Dyslexia is a common learning disorder that impacts an individual’s ability to read and decode. According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, a diagnosis of dyslexia impacts 20 percent of Americans. Yale explains that the disorder does not correlate to an individual’s intelligence; in fact, the struggle to read could be curious to parents as the child’s IQ could be average, above average, or even gifted.
While learning to read could be a struggle for children who have been diagnosed with dyslexia, Yale explains that learning to read is not impossible. Using a dyslexia reading program simplifies the learning process and provides children with additional literacy support in school or at home. Some children diagnosed with dyslexia receive additional reading intervention in school, and others qualify for an IEP that provides more immersive educational services.
At home, an online dyslexia reading program offers similar benefits for struggling readers. The most effective dyslexia reading program includes a multimodal approach to reading lessons and utilizes a variety of built-in tools that support struggling readers.
Dyslexia is a learning disorder, and Yale categorizes it as the most common neuro-cognitive disorder. Individuals with dyslexia struggle to read and decode words, and this struggle is uncharacteristic of the individual’s intelligence. The ability to read and to read fluently does not match up with the IQ. A child could be brilliant and struggle to read because of dyslexia.
However, dyslexia and the struggles associated with the disorder correlate to many warning signs or symptoms. According to Yale, a child with dyslexia could struggle with:
- Remembering nursery rhymes. This is important because nursery rhymes feature a melodic cadence and, of course, rhyming. Dyslexia impairs the ability to understand the rhyming features or the word patterns associated with a rhyme.
- Identifying letters. Memorizing and understanding the letters of the alphabet is crucial to reading. A child with dyslexia often does not easily learn the letters.
- Cannot spell their name. Yale mentions that a child will not be able to identify the letters that create their name. Again, this dovetails back to the diminished ability to recognize letters.
- Learning to rhyme words. Most children love to rhyme words, and this is how they learn patterns and sounds. Red, fed, led, wed…a child with dyslexia might not be able to come up with these rhyming words.
- Incorrectly pronounces words. Yale also mentions that baby talk is a warning sign.
Another common warning sign is something that parents might identify. Dyslexia is inherited. Did a close family member struggle with reading or spelling? Yale reports that the family struggle could be a clue and a warning sign.
The Need for Specialized Reading Programs for Dyslexia
Children with dyslexia can learn to read, but they need more support to be successful. School districts might not recognize a dyslexia diagnosis. This does not mean that they do not believe in the diagnosis; instead, schools might use an educational diagnosis to identify learning needs for a student and provide them with additional support.
The Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP) details the difference between an educational diagnosis and a medical diagnosis. CHOP explains that “…educational eligibility is decided by a team comprised of various school professionals and a student’s parents. The team must find that the student qualifies for services under IDEA. To be eligible, IDEA requires that a student have at least one of 14 specified disabilities and be in need of special services.”
What are the 14 specified disabilities? These include:
- Hearing impairment
- Visual impairment
- Orthopedic impairment
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Multiple disabilities
- Developmental delay
- Intellectual disability
- Emotional disturbance
- Specific learning disability
- Speech or language impairment
- Other Health Impairment (OHI)
A child with dyslexia could qualify for additional educational services (and an IEP) under one of these umbrella categories. However, not all children qualify for additional reading support or special education services. A child with dyslexia could fall between the educational cracks.
Even children who qualified for additional intervention and services via an IEP did not always receive access to a reading program that helped them succeed. In the past, schools used reading programs that prompted them to guess words based on using pictures as clues. The MSV method was based on three functionalities: meaning (M), sentence structure (S), and visual information (V). Unfortunately, there was no evidence that this method of instruction worked. Children failed to progress in reading, and many likely fell further behind peers.
Thankfully, school districts moved away from these programs. Now states embrace the Science of Reading and utilize reading programs that focus on phonics and letter identification. While this pivot ensures more success for young emerging readers, children with dyslexia still require more support with these lessons.
If the school cannot provide additional services to help a child’s reading struggle, parents will need to find additional reading support tools and programs. A standard classroom literacy program might not be enough to support a child’s unique struggles.
Children with dyslexia need help with letter identification and phonics. They need support to learn how to decode and identify patterns, sounds, and letters. While early reading lessons in schools focus on these basics, peers might move ahead quicker than a child with dyslexia. As reading lessons become more difficult, children with reading struggles fall further behind. For this reason, parents must focus on reading programs that provide proper support related to decoding, letter identification, and vocabulary.
Features of a Good Reading Program for Dyslexia
The best reading programs for dyslexia provide capabilities and built-in functionalities based on the Science of Reading that help children learn to decode and receive one-on-one guidance as they learn. Guessing should never be part of a program for a child who struggles with phonics and decoding.
Children also should only move onto more difficult books and lessons as they exhibit fluency and mastery. Progressing a child to a more difficult reading lesson before they master an easier skill only makes the journey more difficult and frustrating.
The best reading programs also include high-low books. These books focus on subjects and stories that are age-appropriate and feature text written at a lower reading level. Children in fourth grade who struggle to read do NOT want to read a story that is written for a first-grader.
Parents also need to explore the vocabulary tools within a reading program. As children learn to read, they also must expand their personal word bank. The best reading programs for dyslexia incorporate vocabulary lists and dictionary functionalities.
Why Readability Tutor Stands Out
Readability Tutor is the best reading program for dyslexia. Readability is designed to be used from kindergarten (or even pre-k) through sixth grade. This means that children can use the program throughout elementary school.
The program includes numerous features beneficial to children who struggle with decoding and reading. Readability features:
- A built-in reading tutor. The AI tutor is programmed with voice-recognition software and learns each child’s voice. As the child reads, the tutor understands when they need help.
- Colorful illustrations. Vibrant pictures break up the text to ensure that children are not overwhelmed by large blocks of text at once.
- Vocabulary tools. Every book in Readability includes a vocabulary list. Children also can tap or click any word in a story to hear the word used in a sentence or hear its definition.
- Comprehension quizzes. At the end of each book, children take a quiz to gauge their understanding of what they read.
- A read-aloud capability. The Storytime feature in Readability lets children listen to any story from their Readability library.
- A rewards system. Children earn stars when they complete reading tasks. These stars can be used to unlock cool badges.
Readability measures each child’s progress as they work through each reading level. Books in Readability are read aloud, and the reading tutor collects data related to reading fluency (words read per minute) and comprehension mastery. The tutor leads the comprehension quiz at the end of each book.
In addition, the tutor helps children learn techniques to improve their learning. For example, if a child answers a comprehension question incorrectly, the tutor shows them a section from the story with clues and reads the section aloud. The child is provided with another opportunity to answer the question; this is how the program teaches children to re-read to gain understanding.
How to Use the Readability Tutor
Readability is simple for children to use on their own. Typically, children need to begin the program one reading level below their current reading level. This simplifies the acclimation process. If a parent does not know the child’s reading level, Readability can determine the best level for the child.
Once the program enters the program, they have access to a library of books for their reading level. A child only advances to the next reading level when they demonstrate a mastery of reading fluency and reading comprehension.
Parents can always check their child’s reading progress by accessing a private portal. This portal shows the child’s reading level, comprehension mastery, and reading fluency. The portal also indicates how long the child used the program.
Parents who are interested in exploring Readability with their child can sign up for a free seven-day trial. If the program is a good fit, parents can explore a monthly subscription for $19.99; one subscription can be used for up to three children. Don’t delay! Try Readability today!