Dyslexic Students and Logic of English
Logic of English provides approaches to reading and spelling instruction that are effective for all types of learners. The methods we use align closely with those recommended by the International Dyslexia Association, and our materials work very well for dyslexic students.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia simply means difficulty with written words. According to the International Dyslexia Association, up to 20% of the population may be dyslexic. Students with dyslexia have particular difficulty learning to read with the traditional sight word and partial phonics methods used in many reading curriculums today. Students with dyslexia benefit from phonemic awareness development, intensive systematic phonics instruction, direct instruction in vocabulary, fluency practice, and reading comprehension practice. Students with dyslexia also benefit from multi-sensory teaching that utilizes all four learning modes: auditory, kinesthetic, visual, and speech.
At Logic of English we celebrate the way dyslexic students learn and seek to aid teachers, parents, and students in understanding how to utilize their strengths while strengthening their weaknesses.
Two types of dyslexia
There are two primary types of dyslexia.
Since using the written word has an essential visual component—decoding the letters on the page to read and encoding them to write—students with weak visual skills often struggle with reading and spelling. Students with visual dyslexia frequently reverse letters in both reading and writing. They often blend the end of one word with the beginning of another when reading and write with too much space between letters within a word and too little between words. The challenge for students with visual dyslexia is memorizing and discerning the shapes of words and letters. Memorizing long lists of sight words becomes not only frustrating but virtually impossible.
Many students with visual dyslexia are strong auditory or kinesthetic learners. They can quickly remember anything they learn through hearing and/or are highly coordinated and gifted at athletics.
To become successful readers, students with visual dyslexia need to be explicitly taught the connection between the visual and auditory aspects of the phonograms by hearing and saying all the sounds each phonogram makes. They also need to develop kinesthetic memory of the phonograms by being taught how to write each phonogram correctly with explicit instructions, then writing them while repeating the sounds.
Once dyslexic students have mastered the phonograms, they can begin to use them to sound out words and practice writing them. This multi-sensory approach develops students’ reading and writing skills simultaneously while respecting their learning styles.
Some students enter school with weak auditory processing skills. They may struggle to comprehend a story that is read to them, have difficulty following spoken directions, have sounds missing in their speech, and mix up word endings. Since the printed word is a visual representation of speech, an auditory code, students with weak auditory processing skills often struggle to learn to read. Many students with autism fall into the category of auditory dyslexia.
Students with auditory dyslexia frequently have strong visual and/or kinesthetic skills. These students learn best when they are explicitly taught that written phonograms correspond to sounds and shown how to write each of the phonograms.
Many students with auditory dyslexia also need to be taught how to correctly pronounce some of the 45 sounds in English. Logic of English materials do this by showing them the phonogram flashcard, teaching them how to form the sound with their mouth, helping them feel the positions of their tongue, teeth, and lips, and providing them with a mirror to see themselves make the sound. Students should also be taught how to write the sound using explicit directions.
For example, many students with auditory dyslexia are missing the /th/ sound in their speech. To help them learn this sound, begin by showing them the “th” phonogram. Then explain this sound is made by sticking your tongue out between your teeth and blowing. Show them how the sound is made. Help them to practice making the sound. With practice, whenever these students encounter the “th” phonogram they will be able to see it as a visual clue to a kinesthetic activity. As they learn to read they will become more aware of the “th” sound in words by seeing it, which will then heighten their auditory recognition of it in the speech around them.
Dyslexia and the Logic of English
The Logic of English series is based on the multi-sensory Orton-Gillingham method, which has been used successfully for over eighty years to teach students with dyslexia, autism, and other disabilities how to read. Our work has been endorsed by neuroscientist Dr. Reid Lyon, a professor of education policy and leader in the field of dyslexia research, and our approach to reading instruction aligns with the International Dyslexia Association’s recommendations for teaching students with dyslexia.
Logic of English curriculum helps dyslexic students become successful readers by:
- Explicitly teaching students the 74 phonograms and 31 spelling rules they need to master English reading and spelling, giving them real answers and concrete solutions to their questions about English rather than leaving them to infer and guess.
- Providing engaging practice activities that help students review concepts, strengthen skills, and think critically about what they are learning, giving the repetition and practice needed for long-term mastery in ways that are varied and fun.
- Placing extensive emphasis on each of the five strands of reading identified as essential by the National Reading Panel: phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, vocabulary development, fluency, and reading comprehension.
- Using all four learning pathways in both instruction and exercises, enabling dyslexic students to learn through their areas of strength, strengthen their areas of weakness, and draw connections to deepening their learning. For example, when students learn a phonogram they see its image, hear its sounds, feel the shape of the letter with their fingers, form its shape with large motor and then small motor movements, and speak the sounds, engaging all modes of learning in a multi-sensory experience of the phonogram.