We recently found out that my 2nd grade son has dyslexia. We are currently trying to figure out the right next steps for him and his education. He is a very determined kid and does like playing learning games on the IPad. I was wondering which of the blended learning programs (e.g. Lexia, Barton, etc.) might be good for him to use or if there was another set of apps that would be helpful for him to spend time on in the evening.

Dr. Pierson's Response: 

Without knowing your son's profile of strengths and weaknesses, it is impossible for me to make any recommendations). That said, what I can say is most children who are dyslexic need direct, systematic, evidence-based intervention -- what the International Dyslexia Association now calls Structured Literacy. Here is a piece that I wrote as to what that looks like.

You really need to have a professional make some recommendations at to how best he use his time. That said, one accommodation that is easy to put into place immediately is to have him listen to audiobooks while he tracks the print -- frequently referred to as "ear reading.”. A subscription to Learning Ally or Bookshare are a couple of options. Read about Bookshare, Scholastic, and other helpful online resources here. A professional will need to confirm that he has a print disability for Learning Ally, so whomever diagnosed him can do that.

It is very important that he continue to be exposed to the same text that his peers are. As students get older, especially, reading contributes to vocabulary development and learning. Beginning in 4th grade, students need to use their reading skills to learn (versus learning to read in the earlier grades). We can find the vocabulary skills of our older dyslexic students begin to degrade because they cannot access the same texts as their peers. Audiobooks help level the playing field somewhat. We still cannot listen to a book as quickly as we can read it, so that is why direct instruction is important -- to build his reading skills.

We have a LOT of apps here. You can search by age and topic to see what might be beneficial and of interest to him. Again, I do recommend working with a professional for some recommendations. Time is precious - and you don't want to be wasting his time doing something that you all think is helping and in the long run is not. We also know that there are great benefits to early intervention, so good for you for getting on this now!