About 15% of all students experience some amount of dyslexia, or struggle to learn to read even though they are just as intelligent and curious as the other children. Dyslexia can also affect math and writing performance.

This is not something that is wrong with the student not at all! It just means that their brains are designed for 3-D big picture thinking more than linear, one thing at a time thinking. These students see forests, not trees. They see context, not text. They need to master the meaning before they memorize the parts.

It means that to learn well, a different approach needs to be used: something more wholistic than phonics. Phonics is a great tool for most student readers, but if it is not working, it only makes sense to try some other tools.



Dyslexia Parent Advice & Tutor Help

If math and writing are affected, different methods can be used for those subjects as well. As a tutor or parent, you work with only one or two students at a time, so you can do things that would never work in a classroom setting.


Symptoms, Parent & Teacher Methods Dyslexia

Sometimes parents feel that only a paid tutor has the expertise to help their child and they panic because they cannot afford or find a qualified tutor. But parents can be very successful in helping their own children by using some or all of the tools below and by remembering that all instruction should be happy! If the child is not enjoying the lesson, then it is not working, so stop and do something different.

Children naturally love to learn and want to feel successful at new tasks. So effective teaching produces happy, excited students. Blaming a student for not learning, or telling them to try harder is not helpful. Students almost always want to learn and are trying very hard already & unless they have given up because their best efforts did not pay off.


Dyslexia Parent Advice & Tutor Help


This is what you can do to help a student who struggles to learn

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  • 1) Sensory Integration: First, set the stage for learning. You can tell if your student needs to calm down or wake up and you can then provide him or her with the chance to do that by a minute or two of physical stretches, weight bearing exercise, or deep breathing. Ideas include: crawling on the floor, gum, cold drink, hot drink, lights up or down, hat, juggling, crossing the body midline with a sword fight or a scarf dance, jump rope, cross march, shoes off, or wearing exercise weights. Children get very few choices at school; you can give them the gift of adjusting their internal and external environment for better learning

  • 2) Cognitive Skills: Parents hire a tutor with specific goals in mind, and those are usually tied to math or reading, naturally. However, underlying the ability to read and do math are foundational thinking skills that are often neglected in the push for testable skills. You do the student a huge favor by spending a few minutes developing the foundation: attention, working memory, processing speed, logic/reasoning, auditory and visual accuracy, and long term memory. Some of my favorite methods are Chess, Logic Links Puzzles, and SET Game. If you are a tutor, the parent needs to know why you are spending session time doing these activities.

Dyslexia Parent Advice & Tutor Help

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Games, Cognitive Skills & Help Dyslexia

  • 3) Games: Games are far more effective than worksheets. If worksheets inspired most students to passionately pursue knowledge, there would be no need for tutors! So always look for a game to teach the skill being learned. The internet is wonderful for finding these. Some of my favorites are Wrap-ups, Learning Well Board Games (grade leveled and tied to curriculum objectives), Rummy Roots Card Game, and dominos (played as multiplies of 3,4,5, etc.) Of course, the resourceful parent or tutor can also invent and make games to teach any content.

  • 4) Cognitive Skills: eaching involves three steps; I do it, we do it together, and then you do it. (modeling, supported practice, mastery) Modeling can be done beautifully in the classroom, and testing for mastery can be administered efficiently in the classroom. Supported practice is harder to do in a classroom and often teachers must resort to homework in order to continue moving the class along at the rate required by the standards. Homework should not be a test! Homework is a chance to practice a skill correctly without time pressure. Having a student do homework independently and incorrectly is worse than skipping the homework entirely, because it imprints incorrect information. So, if you are doing homework support, provide sufficient help to ensure correct practice and to remove frustration. This can include oral discussion of material, writing answers lightly for tracing over, side-by-side math or writing, oral composition by the student which tutor or parent types, teaching a student to use voice-to-text technology, etc.


Homework, Tips & Role Playing

  • 5) Personal Interaction: This is the parents and tutors greatest tool. Nearly all the information in the world is now available for free via online classes and YouTube. So why issist most of the world get highly educated? It's because humans need someone to interact with while we learn. We need feedback. We need somebody to care that we learned or that we didn't get it. Or that our dog died. A computer doesn' care, it has no capacity to care. A teacher can, but it's hard to communicate with a classroom full of students with a curriculum to cover. A parent can, and usually does, but that can come with emotional strings and a lot of drama. A tutor can feel this need and make a world of difference. Remember to care first and teach second. Give feedback and real praise based on actual accomplishments, no matter how small.

  • 6) Role Playing: Acting out a scene from history, or how to self-advocate with a teacher, or how to avoid a bully, is a powerful teaching tool that lends itself to tutoring far better than to a classroom. Use role-playing or dress-up or acting out to learn almost anything. Just make the student into the teacher, complete with dorky hat and glasses, and have him or her teach you the material and test you on it. Ask why you got this one wrong! Amid howls of laughter, the student leaves knowing the material far better than if you had just gone over the study sheet.

  • 7) Safe Questions: Most students learn to not ask questions. Why would any reasonable human being subject themselves to peer disdain, teacher exasperation, parent impatience, or personal humiliation? Heard in a teacher's office: "One of the worst things about those stupid gifted kids is that they persist in interrupting my lessons with their endless questions!As a tutor or as a parent you can give permission to the child to ask questions, you can stop and find out if the student has questions, you can help the student formulate good questions, you can encourage the student to question and to search for answers. You can model questioning the text and pose questions about how something works, or why. This is even more important than the content you are teaching, because it encourages critical thinking.


Dyslexia Help Maths Science Technology

  • 8) Looking for holes: Many students decide they can't read, or they are terrible at maths or science just doesn't make sense -- all because they have missed crucial concepts somewhere along the way, and no one noticed. This is especially harmful in mathematics because of its sequential nature. Teaching how to write a paragraph may involve going back to teach sentences. Teaching fractions may involve going back to teach multiplication. Never assume mastery of previous material; always look for holes. Even fairly successful students may be hiding the fact they can't actually read! Rather than blame the student for holes, reach out to the student and offer small steps to mastering the things they have missed. With each success, the student will be more excited about learning.

  • 9) Use technology: If the parent or tutor has access to an iPad or computer, or even a smart phone, these tools can be used to great advantage with a student. Students usually love using a computer, and will practice skills happily if presented as a computer game or if tracking along with a program that reads aloud while the student looks at the words on the page.

  • 10) Celebrate the gifts: Every student has gifts and things they are very good at. If the gifts are in reading or maths, we call them gifted/talented. If the gifts are in art, music, dance, soccer, mechanics, social skills, cooking, skiing, kindness, farming, etc. then we are more likely to label them ADHD! As a tutor or parent, you have the wonderful opportunity to help students discover who they are and what they bring to the world. Don't hold back on telling students what you observe about their gifts and how they can use their strengths in life. It is a part of caring and it works wonders. It's something that doesn't usually happen in a classroom setting. It is much better to have these conversations when you are working one-on-one with the child so he or she does not feel shy about it. Tie every lesson and explanation you can to the students passions and strengths. It's more interesting for the student and it gives you a chance to talk about what the student does well. All of us do better in life if someone who loves us reflects back to us what we are good at.

Dyslexia Parent Advice & Tutor Help


Reading Help For Dyslexia

  • 11) Reading: Since reading is the key to most academic success, it can be very frightening when a child seems unable to learn to read in spite of being bright, inquisitive, and having the chance to go to school or have a teacher. This is called dyslexia, and just means doesn't learn to read despite normal intelligence and education. The truth is that most students who are dyslexic have higher than normal intelligence as they are very, very smart! This thinking style has been called a sea of strengths by the Eide's who wrote The Dyslexic Advantage. Many of the greatest inventors, actors, scientists, musicians, computer programmers, and mathematicians are dyslexic. Thankfully, there has been lots of research about how dyslexic brains work, and I have found highly effective ways apply that research to teaching tools. So, if you know a child who struggles with reading, use the tips below to start helping them today. Dyslexic students who learn to read with these tools often become better readers than their peers! They may always struggle with oral reading, but they'll be reading silently faster than anyone else.

Here are tips for teaching reading to a struggling student, taken from Dyslexia Tool Kit for Tutors and Parents: What to do when phonics isn't enough, by Yvonna Graham, M.Ed. and Dr. Alta E. Graham.

Most important tip of all: Read happy! If reading involves anxiety, anger, tears, avoidance, or frustration, then stop. This will only pair pain with reading; not what you need to do! Forcing a child to read aloud before the child is confident of success can be extremely counterproductive.

Sensory Integration: Before reading, juggle a stuffed animal or cross march, touching hands to opposite knees. Crossing the body midline openes up neural pathways between brain hemispheres, making it easier to recall previously learned material.

Cognitive Skills Games: Increase processing speed by playing SET or Qwirkle which use color in the right hemisphere of the brain and logic in the left hemisphere, further strengthening connections between the two sides of the brain. This is beneficial for any learner, but is especially powerful for students with dyslexia.

Tracking: Rather than forcing the child to read aloud, which can be painful for all involved, have the child read along silently while an adult or an audio book reads aloud. Apps such as Farfaria are great for this. So are grandmothers! By having the child look at the words while they are read aloud, the child will begin to painlessly pair the image of the word with the meaning — thus building sight word vocabulary and reading comprehension.

Dyslexic students do this far better than the rest of us. In fact, research has revealed that although it takes a dyslexic student 1000 repetitions to learn a word on flashcards, it only takes 30 repetitions of that word in context (seen and heard simultaneously in a meaningful story) for the student to remember it. Yes! Silent reading can be taught first, and oral reading can follow later if needed. The book, Dyslexia Tool Kit for Tutors and Parents, provides specific instructions in how to teach tracking, and you can even read it on the Amazon website because we made the entire book available in the preview!

These tips are enough to get started on the wonderful journey of teaching your dyslexic child to read. Many people have successfully taught their children with only these four tips! But there are 24 techniques, all easy, described in the book. It might just save you years of grief and piles of money :) Plus, you and your child could be reading great books and having fun instead of dreading reading or having tummy aches when it's time for school!


Submitted by Yvonna Graham, M.Ed.
Twitter: @GrahamYvonna

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