I am a teacher and am wondering if practicing reading will or will not help a student with dyslexia? We have a parent who continuously tells us that no amount of practice reading will improve her daughter's ability to read. This student's mother is under the impression that her child cannot do any reading on her own. I had asked that the student read for 30 minutes a night to practice reading in order to gain skills. I had indicated that any reading would be good for the student, and the mother told me that this statement was absolutely false. I am in shock and am looking for any method to help this student, and wondering if this statement is true for dyslexics.

In our building, we have tried numerous reading strategies, etc.

Is there a page on your site that would give me ideas for reading comprehension - and information that would help this parent understand that it is imperative that her child attempt reading? Any information or help would be appreciated.

Dr. Pierson's Response: 

This student should absolutely be practicing reading -- text that is at her reading or independent level ( i.e., text in which she can decode 95-97% of the words). Copies of texts could be sent home. We know that the more one reads, the better reader one becomes.

As I am sure you know, in addition to reading at her independent level, the student must have access to the texts of the curriculum, which will most likely be above her reading level. Therefore, I recommend audiobooks [1] to help with that. She should have a subscription to Learning Ally and/or Bookshare, both of which I have here [2]. Ideally, she should track the print while listening to the audio, but, that said, at the end of a day when she has been working so hard to read in school, listening to the book to get the information is just fine.

I would recommend Sally Shaywitz's book Overcoming Dyslexia to this mother. Written for parents, it might be enlightening.

Here [3] is another good article.... from Yale, no less.

You are absolutely on the right track.