Dyslexia Reading Comprehension Strategies
Thinking your child has dyslexia can be a terrifying trail to take a walk along.
Will they ever be able to read normally? Will they have trouble getting into college? And making friends when they’re in school? What about holding a job?
Rumors swirl about dyslexia being associated with low intelligence. The truth? Albert Einstein was dyslexic and had an estimated IQ of 160! Dyslexia is not an indicator of poor intelligence.
Dyslexia affects nearly 20% of the U.S. population, making it the most common learning disability.
At Great Speech, we’re here to dispel rumors, promote truths, and give hope to parents of children with dyslexia. Our goal is to help you feel prepared to advocate for your child and play a supportive role in their journey to communicate clearly, effectively, and confidently.
Today, you’ll learn exactly what it takes for someone living with dyslexia to work through their condition’s challenges and live an incredible life.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects how the brain works in order to create language. The process of decoding, or learning how to combine letters and words into verbal speech sounds, is difficult for people with dyslexia, according to the Mayo Clinic. More simply, dyslexia just means a “reading disability”.
People with dyslexia have difficulty activating the rear portions of the brain that work with word form and word analysis. This is paired with an over-activation of the area in the front of the brain that controls articulation/word analysis.
The brain of someone with dyslexia has a difficult time being able to receive, organize, filter, remember, or use information when reading it.
Dyslexia is not curable and remains a lifelong disability; however, with proper treatment, children with dyslexia can have significant academic and professional accomplishments.
Symptoms of dyslexia in children
It may be hard for you to notice signs of dyslexia in your child. It’s important to know that many young kids have some level of difficulty with reading, understanding letters, and numbers. The difference in children who have dyslexia is that they are measurably behind their peers when it comes to reading comprehension.
Symptoms are very limited as a toddler, but around 3 years old you may notice the following signs your child has dyslexia:
- Your child may be a late talker
- Difficulty naming letters or remembering colors or names
- Problems forming words or confusing the way words sound
- Unable to recognize a rhyming pattern (e.g. dog, frog, log)
- Trouble learning and remembering the alphabet
Once your child reaches kindergarten, roughly 5 years old, you may recognize the following symptoms of dyslexia:
- Easily frustrated with trying to read
- Difficulty seeing and understanding similarities and differences with words and letters
- Reading well below expected level at age
- Struggling to arrange the sequence of words when articulating sentences
Although most are diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age, it’s worth noting that some teens and adults may have undetected dyslexia. Look for the following symptoms of adolescent and adult dyslexia:
- Problems with spelling
- Difficulty speaking clearly, pausing often or tripping over words
- Difficulty remembering dates, telephone numbers, or lists
- Mispronouncing names, phrases, or words
- Frequently needs extra time to answer questions
Is dyslexia genetic?
Not exactly. Scientists have not yet been able to pinpoint a specific gene that causes dyslexia.
What we do understand is that dyslexic parents are roughly 50% likely to have a dyslexic child.
According to Harvard Health, researchers are studying why dyslexia occurs and what causes it. The consensus is that during early brain development, certain components that impact how the brain processes information were not fully developed properly.
What is dyslexia testing?
If you believe you have dyslexia, or your child may have dyslexia, it’s important to have a formal evaluation by a doctor or pediatrician.
While there isn’t one standardized test given to determine dyslexia, medical professionals will assess your ability to read, including decoding, language, and comprehension.
What do dyslexic readers see?
It’s a bit of a sad myth that people with dyslexia see and write letters and words backward. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
People with dyslexia see the same letters and words as someone who does not have dyslexia. It is not a visual disorder based on impaired vision, but one that impacts how the brain can access language.
What is phonological dyslexia?
Phonological dyslexia entails the difficulty of breaking up a word into individual sounds or syllables. This category of dyslexia represents approximately 75% of people with a reading disorder.
Is dyslexia in adults common?
Even after formative childhood years, dyslexia can go undetected in adults. More often than not, school-age children are first diagnosed with dyslexia.
The resources for kids and adults remain the same: dedicated and supportive speech therapy makes a world of difference for adults newly diagnosed with dyslexia.
How to help a child with dyslexia at home using dyslexia reading comprehension strategies:
Just because your child had dyslexia does not mean that they can’t enjoy reading. With the right type of books geared towards your child’s interests and readability, they can grow to love reading.
- Repetition is critical for kids with dyslexia. Make reading a daily habit, whether it is every morning at breakfast, during an afternoon break, or at bedtime. Ensure you read similar books on rotation, as repeating these same books will help build recognition, speed, and confidence for your child to enhance their reading proficiency.
- Keep a low-pressure attitude to reading. Don’t make reading a chore. Let your child take frequent breaks when they’re trying to read — remember, you’re helping them retool how their brain processes words… it can be exhausting! Positive reinforcement and praise win out.
- Find books that are suitable for their reading level — not too difficult that your child is unable to keep up, but not too boring that they lose interest quickly. Author Cigdem Knebel has a number of books available on Amazon. She began publishing decodable chapter books when she was unable to find books that were interesting enough for her 7-year-old dyslexic son to read.
How speech therapy helps people with dyslexia
Speech language pathologists are trained experts when it comes to working with the precise needs of dyslexic children. Our therapists understand the difficulty that a child with dyslexia has in pronouncing words, identifying syllables, and formulating sentences.
We go the extra mile with patience, time, and commitment to improving your child’s reading abilities. Book an introductory phone consultation today to learn how we can create a personalized plan to have your child reading in a cool, collected way in no time.
The difficulties of bedtime reading time will be long gone. Think about this: your son or daughter walks over to the bedside table, picks up the book, and asks: “What happens in the next chapter?”