Was your child identified as being “at risk” for dyslexia on a K-1 Screener?
Sometimes the screening process reveals a potential risk. In the case of dyslexia, being "at risk" is not the same as having dyslexia. What it means is that parents and the school can work together to reduce that risk and/or find out more information. Here at school, your child will receive interventions and be monitored. If needed, you will be notified and your child will receive a full dyslexia evaluation.
As a family member and/or caregiver, you play an important role. The following activities, by Dr. Sally Shaywitz, may be helpful. You may already do some of these things, but you can do them more often or do them in a new way. They can be fun and easy to add into your daily life.
- Read aloud together every day. Find at least 10 minutes to spend together (e.g., after a meal or before sleeping) that becomes part of your daily routine. Choose familiar and new books. When choosing books, you want some books to be easy, some "just right," and some more challenging. You can also take turns reading. Both reading and being read to reinforce how words sound and the importance of pace and expression. You could say, "Let's take turns. I'll read this page, and you read the next one.
- During reading aloud times, encourage "sounding out" decodable words. It's important to encourage readers to try to put all the sounds together into a word that makes sense. Learning to bring sounds together into words more quickly and confidently can give readers more time to think about the overall meaning of what they are reading. If your reader is struggling, you can say, "Try making the sound of each letter first. Then say the word." Or ask, "Which parts of the word do you know?"
- Make a game of breaking words into syllables and then individual sounds. If a particular topic or category is exciting (e.g., animals, a particular sport), related words might be a good area to try. Practicing listening for individual sounds at the beginning, middle, and end of words can help when trying to read new and unfamiliar words. You might say, "Football. Let's clap out the syllables. Foot...ball. Now let's break those parts into sounds. F...oo...t...b...a...ll. Wow! Two syllables, but six sounds."
- Have fun with a blending game. Say individual sounds and push them together into a word. You can say, "Listen to this: c...a...t. Can you push those together and tell me the word? Let's try it together. C...a...t. C.a.t. Cat. Now you try, b...u...s. Push that word together. What is it?"
- Try making "time to rhyme." Young children especially might enjoy seeing how many rhyming words you can think of together. This can be done in lots of different places (e.g., at the store, on the bus). Making rhyming words is good practice for listening carefully to the sounds within words and being able to produce them more easily. You might say, "Look! There's a car! Hmm...let's see. What rhymes with car? A rhyming word has the same sounds at the end. Far...jar...star."
- Find one time during each week to practice writing letters and words. Your child can practice writing letters in order, for example, or writing the letters of family names, pets, or other favorite items. You can have your child copy words from books, or write messages or letters to friends or family. You can also find pictures to generate ideas for words to write. You can say, "Let's make our shopping list. Can you write down the words I point to on this paper?"