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The complete question

How can a parent, who is dyslexic themselves and was never taught phonics, help their dyslexic child?

Expert answer

You have already taken a very important step — understanding that your child has a reading problem. Help must come from the school — that is where your child spends his prime learning hours and this is where adults — teachers who have the knowledge skills — are.

Your job is to make sure that your child is taught with methods and programs they are proven to be effective, that is, that show evidence that they actually work. You can directly ask his teacher, Is there evidence this program is effective? Has this evidence been published in a scientific journal? Was it reviewed by the National Reading Panel?

You can also ask about the kinds of strategy taught to help your child read a new or unfamiliar word — most effective are strategies that teach your child to sound out the word, and not just guess it from the context.

It also important to make sure that your child’s progress is frequently measured — weekly or monthly — to ensure there is progress and if not, that the program can be quickly modified. Monitoring progress throughout the year — by actual measurement — is preferable to finding out the last day of the school year that your child has not made progress during the year.

In the book Overcoming Dyslexia, there is much more information on how to monitor progress and what constitutes good progress.

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