Your struggling readers have likely asked themselves, or you, “Why is reading hard for me?” Sometimes, there is not a clear reason. With a little extra help, many struggling readers are simply able to crack the code and catch up. Other times, there is a clear reason: For millions of students, it’s dyslexia. Unfortunately, many individuals with dyslexia remain undiagnosed and have a more difficult time catching up to their peers.

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in the country, affecting about 1 in 10 individuals. People with dyslexia have normal IQs, but differences in their brains make reading much harder for them. The dyslexic brain has a more difficult time understanding how letters and letter combinations represent sounds, and how letters are combined to form syllables and words. The symptoms of this learning disability include trouble with decoding, spelling, rhyming, and phonological awareness. If you have a student who may fit this criteria, visit the International Dyslexia Association page for self-assessment tools that provide information about diagnosing dyslexia in specific age groups.

Humiliation about their learning struggles often causes students with dyslexia to retreat from class participation, lose confidence in their abilities, and underperform in school. Many go on to struggle in other key areas of their lives. To break this cycle, a greater understanding of dyslexia is essential. Teachers must be trained to identify dyslexia early on and provide appropriate intervention. When students with dyslexia receive the right kind of support, they are just as capable of performing well in school as their peers. 

Sally Shaywitz, renowned dyslexia researcher and author of Overcoming Dyslexia, states that students with dyslexia typically need intensive, individualized instruction with feedback, guidance, and ongoing assessment in phonemic awareness, phonics, and reading fluency. Instructional programs should emphasize these core elements as well as building vocabulary and increasing comprehension. Reading researchers, including Shaywitz, recommend Read Naturally programs for providing this type of instruction.

Read Naturally programs build phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension through high-interest nonfiction stories. The Read Naturally Strategy was designed to help students build confidence and motivation through self monitoring of progress. This page on our website describes the specific ways in which Read Naturally interventions are well suited to help students with dyslexia. Read Naturally interventions can be easily incorporated into both school and home settings and have helped countless students with dyslexia become competent readers. 

Dyslexia is a clear barrier to learning to read, but Read Naturally programs can provide a clear pathway around this barrier. If you know a student with dyslexia, please get in touch. We would love to help you support them in any way we can.