Parenting, even under the most “ideal” conditions, can be challenging. When your child has difficulty with reading, writing, or other written language skills, it can be downright overwhelming. We all want to do the very best for our children, but sometimes, we don’t know where to begin.
What Curriculum Is Best?
Parents often ask what curriculum should be used to teach their dyslexic child to read. However, what most parents – and even most educators – don’t realize is that it’s NOT about any one curriculum…it’s about instruction delivered by a highly-trained specialist.
There is no one curriculum that is best for teaching a child with dyslexia. A structured approach, based upon Orton-Gillingham principles to reading and writing, should be delivered by a highly-trained teacher in a method that is direct, explicit, systematic, and multisensory. This should not be confused with any curriculum that claims it is the only Orton-Gillingham curriculum.
What Should be Included in a Remediation Lesson for a Child with Dyslexia?
Lesson components vary from curriculum to curriculum; however, certain components are critical. Critical components include phonemic awareness, alphabet, handwriting, word decoding, spelling, reading fluency and comprehension. Additional recommended components include history of the language, grammar, written expression, and study of the roots of the English language.
How Often Should My Child be Seen for Reading Remediation?
Children need repeated practice until they master reading skills. Like all disabilities, dyslexia and reading difficulties fall on a continuum. For most children, the highest success rates come when children receive daily practice for 45 minutes to one hour, 4-5 days per week.
Unfortunately, most teacher preparation programs do not prepare teachers to teach reading and writing to students with dyslexia. Yet students with dyslexia account for approximately 10 to 20 percent of all students in a classroom. The Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA) certified professionals are highly qualified to teach children with dyslexia. ALTA publishes a listing of certified professionals who are accepting students. You can search by region or zip code.
ALTA is the oldest professional organization dedicated to the remediation of written language skills: handwriting, reading, spelling, and composition.
When you put your child in the hands of an ALTA member, you can be assured that they are working with a professional highly trained in Orton-Gillingham principles. ALTA certified professionals have received rigorous training, observation lesson critiques, and mentoring in effective reading instruction for children struggling with dyslexia or related learning challenges. Once these requirements are met, each potential member is required to pass a certifying exam before being approved for ALTA membership.