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Suzanne Knoelk MS, CALP
Using Multi-Sensory Techniques to
Reach Struggling Readers

Meet Sue Knoelk....... Passionate educator, well versed Reading Specialist, and all around children's reading champion. Sue loves what she does on a daily basis. 
"As a classroom teacher, I was puzzled why some students struggled so much trying to apply phonics skills in their reading and spelling and why after dedicated instruction and practice, these students still were not fluent" ...............more
Profile of a Dyslexic Reader

 Profile of a Dyslexic Reader:

  • Lack of accuracy
  • Lots of substitutions
  • Confused by look alike letters, words, or numbers
  • Semantic additions and/or substitutions
  • Lack of efficiency
  • Comprehension often compromised
  • Need to re-read
  • Poor tracking and signal following
  • Lack of phonological awareness
  • Inability to represent and access the sound/symbol association
  • Inability to segment phonemes
  • Trouble discriminating grammatical and syntactic differences among words and sentences
  • Poor vocabulary
  • Lack of self-help skills
  • Frequently not aware of what is needed to be a good reader
  • May be rigid in approach to learning, cannot think of an alternative way
  • Lacks self-esteem
  • Thinks they may be stupid
  • Frequently thinks they should be doing better and feels bad about this
  • Avoids taking a risk if failure or mistake might happen


What to do if you think your child may have dyslexia:

If you think your child may have a learning disability such as dyslexia, you should first seek an evaluation from a licensed pediatric psychologist or neuropsychologist. This evaluation should include an assessment of the child’s overall level of intellectual ability as well as the child’s academic achievements and spoken language functioning. This will provide information about your child’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of his/her learning and enable the psychologist to determine whether or not your child has a learning disability. Tests that are typically included in such an evaluation include a test of intellectual functioning (“IQ tests”), tests of written language functioning, spoken language functioning, visual functioning and memory performance, tests of academic achievement in reading, written language ability, spelling and arithmetic.

If the evaluation indicates that tutoring is in order, parents should find a suitable tutor who has knowledge and experience working with children with learning disabilities (such as an Orton-Gillingham certified tutor). Referrals may also be made to a speech/language pathologist if indicated by the assessment.


Suggestions For Parents

Acknowledge your child’s difficulty:

· Read books on the subject together

· Discuss concerns openly

· Maintain perspective that learning is different and may be difficult, but often is delightful

· Accept your child’s best without setting standards and goals beyond his/her ability to achieve

· Know that it is all right to have questions and problems about your child’s difference in learning


Accept your child for what he/she is, and not for what you feel he/she should be:

· Relieve stress in weak areas

· Guard against negative remarks, especially those referring to laziness or lack of effort

· Avoid threats of punishment for such things as low grades, need for repetition of directions, difficulty with what you view as a simple task-know that your child is    more than likely doing their best

· Set standards, goals, and expectations of achievement within reach of your child’s abilities


Help your child’s self-worth:

· Praise whenever it is deserved

· Plan activities and tasks which your child can master

· Respect your child

· Treat your child’s questions, concerns and efforts seriously


Accentuate your child’s abilities:

· Help your child locate and pursue talents in music, arts, sports, mechanics, etc.

· Encourage hobbies and unique interests

· Initiate varied experiences (museums, historical places, etc.) to introduce your child to new avenues of development

· Provide opportunities for “hands-on” learning

· Allow and encourage originality and creativity

· Read aloud to your child for information, literary appreciation, and recreation


Provide some structure at home:

· Agree on regular routines for meals, homework, recreation, chores, bedtime, etc.

· Help organize belongings so they are easy to use and put back in place

· Give instructions in small, clear steps (and use visuals for reminders)

· Foster good work habits in home, school, and community


Help with school work:

· Agree on a schedule

· Allow frequent breaks

· Provide a comfortable place with minimal distractions

· Read assignments to your child as needed

· Help plan and schedule long assignments

· Exhibit genuine interest by discussing your child’s work

· Record, in advance, lengthy textbook reading assignments

· Place good books, magazines, encyclopedias, and other resources in conspicuous, easily accessible places in your home


Support and enhance school efforts to help your child:

· Explain your child’s difficulties to teachers

· Request modifications in work to reduce the need for written assignments

· Ask permission to write assignments as your child dictates

· Ask for permission to use a recorder or other helpful technology when feasible

· Ask teacher to call on your child to read aloud only when he/she volunteers

· Act as a liaison between school and your child, adding the positive dimension for both


Involve yourself in the community:

· Promote study groups on learning problems

· Be available as a resource person

· Guide P.T.A. toward awareness of learning problems

· Initiate a parent support group for sharing information and encouragement