(or Auditory Deficit in Visual Learners
due to whole word sight reading)
This is the big one. Most visual learners find learning to read very hard and around 80% of children "diagnosed" as dyslexic are in fact visual learners who have not grasped phonics.
The reason is that they start by learning the alphabet visually. They then learn some simple words visually, memorising the whole word. They are often quite good at this and so seem to be progressing well (even ahead of expectation in the early days).
Reading an "early reader book" they will look at the picture (more visual cues) and try to read the text visually, guessing the words that they don't know. Any phonics they do at school will make little sense to them and will be ignored as irrelevant.
You can actually see this on an MRI scan as they read. The auditory cortex is not engaged at all
We call this Optilexia, because the child is reading through pure sight recognition of whole words rather than auditory decoding (Opt=sight and Lex=read in ancient Greek). This situation can seem to be OK until the text gets too complex for this approach. At that stage you will see more and more wild guessing. Eventually the child's confidence will collapse, usually between the ages of 6 and 9 as the gap between their Optilexic Plateau and their friends' reading ability opens up, month by month.
The Symptoms of Optilexia
The key symptoms are:
Lots of guessing or errors, particularly with the short words
Getting a word right on one page and not the next time
Very poor spelling in free writing
Sometimes you see good results in spelling tests
Great difficulty with new, unfamiliar words and placenames
The solution to this is to give the child the tools to engage with the phonic structure of each word and then force the engagement of the auditory cortex. Once the auditory and linguistic cortex is brought into the process, so much drops automatically into place. You have proper comprehension (through Wernicke's Area), superfast decoding (due to the Letterbox Cortex) and the foundation of spelling.
Easyread has been developed as a solution for exactly this situation.
First, we take the visual strength of the child and use it to help guide the child towards proper phonic decoding of the text using our TrainerText system. This allows the child to access the phonemes within each word and then blend it successfully, without needing outside help.
Second, we create games that can be easily won if the words are decoded in this way, but are impossible if the child tries to use the familiar strategies of sight-memorising and guessing.
We call this process Guided Phonetic Reading (GPR). We are giving the child the support and guidance needed to successfully decode words, until the process becomes automatic.
The Sooner The Better
As each month goes by a child's bad habits get more engrained and their negative feelings towards reading increase. So, the sooner you start to fix the problem the quicker and more easily it can happen. Once a child is 8 or 9, the gap between their own ability and the average in the class has widened substantially:
Getting children to read is our passion. Don't hesitate to call us with any question. But before you do, take the time to have a look around the site. There is a lot of information on literacy, dyslexia, the causes of dyslexia and ways to help with each type of dyslexia.