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Old 30.06.2011, 21:56
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Teaching English to a dyslexic 11 year old - tips needed!

I have 2 weeks to make an 11 year old boy like the English language. He has been studying it for 4 years in school, but according to his mother he still has a very poor vocabulary and an extremely bad reading ability, yet a good pronunciation and is able to repeat quite fine whatever he hears in English (by the way, he is Italian)

I have searched the internet a lot, read many forums, some pretty useful http://www.parentingdyslexia.com/201...exia-myth.html, some less, and I also bought a book especially for teachers by Pamela Kvilekval (teacher and author of several books on dyslexia). I've already used this book with a 16 year old also struggling with dyslexia, but her case was very different as she already spoke the language when I started tutoring her, and both her reading and listening comprehension were quite good. Plus, she loved the language. The book came in very handy and helped me correct the way she mispronounced consonants as she always added an extra vowel sound to them, but she often got bored with all the grids that dealt with consonant-vowel-consonant patterns for example.

So, what can I do with an 11 year old to keep him focused? The boy's parents hired me for 2 weeks in which I will be their kids' (they also have an 8 year old girl, with no reading disorder) teacher/nanny... and previous experience tells me they expect me to be a miracle worker.

I'm an experienced teacher but apart from the girl I mentioned above, I never had students diagnosed with dyslexia, so I'm not sure what to do in this case. What makes things even worse is that I haven't even met the kid, I don't know his exact level, I can olny rely on what his mom told me and what I managed to read from one of his copybooks... Now, I have to prepare the material and meet them in a few days somewhere in the mountains.

Can someone please help me? I could really use some advice. I'm also interested in hearing what parents think, if there are any on EF who have children with this diagnosis.

Thanks

P.S. I really hope I posted this thread in the right place, otherwise please tell me where was I supposed to post, I'm not that new to EF, but I have just recently started being active
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Old 01.07.2011, 21:25
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Re: Teaching English to a dyslexic 11 year old - tips needed!

I'm not a professional, but I have volunteered with children who had special needs for a couple of years. The one thing I've learned is you can never go wrong with turning teaching into a game. The fact that he is Dyslexic shouldn't be a disadvantage but an advantage when learning English. My mad theory behind that is for the simple fact that the English language is backwards compared to most languages. Like I said I'm no professional but I worked with kids who were Autistic, Dyslexic, among other special needs. Most find that learning is more of a job rather than fun. So try and adjust to the age of the child. Hope this helps a little.
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Old 01.07.2011, 22:09
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Re: Teaching English to a dyslexic 11 year old - tips needed!

Two weeks is not long and his parents need to be realistic about that. Dyslexia covers many different problems. Do you know if his have been diagnosed?

You have been told that he does not have a very large English vocab - so, if the goal is to encourage hi to enjoy English, I would concentrate on games and activities that will increase his verbal skills.

If you do a google search, you will find many hits that offer suggestions and free games/activities to help dyslexic students. In the past, I have been impressed with information from the British Dyslexia Association.

Last edited by biff; 01.07.2011 at 23:07.
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Old 01.07.2011, 22:10
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Re: Teaching English to a dyslexic 11 year old - tips needed!

Hi, where I used to live there is a school called Moon Hall College. It is for children with dyslexia. If you contact them you never know they may be willing to help you.
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Old 01.07.2011, 23:02
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Re: Teaching English to a dyslexic 11 year old - tips needed!

You can't go wrong with just immersing him in oral vocabulary. At that age, embarrassment/anxiety/self-consciousness comes into play, so building a rapport and making it all fun/energetic and interesting, is good.

it sounds like the parent is negative about the child - ask the parent what their good/strong points are - if the kid is interest in maths, science, sport, art, music, whatever...then use those interests/strengths to your advantage if possible - they are your 'keys'...

If he has dyslexia then oral language probably won't be a major problem - it will be written language that is a struggle - so in two weeks I would be just focusing on immersion in oral language - and maybe one written project that you can do together (making your own 'dictionary' might be an idea, where each new word you write down for him in his 'dictionary' - at primary school we just used large sized address books, since they are already indexed for A-Z)...
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Old 06.07.2011, 16:31
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Re: Teaching English to a dyslexic 11 year old - tips needed!

Thank you all for your help!

Focusing on his oral English is what I had in mind as well, I'm going to try to increase his confidence to speak as much as possible, I'm just afraid two weeks won't be enough. And yes, since he is only eleven, I also believe that the best way to do this is through games and fun activities. He loves English songs a lot, (it's pretty much all he likes in English) and he doesn't mind watching some cartoons in English either, so I could start with that.

I'll let you know how it went
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Old 06.07.2011, 16:48
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Re: Teaching English to a dyslexic 11 year old - tips needed!

Quote:
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Thank you all for your help!

Focusing on his oral English is what I had in mind as well, I'm going to try to increase his confidence to speak as much as possible, I'm just afraid two weeks won't be enough. And yes, since he is only eleven, I also believe that the best way to do this is through games and fun activities. He loves English songs a lot, (it's pretty much all he likes in English) and he doesn't mind watching some cartoons in English either, so I could start with that.

I'll let you know how it went
Oh come on! Be kinder to yourself.
Two of my grandchildren have dyslexia and one has dyslexia and dyspraxia.
There really isn't much you can do in TWO WEEKS.
The parents can't be expecting miracles and, if they are, they're going to be very disappointed and their son will be a very unhappy little boy.
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Old 06.07.2011, 17:14
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Re: Teaching English to a dyslexic 11 year old - tips needed!

I would do just that. Listen and translate songs, make him sing along. Make him write down what he heard. Let him translate it. Watch DVDs in English with English subtitles. On youtube you will find many songs with lyrics. Make him listen first without lyrics, then ask him what he understood. Listen again with lyrics. Let him translate the lyrics. It will help. The more he understands, the more he will like the language. Try to get him to read. Could be an article about his favourite band or a country he has been to.
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Old 06.07.2011, 17:48
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Re: Teaching English to a dyslexic 11 year old - tips needed!

I have actually privately tutored a 11yr old dyslectic child, who had troubles with attitude, most of all, since he was prone to use his diagnosis as an excuse. We had some interesting moments first year or so, then the drill and me being super consistent and pretty strict started to pay off.

I focused solely on sounds, oral drills, songs, vocab linked to images, creativity and memory. I had to strengthen his ears and memory, so he could rely on this. Lots of mnemotechics. Lots of listening and talking, I coached him with strategies on how to be successful in a regular class, how to monitor his own progress and how to push oneself without the help of anyone.

I had him a few years, till Matura, and then off he went to uni, from failing his English in middle school, into acing it, into PhD in archeology (he just finished, all hands on disciplines are easier for dyslectic kids, archeology was perfect) and into Egypt where he conducts his own research now.

It's not an illness, just challanging way to deal with certain perception blocks. Motivation and fabricated success is super important, giving him opportunity to succeed. Self confidence. If the child has some particular interest (in my case it was history), then exploit the opportunity, books you read him from, memory games with images, recorded stories, BBC podcasts, etc.
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Last edited by MusicChick; 06.07.2011 at 18:13.
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Old 22.08.2011, 23:38
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Re: Teaching English to a dyslexic 11 year old - tips needed!

Ok, so, I'm back!

Sorry it took me this long to write back, but I had some very busy and exhausting weeks.
The two ones with the family went by very quickly and I had a wonderful time. It wasn't really as bad as I thought it would be, the mom turned out to be very understanding and down-to-earth. She is actually one of the nicest people I've met in Milan (yes, first impressions are not always the right ones). Her kids were also great, respectful and very well-behaved. We connected immediately and I was quite sad we only had two weeks to spend together. I know I could have done so much more if only I had more time.
I had a one hour "official" lesson with each kid every morning when we did reading, listening or writing activities and sang a lot of songs, while during the rest of the day we just did the usual stuff like going hiking in the moutains or mountain-biking, we visited some very nice places (guys, Champoluc and Courmayeur are amazing!!), went to the local market, we talked about how to ask for something during the meals etc. I always spoke English of course, said the same things over and over again, explained the same things in several different ways until the understood (often gesticulated, jumped up and down, made funny faces... you know, the usual things one does when the others don't speak his/her language ) and we had a lot of fun! In the evenings we sometimes watched cartoons in English, with no subtitles though as they are still young and can barely read well in Italian (I mean not fast enough) let alone in English. They loved the busy beavers http://wearebusybeavers.com/, coulnd't stop laughing when I did the Walking, Walking and the Hokey-Pokey and enjoyed every minute of "Silly Sentences" http://www.amazon.com/DK-Games-Silly.../dp/0789454726

Their mom said she will get a private teacher from September (unfortunately I will not be teaching anymore so I cannot go on with them... well not in Milan anyway cause I moved to the lovely Switzerland ) and I really hope they will continue doing English seeing it as something not only useful but also nice and fun, they have great potential!

Thanks again for your support!!

All my best,

Kārmi
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Old 25.11.2011, 17:37
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Re: Teaching English to a dyslexic 11 year old - tips needed!

How do I teach a dyslexic kid to read the analog hour clock? Advice?
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Old 25.11.2011, 19:59
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Re: Teaching English to a dyslexic 11 year old - tips needed!

I remember reading on a forum some time ago that the clock game from Right Start is quite good. I know how difficult it is for them to say the right time as the big hand doesn't stay on the hour and they get confused, but try not to stress much about this though. Luckily most of the clocks are no longer analog I'm sure your child will learn to tell the time sooner or later, just be patient and try not to pressure him too much.

http://store.rightstartmath.com/clockgameskit.aspx
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Old 25.11.2011, 20:14
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Re: Teaching English to a dyslexic 11 year old - tips needed!

I just asked my husband, who is a primary school teacher. He said it takes a lot of practice, regardless, even if the child does not have dyslexia, so try to make it fun and don't get too stressed about it.

I know at my preschool/primary school they had a plastic clock with moveable hands, and a clock stamp where you could make the clock face and then draw on the hands to whatever you wanted, and name them.

When making the switch from English to German, they say 'half to' the hour whereas we say 'half past' - so 'halb 2' is 13:30. One of the first things my husband did as a new english teacher for the primary schoolers was to make sure they could all tell the time and say the time in english properly... because it's pretty confusing.

I bet there are heaps of computer games online that teach the time...
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