Learning Disabilities refer to a group of disorders. These disorders stop us from learning, reading, or writing better in our daily life. A learning disability does not mean that they can’t learn. A student with this disability has average intelligence. Students who have a reading disability will need direct teaching methods. Since they know a bit differently, the teachers can straightforwardly teach them.
Students with reading disabilities have the potential to be successful. Most students with reading disabilities improve through strategic reading, writing, and viewing. Provided they get help from the teachers the right way. Teachers, when intervened early, can offer intensive support to the students. Despite these efforts, many struggle to read. They have difficulty reading unfamiliar and challenging words. Students cannot connect ideas and decode words.
Proficient Reading skills are essential for students to succeed. If students are not competent readers, they may be at risk. There are different types of learning disabilities. Today, we are here to address reading disabilities. Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein are all thought to have had a Learning disability.
Let’s start by looking at what the research says about reading strategies:
What is Reading Strategies?
The Ultimate goal of reading is to extract meaning from what you read. The older students with Learning disabilities need increasing instructional responses. So, when the students read, they have a lot going around in their heads. They use the power of sounds/symbols relationship in phonics to decode the words they don’t know.
In the case of a young student reading- they decode many or most words in the text as they build their vocabulary. They begin to rely less and less on sounding words. As their language grows, so does fluency. Fluency is nothing but the accuracy of reading the text steadily with an accurate tone.
Finally, the student understands what they read or comprehend. There are different comprehension strategies we use to know what we are reading. We make new images in our minds, connect to the text or use reasoning. The following are some ways we can help students with Learning disabilities.
Let us start with the basic:
Decoding Words and Letters:
Communication is a result of sentences that we use every day. Sentences are from words and words from sounds. Children, at first, play with new stories and create new language patterns. They develop phonemic awareness by singing songs, chanting rhymes and reading books. Students learn new words every day. They make an understanding of how oral language works in many ways.
Beginning readers develop their concepts of letters. By recognizing letters in print, name, singing, students begin to understand this relationship. For some children, teachers also have to provide small-group instructions. Teachers have to be open, systematic, and supportive than they usually are. This way they can develop a direct relationship with phonics.
Phonics helps students develop a sound-letter relationship which allows them to decode better. Think about solving the word ‘fish,’ and you need to hear first, understand terms, and put them into effect.
The following are some ways the teachers can help students to learn how to decode:
- Breaking down of big tasks into smaller tasks
- Helping students organize the information in a systematic manner
- Following a predictable pattern
- It helps them build a word study pattern
Reading fluency is the ability to grasp and read texts fluently quickly. Fluent readers do not have to decode words with difficulty. They learn from developing good reading proficiency. Since fluent readers have a useful vocabulary, they make connections between different texts.
Students with Learning Disabilities tend to read calmly, laboring over the text structures. Sometimes the text may be too challenging to read. A lack of fluent reading means that the students lack confidence. If they encourage students to read more, they can become fluent readers. It also gives them improved reading skills.
Fluency comes with oral readings. Fluency is targeted through many other factors like:
- Reading the same words again and again
- When the reading is shared repeatedly
- Self-Identifying reading errors
Students need to develop word awareness, to help them recognize words automatically. Children with learning disabilities think and understand differently. Understanding what they read and remember is the central act of learning. During the reading process, the students have to know what they read. They also have to figure out the different strategies that work. Students develop recognition of most words they hear, see and write.
Vocabulary has to be developed, expanded, and taught. Extending the language and expanding it requires exposure to words and their meanings. They must be taught to use various strategies which enhance their word strength.
Some of the effective vocabulary strategies occur when:
- Activity-based methods
- Computer-assisted methods
- Exposure to new words
- Interaction with the same terms to process deeply
- Making connections between old and new words
Prevention and early intervention provided by well-trained teachers can improve reading methods. It can change from a poor reader to a good reader. If we delay intervention, approximately 75% of the children continue to have reading disabilities.