Reading & Reading Comprehension

Date: May 28, 2014 Author: Jill Categories: Dyslexia

Reading & Reading Comprehension

Reading should be fun, but it can be hard for a dyslexic student to develop a positive attitude towards reading. Many dyslexic individuals do not enjoy reading because it is a struggle for them to comprehend what is taking place in the story or novel. Tutors and instructors can help foster appreciation and good reading habits. Some ways you can help dyslexic students become better readers and ultimately enjoy the process of reading include:

Building confidence: through repetition and the slow introduction of new words.  Especially for beginning readers, ensure that books are at the student’s reading level as the difficulty of reading higher level books can be extremely discouraging. Rather than having the student read alone, have him/her read with a parent or tutor so that the student is able to ask questions while reading.

Introduce the book before reading: have a discussion about the main characters, setting, and the action going on in the story; have the student try to predict what is going to happen in the book from looking at front and back cover. You can also lure them into the story by reading the first few pages aloud.

Graphic novels offer dyslexic readers a variety of cues to the story.  If a reader gets stuck with vocabulary or following the storyline, the illustrations provide context cues that keep the student engaged; they are also great because of the variety of reading levels and subject matter.

Read aloud to students: listening to books affords students access to stories that are not in their reading range but are within their comprehension. Allow students to ask questions as you read; answering their questions will help clarify and enable them to generate meaning from the story.

  •  Students are never too young or too old to be read to. Younger children generally enjoy parents and instructors reading to them, and audiobooks are a great alternative for older students; they can also be encouraged to follow along in print while listening (websites like offer a wide selection for a reasonable price).

Involve the student in choosing a book: provide a selection of reading material and let the student choose what to read. Allowing the student to pick something of interest will help keep the student’s attention and make him/her more willing to read.

Apps: Use technology to your advantage. There are a number of eBook apps available (kindle, nook, iBooks) that allow users to adjust font, size, and color to make reading easier. Other apps that are recommended to make reading easier and more enjoyable for dyslexic readers include:

  • Media Console: provides access to audiobooks and e-books from public, school, or college libraries (registration local library is required) in various digital formats, allowing users to customize reading in ways that work best for them.
  • ClaroSpeak USA: a text-to-speech reader that offers five distinct, high-quality voices that read any accessible text. It also offers a range of color and font settings (including an option for OpenDyslexic font)
  • howsjay Pronunciation Dictionary: uses a real human voice to sound out over 150,000 words. Howsjay is known for pronunciation accuracy and also includes many scientific, mathematical and medical terms.

Reading can be a very difficult skill for dyslexic students to master; patience and understanding are key for tutors, instructors, and family when helping a dyslexic student. The right tools and motivation will help dyslexic students learn to enjoy reading.

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