What Works

Morning Time for Dyslexic Learners

Morning time continues to grow and evolve at our house as my kids grow and I get better and better at meeting their needs as dyslexic learners. One thing remains the same – morning time is the best part of the school day at our house.

Here’s how our morning time routine is going these days.

Morning Time

Non-fiction Readaloud

We begin our morning time each day with books that appeal to my children’s interests or that develop a unit of study in history or science. We’ve been working our way through Wicked Bugs at a rate of one creepy-crawly chapter per day for a while. Last week we also finished a stack of picture book biographies from the library about slavery and the civil war, and this week we’ll read library books about birds as we prepare to build nests with our maker club.

Reader’s Theater

I added reader’s theater to our morning time routine after reading Overcoming Dyslexia, in which dyslexia researcher Sally Shaywitz wisely recommends multiple readings of the same script to help develop fluency. I did a search for “small group readers theater” at Teacher’s Pay Teachers and purchased a bundle of ten scripts. We’re spending about a week on each script, adding one or two pages to our reading each day, so by the end of the week we’ll have read through the entire thing at least two times.

I was nervous about starting reader’s theater with my kids, and while there was a little balking at the beginning, I’m really pleased with the results. Yes, their fluency is developing more, but I’m also noticing increased confidence in reading and more attempts at reading text we encounter in everyday life (and more getting it right!). I’m sure that part of these improvements has to do with also advancing through All About Reading, but I’m thrilled with how reading is advancing at our house with the addition of reader’s theater.

Math Review Sheet

Do your dyslexic learners also struggle with memory issues? My kids are brilliant when it comes to understanding advanced concepts in math, but remembering facts and procedures – yikes. I consulted Teachers Pay Teachers to find a short math review page for them to complete independently each day. By this point in the morning my voice is pretty tired from all of the reading aloud I do during morning time, so I’m happy to read the directions and then take a rest as my kids work through a few problems.

Handwriting Practice

After I check the kids’ math work and help them with any corrections that need to be made, I send them to the table to work on a page in their handwriting notebooks. The exact thing I wanted for handwriting wasn’t available, so I create the handwriting page for each child before we begin our work for the day. I choose words that provide extra practice in reading words from their current All About Reading lessons, and I make sure to require both print and cursive.

On Thursday, grocery store day, we take a day off from the handwriting notebooks, and I ask the kids to make a grocery list of any snacks or breakfast/lunch items they’d like. If it’s not on the list, I don’t buy it, so they’re motivated to write. It’s a good opportunity for me to see how their spelling skills are advancing, and it’s nice for them to have a grocery list to check off throughout the store. You know, instead of poking each other through the aisles and driving me nuts.

 

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Geography

We’ve just recently started working on a multi-sensory routine to learn the names, locations, and capitals of the 50 states. I designed the routine specifically with the needs and strengths of my dyslexic learners in mind, so I’ll write a post soon to share the specifics of what we’re doing with this.

Read Aloud

We usually round out our morning time with whatever our fiction readaloud is. At the moment, we’re reading Little House on the Prairie. If you need some ideas for readalouds, check out my lists of books that we read as readalouds and books we listened to on audio last year.

Documentary

If we have some time between finishing our readaloud and lunch, we’ll find a documentary. Every now and then I’ll have a dvd from the library or our own educational dvd collection lined up, but usually we’re looking for something on the fly. Our go-to sources for documentaries are Curiosity Stream and Netflix, with a little Amazon Prime thrown in the mix. I’ve also had some success finding quality documentaries with YouTube. Wherever I source our documentaries from, I’m always surprised at how much my kids retain. Months or years later, my kids will spout an obscure fact, and usually when I ask where they learned it from, they’ll tell me it was a video we watched together. So, I think documentaries are a valuable tool to keep in our multi-sensory toolkits.

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