In this post, I revealed that our son is dyslexic.
First of all, let me publicly denounce that label (again) because the prefix “dys-“ connotes a malfunction. “Dyslexia” basically means “a screw-up of the part of the brain that enables one to read and write (or otherwise interpret symbols).” Having read Ron Davis’ book on the topic, I now realize that the way dyslexics perceive the world is a totally awesome thing, and leads to artists, inventors, and leaders. It just messes things up when they try to read (and for some, to do math).
That reminds me…
So, the Davis Reorientation Program. I followed it to the letter. B struggled with it the whole way. Result? He continues to flip the same letters, continues to forget words he had known the past several times he read them, continues to remember phonics rules.
I’m not saying the program won’t work for your dyslexic child. It just didn’t work for mine.
So, I decided I was going to plough ahead teaching him to read with The Reading Lesson. Even though it hadn’t been working for him before.
(What’s the definition of insanity, people?)
But see, the thing is, I’d paid $18 for the thing so I couldn’t just let it go to waste!
(Insane. Insane. Insane.)
Time for Plan B
The other morning, I almost threw B out the window (don’t worry, we only have windows at ground level at the front of the house). We ended up having a yelling/whining match that resulted in both of us parting ways with steam coming out of our ears. And in B’s case, there may have been a tear coming out an eye, as well.
After I calmed down, I realized two things:
- My main problem wasn’t frustration with B’s reading frustrations. My main problem was that my estrogen had decided to flood my body and upset my brain chemistry. (Yeah, I could’ve just written, “I had P.M.S.”, but that’s so cliché, don’t you think?)
- B has never followed any of the rules in any of the books. (Especially the baby books about how many hours he was supposed to sleep in a twenty-four hour period.) So why should I expect him to follow the rules for learning how to read? Or Ron Davis’ rules about how to correct dyslexia?
I decided we were going to continue using The Reading Lesson, but do echo-reading with it instead of making B try to sound out everything himself.
Maybe we’ll do that eventually. But then, my thinking took a different path…
Long story short: I became acquainted with Sarah Brown through a memoir that she did a free promo on. Through that book, I learned that one of her (many) daughters is dyslexic, and that Sarah has written a bunch of books for people with dyslexia based on how she taught her daughter to finally read. The books consist mainly of pattern/logic puzzles that naturally help dyslexics to begin to perceive the direction of certain letters correctly, as well as to learn to read specific words.
I visited Sarah’s website, dyslexiagames.com. I looked at the cost of the books. Uh, no. $26.95 for thirty pages?
(A quick note, here. I had already purchased three of her (non-dyslexia) homeschooling books for a total of about $60. All of those books are much longer than thirty pages, and Sarah creates lovely artwork and fun and interesting puzzles. But I’m the type who just can’t shell out for a book that costs nearly a dollar per page. Back to my rabbit hole story…)
I looked at the sample pages she has up on her website, and then decided to visit her blog. I read some posts. In one of them, she wrote that DYSLEXICS DO NOT LEARN TO READ USING PHONICS.
How do they learn? Art, puzzles, logic, games.
I returned to the home page of her website. And looked at the sample pages again. I thought, I can do that. I can create patterns with letters. I can create word puzzles.
So that’s what I’m going to do. That, and modify Davis’ Trigger Word activity. I am going to go through Fry’s list of the 1,000 most commonly used words, three per day, and have B make them with clay, define them, and create pictures in his mind for them.
I’ll let you know how it goes.