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Teaching Students with Dyslexia to Read: A Success Story

written by: Rose Kivi • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 9/11/2012

This third grade boy was taught to read by his five year old cousin! How did she do it? Learn some new ideas on teaching students with dyslexia how to read.

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    Meet Jake a Dyslexic Student

    Jake, a dyslexic student, struggled to learn how to read. At the end of second grade, he still could not read. It seemed no matter what approach his teachers and parents tried, he just could not get it. Over the summer, Jake learned how to read without help from his teachers or his parents. On the first day of school in his third grade class, much to his teacher's surprise, he proudly read out loud in front of the classroom. Jake went on to become an exceptional student and graduated high school with honors. What happened over that summer?

    Upon investigation, it was discovered that Jake's five-year old cousin had taught him how to read. When she was asked how she taught him to read, she replied, "I was just patient, that's all. Maybe you guys just weren't patient enough. You give him the words, I don't." Everyday over the summer, Jake and his cousin Michelle played a game where she was the teacher and he was the student. She sat him at a table with a book and insisted that he read it. When Jake struggled, she prompted him to keep trying. Jake told his teachers that his cousin Michelle was a fun teacher and since it was just a game, he did not feel nervous about learning the words. Through a fun game of teacher student re-enactment, Jake had learned how to read.

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    Jake's Story

    Jake's story is not an ordinary story, but it does contain a valuable lesson. Jake learned to read by playing with a patient child. In addition to dyslexia curriculum used in the classroom, dyslexic students can benefit from participating in fun reading activities with fellow students. Student tutors should be assigned to each dyslexic student. The student tutor should be a fluent reader, a patient child, and a student that gets along well with the dyslexic student. Set aside classroom time each day for the dyslexic student and their student tutor to play reading games.

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    Fun Dyslexia Games

    You may wish to change up some of the format of your class to allow your students to play games with each other.

    Examples of Dyslexia Games

    • Scrabble
    • Crossword puzzles
    • Dice (Good for students with math difficulties) - In this game each student rolls a set of dice. The goal of the game is to get the highest role. The student tutor should let the dyslexic student add the total of the dice roll.
    • Letter art - In this game the students make drawings out of letters. Each student draws a letter and turns the letter into a piece of art by adding other marks to it. For instance, the child can draw the letter "Q" and add lines to turn the "Q" into a picture of the sun.