How Do Students With Dyslexia Learn How To Read? Free Essay

Published: 2019-07-18
How Do Students With Dyslexia Learn How To Read? Free Essay
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Learning Education
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1842 words
16 min read

There have been very many issues that relate to learning and behavior. Disorders are one of the main roadblocks to learning and behavior: mainly because they affect the normal interaction of an individual with others and with the subject at hand. Dyslexia is an example of these disorders. It is one of the main issues that relate to learning and behavior. It has become a common problem and has affected very many children in our country especially those that are at a learning age. Research has shown that dyslexia is usually discovered when a child begins to learn thus proving to be one of the major issues that affect learning and behavior. There are a lot of programs and methods to help those affected by dyslexia, especially children.

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Dyslexia is an important issue since very many people suffer from it. Learning for people affected by this disorder has continued to be a major challenge. People with dyslexia are in no way less capable than people without the disorder; they are equally as productive if they can conquer the learning disabilities accompanied by their condition. It is thus important for people to know the various ways in which people with dyslexia can be aided in their learning to get to the full limits of their capabilities thus tapping into their maximum potential. This essay is intended to describe two different methods of teaching such children to read. It will review two articles based on two teaching methods: Reading and language intervention for children at risk of dyslexia: a randomized controlled trial and Computer-assisted Interventions Targeting Reading Skills of Children with Reading DisabilitiesA Longitudinal Study.

Theories describing dyslexia

To begin with, a definition of the term dyslexia must be given. It is agreed today that it is a peculiar learning inability of a neurological nature. According to Flora, dyslexia affects the way peoples brains understand words. It is characterized by reading, writing, and spelling difficulties. Dyslexic people have problems in recognizing small words, reading new words, spelling, and handwriting. They also omit parts of words when reading and read slower than other persons (Flora, n.d.). Scientists say that 15% of Americans have dyslexia. They also point out that susceptibility to dyslexia can run in families. In general, there are multiple theories about dyslexia, each of them stating particular causes and treatment methods for the disorder in question. These theories are:

Phonological theory

This theory hypothesizes that those suffering from dyslexia have a problem with representing, storing and retrieving the sounds (as cited in Ramus, 2003). It means that if in a learning situation a person is required to associate various objects or things to sound, the dyslexic person is not able to memorize or store the relationship between the object and the sound. An example of this is in the process of studying the alphabet and learning to read, a person has a difficulty associating a letter such as b with the sound it makes during the speech. For this reason, such a persons reading skills will, therefore, be impaired. To come to this conclusion, the supporters of this theory studied specific brain areas that relate to memory and retrieval. This theory thus creates a better understanding of the challenges faced by the dyslexic individual. We thus see the root of their impaired capabilities. Training and psychological patterns can solve this problem. In my opinion dyslexic, people can be trained and conditioned to train their brain to overcome this challenge.

Visual theory

This theory postulates that the difficulty to process words and the letters they are composed of derives from the visual impairment. This means that scientist believes that the inability of the dyslexic individual to comprehend words and sentences and remember the letters that form these words and sentences is a result of visual impairment. They believe that dyslexic people are not able to form visually the words correctly without help. Such impairment can be represented in the form of visual crowding, poor vergence or unsteady binocular fixation (as cited in Ramus, 2003). The visual theory supporters performed brain imaging, anatomical and physiological studies to prove their hypothesis. It is worth noting that this theory does not object the phonological element of dyslexia but is more focused on the visual aspect triggering phonological deficit. However, this theory helps in understanding the challenges faced by the dyslexic individual thus giving a platform for a way to aid their learning process. In my view, I think this theory enables us to help dyslexic individuals; they could receive optical glasses that fix this problem.

Empirical Study

Scientists have tried to find various ways to cumber the learning disorders that dyslexic people face. Various approaches have been deeply researched and concluded upon by various scientists. Empirical studies from various researchers have shown the approach of finding out whether dyslexia can be discovered at the beginning of a childs education thus being overcome and the second approach sought whether educational computer programs can help these kids.

Dyslexia being recognized early

With numerous theories and treatment approaches at hand, there is a question whether children with dyslexia can be helped at the beginning of their education. Duff et al. tried to find out if the children who are at risk of dyslexia showed their disability during the first two years at school and if the specialists could help them at the beginning of their education. The rationale of their study was to understand if the children at risk of dyslexia show their disability at the early stages of education (learning phonemes and starting learning to read). Their hypothesis stated that some children will demonstrate their reading disability at the beginning of their learning to read. The scientists are convinced that if they reveal that the child has problems learning letters and sounds, this child must be taught like dyslexia with using systematic phonics training. This system may help teachers give their students with a reading disability an early support and help teachers to make their dyslexic students good readers.

To examine this hypothesis, the scientists started their research. They chose 6-year-old children at risk for dyslexia or with weak language skills before the first year at school. Some children were advised for this intervention program by their teachers as those who were in need of additional reading support (Duff et al., 2014, p.1235). The knowledge of chosen children was appraised by the use of two tests from the York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (YARC): Early Word Reading and Single Word Reading. The scientists ranked the children and picked out 61 of them who showed the worst results. They further arranged two groups from these children according to the types of dyslexia risk: family risk and low language skills. The chosen children were allotted to forty-four schools: 37 schools with one child, six schools with two children and one school with 7 participants. Two groups took part in special reading learning system: an experimental group and a waiting control group (Duff et al., 2014, p.1235). The intervention for the first group lasted 18 weeks, and the second group had nine weeks of usual classroom education and after that, nine weeks of work with an intervention program. At the beginning of the experiment, the reading and vocabulary scores of chosen children were the same. They were the same age and had low reading skills.

The intervention program that was used in by the research team is called Reading and Language Intervention (RALI). According to this program, the daily sessions lasted between a 20-minute individual lesson (Reading Strand) and a 30-minute lesson for a small group (Language Strand). When learning to read by this program, children had three individual and two group lessons per week in groups of two-four children. The material for all these lessons were adapted to individual childrens needs (Duff et al., 2014, p. 1236).

After 18 weeks of studying, children were tested. Their phoneme awareness was examined by the Sound Linkage Test of Phonological Awareness. Then children were asked to spell 10 pictured items. To evaluate the childrens knowledge of new vocabulary (taught in intervention program), children had to give definitions of 24 words. During the examination of their listening skills, children answered the questions about two stories that they had listened before.

The experiments showed the small effect on phoneme awareness, letter knowledge, an early word reading and also on learned vocabulary. The scientists found no effect of the intervention on the majority of reading and general language skills (Duff et al., 2014, p. 1234).

The scientists made a conclusion that their intervention did not have any significant effects on language and reading skills. They decided that their intervention program was too short to show some effect. They also suggested that some children had higher skills than the skills for which their intervention program was prepared, and also that some children had additional help at home. This research showed that such children need well-organized help lasting for a long studying period. Nevertheless, with some modifications, this method can be applied to treating the children to whom the phonological theory can be implemented. A long-lasting training program combined with preliminary brain studies can potentially improve childrens reading skills. However, it is recommended that such training starts with alphabetical learning and sound association as this is the stage where Dyslexia is manifested in accordance to this theory.

Educational Computer Programs

The next dyslexia treatment approach relates to the educational computer programs. According to the article by Falth, Gustafson, Tjus, Heimann, & Svensson, special computer programs can help children and teenagers with dyslexia to develop their reading skills.

In this article, the scientists had a purpose of examining the effectiveness of three computer-based training programs for the promotion of language skills of children with reading disability (Falth et al., 2013, p. 37). The purpose of this work was to learn the effects of two computerized intervention programs made for students with reading difficulties: single component and multicomponent intervention. Two types of computer-based training programs were used in these interventions. The first one was phonologically directed while the second one was directed to reading comprehension. Students took part in one of the programs or with a combination of two programs to help the scientists compare these intervention programs and find out which one is more efficient.

The scientists hypothesize that computers can present learning materials and texts in an appealing way, such as via animated images and prompt feedbacks that can maintain attention and memory processes that are crucial in learning (Falth et al., 2013, p. 38). They are convinced that such training program can be changed to fit individual features of every student to make this method convenient to improve his/her reading skills. This intervention can be combined with specific training with a teacher. The researchers believe that this combination is the most efficient type of training.

With a help of teachers, the scientists chose one hundred thirty students from forty-one Swedish schools. Selected students had very different levels of language skills and very different background. Some of them were higher motivated; some were less motivated. After two tests given before the start of intervention programs, students...

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