The ability to read and write fluently is crucial for a child's future success and self-esteem. Unfortunately, many children struggle with reading, and dyslexia is a specific learning disability that affects about 20% of the population. Dyslexic learners face challenges in accurate word recognition, spelling, and decoding abilities, which can impact their overall reading comprehension. However, with appropriate instruction and interventions, these individuals have the opportunity to reach their full literacy potential. One effective tool that can support dyslexic learners is Eyewords, an evidence-based, whole-brain, structured literacy program designed to enhance their reading abilities. In this article, we will explore the importance of Eyewords and how it can empower dyslexic learners.
Dyslexia is a neurobiological learning disability characterized by difficulties in word recognition, spelling, and decoding. It is often caused by a deficit in the phonological component of language, making it challenging for dyslexic learners to build an orthographic lexicon or sight word bank. Unlike skilled readers who can instantly recognize words, dyslexic learners need more repetitions to permanently store words in their memory. To address these challenges, dyslexic learners require explicit, multisensory, structured, diagnostic, and prescriptive instruction. Eyewords aligns with these principles and provides a valuable resource for dyslexic learners.
The Role of Eyewords:
- The Importance of Orthographic Mapping: Orthographic mapping involves connecting printed letters to their corresponding sounds. Dyslexic learners often have weaker orthographic memories, necessitating repeated exposure to words and explicit explanations of why certain words behave the way they do. Eyewords offers high-frequency word cards and activities that facilitate orthographic mapping. These cards mark sounds with a dot for regular patterns or a heart for irregular patterns, along with a description explaining the letter-sound correspondence. This approach helps dyslexic learners make connections between high-frequency words and their spellings.
2. The Importance of Vocabulary: Eyewords not only focuses on word recognition but also emphasizes vocabulary development. Each high-frequency word featured in Eyewords is accompanied by a short phrase that provides context and meaning. By connecting words to phrases, learners gain a deeper understanding of the word's usage, expanding their vocabulary. This explicit vocabulary instruction is essential for dyslexic learners, who may struggle with word meaning and usage in various contexts.
3. The Importance of Comprehension: Comprehension is a vital component of reading, and Eyewords addresses this by adopting a multisensory approach. On one side of the card, orthographic mapping helps with word recognition, while the other side provides the word in a phrase, a visual cue representing its meaning, and an associated action. By incorporating oral, auditory, visual, and kinesthetic cues, Eyewords helps dyslexic learners grasp the meaning of high-frequency words. Developing automaticity in reading and understanding these words is crucial for comprehending sentences and passages.
4. The Importance of Repeated Exposure: Repetition is key when it comes to supporting developing readers, especially dyslexic learners. Eyewords acknowledges the need for repeated exposure and ensures that high-frequency words are presented in a fun and engaging manner. Each pack of Eyewords cards includes eight unique, easy to implement ideas for incorporating play into high frequency word learning. By making the learning experience enjoyable, Eyewords enhances retention and accessibility. Additionally, Eyewords provides engaging worksheets on the website and shares practical ideas on their social media platforms, demonstrating how educators and caregivers can use Eyewords effectively.
Dyslexic learners face unique challenges when it comes to reading, but with the right support and resources, they can overcome these obstacles and achieve reading success. Eyewords offers a whole-brain, structured literacy program that aligns with the needs of dyslexic learners, focusing on orthographic mapping, vocabulary development, comprehension, repeated exposure to high-frequency words facilitated by engaging play-based activities. By implementing Eyewords in their instruction, parents and educators can provide dyslexic learners with the tools they need to build their reading skills, improve their confidence, and reach their full literacy potential.