50% of the students who come to WNY Dyslexia Specialists for reading therapy have an oral vocabulary that is up to TWO grade levels above their current grade.
How can this be if they are dyslexic or are suspected of having dyslexia?
It’s actually very simple. Oral vocabulary is not developed through reading print. It’s developed through listening. Reading experts have consistently noted how reading to children plays a crucial role in developing their vocabulary.
Parents, you can develop this astounding vocabulary at home. You don’t need any special degrees or courses to teach you how to do this.
Here are 3 teaching points I like to encourage parents with dyslexic children.
Read TO Your Child
Wait! I know you have heard this from the time your dear one was still in the womb. This is important and here’s why: Reading to your child has NO upper age limit. As long as your child enjoys hanging out on the couch next to you, read to them,
But, do not make them read aloud to you. Why not? Because this is your time to build your child’s amazing vocabulary.
Don’t read at their reading or even grade level. Read at their interest level. Let me say that again because it’s so critical. Read at their interest level.
What is your child interested in? Does she enjoy reading about animals? Does he like adventure stories? Does she get excited when you bring out Harry Potter? Does history intrigue him? Read whatever interests your child.
When my children were younger, their dad began reading The Hobbit to them. They were very young. If I had to guess, I’d say they were 6 and 8 years old. They couldn’t read all the words in the story themselves, but through listening and being interested in what they were listening to, their attention was engaged. They learned the ways of the Hobbits and developed a new aspect to their vocabulary.
Over the years as we homeschooled our day always began with reading aloud in the living room. As their mom, I loved this time of connection. We read stacks of historical fiction together. They took mental adventures into the life of a former slave in Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates.
In the Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly my kids became wrapped in the life of a young man in 1462 Krakow, Poland. One of their most favorite books was The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. It was a peek inside the life of Ranofer, a young Egyptian, who makes a shocking discovery while being raised by an evil half-brother.
Reading to your child will give them knowledge of people, places, and things they may never experience in their own lives.
Audiobooks accomplish the same goals as reading aloud to your child.
And, please understand, audio books are NOT cheating. They do not take the place of learning to read. They are merely a tool for listening skills. They are a tool to take your child into the world of literature while they are developing their reading skills.
Audiobooks can be found through your local library on Overdrive.com
You can also purchase a year subscription to Learning Ally. On Learning Ally, you will have access to over 80,000 audiobooks that are read by real voices.
Speak Using Good Vocabulary
Use the same vocabulary to speak to your child as you would use with adults. If your child doesn’t know what you mean, they will ask you. Then, “BAM!” You’ve just had a vocabulary lesson.
As my children were growing up, I never stopped to think about what words I was using when I spoke with them. If I wanted to use the word, CONUNDRUM. I did. I used whatever vocabulary came to mind. As I did that, they learned the meaning of words.
Use the language you know. Don’t water it down for your children.
Perhaps you struggled in school. You may wish to take the advice given here, and get some audio books for yourself. This will build up your vocabulary as well.
Looking for good chapter books? Here are some resources list links!
Do you have any ideas to add? Are there any favorite books you would recommend to other parents? Share them in the comments below.