HELP and RESOURCES
for parents who have a child with dyslexia
"The SUCCESS of your students will depend upon your skills as a teacher,"
-Gillingham, A., 1956
How to choose an effective tutor/teacher for a child with dyslexia who struggles to learn how to read, spell, and comprehend?
Your third grader cannot read and spell, or is struggling to read and spell so you need a tutor to teach him how to read, spell, and comprehend what he read, right?
An effective reading teacher should be able to teach your child to read, write, spell and comprehend properly, meaning, your child should be able to read and spell known words and words that he has not seen and should be able to comprehend what he read.
1. Education of the reading teacher.
Perhaps, like other parents, you are looking for a reading tutor who is a certified teacher, but here is our question:
a. Who is the reading teacher of your child? We assume that your child's reading teacher is a certified teacher because that is the typical requirement to teach.
b. If your child's reading teacher is a certified teacher, why your child has not learned to read and spell correctly, meaning, why he cannot read words that he has not seen? As a third-grader, he should be able to read, spell and comprehend what he read like his peers, but why he is still struggling to read, a poor speller and has a problem comprehending what he read, or he cannot comprehend what he read at all.
It is because your child's learning difficulties are beyond the capacity of a certified teacher to teach, even if your child's reading teacher has a Master's degree in a certain field/s. What you need is a reading teacher with a specialization in the field of literacy intervention and remediation for individuals with difficulties in learning to read, write (penmanship), spell, and comprehend, but then again, education as a qualification is not enough.
2. Skills of the reading teacher.
What are the skills of your child's reading teacher/tutor? During the process of choosing a reading teacher, you need to ask him this question:
a. How do you teach your student to read and spell? Your child's tutor's answer could be 'giving the instruction' to read, spell, and/or comprehend, but then again, "giving the instruction" answer is not enough. It has to be correct instruction. Consider this as teaching your child how to ride a bike or play hockey; if you would not give the correct instruction to your child how to pedal the bike or teach him how to hit the puck at the right angle, then those endless practices would not come into fruition. He cannot ride a bike properly and/or he cannot score a goal during his entire hockey life.
b. Most of the reading teacher or reading tutor nowadays are teaching online. Check if your child's tutor is giving him the correct instruction. The English language is based on elemental sounds therefore it is necessary for the learner to learn the sounds of the English language correctly - the foundation for learning to read and spell words correctly. If your child would not learn the sounds correctly, he would have a problem connecting the sounds for reading and spelling. Therefore check your child's reading teacher/tutor if she adding the short vowel a sound to the sounds of the following letters: c, k, d, f, g, j, l, m, n, r, s, t, and v, such as /ma/ and /na/ because there is NO /a/ to their sounds.
Also, if the tutor is only reading words, sentences, and paragraphs with or to your child, then the tutor is NOT teaching your child to read and spell but are only helping him to memorize words and you too can do that, for free... in the comfort of your own home.
3. Monitor the progress of your child's reading and spelling skills.
Congratulations, your child has now a tutor! Your next step is to monitor the progress of your child's reading and spelling skills.
While learning to read and spell depend on the capacity of your child to learn, you MUST see any improvement of your child’s reading and spelling skills, within, at least, the 15 sessions of one-to-one instruction; for example, your child should be able to connect some of the sounds and can read and spell some minimal words such as “rag,” “mob,” “zit” for the mildly impaired child, even if he has not seen these words.
After the fifteen sessions (15 hours) of intervention and your child still cannot read and spell some minimal words he has not seen such as vin, zim, kib, not only you are wasting all of your resources, but also, you are not helping your child to better himself.
Finally, there is NO SUCH THING AS A QUICK FIX LITERACY INTERVENTION & REMEDIATION, even if you hire the best reading teacher in the world to help your dyslexic child to read and spell, let alone with other disabilities and disorders.
It takes several years of formal schooling to learn how to read and spell with approximately 180 hours - one school year of instructions for each grade level in regular schools for individuals without language difficulties and if your child has not learned to read and spell in a regular classroom then how would it be possible for him to reach his reading and spelling level quickly? Even a year of intensive intervention is not enough to reach his grade level because it all depends on many factors such as your child's capacity to learn, the severity of his disabilities, how often he sees the tutor, and the complexity of the rules of the English language, etc.
Be realistic of your child's reading and spelling goals because even yourself, you might not be able to make it!
Now, what kind of reading program is the best and the most effective for your dyslexic child?