In this workbook for teaching reading skills to dyslexic students, Graham (Many Voices, Many Choices, 2013) and her dyslexic daughter, Alta, offer a variety of approaches and activities.
The authors provide a succinct, clear explanation of dyslexia, which affects about 10 percent of the population: “a pattern of brain organization and information processing” that causes people to see overall patterns in a nonlinear way and can therefore affect their ability to read. The Grahams recommend using their teaching methods after a phonics-centered effort has failed. “After all,” they write, “Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic children learn to read without phonics.” Their tone is matter-of-fact and optimistic, and they stress that children should enjoy everything related to reading. Although the Grahams note that their activities may be done in any order, they begin with basic skills such as memory and reasoning, as well as the important skill of “tracking,” or “looking at the words as tutor reads aloud.” They advise readers to watch a song performed on YouTube while tracking the lyrics on the screen (“Tracking just got cool,” they write). They also address “scanning,” or looking at larger sections of text, and silent reading. They provide an excellent chapter on “self-generated stories,” in which a student tells a story as the tutor writes it down, either on a computer screen or on paper, using different colors, letter sizes and typefaces. Students can then practice reading using the newly created material. If tutors find that teaching the connection between symbols and sounds is too difficult, the Grahams propose an “alternative path” of “bypassing sound” by simply letting a student read silently and answer questions to test comprehension. The book concludes with a “conversation” in which a student remarks, “I’ve had millions of lessons and I still can’t read.” A tutor responds that “lots of students...learned to read when they were taught the right way.” The authors also intersperse experts’ and adult dyslexics’ short comments throughout the book.
A cheerful, easy-to-use volume that offers practical help to those who teach dyslexic children.