Reading Tips for Children with Special Needs
Children with special needs like dyslexia, ADHD, and autism may take a lot longer to learn how to read. These children have their own special ways of learning everything about life and the world around them- and that includes reading. Reading is an important skill that all children have to learn. Through reading, children learn about the world around them, the people, the cultures, and behaviours. This is also the way they widen their knowledge of the world and build their language and vocabulary. It is an important part of every child’s early childhood development and it serves as a foundation for their language and communication. However, some children may need special assistance to be able to learn how to read, despite the challenge, it is still possible to make reading time just as special and enjoyable for children with special needs. We have listed some of the most practical and proven-effective tips to aid children with special needs during shared reading!
Understand that not all books are appropriate for all children. As a parent, caregiver, or educator to a child with special needs, choosing the right book is crucial. It’s ideal that you choose a book that uses simple language that the child can easily understand. A book that’s easily relatable such as a personalised book gives them a sense of ownership in the text and makes them the hero of the story. The experience of reading a personalised book is more enjoyable for them!
Children with special needs such as Dyslexia and Autism have a hard time reading letters and numbers, so hearing them on a personalised audiobook instead of reading the text will help so much for better comprehension. Each Super Personalised Book is linked to a personalised audiobook that’s accessible by scanning the unique QR at the back of the book.
Be mindful of their attention span. Remember that children with special needs have a lot shorter attention spans and are quicker to get bored and distracted. The average listening time for a developing four-year-old is around 12 minutes, while a five-year-old may take up to 20 minutes. So, whenever you are reading them a book, vary the tones of your voice, use props to make the story more engaging and exciting, and take breaks if necessary. It’s okay to go slow in reading time, we make sure the child enjoys reading and we develop their comprehension in the process.
During book reading, ask questions as you read. Asking questions encourages them to participate in the story, and this opens an opportunity for communication. Ask comprehension questions about the story to test how well they listened and understood. When kids participate actively in their education, they learn more, and asking questions encourages back-and-forth communication. Some books even include comprehension at the end of the book, these questions and specially formulated to encourage the children to think and pay attention to the story. When you ask questions and they answer, you are training them to be critical thinkers!
Super Personalised Books for Children with Special Needs
A Super Personalised Book is made for all readers. This book has special features that are helpful even for children that need additional help. The book is personalised, featuring your child as the HERO of the story. It is likely that children have trouble reading because the subject matter is uninteresting. Studies show that they will be more engaged with personalised stories because of their personal relevance to them (Bracken, 1982). Text ownership, using metaphors, both literally and figuratively, is an important step in the process of developing and identifying as a reader (Dymore and Griffiths, 2010). Personalised books have a more significant impact to the child because they are able to see themselves as the hero in the printed text.
Another feature of a Super Personalised Book is the use of the cursive font. Studies on children with special needs show that children with special needs find it easier to read the text in cursive fonts. Moreover, the personalised books come with their own personalised audiobook that’s accessible only by scanning the unique QR on the book. An audiobook aids children who have difficulty reading and reluctant readers. Through an audiobook, children can enjoy the story even without forcing them to read themselves. Enjoyment in the text is the key step to reading for pleasure!
Reading should be inclusive to everyone, regardless of the learning level. Every child deserves to enjoy the world that only books can bring. Super Personalised Books are important tools to make reading accessible, understandable, and enjoyable for every child, even those with special needs!