These are the daily habits that help my dyslexic reader to be more successful.
I have been homeschooling kids with dyslexia for over 20 years! Where did the time go?
I am mainly focused these days on my 9 and 12-year-old sons. One of these guys is moderately dyslexic and one profoundly; nothing comes easy but it is coming. I realized that we have developed some daily habits that are helping us have success and so it is these things that I am sharing with you today.
8 Daily Habits to Help the Dyslexic Reader
Let them move a lot in the morning. This could be jumping on our well-used trampoline, building elaborate forts, or just running around in the backyard. I encourage him to get outside before school every morning because exercise has been proven to help with academic achievement.
Eat a healthy breakfast. Because my kids have some attention and focus issues (mainly overcome by short, intense lessons throughout the day) I insist on them having a healthy breakfast every day. This might be yogurt and granola, some whole grain bread and nut butter with fruit and lots of water! My oldest son also has a small cup of coffee most mornings which also has helped with his focus.
Having a regular routine. Since several of my kids have variations of ADD & ADHD, we keep a regular routine so that they always know what is happening next. Kids with executive function weaknesses tend to have trouble with transitions; they just don’t shift gears quickly. Sticking to a routine helps them to stay on the train so-to-speak until we are finished with our daily tasks. Whenever we get away from this routine (as happens to all of us) it becomes hard for them to get organized and focus is way more difficult.
Review, review, review! A few years ago, I learned of the term ‘overlearning’. Overlearning refers to the process required for language information to really stick in the mind of a dyslexic. A lack of automaticity in remembering sounds, digraphs, and sight words result in frustrating lessons and a lack of fluency. So I review what every we’re currently working on (or have worked on in the past few weeks/months) every day. This can be phonemes and sight words for younger kids or syllable types and more difficult sight words for older kids. I try to make a game out of review time, almost like a warm-up. There is a lot of laughing and talking during this time.
All About Reading. While our older kids are doing their morning routines, we start reading instruction. It is easy with so many kids at home to teach for this intensive time to get cut short or not happen at all unless I’m intentional to get to it early in the day. We have been using All About Reading for years.
If you’re looking for a research-based, effective. and homeschool-friendly reading program for your struggling readers, check out my comparison of the top 4 Orton Gillingham reading programs for homeschoolers.
Using lots of discussions. Learning to read and write and spell is difficult for kids with dyslexia. To break up the pressure my kids feel during difficult subjects like reading, writing, and spelling I may ask my son what a word he is spelling means and to use it in a sentence. If he is spelling a word incorrectly, I ask questions like, “What is the rule for the /k/ sound at the end of a word with a short vowel sound?” This often results in interesting and or hilarious conversations – making the process more relational and enjoyable.
Take notes. Everyday, after teaching reading, I make a list of areas of strength and weakness so I can tailor the following day’s lesson to exactly what he needs. For example, if he is confusing the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’ I’ll make flashcards with words that contain those letters so he can get more practice. Or in the example above, if my child forgot a rule, I will make a note to review it again the following day. You can download my free reading lesson planner here if you haven’t already.
Monitor kids’ learning. I don’t know why this is but some days learning is easier and some days it is just hard – like the information just won’t go in. If it’s a good day, we work longer. If it is ‘one of those days’ we cut things short and move on to something else.