Get the Connection: Real Help for Students With Dyslexia

When a student has been diagnosed with dyslexia, extra help typically focuses on phonics, or sounding out words, and spelling rules. Unfortunately, many students, even those who have had years of extra help, continue to struggle.

Perhaps they sound out a word eventually, but it is slow and labored. They may take so long to sound out the word they miss the meaning of the text altogether. Or, they may substitute words when reading a paragraph. For example, they may read ‘production’ instead of ‘perfection.’

What’s missing for these students is an important component of reading and spelling called symbol imagery. Symbol imagery is the ability to visualize letters in your mind’s eye. This foundation of imagery and language is necessary for sounding out new words and quickly recognizing letters and common words. Students who read fluently and are able to self-correct their errors have strong symbol imagery.

Traditional reading remediation programs focus on how to sound out words and reading and spelling rules. While these activities have value, they do not affect the imagery-language foundation. They do not change how a student is processing language. This is why reading may still be difficult for dyslexic students, even after years of extra tutoring and accommodations.

Instruction at a Lindamood-Bell Learning Center or the Lindamood-Bell Academy often includes the development of symbol imagery as a basis for reading fluency and spelling. With this sensory-cognitive function in place, students can go on to experience success in language processing and success in school.


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