It is not uncommon for children and adults to suffer from learning disabilities that prevent them from mastering the practice of reading. Often, these individuals feel overwhelmed when presented with a long text to read and will do what they can to avoid it completely. This leads to trouble in school, work, and other areas of life and may even result in anxiety or depression.
Fortunately, public awareness of this issue is growing significantly, resulting in companies like alKeyTab working to demystify reading for those with learning disabilities. New technology and strategies emerge daily, all aimed at supporting this incredible cause. To help those with learning disabilities improve their reading skills, look at the following five tips.
Even those with the sharpest of cognitive abilities have been known to drift mindlessly away from what they are reading, resulting in them having to reread the same sentence several times before digesting the information. Those with learning disabilities such as ADHD often struggle with this symptom more frequently, making the act of reading anything seem tedious. However, skimming a text may provide them with enough context to get by, depending on their reason for reading the text.
If skimming is not enough, those with learning disabilities can use this technique to identify which portions of a text need further review, leaving the rest of it behind. This breaks down the book or article into smaller, more digestible chunks.
Highlight and Take Notes
Those with learning disabilities often find that picking out the most valuable information in a text and committing it to memory is challenging for them. One way this can be made easier for them is by using a highlighter to mark a few key points that they need to remember. After the highlighting has been done, readers can go back and take notes on the sections they highlighted.
While it is easy to let one’s mind wander while reading, it is more difficult to do so when writing. Highlighting and taking notes forces the reader to consider the information in the body of text on a deeper level. Writing the information down after reading it is a form of rehearsal, which encourages the brain to commit it to memory.
Think in Pictures
Long before humans developed language and the ability to read, they could interpret pictures for information. Those suffering from learning disabilities may find it beneficial to use this principle when practicing reading comprehension. To do it, readers must associate an image with the text they are reading, such as visualizing highlighted portions of the page or imagining what the appearance of the page itself. This will trigger a person’s memory faster than words alone and make them more capable of accessing the information that they read.
Don’t Stretch the Attention Span
Many learning disabilities have a short attention span at the core of its symptoms. Those suffering from a short attention span find that reading requires a level of concentration difficult for them to maintain. For these individuals, it is best that they work within the confines of their attention span, reading for 10 to 15 minutes at a time and taking frequent breaks whenever they feel their mind wandering. Slowly increasing the time between breaks could even help them learn to focus on their reading for longer periods.
Limit Screen Time
With the prevalence of technology like cell phones and tablets, many people spend more time in front of a screen than reading text on a physical page. Screen time has been shown to have a significant negative impact on reading comprehension, making it important for those with learning disabilities to limit their time on such devices. Children with learning disabilities have shown a marked improvement in their reading comprehension when screen time is reduced and time spent reading with their family is increased.
The Bottom Line
There are many learning disabilities and that all come with a unique set of challenges. In this day and age, there is no reason for those suffering from learning disabilities to be left behind the rest of the world in terms of reading skills. Those who have difficulty reading can use these strategies to improve their reading comprehension skills and learn to love reading all kinds of materials.