Teaching Spelling While Homeschooling Dyslexia

teaching spelling | homeschooling dyslexia | right-brained homeschool spelling curriculum for kinesthetic and visual-spatial learners

Teaching my daughter to read was a challenge. We both fought hard to win that battle. But just as she was finally making strides in reading, her phonics curriculum switched from an emphasis on reading to an emphasis on spelling, and her performance plummeted while her anxieties surged. No matter what technique we tried, no matter how long we spent going over words, she couldn’t spell. Half way through her second grade year, it was clear we were dealing with dyslexia. Teaching my dyslexic daughter to read was tough; teaching spelling to my dyslexic daughter has seemed impossible on many, many days.

My daughter has a beautiful way of seeing the world that is uniquely her own. Unfortunately, this creates challenges for her when it comes to language. The spring of her second grade year, we abandoned teaching spelling with a traditional curriculum and opted for a homeschool dyslexia therapy instead. She completed Dyslexia Games level A that year, and we followed it up with Dyslexia Games level B her third grade year. My technique was constant exposure. Without a spelling curriculum, she practiced spelling on her dyslexia apps, her Dyslexia Games therapy, her keyboarding program, and some various copywork exercises.

This coming fall, we will be tackling our first spelling curriculum in a year and half. She’s still below grade level, but I’m hopeful she’ll continue to make strides with our new spelling curriculum, A Reason for Spelling.

Dyslexia Games Review: spelling for right-brained learners

Dyslexia Games review | spelling for dyslexia | homeschooling dyslexia | right-brained learner

Spelling is my daughter’s nemesis. After we finally made some headway in reading, she came to an absolute impasse with spelling. Her dyslexia just did not allow her to hear sounds and remember them in the right order. She couldn’t memorize a word by sight or by sound. No matter how many times we’d go over a word, she’d jumble it all together when it came time to write it down, if she had any of the right letters in the mix at all. As much as we loved Logic of English for reading, it became impossible for spelling. When I first stumbled upon Dyslexia Games late last school year, I was skeptical but desperate. As I looked at samples and read about the approach, I really felt that if anything could help my creative, right-brained child, this program could.

Dyslexia Games review | homeschooling dyslexia | spelling for dyslexia

Dyslexia Games is a writing & spelling program with a very right-brained, creative approach. The program begins with having the child complete intricate patterns, studying the fine details and learning to repeat them. Sometimes the patterns were shapes and numbers; sometimes the patterns resembled the troublesome letters that dyslexic learners often struggle with (d, b, q, p). Another activity requires the child to study a picture and complete the missing parts: a face, a cat, a dog, etc. It’s an unusual tactic for a spelling program, but I watched in disbelief as she progressed.

Dyslexia Games teaches her to notice the subtle differences in letters and words. It teaches her to observe, in the same way she would observe art and drawing. Another activity requires her to hunt for words around the house, creating her own “spelling list” if you will, but still with this same principle of noticing and copying rather than remembering. She filled in blanks of missing letters and copied words beneath pictures she’d color. Each time, connecting language to her natural artistic strengths.

Dyslexia Games review | homeschooling dyslexia | right-brained learners

In using this program, it has done a couple of different things for my daughter.

  1. It has allowed her to work through and overcome her anxieties and fears about what she can’t do. It is teaching her weakness through her strength. I love that! She is able to use something that she is good at, something that she is confident in, to tackle a subject she would otherwise struggle in.
  2. It is teaching her to “see” what her brain just doesn’t naturally see. My beautiful girl sees the world so differently. And I love that about her. Nothing is ever as it seems. And yet, that creates so much struggle for her academically, where things must be seen a particular way. Just as Logic of English helped her to hear the sounds and make sense of them, Dyslexia Games has taught her to look for the subtle differences in letters and words.

Is my daughter learning to write and spell with this program? Yes. Though technically she would still be “behind grade level” in this subject, Dyslexia Games is teaching her the skills she will need to be able to spell and is increasing her confidence. We have completed Level A and are about halfway through Level B. Each level comes with a number of workbooks that the student can work through one at a time. However, knowing my daughter’s attention span, I’ve had her work through all the workbooks at once, but have kept the same recommended order. In other words, she completes one page in each workbook each day, progressing from patterns and art to a Word Hunt at the end of the week.

spelling for dyslexia | right-brained learners | homeschooling dyslexiaJust this weekend, I received Creative Comic Book Cursive and Spelling Journal from this same company. She was so excited when she looked through the book, that she immediately sat down with a pencil (ON HER DAY OFF!) and began working through this book. I love to see that! I love to see her enjoying learning in an area where she naturally is not as strong (which makes me absolutely love these products). I’m so thankful for the gift they’ve given my daughter, for the blessing they’ve been to my family.

This is not a traditional spelling program in any stretch of the imagination. It’s very out-of-the-norm. But isn’t that how our dyslexics see the world? It’s an out-of-the-norm program for our out-of-the-norm learners. And I love that someone not only understands and but has written a program to encourage this in our kids. Thank you, Dyslexia Games & Thinking Tree!

To see samples of the program and other products available for right-brained learners, visit the Dyslexia Games website.

I purchased this program and have not received any compensation for my opinions. After using this product, I have formed my own opinions and have shared them freely with you. For more, see my disclosure policy here.