New Ways to Empower Students who have
Learning Differences or Dyslexia
Struggling readers miss out on learning, fall behind in school, and may “hate” reading.
When students with dyslexia or other learning differences don’t get the accommodations they need, the content-learning gap grows, students get frustrated, and it’s difficult for them to catch up. Fortunately, there are ways to help struggling readers engage with books they want and need to read in new and meaningful ways.
Come on, let’s read!
The Costs of Not Supporting Students With Learning Differences
Living with a learning difference can make every lesson more difficult, especially during a child’s school-age years. These differences have very little to do with their level of intelligence or behavior. Instead, it comes down to understanding that people with learning differences are wired differently, cognitively speaking. For this reason,a learning difference can affect multiple areas of a person’s life well into adulthood. Working with kids early on in their school years can literally change the course of their lives.
5 strategies that help students with reading differences.
What’s true (and what’s a myth) about audiobooks.
Audiobooks are proven to help students with learning differences become better readers and learners. They can be a powerful tool, but many people don’t know how well they work. How much do you know?
Click on the statements you think are true.
Using audiobooks is cheating.
When students use audiobooks, they often “get lost” in the story.
When students use audiobooks, they aren’t really building reading skills.
If kids are using audiobooks, there’s no connection to printed text.
Audiobooks help students read grade-level content.
Audiobooks help struggling readers by removing the struggle of having to read word by word.
A-ha! Moments From Teachers of Students With Learning Differences
I remember figuring out that children who can’t read well aren’t dumb or lazy. Their brains simply don’t process information like stronger readers. They need empowerment and support, not reminders or incentive charts.
—Nelda Reyes, teacher, De Zavala Elementary School, San Marcos Consolidated ISD
I realized that my struggling readers have amazing potential! When they listen to books read aloud, they can do all the higher-level thinking, analysis, and discussion that we want them to do. It’s wonderful to see them lost in a story.
—Kristy Mathieu, third grade general education teacher Kiker Elementary School, Austin ISD
I was astounded to see that audiobooks are a tool that can enhance comprehension and help children enjoy books. Why would we deny anyone the opportunity to love reading?
—Amy Kalinchuk, special education teacher, Hamilton Middle School, Denver, CO
My a-ha moment was when I realized that my students can succeed with a tool, like an audiobook, that doesn’t hold them back because of their difficulties with word reading.
—Marlene Biava, special education teacher, Montgomery Township Schools, New Jersey
We all read differently, and that’s okay!
is the standard way to read words on the printed page. Eye reading includes taking in words, sentences, and phrases through our eyes to develop meaning.
is using the sense of touch to access words and is most used by students with visual impairments who use braille, a form of written language represented by the patterns of raised dots.
is taking in information on a page through your ears. Audiobooks and text-to-speech technology allow students to read with their ears.
Watch the Video
Understanding how to help students with learning differences requires a great deal of information, skills, and strategies. It’s critical for teachers to build a toolbox that can help them identify and meet the needs of every student. Learn More»