Successful Reading Interventions for students with Dyslexia

Diagnosis is the fundamental first step in successfully helping a child with dyslexia and the earlier, the better. It is never a good idea to wait or prolong testing. This will only put the child further behind. Children, who receive help early on, can catch up to their classmates. Later-identified children miss out on essential practice. Reading fluency comes from repeatedly practicing the same words over and over again so that the brain eventually identifies the words rapidly. Poor readers receive the least amount of reading practice although they need it the most. This is mostly because they avoid reading, read less than their classmates, and as a result fall progressively behind their peers in reading skills. A child who has dyslexia that is not identified until the third grade or later is already thousands of unlearned words behind the other readers. This is a gap that might never get closed without intensive reading remediation at this point. The best intervention is prevention in kindergarten or remediation beginning in first grade.

Reading instruction for the dyslexic child must be delivered with great intensity. Children diagnosed with dyslexia are behind in their reading levels and for them to catch up with their classmates will need to make a big leap forward or else they will remain behind. Optimally, a child who is struggling with reading should be taught one-on-one and should receive this specialized reading instruction 2-3 hours five days a week. A larger group or less time will greatly undermine the possibilities of success.

A child with dyslexia will take in and process information differently and needs to be taught by a specially trained teacher. The content must be a research-based scientifically proven method that is delivered with a sequential, systematic, cumulative and structured reading program.

One of the most common errors that parents do is to prematurely withdraw the child from the instruction that seems to be working. A child who is reading accurately but not fluently at grade level still requires intensive reading instruction. A child with a reading disability who is not identified early may require as much as 200-300 hours of intensive instruction if they are going to close the reading gap. The longer that identification and effective reading instruction are delayed, the longer the child will require catching up. Fortunately, with the proper assistance and help, most students with dyslexia are able to learn to read and develop strategies to become successful readers.