1. Use praise daily
Acknowledge your child’s difficulties and get them to set goals and give them stickers or a treat when they have achieved them. Give your child lots of praise and encouragement. This will help build their confidence and encourage them to have a go and persevere even when they find things hard. For example, make a simple sticker chart for learning their spellings or times tables.
2. Make it fun
Children with Dyslexia who have had a hard day at school, often don’t want to come home and do more work. So do lots of fun activities where they can learn by doing, saying and making rather than by reading or writing. For example, learn new words by matching flash cards or reading signs as you drive past them or learn to add up and use money by letting them pay for sweets or magazines.
3. Little and often
A little writing each day after school is better than making your child sit down and do all their homework in one go at the weekend. Try and set up a routine so they are doing a little writing and reading every day, followed by a treat of their choice. Highlight keywords on homework sheets and make sure they understand what they have to do. Let them have a go by themselves but support them as they work through the tasks, getting them in the habit of self checking as they go along. At the end point out a few mistakes and get them to correct them and talk about what they need to do next time to make it better.
Help them set up routines to remember things and get things done. For example, bedtime and morning routines and where things go when they tidy up. Try to stick to these routines once you have set them up.
5. Simple instructions
Give your child only 1 or 2 instructions at a time. Repeat if necessary and ask them to repeat what they have to do. Try and give them a simple explanation, so they understand why you want them to do it.
6. Use pictures and actions
Help your child to remember new things by using actions and pictures. For example, stamping your feet, clapping or singing times tables often helps your child remember them. Likewise, drawing pictures next to new letters or words, often acts as a trigger in their memory.
7. Sharing ideas
Children with Dyslexia often complain, ‘I don’t know what to put.’ So get them to share ideas before they write it down, to help get their thoughts in order. Scribe a sentence for them to copy or start a sentence for them to finish so that they only have a few words to write to finish. You might also get them to practice a sentence or paragraph on a piece of scrap paper giving them keywords to use and help them to correct it before they write it up.
8. Using a computer
Take the pressure off writing , by letting your child use a laptop or computer. Encourage them to email a friend or relative or make up a newspaper report about a recent football match or dancing class production. Show them how to use spell checker on the computer.
9. Share a book
Make sure the book isn’t too hard for them. If they are making lots of mistakes, they will soon get bored. You may find your child has no problem reading a book but that when you ask them what it’s about they don’t know. Get in the habit of stopping as you listen to your child read to check they have understood what is going on. Ask questions such as : What did she do? Why do you think she did that? What do you think will happen next?
10. Bedtime stories
Nowadays with T.Vs and Playstation in bedrooms, children rarely hear stories read to them. Even with our busy lives reading to our children daily is very important and we should make this part of the bedtime routine. It helps them develop a love of reading. It develops their listening skills, imagination and ability to write themselves. Even when they are at Junior school and can easily read by themselves, reading together is still important quality time and asking questions about the book will develop their comprehension skills.