Eight multisensory reading activities to reinforce knowledge of the alphabet

Dyslexic children and adults learn differently. That is why it is important for both parents and teachers to incorporate multisensory reading activities by introducing the twenty-six letter names and shapes of the alphabet. Multisensory reading activities use all the senses, sent to the brain: visual, auditory, tactile and body movement.

Here are eight multisensory reading activities that help dyslexic students learn the alphabet:

1. Touch – Trace and cut out the uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet, on sandpaper. After entering the name and shape of a letter, ask your child to trace the shape of the letter with two fingers. The rough surface of each sandpaper letter helps children learn and retain letter shapes.

2. Tap – Pour a bag of rice, dried beans or peas into a shallow skillet. Model for your child how to trace the letter of the alphabet that he is currently learning on the pan. The sensation of dry food helps children retain letter names and shapes.

3. Visual: Mix Elmer’s Glue with colorful craft fabric paints. On a poster board, ask your child to draw letters of the alphabet in different colors. The variety of glue colors helps children keep the name and shape of each letter of the alphabet.

4. Visual: Assemble a collection of bright crayons, colored pencils, and pens. Draw the uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet on notebook paper or construction paper in pencil. Ask your child to trace each letter. The use of colors helps children to memorize the shapes and names of the alphabet symbols.

5. Auditory – Sing the alphabet song with your child. Parents and teacher should sing the song slowly. Children need to hear clearly all the twenty-six letter names as they sing together.

6. Auditory – Read alphabet books aloud to your child. As they read, parents and teachers should take time to point out how the illustrations and drawings reflect the name of each letter of the alphabet. Normally, the pictures in the storybook are the first letter, like the “z” for zebra.

7. Body movement: find a large flashlight. Turn off the lights. Using great arm movements, teach your child to write a letter on the wall. Have your child do the same with his arm. Hitting the arm muscles, making large sweeping movements, helps children learn the shapes of the alphabet.

8. Body movement: Using a long clothesline or jump rope help your child make a large letter of the alphabet. Using the muscles of the body through movement helps children remember the shapes of the alphabet through muscle memory.

Multi-sensory reading activities are easy to do and only take a few minutes. When parents and teachers take the extra time to include one, each time they teach the name and shape of a letter, they will find dyslexic students who learn differently, identifying letter names and symbols much more easily. Additionally, these multisensory reading activities work equally well with dyslexic adult learners.

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