The dyslexic student faces a lot of challenges in the traditional schoolroom: The high ratio of students to teachers means the teacher can’t spare a lot of time to devote to teaching a dyslexic child according to the child’s needs or learning style. Individualized learning is too time- and labor-intensive — so the students are all expected to learn in the same way, at the same pace, from the same textbooks and workbooks.
Another significant challenge: The kind of book-based curricula most schools use aren’t exactly geared for dyslexic learners, who don’t do as well when confronted with heavy reading assignments, lots of writing assignments, spelling lists to memorize, and learning based almost exclusively on reading.
Instead, most dyslexic students fare much better with a curriculum that includes a multi-sensory approach that isn’t so dependent on processing (or writing) big chunks of text. Multi-sensory learning helps cement the information in the dyslexic learner’s mind through an approach that includes seeing, hearing, speaking, and doing hands-on activities.
For example, dyslexic learners can learn many concepts much better through:
- Auditory learning, such as via audio books (the child can try to read along in the text)
- Educational films and programs on DVD
- Oral discussion of the material, or maybe even a dramatic presentation or play that the child acts out
- Art projects that incorporate the subject being learned
Of course, the real world won’t always be willing or able to accommodate a dyslexic individual’s needs or learning preferences. Text-to-speech or speech-to-text programs are helpful but don’t provide an answer to the underlying learning problems. Real skill mastery, and not just accommodation, is a must — and that’s why it’s so important for a dyslexic student to work on developing better reading and writing skills.
Software programs for dyslexic students, such as the Language Tune-Up Kit (LTK), are extremely helpful at bridging the gap between the multisensory approach to learning and the real reading and language skills the child needs to succeed in school and life. That’s because the LTK, which is based on the Orton-Gillingham phonics method, teaches through the use of audio, visual and tactile-kinesthetic (hands-on) exercises.
Using this multisensory approach that has been proven to work well for dyslexic students, the LTK gradually teaches dyslexic learners to sound out words, practice word-building, and read words, sentences, and stories out loud — with questions for comprehension. Students using the LTK also practice dictation, in which the program dictates a phrase or sentence for the student to type. The LTK also teaches students the sight words that don’t conform to normal phonetic rules and provides quizzes to check progress.
The Language Tune-Up Kit has been used successfully by dyslexic children who are in school and need extra help, as well as home-schooled dyslexic kids whose parents realized they would benefit from a multisensory approach.
As a result, the LTK has helped many dyslexic students learn to decode words and catch up to their correct grade level in reading. And that helps dyslexic students not only keep up with the class (or their studies at home) but also feel better about school and learning in general!