Tips to help dyslexic children learn sight words
There are some words that don’t follow the usual rules of the language and therefore, need to be learnt by ‘sight’. These are known as Sight Words.Children with dyslexia might have extra difficulty in learning sight words as they don’t follow standard spelling rules. On the other hand, some of them appear so often that kids have to recognize them quickly to be fluent readers. Children with dyslexia can be taught sight words using the right methods, and rote memorization is not one of them.
Here are some tips to help dyslexic children learn sight words.
Help them learn the details
Children with reading difficulties could use some help while noticing all the details in a new word. For example, take the word “Through”. Try to show the word to your child and read it out loud. Ask your child to identify the vowels and consonants in the word. This will help the child to analyze the word and process it in detail.
Create a memory aid
A little trick or learning hack can help children remember troublesome words. These tricks or memory aids are known as mnemonics. Help your child come up with a rhyme that includes the word, or something she associates with that word. You can also try to help the child make up a phrase to spell out the word. For example, the mnemonic, “They Eat Yams” can be useful to learn the word “They”.
Engage many senses
Studies have found that kids with dyslexia learn best when they use more than one sense to learn. You can help activate your child’s sense of touch by having him/her trace letters with finger. You can also try using sandpaper letters and trace the surface while saying the letter names, and then the word. Another way is to try writing in sand or in shaving cream – kids enjoy this and they will also learn in the process. You can also ask the child to try writing in the air.
Write it down
Once your child has had fun with reading and air-writing sight words, he/she can try writing them on paper. In the beginning, ask them to copy the words from the word list or flashcard. After that, the child can practice writing it without looking. Writing the words on a chalkboard also works. It is important to practice target words until the child can spell them without looking.
Create a word wall
Children love small gestures that show how proud you are of them. When your child is trying to learn sight words, create a space to display the words your child has mastered. You can hang up these words where your child can see it. This also works as a wonderful way to show the child how he/she is progressing and also helps to boost their self-esteem.
Make it fun
In order to ensure that your child doesn’t get too stressed with the learning, you can try changing things up. You can play word-matching games or other games to improve concentration, such as tic-tac-toe, bingo etc. You can make your own game material by looking at ideas available online. Sight-word practice can be turned into a fun exercise this way.
With small steps, children with dyslexia can also learn sight words and be more confident while reading.