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5 Home-Based Activities to Enhance English Skills in Young Children with Dyslexia

Updated: Feb 2

Being a part of your child's learning journey is like adding an extra touch of magic, especially if they have dyslexia. Picking up language skills can sometimes be a puzzle, but these fun everyday games can be powerful tools that help your child improve in school and make learning feel like a fantastic adventure. 


Understanding Dyslexia and Language Learning


"Dyslexia is a specific learning difference that makes it difficult for people to read, write and/or spell. It has nothing to do with a person’s intelligence. Often, weaknesses may be seen in areas such as language development, memory and sequencing. Having dyslexia does not mean that your child’s ability to learn is below average." ¹


Kids with dyslexia may struggle particularly playing with sounds in words. This ability to play with the different sounds is called phonological awareness, and it will be one of our areas of focus with the 5 activities.


1. Sound Swapping: Unlocking Phonological Awareness


Phonological awareness is the foundation of reading success. It helps children recognise and work with the sounds of spoken language. This is vital because reading involves understanding how written symbols represent the sounds of spoken language. One fun way to build phonological awareness is through the "Sound Swapping" activities.


Children petting a cat they met in the neighbourhood

Sound swapping, as the name suggests, involves switching out different sounds in a word.


For example, when you stumble upon the neighbourhood cat, get your child to spell "cat" and change the /k/ sound to /h/, /b/, or /m/. If they do this successfully, they will have created new words like "hat", "bat", and "mat."


There are many other phonological awareness exercises available. These exercises help children develop sound recognition and manipulation skills, which are essential for reading and spelling.



                                                                                                                              

2. Multisensory Spelling Adventures: Hands-on Learning for Dyslexia


Simple, hands-on activities can transform learning for children with dyslexia through touching and feeling the letters with more than one of their senses and through play.


Touch and Feel:

  • Build words with blocks or play dough. This helps connect the sounds of words with the actual letters.

  • Trace letters or words in sand at the beach or rice at home. This creates a sensory experience that reinforces learning. 


Examples of touching and feeling letters, and playing and learning with letters.

Play and Learn:

  • Games like "Word Scramble" are fun and engaging. They combine sight, sound, and movement, making learning enjoyable and more likely to stick.


3. Read-Aloud and Retell Sessions: Showcasing Comprehension Brilliance


Boost your child's understanding and speaking skills with fun read-aloud and storytelling sessions! Take turns reading age-appropriate books together, bringing the characters and stories to life with your voices. Let your child choose the books they're excited about, from silly picture books to exciting adventures. 




As you read, encourage your child to talk about the story in their own words, adding their ideas and questions. This helps build comprehension and a deeper connection with the book. So, grab a favourite book, snuggle up together, and start exploring the world of stories!


4. Flashcard Dash and Word Bingo: Building Word Recognition Prowess


The art of swift word recognition is pivotal for fluid reading. Riveting challenges like “Flashcard Dash” engage children in the dynamic thrills of racing against time or in the call-and-mark game of “word bingo”, listening for words in a competition against their classmates. These spirited activities transform word recognition, a hurdle for many children with dyslexia into a joyful conquest. 


5. Exploring Digital Learning Apps: Unveiling the Digital Arsenal


Harness the potential of technology in nurturing your child's linguistic journey. Research and choose digital apps with a tailored focus on dyslexic learners. Applications like "Nessy" curate personalised learning journeys that fuse interactive modules to strengthen phonological skills, decoding ability, and vocabulary expansion. 

A screenshot of the Nessy website.

These digital companions ensure your child remains engaged and motivated, making learning an enthralling adventure.


Elevating your child with dyslexia to language excellence requires a fusion of patience, ingenuity, and strategies grounded in research. Infusing games into your daily routine constructs a supportive phonological awareness and comprehension environment and fuels a zeal for learning. The key lies in nurturing a positive and enjoyable atmosphere and instilling confidence and a passion for knowledge. These games overcome challenges and forge the tools needed for your child's triumphant journey through language and beyond. Remember, you're not alone on this journey. By intertwining education with enjoyment, you're paving the way for your child's brilliance to shine.

 

 


Written By: Ms Diana Rahman, Educational Therapist

Vetted By: Dr Lian Wee Bin, Paediatrician & Neonatologist

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