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June Behrmann

June Behrmann is a longtime special education teacher (pre-K to grade 6) who retired for about two seconds, and is now prospecting for accessible instructional resources. Follow June on Twitter @aimnoncat. Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with us.

Experts Weigh in on Dyslexic Students Reading Aloud; Find a Pronunciation Guide to Ease Anxiety

July 30, 2015

Their peers often know how much students with dyslexia dread reading aloud in front of others, and hopefully teachers do, too. If not, many experts in dyslexia advise educators across the curriculum to avoid putting these students on the spot and, moreover, to give them opportunities to rehearse if they accept the challenge or volunteer to read in front of a partner or group. Sample some of the advice: 

From: Susan Barton's "General Accommodations Handout"

To reduce fear and anxiety:

  • Never force them to participate in a spelling bee
  • Never force them to read out loud in class Never have them write on the board
  • Don't pass papers down the row
  • Don't allow other students to grade papers or tests
  • Never call on them unless they volunteer
  • Make sure your classroom is a safe place to make mistakes  

From Dyslexia Association of Ireland  "Avoid asking a student with dyslexia to read aloud in front of the class. However, if you really need to get the student to read, discreetly let them know the previous day what section they will be asked to read so they can prepare it."

From DyslexiaHelp at the University of Michigan  'Do not ask your student with dyslexia to read aloud in front of peers. This can be quite embarrassing and being put “on-the-spot” will only exacerbate his difficulty with the text. But, should he volunteer, by all means, let him read!'  

From Kelli Sandman-Hurley article in Edutopia's "Dyslexia in The General Education Classroom."  "Do not require the student to read aloud, unless he or she volunteers or had the opportunity to practice."

Cool Tool

Don't miss a chance to add literacy strategies that support reading aloud, book talks, and related academic activities. Here is a cool tool for reading and speaking that can reduce everyone's anxiety—whether or not a reader is dyslexic— when a student is expected to pronounce an author's name correctly. Log onto TeachingBooks.net's Audio Name Pronunciation guide:

  • Learn the correct pronunciation for author's names 
  • Discover historical and cultural information about authors' names from each author
  • Hear 2,000 recordings by authors and illustrators with more added weekly.

Paola and Sciezka

Number 2,000 added to the Guide was author/illustrator Tomie dePaola. Also hear author and reading advocate Jon Scieszka pronounce and discuss his name. 

"Hearing book creators introduce themselves offers unique insight into their personality and background," according to a July 21 press release from the Children's Book Council. "Through the Author Name Pronunciation Guide, students can hear 2015 Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander rhyme his name with salami (and pastrami); learn what the R and L stand for in Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine’s name; and be confident in pronouncing authors whose legacy lives on in their books, like Maya Angelou and Elie Weisel." Once you build confidence, take the Challenge Quiz! (PDF)

AIM-VA

The federally funded Accessible Educational Materials program supports print disabled students in every state. Those who are eligible including students with dyslexia, receive no-cost alternatives to traditional printed materials. To learn more in Virginia, log onto theAIM-VA homepage. In other states, ask a special education teacher or school administrator about AEM under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and an exception to federal copyright law.

Remember to follow AIM-VA on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter at @AIMVirginia and/or follow me @aimnoncat. Subscribe to AIM-VA's new monthly newsletter for the latest on AEM. Sign up here.

Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with our Reading Rockets audience.

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"Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. " — Neil Gaiman