Homeschooling with Dyslexia and Struggling Readers
(The following was originally published on https://www.laramolettiere.com)
Dyslexia is a challenge. It is also a gift of sorts, allowing the person to view the world in a different way. Learning to build our homeschool curriculum choices around dyslexia has been a rewarding and sometimes frustrating journey.
Because Mr. T wants to read well, we are always willing to try new programs to help boost his reading skills. When the opportunity to review MindPlay online literacy program came along, we jumped at the chance! Mr. T has an 8th grade comprehension but struggles to read low level BOB books. You can probably guess that the asynchrony there is sometimes a struggle, but we make it work.
*Disclosure: I received this product for review purposes and was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own and I was not required to post a positive review. As always, we only recommend products that work for our family and that I hope will be beneficial to yours as well.
MindPlay offers a really great course for teachers and parents about Understanding Dyslexia. If you are new to the diagnosis or just want to learn more, then this might be just what you need! There are several other options for students, teachers, and parents. The results of MindPlay are truly incredible and speak volumes about the program.
The program we have been using is MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach. It begins with a screening to determine your learners level of proficiency. Mr. T did not like the screening. At all. Then the month flipped two days later and he had to do it again. That was a fluke, as their system was set to give an “end of year” benchmark test.
Normally there is the initial screening, then a pre and post-test for each section, a progress assessment every 30 days, and a benchmark exam every quarter. It sounds like more than it is, but it works with the program’s synthetic intelligence to continually adjust the learning plan based on the student’s performance. Pretty cool and very helpful for my little learner.
From MindPlay Education: In order to guarantee MindPlay’s promise of a one grade-level gain in reading after 20 hours of use, it is important that learners use the program with fidelity. That fidelity includes 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
MindPlay Online Literacy Program for Students with Dyslexia
As you can see, Mr. T thinks it’s a little tricky sometimes. We are in the process of having him evaluated for auditory processing disorder which may be contributing to his challenges. We’ve seen a good bit of improvement so far using MindPlay. He is reversing letters less and is improving in being able to squish together the sounds he sounds out correctly instead of sounding out the letters then coming up with a completely unrelated word when he tries to put the sounds together.
How MindPlay Online Virtual Reading Coach Works
MindPlay Reading uses the following:
- Universal Screener – this gives a comprehensive assessment.
- Phonemic Awareness – a subset of phonological awareness in which listeners are able to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes, the smallest units of sound that can differentiate meaning.
- Phonics – a method of teaching people to read by correlating sounds with letters or groups of letters in an alphabetic writing system.
- Vocabulary – MindPlay actively uses words and pictures to expand vocabulary.
- Grammar – for meaning.
- Comprehension – strategies for understanding the text.
- Fluency – fluency practice is used to improve silent reading comprehension.
We haven’t been using the program every single day since we began, so we aren’t at a full grade level of improvement. There was a whole week of zoo camp from 8 am to 5 pm, so Mr. T was excused from any additional work that week which seemed to set us back a little, but not significantly. The set up of the program has been very helpful for him.
The reporting is easy to understand and thorough. You can keep track of how your student is doing and how much time they have spent by checking the Teacher section of the site. It’s very easy to navigate. This reporting also makes it more hands-off if you have a learner who likes to be very independent. Which is definitely Mr. T!
MindPlay Literacy seems to be working very well for Mr. T. I really enjoy seeing the benefits in his reading abilities.
I also like that he can do it independently because he often prefers to do things himself if he is able.
What is challenging
Mr. T has a very difficult time focusing on the same thing for more than 15 minutes. The 30-minute sessions are a bit long for him, which may be contributing to his slower progress.
Mr. T is not a big fan of headphones. He willingly wears them when he wants to tune out Mr. F and listen to an audiobook or music CD, but even then, he cannot tolerate them for very long. The program recommends headphones, but Mr. T opted to sit alone in the dining room, and I have to try to keep Mr. F quiet while he is working. This works better on days that do not end in “y”.
Our final verdict
MindPlay Reading, even with the challenges, has significantly aided Mr. T with his reading difficulties. We will absolutely be continuing to use this program. I cannot wait to see how much more he improves over the rest of the summer. If you’d like to try it out with your students, there is a 7-day free trial.