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Helping your Child with Dyslexia to Pick Up Phonics

Part of the Understanding & Managing Dyslexia For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

In straightforward terms, phonics means ‘sounds of language’ and your child needs to know these. One way to do this is the teaching method in which you show your child that letters and groups of letters represent speech sounds.

Your child with dyslexia needs to get a firm grip on phonics so that she discovers order in words that otherwise seem to her like an arbitrary mix of letters. Right here are four simple strategies to help you guide your child through phonics in the systematic, sequential way that experts recommend:

  • Emphasise single letter sounds (rather than names) to your child. Play games like ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with “buh” or “cuh” or “ch”’. Ask your child to tell you words to continue a word pattern like Bill, bear, bun, bed and ball (all beginning with ‘buh’).

  • Read rhymes and rhyming stories to your child, and sing rhyming songs so that you prime her for identifying word families like pan, fan, man, can and tan.

  • When you introduce written words to your child, start with a simple two-letter word like at and show her how she can add letters to at to build a whole at word family (bat, mat, cat, sat, fat). Make this activity more fun, and easy to repeat, by having your child use a book-sized whiteboard and marker pens. Even better, have two sets of boards and markers so that you can do the same activity and you don’t interfere with your child’s board!

  • Any time your child gets to know a word from which she can build a word family, build that family with her. Start her off with three-letter word families like big, pig, fig and wig; build up to middle-level families like chop, stop, flop and shop; and help her really think about tricky word families like would, should and could; and fight, might, fright, tight, sight and flight.

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Understanding & Managing Dyslexia For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

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