Many children with special needs are overwhelmed by textbooks. Reading is often difficult for them, and textbooks challenge them with new ideas as well as with the need to use reading skills. In addition, it is common practice to place children in inclusion classrooms for some combination of math, science, and social studies as first experiences. These classes require textbook reading.
Beat the homework/study game by helping your child preview a new lesson or chapter. Look at the pictures and talk about what your child thinks is happening. Read the captions and talk about the tables. Read the titles and headings. Read the differently colored vocabulary words. Read the summary and the questions at the end of the passage.
Headings and Vocabulary
Explain to your child that book makers want them to know the important words and ideas. Show your child the titles and headings in a lesson. Explain that these help people know where to look for answers. Talk about the vocabulary words (usually in boldface or a colored font). Explain that these are often, but not always, the answers to questions.
After your child has a lesson at school, reread the material at home. Try this if your child has reading skills below grade level. Have her listen as you read a paragraph, and then have her retell the important information. Again, the headings and colored or bold print should be reviewed.
Children with auditory processing problems and those with below-grade level reading skills may benefit from listening to audio recordings of a textbook. Audio versions of many textbooks (often playable at only one speed) are available from publishers. Specially formatted audio books are available free of charge to qualifying students from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.
Using specially designed audio equipment or related computer software, these CDs can be played at various speeds. Dyslexic students may follow along in the book.