Homeschool Reading Support For Dyslexic Learners

Homeschooling a child with dyslexia can be overwhelming. As a parent of a profoundly dyslexic child, I have struggled for years to find homeschool reading support, appropriate for educating a struggling reader at home.

Last week, my 17-year-old son took his knowledge test for a learner’s permit to drive. Although the state does offer some accommodations and support for dyslexic individuals taking the test, he need to try it once without out them.

He passed.

He walked right up to that computer screen, read all 48 questions on his own, and passed the test.

While it is exciting that he is learning to drive, the truth is, nothing compared to the sheet relief and elation I felt when it hit me – he is functionally reading. He knows how to read.

There was a time, not long ago, when I was not so sure it would ever be possible.

Learning To Read At Home

Homeschooling a child with profound learning differences is, by far, one of the most complicated and pressure-filled jobs I have ever had. When your child struggles to learn to read and you’re homeschooling, it can feel like you are failing – all the time.

Learning to read at home means the responsibility is all on you. When your child struggles with reading, it can feel like you are the problem.

Is My Child Really Dyslexic?

Every mom I know who has a dyslexic child doubted that their child really was, in fact, dyslexic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked the question, “What if my child isn’t dyslexic and it’s just that I haven’t been teaching reading the right way?”

I think we all ask this at one point or another because we really want it to be true. If it’s just a matter of our teaching ability or switching up the reading program, we can change it and our child will read, right? If only it was our teaching!

If you are questioning whether or not your child is actually struggling with a specific learning disorder of reading (the formal term for dyslexia) there is no harm in providing reading instruction that accommodates dyslexic learners. In fact, all readers benefit from the key components of science based reading instruction for dyslexic learners.

One of the most important of these is multisensory learning.

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The Importance Of Multisensory Reading Instruction For Homeschooling A Child With Dyslexia

Over time, I learned that if my son was going to retain any learning, particularly in reading instruction, we needed to take a multisensory approach.

Multisensory learning is essentially what its name implies – using multiple senses to help the brain comprehend and retain what it is learning. This type of learning can be incredibly valuable in all subjects, but is essential in helping a dyslexic child learn to read.

For example, early on, one of the first things that helped my son was to have him “read along” with me. I read out loud while he followed the words on the page with his finger. Then, we would switch and he would read the sentence and I would guide my finger across the words on the page.

It worked! It was time consuming and a bit tedious, but it worked.

That is, until he hit puberty and stopped wanting to practice reading with his mom like a “baby”. He craved independence, and rightly so.

Please know, although I was compensated for my time in writing this post, I only share products that work for my family and families just like mine.

Homeschool Reading Support For Dyslexic Learners

The good news is, a program now exists that simulates the same type of multisensory, read along practice for all ages, including struggling older readers.

BuddyBooks by ObjectiveEd was designed for kids with dyslexia, ASD, ADHD or struggling readers with a reading impairment. In this program, the learner and the computer alternate reading one sentence at a time.

BuddyBooks For Struggling Readers

From your child’s perspective, BuddyBooks is incredibly straight forward. They take turns co-reading with the computer. The computer reads a sentence and your child follows along, listening as the words are highlighted on the screen. Then, the roles reverse and your child reads a sentence out loud as the program records and tracks their reading ability.

It’s like having a reading specialist, in your home, everyday, assessing your child’s progress and needs.

BuddyBooks was very well received by my son. Here’s why:

BuddyBooks keeps your child interested and engaged as they read.

The fact that they are taking turns with program, in short, alternating sentences helps keep the reader stay engaged in the story as they co-read with the computer. Since the child is reading every other line, it’s a lower cognitive load.

My son is able to read longer and stay more engaged because of this simple, yet effective strategy.

Learners read at their interest-level rather than reading-skill level

This approach allows children to read at their interest level, instead of their reading-skill level (no more “These books are for babies!”).

For example, as we have been working through a unit on Shakepeare, I was able to add Romeo and Juliet to my son’s reading dashboard in BuddyBooks. He then read the play, along with the computer, on his own. The independence made it a great option for him, as did the access to high school level reading material, appropriate for his age and interest.

BuddyBooks by ObjectiveEd For Dyslexic, ASD, and ADHD Learners

What has impressed me most about BuddyBooks is how flexible it is for our needs, without making things too complicated.

For example, my son was able to adjust the colors, fonts, speaking speed, and text highlighting to what works best for his own brain. If you have a struggling reader, you KNOW how unusual and how valuable this is!

Buddy Books Customizable

In addition, in my parent dashboard, I am easily able to see how often is he practicing and for how long, allowing him to work independently without me hovering.

Finally, I mentioned BuddyBooks is like having a reading specialist in your home. This is not just because of the reading cadence between the computer and the reader.

BuddyBooks has built in measurement to show you exactly how much progress your child is making over time.

Choosing The Right Books For Dyslexic Readers

It is essential that learners have access to books that align with their interests. Because of this, BuddyBooks partners with Bookshare to give learners the opportunity to read and interact with a vast selection of popular titles.

Bookshare is an online e-library for individuals who have a qualifying reading or perceptual disability, a visual impairment, or a physical disability that affects their ability to read printed works.

Because of copyright laws, a child must have a qualifying diagnosis in order to access Bookshare books. If you do not yet have a verified diagnosis, BuddyBooks helps with this as well!

BuddyBooks offers a money-back guarantee on the cost of NeuroLearning screening for parents who purchase BuddyBooks. If the tested child is not eligible for Bookshare, BuddyBooks will refund the $50 for the screening. If the child is eligible, they will then have access to the entire Bookshare library at no cost until the child is 18. (Bookshare books can be accessed from within BuddyBooks by entering the Bookshare username & password into BuddyBooks.)

Homeschool Reading Support with BuddyBooks by ObjectiveEd

BuddyBooks is a homeschool resource literally designed with my child’s needs in mind. If you are considering BuddyBooks for your own learner, now is the time to give it a try!

BuddyBooks for Homeschoolers

Use code JQ-NTFT to receive $100.00 off your BuddyBooks annual subscription! This brings the price down to $99.00 annually for continual access to reading support in your homeschool.

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