Children and adults who are dyslexic learn differently. That’s why it’s necessary for parents and teachers to provide reading instruction using multi-sensory techniques. Multi-sensory reading methods engage all the senses sent to the brain; visual, auditory, touch and muscle movements, when introducing the twenty-six letter names of the alphabet, their correct pronunciation and how to print each letter representing the sounds of the written alphabet.
Here are eight multi-sensory reading activities that help dyslexic students and adults learn the alphabet:
1. Touch – Trace and cut out both the upper and lower case letters of the alphabet out of sandpaper. After introducing a letter name and shape, have your child trace the letter’s form with two fingers. The rough surface of each sandpaper letter helps children learn letter shapes.
2. Touch – Pour a bag of rice, dried beans or peas into a shallow pan. Model for your child how to trace, using two fingers, the alphabet letter they are currently learning in the pan. The sensation of the dried food supports children’s retention of letter shapes, names and sounds.
3. Visual – Mix Elmer’s glue with colorful craft fabric paints. On a piece of construction paper have your child draw letters of the alphabet in different colors. The variety of colors of glue helps children hold on to each alphabet letter’s name and shape and sound.
4. Visual – Put together a collection of crayons, colored pencils, and glitter pens. Draw in pencil on either notebook paper or construction paper the upper and lower case letters of the alphabet. Instruct your child to trace over each letter. Using color helps children memorize all the shapes and names of our alphabet symbols.
5. Auditory – Sing the alphabet song with your child. Parents and teacher need to sing the song slowly. Children need to hear distinctly all twenty-six-letter names as you sing together.
6. Auditory – Read alphabet books aloud to your child. While reading parents and teachers need to take time to point out how illustrations or pictures represent a letter in the alphabet.
7. Body Movement – Find a large flashlight. Turn the lights down. Using big sweeping arm movements show your child how to write a letter on the wall. Have your child do the same using their arm. Tapping into arm muscles by making big sweeping motions helps children learn alphabet shapes.
8. Body Movement – Using a long piece of clothes-line or a jump-rope help your child make a big letter of the alphabet. Using the body muscles through movements helps children remember alphabet shapes through muscle memory.
Multi-sensory reading activities are easy to make and take just a few minutes to do. When parents and teachers take additional time to include one of these activities when they teach a letter name and shape they will find dyslexic learners, who learn differently, will learn alphabet names, sounds and shapes much more easily. These multi-sensory reading activities work equally well with adult dyslexic learners.