HOW TO HELP STUDENTS WITH DYSLEXIA: A Dyslexia Reading Program
The old fashion eye charts that used to hang on the doctor’s wall provides an excellent example of a dyslexia reading exercise. The classic eye chart requires patients to tell the doctor the correct letter, the direction it faces, and if the letter is upper or lower case. This medical exam technique can become an excellent warm-up eye muscle exercise that should begin any reading program for students with dyslexia.
A reading program should be tailored to each student and address their needs at the level that they are at. The eye chart example could be created for students to use at desk level.
For a more challenging reading exercise, ask your student to try:
- Viewing an object with one eye, and then the other as well as both eyes. The object does not have to be comprised of letters.
- Remarking on direction or other physical qualities and details of the object.
- Using letters and words, challenging balance while reading letters by standing on one foot or other variations.
- Imposing a rhythm to read letters on a letter chart in a steady, timed fashion.
After this warm-up eye muscle exercise a paragraph of text should be selected and read aloud by your student with both eyes and then reread with a single eye (by using an eye patch) and then the alternative eye. Have your student read the same text in standing, challenging balance by standing on one foot and also reading in a variety of postures, such as lying on their side, lying on their back and lying prone propped up on elbows.
In the classroom if your student shows problems with reading, they may not be tracking properly with their eyes. Try visual tracking motor exercises. Fun games, such as pencil mazes, finding a hidden picture, word search exercises, and tracking a single line out of a series of lines in order to find the correct end point, all incorporate visual muscle acuity. Visual acuity and visual tracking improve reading ability.
Similar to the warm-up exercises, advance these tracking exercises by having your student try a variety of different postures. Try providing them with a balance board in standing or an exercise ball in sitting. Adding a dynamic balance component can also result in improved visual abilities leading to improved reading efficiency.
To improve reading flow and timing, have your student closely watch a ball that they bounce up and down. Ask them to count and bounce at the same time. The timing and counting need to be perfectly matched. When the ball hits the ground, that’s the precise moment that they need to count out loud the correct number. Progress counting to saying the alphabet, saying the alphabet backwards, and spelling random words. Insist on perfect timing. Start the alphabet over again if the letter is spoken at the wrong moment.