Practicing Phonics for Dyslexia
Phonics is not only the backbone of learning to read (and the thing that identifies dyslexics the most) it’s a key teaching method in dyslexia programs. Phonics shows children that letters and groups of letters represent speech sounds. A dyslexic child needs to firmly grasp phonics to discover order in words that otherwise seem like jumbled letters. Try this sequence of four simple strategies to help systematically guide your child through phonics:
Emphasize single-letter sounds (rather than names) to your child. Play games like “I spy with my little eye something beginning with ‘buh’ or ‘cuh’.” 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 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 you can do the same activity and you don’t interfere with your child’s board!
Any time your child learns a word from which she could 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.