Every child is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to teaching children how to read. This is especially true when it comes to teaching reading to children with special needs. Learning to read can be a struggle for children with special needs. But fortunately, there are many effective reading programs for special education students available.
If your child has special needs, it’s important to learn about these programs so you can get them the help they need to succeed.
What Are Some Reading Disabilities?
Kids with special needs may suffer from reading or learning disabilities that make it more difficult for them to develop reading skills. There are many different types of reading and learning disabilities, including:
- Dyslexia: This is one of the most common and well-known reading disabilities. Children with dyslexia may struggle to sound out words and comprehend written words, which significantly impairs their ability to read.
- Hyperlexia: Kids with hyperlexia actually are above average readers, but they struggle to understand what they read.
- ADHD: Kids with ADHD have trouble concentrating, which can make reading far more difficult.
- Autism spectrum disorder: This is a developmental disorder, but it can negatively impact a child’s ability to read. Children with this developmental disorder may be strong readers, but they often struggle with reading comprehension.
These are some of the many reading and learning disabilities that can hinder a child’s ability to learn to read.
How Do You Teach A Special Needs Child to Read?
Enrolling in a reading program for special education students is one way to help special needs children improve their reading skills. But there are other steps that parents can take to help their children blossom into better readers. Follow these tips:
- Let your child read books that interest them. If your child loves sports, for example, find a way to incorporate books on sports into every reading lesson.
- Keep lessons short. Cramming too much material into a single lesson can overwhelm a child with special needs.
- Structure each lesson with three separate parts. Start by reviewing what you covered the day before. Then, introduce and teach your child a new concept. Finally, end your lesson by practicing the new concept with your child.
- Create a multi-sensory learning environment. Try to engage more than one of your child’s senses when teaching them how to read. Ideally, each lesson should engage your child’s sense of touch, sight, and sound.
- Make sure your child stays motivated. Struggling readers often become frustrated, which makes them want to give up on reading. Don’t let this happen to your child—reward them for their progress, recognize their achievements, and encourage them to practice, practice, practice.
It takes time—and patience—to teach your child with special needs how to read. Stick to these strategies to help your child improve their reading skills and reach their goals.
What Are Some Reading Programs For Special Education Students?
There are countless reading programs out there, but certain programs are better suited for special needs children than others. Some of the most effective reading programs for children with special needs include:
- Readability: This smart reading and comprehension learning app is designed for children at reading levels K-5. It is designed to help struggling readers improve their phonics, fluency, and comprehension skills. The settings can be adjusted to accommodate your child’s special needs. For example, parents can adjust the speed that the app reads the text aloud to your child to ensure they can keep up. This is an effective reading program that kids can use anytime, anywhere.
- Learning Ally: This reading program is designed for children with dyslexia. By signing up for Learning Ally, children can access a library of audiobooks that they can listen to independently in order to develop a love of reading and improve their reading skills.
- StudyDog: This reading program helps readers of all abilities improve their skills and become more confident, independent readers. The program uses games, interactive videos, and other fun tools to teach kids crucial reading skills.
- SpellRead: Special needs children who are grade 2 or above may benefit from the SpellRead reading program. This program uses both visual and auditory teaching methods to help children master vital reading skills.
- Zane Education: This online reading program is designed for children with special needs. It caters to various learning styles, gives users the opportunity to choose topics they are interested in reading about, and allows readers to work at their own pace, which is ideal for children with special needs.
If you’re ready to help your child become a better read, download the Readability app on your smartphone or tablet and start your free 7-day trial today.