By:  Staci Stallings

So, how many of you can spell camouflage correctly without looking back at it or at the title?  Go ahead.  Try it.

How did you do?

Here’s a weird thing I’ve noticed about my son and dyslexia.  The words that went in when he was struggling and we didn’t know it got all mixed up.  When… What… Who (who is a killer!)… Very…  There…

Those he has a really hard time discerning and spelling, though he’s getting better.  But give him a word like camouflage or Thanksgiving and he’s all over it.  Now, to be fair amphibian tripped him up, but he got vertebrate right.

Teaching through dyslexia for me has been interesting.  He can do it if he’ll slow down and sound things out–or as I now say, “Take it one letter at a time.”  He’s doing lessons out of the Hooked on Phonics books that nearly fried him over the summer:  flock, flap, flog, flat.  Every word is no longer a struggle. He’s reading them the way he should have been reading them 2 years ago.

And reading the stories is, for all practical purposes, simple now.

The funny thing is, I can tell when he’s decoding (using the new skill) and when he falls back on the old memory-and-guessing combo.  Only now, Mom’s wise to that trick, so if he starts that, I swipe the book away, make him stop, and then try it… one letter at a time.

This last week he graduated to second grade books for the Accelerated Reader program!  (He’s in second grade.)  That was a big YEA because it means he’s only about 4-5 months behind.  We started this year well over a year behind in reading.  So, we keep working and praying and walking.

What I have learned through all of this so far is that my children’s experience of life is often so very different from mine.  My son wasn’t trying to be difficult.  He just didn’t see the world–or words–like I did at all.  He needed to be taught to see them and how to decode them–rather than trying to memorize everything.  He can do it.  It’s just a matter of teaching him differently.

So for now we’re climbing back up to where we would have been if dyslexia wasn’t in the picture.  But already I can see a time when this issue no longer holds him back.  I can see a time when reading and even spelling are not chains around his neck pulling him down.

In fact, over Christmas one of his games with his sister was treasure hunt.  He would write clues and hide them around for her to find, and then she would write him clues.  Not once did he come to ask how to spell something.  Now many of the notes were a mish-mash of misspellings, but he’s now sounding words out to spell them for himself instead of running to me to do it for him.  That’s a step in the right direction.

Kind of on-par with spelling camouflage without flinching.


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