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True Literacy: Remote Learning Recommendations to Support Dyslexic Students

In this installment of the True Literacy video column, Dr. Michael Hart discusses social distancing and the challenges facing families during this coronavirus pandemic. With schools closing globally, many administrators are calling for the use of remote learning platforms, creating a steep learning curve for all involved.

Only 41% of our schools are capable of having a platform for distance learning. Patience is needed to include all learners, especially those with dyslexia and learning differences as we all operate without a map.

The following are recommendations to make the most of navigating learning during this uniquely challenging time. With the correct attitude and goals, we can all get the most out of distance learning platforms and homeschooling environments. This includes supporting students with dyslexia and other learning differences.

Recommendation #1 – Patience

• Using distance learning platforms, particularly with kids with dyslexia or learning differences, will require patience all around.

• For those who don’t have access to distance learning platforms, homeschooling will be necessary. Again, creating a thriving homeschooling environment requires additional patience and compassion for all involved.

Recommendation #2 – Time and extra work

• We don’t know how long this virus threat is going to last. It will be a month, at least, and perhaps continue through the rest of the school year. Adhering to special education goals is going to be very challenging during this time, not to mention standard academic protocol.

• Educators who are lucky to have reliable remote learning platforms are faced with the reality that they no longer have control over the classroom. Kids are in their kitchens; they’re in their bedrooms; they’re in the living room. So it takes extra effort to capture the hearts and minds of the students and get things completed.

• Those without reliable platforms will need to spend extra time becoming creative in their approach. At the bottom of the article are links to a webpage with many recommendations for digital tools that teachers can explore with children. The list includes apps, websites, and games that are educationally focused.

• My colleague Margie Gillis from Literacy How has a newsletter that talks about many other literacy apps, PDFs, learning media, and much more.

Recommendation #3 – The work-from-home silver lining

• Working from home can be very difficult, especially with two or three kids underneath your feet. Everyone is making sense of this time that quickly arrived without any planning. When it comes to our dyslexic learners, though, there is a silver lining.

• Learning from home acts as a break from the routine facing many students with dyslexia and learning differences. For those individuals, six or seven hours a day, five days a week, nine months out of the year, they’re in an environment that provides a substantial mismatch between how their brains are wired and what the educational demands are in the classroom. Learning from home can act as a significant sense of relief from their typical environment where every day they are bombarded by messages (subtle and not so subtle) that there’s something wrong with them, that they’re broken, stupid, or a failure.

Recommendation #4 – Thinking beyond the school learning

• Luckily, a dyslexic child’s life is more than just going to school. And during this incredible worldwide challenge, a broader question needs to be asked: What do you want that life to look like during this unique period?

• Hopefully, time and space can be built that gives kids some excitement and rest. Structure and predictability are needed, but this also represents a wonderful time for playing and creating while resting and connecting with family.

Final Thoughts:

We are all going to get through this, and we will persevere no matter the time frame. Eventually, this will be over, and we’ll move on with life as it used to be. But for right now, let’s make this work for us and find ways to enjoy our time.

Hopefully, these recommendations help and offer some useful tips that can guide everyone through this unique circumstance. I look forward to speaking with you all again soon.

Head on over to trueliteracy.in for more in-depth analysis and to learn more about literacy learning.

Helpful resources for home teaching from Literacy How

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