Reading Strategies to Adapt Materials for Your Child

Reading Strategies for Adapting Reading Materials for Home and School

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Almost any reading material can be adapted to meet the needs of your learning disabled child. Whether your child's difficulty is in basic reading or in reading comprehension, these tips can help him understand the content of reading material with less frustration.

Continue with instruction in basic reading skills such as decoding and fluency, but when your child must read material for the purpose of learning the subject matter, adapt the reading task:

  • The first and most important thing you can do to ensure your child does not get behind in reading material necessary for all of his school subjects, ask your district's special education director to assist you with obtaining textbooks on tape or text reading software for digital reading material on computer. Textbooks on tape are often available through printing houses that serve people with disabilities. Most require submitting an application and purchasing a license for their services. Your school district can cover this expense if your child's disability requires it, and the IEP team agrees he needs them to learn. Contact your district's special education director or your state's department of education for information on how you can obtain these materials. Obtaining the books on tape can be a lengthy process, so begin right now for the next school year.
  • In addition to publishing houses for the disabled, many general textbook publishers offer CD ROM versions of their books. These may include audio files or may work with text readers. Your district director of special education can assist you in finding out if these resources are available and how to obtain them;
  • Before reading text, identify unfamiliar vocabulary, and help your child look up the meanings of words. Show your child how to pronounce new words, and help him make up sentences using them;
  • When reading books and novels, ask the school or public librarian if there are lower-level reading versions of the assigned book;
  • School or local librarians can assist you with finding unabridged books on tape and study guides for many books and novels that are commonly used in schools. If your local library does not carry these materials, it may be possible to get them through other libraries on an inter-library loan. Librarians can assist you with this;
  • Consider purchasing an electronic text reading program to help your child with digital reading material; and
  • Be available to help your child through difficult reading passages. Alternately, take turns reading pages to help keep frustration down for her.

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