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A Simple New Year’s Evaluation Plan

The second semester and the start of a new year bring the opportunity to do a quick,

two-question reflection on how well the plan being used to remediate the dyslexic child

in your life is working. A quick evaluation can be done with a piece of paper divided

into two columns, each topped by one of these two key questions.

What is working?

What is not working?

These are wide-open questions! For this article, let’s confine our focus to parenting or

educating the dyslexic child in your home or classroom.

Some signs that strategies are working for a dyslexic child can include more

contentment, cooperation, and moments of happiness; improved retention of material

learned; less resistance to working on subjects that are difficult for the child; as well as

a sense of competency when the child approaches learning tasks.

These may be some of the signs that strategies are not working. Look for irritability or

avoidance when asked to complete learning tasks, hiding unfinished or subpar work,

general hopelessness or defeat, an unusual number of headaches or tummy issues for

which the family doctor finds no physical reason, and lack of discernible progress

despite genuine effort being put into remediation. Actions truly do speak louder than

words, and the actions listed in this section can be your child telling you this isn’t


Note that grades are not mentioned as a sign that strategies are or are not working. It

is not that grades are unimportant, however, grades don’t always tell the story of how

well strategies are working for dyslexic children because the trickle-down effect of new

approaches to learning can be slow. Another reason to overlook grades can be that

sometimes extraordinary but unsustainable effort is put into grades, causing a

temporary bump, but not long-term learning.

Look at the two lists your reflection generated. Take what is working and double down

on those strategies and approaches. Discuss with your child what they feel is and isn’t

working. Their input is valuable to this discussion.

If strategies for the dyslexic child are not working, pivot. Continuing to stay the course

on an unsuccessful course of action, or not developing a course of action at all

because of false hope that the child will, “grow out of it,” is a disservice to the child

involved. If dyslexia is suspected but not confirmed, check out the newsletter article

with signs of dyslexia by age. Spend some time reading previous newsletters and blog

posts for suggestions on alternatives to approaches that aren’t a good fit for the child

or the situation. There is always a solution, and it is well worth searching until the right

one is found!

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