I have two sons that were diagnosed with dyslexia the summer before the 7th and 9th grade. They are both now in the 8th and 10th grade and I am in need of guidance on the best way to improve their reading skills at home. They go to a private school that has helped with accommodations but not with concrete means to improve reading skills. Can you suggest an iPad app or a computer program that I can invest in to assist my sons? Your response is appreciated.

 

Dr. Pierson's Response: 

It is difficult to make recommendations without knowing an individual's particular strengths and weaknesses, and where the breakdown in reading, spelling, and/or writing is occurring. Is it at the phonological level, morphological level, with comprehension, attention, not having strategies to approach text learning (narrative and expository)? It could be a number of things that need to be targeted, particularly as kids get into middle and high school as your sons are.

That said, here are some general recommendations:

  1. Your sons should have a set of textbooks at home that can be highlighted and written in so they don't have to worry about lugging books back and forth. They can pre-read to prepare for an upcoming lecture/topic. Scanning the texts so that they could then be read aloud might also be helpful.
  2. Text-to-speech software [1] to read text out loud while they track the print is another idea. The Kindle Fire will read text aloud.
  3. A Livescribe pen that will record audio from class lectures and then play it back may help in class. That's listed on the Assistive Tech page link above.
  4. Relative to teaching reading skills—the Barton program is designed for parents, but we also have a number of others [2] on the website as well.
  5. I have a lot of information about reading comprehension strategies [3].
  6. Here are some ideas for preparing to take tests [4].
  7. Last, you might want to think about subscribing to Learning Ally [5], which has a host of audiobooks, among other things for dyslexics. You will need a referral from a professional.

Hopefully, one or some of these suggestions are what your sons need.