Ways to improve reading skills in special needs kids
Children with dyslexia, or any other kind of reading disability, often struggle to integrate reading into their day-to-day lives. Teachers and parents need to find fun and exciting ways to get them to read without the student worrying that they will struggle. There are several great reading strategies for special education students. Here are some of them:
This is a vital step in the reading process. Kids use this skill to sound out words they have heard before but never seen written out. The ability to do that is the foundation for other reading skills. The right way to do this is to build phonemic awareness. This skill lets kids hear individual sounds in words and also allows them to play sounds at the word and syllable level. Most kids pick up the broad skill of phonological awareness naturally, but some don’t. The best way to help kids with these skills is through specific instruction and practice. You can also help them at home through activities like word games and reading to your child.
To read fluently, kids need to instantly recognize words, including the ones they can’t sound out. Fluency speeds up the rate at which they can read and understand text. Sounding out or decoding every word can take a lot of effort. Word recognition helps them recognize the whole words instantly by sight, without sounding them out. This can be a big obstacle for struggling readers. Average readers need to see a word four to 14 times before it becomes a ‘sight word’ they automatically recognize. Kids with dyslexia may need to see it up to 40 times. The best way to build this skill is through practice reading books. Pick out the ones that are at the right level of difficulty for kids.
In order to understand what you’re reading, you need to understand most of the words in the text. Having a strong vocabulary is a key component of reading comprehension. Students can learn vocabulary through instruction, but they typically learn the meaning of words through everyday experience and also by reading. The more words kids are exposed to, the richer their vocabulary becomes. You can help build your child’s vocabulary by having frequent conversations on a variety of topics. Try to include new words and ideas. Telling jokes and playing word games is also a fun way to build this skill.
- Sentence Construction and Cohesion
Understanding how sentences are built might seem like a writing skill, but it is equally important for reading comprehension as well. An understanding of how ideas link up at the sentence level helps kids get meaning from passages and entire texts. It also leads to something called coherence. Giving explicit instruction can teach kids the basics of sentence construction and teachers can also work with students on connecting two or more thoughts through both writing and reading.
When kids struggle with one or more of these skills, they can have trouble fully understanding what they read. Try to find out what are the various reasons why kids have trouble with reading. It is important to remember that having reading difficulties doesn’t mean a child isn’t smart. Some kids just need that extra support and encouragement to make progress.