When educators provide explicit and direct instruction for struggling readers, students experience growth in phonemic awareness and their ability to interact with and understand text. Students with reading difficulties, such as Dyslexia, require teachers to adapt instruction to meet their unique needs.
Dyslexia Awareness Month: What is Dyslexia?
In recent years, information about dyslexia has become more prevalent and available, benefiting students, educators and communities. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding). Also called reading disability, dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language.
People with dyslexia have normal intelligence and usually have normal vision. Most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring or a specialized education program. Emotional support also plays an important role. Though there’s no cure for dyslexia, early assessment and intervention result in the best outcome.”
Dyslexia Awareness Month
The month of October is recognized as Dyslexia Awareness Month, helping educators, parents, and students to raise awareness and understanding. Visit the International Dyslexia Association online to learn more and find resources for families and educators.
Read more: Dyslexia and Struggling Readers
Why Choose Structured Literacy Instruction?
Literacy experts such as Anita Archer, Maryanne Wolf, Vicki Gibson, Timothy Rasinski and countless others recommend direct, systematic, explicit instruction in phonological awareness and phonics to get struggling readers and students with dyslexia on the path to literacy. An Explicit Structured Literacy approach prepares students to decode words in an explicit and systematic manner.
Because English literacy is based on sound/symbol correspondence and only has 26 symbols (letters) and 44 basic sounds, it can be helpful to focus on “identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding).” Students with dyslexia and/or other print-based disabilities need a larger amount of direct instruction and guided practice.
By addressing confusion and struggles early, educators are able to work alongside students as they provide step-by-step instruction. Clear demonstrations and practice with feedback and support give struggling students confidence to continue learning and ask for help. As a result, explicit teaching of phonological awareness in these early years can eliminate future reading problems for many students.
Explore Intensive, Systematic Literacy Instruction
If you’d like to learn more about explicit instruction in general or direct instruction in phonological awareness, phonics and/or oral language development, attend an upcoming workshop in your area or explore the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading intervention.