The Best Dyslexia Reading Programs & Resources To Help Children With Dyslexia
Welcome to my post on helping children with dyslexia learn to read. I homeschool my three children, one of whom has dyslexia, and I can tell you it really threw me when I realised that she simply wasn’t going to learn to read in the way that my other children did. After trying numerous tactics and reading programs I have found a few things that have got us our brilliant breakthrough moments and I have shared them in this post. I have many more posts on homeschooling our children, including STEM activities. homeschooling resources and more!
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a common learning disorder whereby a person with the condition has trouble interpreting letters, numbers and other symbols, but it does not affect general intelligence. It is estimated that between 5-10% of the population have dyslexia, and dyslexia tutoring programs and reading programs are increasingly available to help children with dyslexia learn to read.
Dyslexia Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of dyslexia include (but are not limited to):
- Writing letters and numbers the wrong way around or upside down (confusing ‘b’ and ‘d’ for example)
- Inconsistent spelling
- Issues with learning and remembering the names and sounds of letters
- jumbling up the order of letters in words
- Letters may seem to ‘jump around’ the page or may seem blurry
- Answering questions well when asked to speak, but not being able to give the answer written down
- Reading slowly
- Making many errors when reading aloud
- Difficulty carrying out instructions in order or with more than one instruction
- Difficulty learning things like days of the week, the alphabet, or months of the year (sequences)
- Slow writing speed
- Messy handwriting
- Difficulty copying words and taking a long time to complete written work
- Poor ‘word attack’ skills (an inability to break down words into smaller sounds to make sense of them)
If your child is exhibiting symptoms of dyslexia, don’t panic. There are many reading programs for dyslexia and the condition is well understood by the education system and exam bodies; children with dyslexia get extra time to allow for their delay in reading and writing. Dyslexia does not mean your child has a low IQ or is unintelligent, or will struggle to find employment. In fact there are many famous and very successful people with dyslexia!
How To Get A Dyslexia Assessment & Diagnosis
An educational psychologist or specialist, appropriately qualified dyslexia teacher can diagnose dyslexia. If you are in the US this your can use this list of assessment centres for dyslexia, and in the UK you can use the British Dyslexia Association to arrange a screening.
Famous & Successful People With Dyslexia
Dyslexia does not need to be a barrier to a very happy and successful life, either personal or professional. Famous people who have dyslexia include:
- Richard Branson, Owner of Virgin corporations
- Orlando Bloom, Actor
- Whoopi Goldberg, Actor
- Pablo Picasso, Actor
- Tommy Hilfiger, Designer
- Tom Cruise, Actor
- Leonardo di Vinci, Artist
- Walt Disney, Producer
- Jim Carrey, Actor
Is Dyslexia Linked To Other Conditions?
Children with dyslexia are more likely to have other associated conditions such as developmental coordination disorder (dyspraxia) and attention deficit disorder (ADHD). However it should be noted that these conditions do not cause each other; they are simply often found together. Emotional and behaviour problems are more common in children with dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD; these may be as a result of the frustration that comes with having dyslexia in a time-pressured school environment.
Is Homeschooling Good For Children With Dyslexia?
Homeschooling may be an excellent option for children with dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD as it allows for more time to learn in the child’s specific style, and relieves some of the academic and social pressure that the child may feel. We homeschool our three children, one of whom has dyslexia, and we are very thankful that she has a positive relationship with books and reading because there is no comparison, testing or undue pressure on her.
How Do I Help My Child With Dyslexia?
Children with dyslexia often need more direct and individual instruction when it comes to reading, writing, and other subjects and traditional public schools are often not able to provide that one-on-one learning that is so beneficial to children with dyslexia. It can be tricky to teach a child with dyslexia but having the right programs and resources will certainly help make it easier on both you and your child.
Here are a few great resources, programs, and curriculums to help teach children with dyslexia. Coloured overlays may also help people with dyslexia who have similar issues such as Visual Stress while reading.
What Are Coloured Overlays & Do Coloured Overlays Help Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is not the same as Visual Stress while reading, but it often co-concurs (people with dyslexia often experience Visual Stress while reading. Coloured overlays are coloured strips of plastic that are put over text to ease the visual stress and help people decipher words easier. They are worth trying if your child is dyslexic as Visual Stress may be adding to their difficulty in reading.
The Best Dyslexia Reading Programs
The Orton Gilligham method is widely known as an excellent reading program for children with dyslexia. This method is a research-based approach developed by a neuropsychiatrist and a psychologist, and uses a sequential multi sensory approach to suit the learning needs of students with dyslexia. Parents can pay to train in the Orton-Gillingham method, or use books such as the ones below. If you don’t want to pay the premium for the online courses, The Gillingham Manual by Anna Gillingham herself is an excellent resource for parents or teachers who are teaching a dyslexic child, to better understand the condition and how to use the lessons in the best way.
Ages 5-7: “I Can Fly” Orton-Gillingham Based Dyslexia Reading Program
If your child is aged 5-7, the two books of the “I Can Fly” Orton-Gillingham based reading program are ideal for getting started with learning letters, sounds and reading. The two books, ‘A’ and ‘B’, come supplemented with a free website that includes online games and flash cards to enrich everything that is taught in the books.
Age 7-13: “Blast Off To Reading” Orton-Gillingham Based Dyslexia Reading Program
The ‘Blast Off To Reading’ dyslexia reading program is the second stage on from ‘I Can Fly’, created by the same folks. It is bright and colourful with a simple layout and large text- perfect for those who struggle with reading or who have dyslexia.
The workbooks is packed full of 50 reading lessons, taking children from the most basic of recognition skills to multi-sound complex words over the course of the book. Each lesson includes a new sound or rule, a short exercise and a review of what has been taught in the lesson and the lesson beforehand. There is also an online app for dictation, flash cards and reading games included free with the purchase.
Age 14+: “A Workbook For Dyslexics, 3rd Edition” Orton-Gillingham Based Dyslexia Reading Program
The final instalment in the Orion-Gillingham based dyslexia reading program is the 3rd edition of the Workbook For Dyslexics. This contains 55 lessons and is ideal for older students as it uses age appropriate phrases and examples, as opposed to the younger vocabulary used in the previous programs. The workbook provides tips for using phonics, rules and memory cues in order to read and remember words and sounds. The book comes with free online audio guides for the dictation sections as well as compatible flash cards.
Extra Dyslexia Resources
Storyboard That – A great learning tool for children with Dyslexia and other learning abilities who struggle with written assignments, Storyboard That allows children to use a visual approach and focus on the representation of their comprehension instead of written expression.
Use the OpenDyslexic Font – This is an open sourced font that was created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. The font uses unique letters and shapes to help prevent confusion so having children use and read this font can be ideal for reading and writing. The font is free and can be downloaded at
Voice Dream Reader – A text-to-speech app for iOS users that allows you to hear the information as it is being read. The app features a variety of different voices, does not require an Internet connection, and it can read anything from PDF files to Word and online pages.
Math-U-See – A hands-on curriculum that allows children to learn math by building it, writing it and saying it. This has become a popular dyslexia curriculum because it teaches math in a different way to what is learned in traditional school and is often easier for children with dyslexia to understand. As students get more advanced in math (Prealgebra and higher), the program offers online courses that are taught by registered instructors for those parents who are unfamiliar with those subjects or need a little extra help teaching it.
Dyslexia Quest – An iOS app that looks and feels like a game, it helps children with dyslexia to work on memory skills, sequencing, and phonics.
A few good resource websites and other curriculum choices to help teach a child with dyslexia are:
- Homeschooling with Dyslexia Blog
- National Center for Learning Disabilities
- The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity
- All About Learning
- Eye to Eye National
If using just one dyslexia reading program isn’t working, you may need to incorporate several different teaching methods, dyslexia readings programs or curriculum to help suit the needs of your child. I hope this post has given you encouragement and confidence in helping your child with dyslexia learn to read- you, and they, can do it!