The Struggle With Dyslexia (and how Komodo can help)
It is hard to imagine just how hard our brains are working when we read. What is essentially a series of marks on a page is decoded into words, sentences and ultimately thoughts and ideas - all within milliseconds.
Reading is like a code that feels almost instinctive once it has been cracked. When we reach that stage, we don't look at words and see a string of letters - we instantly know the meaning of the word itself. But for the approximately one in ten children who have dyslexia, this code is much harder to crack, and reading and spelling can remain an ongoing struggle.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a condition that affects reading and writing skills. It is a different way of thinking and learning that can often allow for strengths in reasoning and creativity, but which can also have a negative impact on information processing around language. In short, it affects a child's ability to learn how to read, write and spell. For a more detailed description check out the International Dyslexia Association.
How common is it?
Perhaps as many as 15 - 20 percent of the population as a whole have some symptoms of dyslexia, and it is found across all abilities. This means dyslexia can affect the struggling kids, the bright kids and pretty much everyone in between.
It often comes to light when children demonstrate a big chasm between their written work and their ability to express themselves in speech. Common issues include struggles with spelling, problems reading aloud and forgetting words they have already learned.
How can Komodo English help?
Children don't grow out of dyslexia, but there are a range of educational approaches that can help overcome the challenges of this learning difference. In school, children with dyslexia require a tailored programme of learning. In the same way in Komodo we’ll take on board your advice and assign a learning plan to meet the individual needs of your child. So when you let us know your child has dyslexia or it’s suspected, we’ll assign and configure the app accordingly.
At Komodo, we have started off by using a sans-serif font and appropriate letter tracking to improve readability. We also make sure that the screen is as uncluttered and clear as possible to avoid distraction.
Learners with dyslexia can select a low-contrast option in the settings which helps set the scene for optimum reading speeds. Komodo also has a built-in click-activated text reader, so that kids can still move forward with grammar and comprehension exercises when reading is a struggle. There is also no time pressure or scoreboard which would typically make dyslexic children feel under undue pressure.
Our new English Language Arts curriculum also lends itself to dyslexic learners thanks to its focus on phonological awareness. Students with dyslexia can have trouble hearing the different small sounds within words (phonemes) and have difficulty breaking words apart in order to spell or read them correctly.
Because dyslexic children often demonstrate working memory deficits, and may have to decode or sound out words many more times than a typical child before it is cemented properly in their long-term memory, we've made it possible in the Komodo English settings for parents to select lessons their child would benefit from repeating. This tailored extra repetition and practise will help develop the strong and fast word association that is required for fluent reading.
Komodo provides an interactive word exploration tool which allows children to split words into syllables or phonemes, listen to these sounds in isolation and in the word context, and as such get to grips with how the words are put together. Komodo's curriculum offers opportunities to really work on the skills they've learned in school, with extra phonics lessons available at all levels for children who need the extra practice.
Other known risk factors for dyslexia include rhyming difficulties and issues identifying syllables. Komodo's English curriculum has exercises which focus on rhyming words and syllabic identification to help strengthen these key skills.
Parents can find a wealth of information and tips for supporting children with dyslexia online, with this guide from the International Dyslexia Association being particularly accessible and comprehensive.
About Komodo - Komodo is a fun and effective way to boost K-5 math and language arts skills. Designed for 5 to 11-year-olds to use at home, Komodo uses a 'little and often' approach to learning that fits into busy family life. Komodo helps users develop fluency and confidence in math and English - without keeping them at the screen for long.