One of the important elements of reading is building vocabulary and of course comprehension.
Building vocabulary in particular is the greatest issue for dyslexic readers as the “trickier” words are more complicated to read, but also given their reading age will often lag several years behind, they will often be reading books that are less complicated than their peers and therefore have less varied and challenging vocabulary.
How then to build your dyslexic child’s vocabulary given the above situation?
As a time-poor working mum, it’s unrealistic to try and set myself the target of reading all the books my child should be reading to her. For Jasmine aged 8, we are talking about the Harry Potter books, the Roald Dahl books etc.
I’ve found the solution to be audio books. Jasmine absolutely loves them and can go through 2-3 novels a week!
Jasmine has an hour-long school bus journey everyday, so she has an iPod loaded with books; I have CDs of audio books in the car so she can listen to books in the car; I also have audio books downloaded on my iPhone and iPad, so if we are in a cab, on the bus or stuck somewhere and Jasmine does not have her iPod or it’s run out of battery, there is always a story available for her to listen to.
For some of the more famous books like Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, after listening to the book, we’ve gone to see the show at the theatre or watched the movie.
I recall one day Jasmine was home ill in bed, she listened to all 3 Chronicles of Narnia books in one afternoon back to back. In the evening she got out of bed and as a treat, I let her watch The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe which I downloaded from iTunes. The whole way through the film, she was running a commentary on what was to happen and why, but also interestingly, pointing out the key differences between the film and the book. She was clearly listening!
Audio books have been a life saver. We have listened to all the recommended age appropriate books for Jasmine and many at the next level. I have also introduced her to many classics – we are currently listening to all the Charles Dickens books which is wonderful, as I love them too.
The point of reading apart from it being a life skill, is building vocabulary and comprehension. Jasmine can discuss any book just as effectively as her peers who read them the traditional way. Also, wonderfully, we are told her vocabulary is 2 years ahead of her age. Amazing, I think, for a dyslexic child!
I can’t recommend audio books enough, they are not a chore at all and they have been our life saver.
Here are some of our favourites (Jasmine aged 7-8):
- Roald Dhal’s entire collection
- Harry Potter collection by J.K Rowling
- David Walliams entire collection
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis
- The Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy
- The Magic Faraway Tree & The Enchanted Wood series by Enid Blyton
- Alice in Wonderland
- The Goth Girl series by Chris Riddel
- Murder Most Unladylike (and other books in the series by Robin Stevens)
- The Diary of a Wimpy Kid collection by Jeff Kinney