Reading Strategies for Spanish-Speaking Children with Dyslexia

Books and Reading Strategies in Spanish Children with DyslexiaDyslexia is one of the most prevalent childhood learning disorders. Children with dyslexia may experience reading, spelling, and other language deficits. However, only a handful of studies have investigated the effects of different linguistic variables on reading strategies for Spanish-speaking children with dyslexia. A recent study published in the Annals of Dyslexia journal has found that Spanish-speaking children with dyslexia use a sublexical procedure for reading words, which resulted in the children reading words aloud and at a slower speed when reading long words.

“Reading speed is considered to be the principal marker of dyslexia in Spanish, while reading decoding and accuracy is the principal marker of dyslexia in English.”

The results from this study suggest that Spanish-speaking children with dyslexia mainly use a sublexical procedure when reading words. Spanish is considered a transparent language where the problem between dyslexics and non-dyslexics is a reading speed deficit. The reading speed deficit in more transparent languages (e.g., Spanish, German, Italian, and Greek) suggests that this is related to the sublexical procedure.

In contrast, in opaque languages such as English, studies have suggested that the problems with dyslexia are more associated with decoding and reading accuracy. The decoding and reading deficits are most pronounced in opaque languages because the grapheme-to-phoneme (e.g., finding the pronunciation of a word given its written form) rules are challenging to learn. For example, the letter b in the English word debt is not pronounced. Spanish tends to not be as irregular between the pronunciation and written forms of words.

For this reason, reading speed is considered to be the principal marker of dyslexia in Spanish, while reading decoding and accuracy is the principal marker of dyslexia in English. These findings provide important implications for reading strategies used by Spanish-speaking children with dyslexia. The researchers suggest that reading and learning programs for children with dyslexia should include exercises that focus on the development of phonological reading skills.

NeuroNet’s movement-based learning programs help to develop phonological reading skills. NeuroNet’s exercises incorporate rhythmic motor skills and speech patterns to improve automaticity (e.g., the child does not have to stop and think about how to perform a task). Improvements in automaticity can lead to corresponding developments in reading skills.

Journal Reference:

Suarez-Coalla, Paz and Fernando Cuetos. 2012. “Reading Strategies in Spanish Developmental Dyslexics.” Annals of Dyslexia 62(2):71-81.

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