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Nurturing Your Child's Inner Superpower!

Everyone has an inner superpower! It’s that thing you do so easily and so well that you don’t even think of it as a talent or a skill that someone else can’t do. It is innately part of you and you would have a tough time defining yourself or imagining life without it. 

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For some, their superpower is an obvious talent such as dancing, sports or art, but for others, it may be more subtle. For example, you may be particularly charismatic, or funny or a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about a particular subject. Whatever it is, it is your strength and your gift to the world.

Dyslexic children often find it more challenging to discover their superpower because it gets lost in the struggle of learning to read. They find themselves so overwhelmed by the challenge of trying to read that they forget that they are also blessed with gifts. Ironically, their dyslexic brain is generally the reason that they have this gift. Dyslexics tend to be particularly blessed with creative or athletic abilities and/or big ideas. However, it’s often later in life that they are able to recognize and celebrate their gifts.

As the parent of a struggling student, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the need to support your child’s weaknesses, and there is a tendency to forget to equally support their strengths. Afternoons that would normally be filled with playdates, athletics or singing lessons become consumed by homework and tutoring sessions. It’s no surprise that our children become completely overwhelmed themselves by the struggle of it all. They already have to work ten times harder than the typical learner, but the end of the school day is never the end of the work day for them. Homework that takes a typical learner an hour to complete, takes them at least two, if not three — and even then, it’s filled with frustration and confusion. It’s rare that all that effort put forth is rewarded with a good grade or a even a pat on the back, so it’s no wonder that many get frustrated to the point of giving up.

So what can WE do as parents if we want to help our children recognize their inner superpower before the struggle overwhelms their spirit? First, get your child the support he or she needs as early as possible, but most importantly, make sure their world is not all about supporting their weaknesses — tutoring, summer school and after-school help. Balance is essential if you want them to stay engaged and invested in the process. Make every effort to identify what gets them excited and energized! Everyone has at least one thing that gets them pumped to get out of bed in the morning. Create space for your dyslexic child to not only explore their passion, but also invest in it. Put as much energy into nurturing their superpower as you do their weakness. If you do, you will probably be surprised to find that your child discovers the inner strength needed to conquer their weaknesses as they are able to appreciate that they are capable of doing great things.  

As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing worth having comes easy.” Even though your child may have to work twice as hard as the typical learner, the lessons he will learn by virtue of hard work will provide him with essential tools for success in life. However, without support, encouragement and awareness of strength, he may never develop the self-confidence needed to strive towards his potential.

Very few can develop a healthy self-esteem in the absence of accomplishment. So, even though reading support is an essential for these little darlings, losing sight of the big picture and your child’s gift may cause their little light to dim… or worse extinguish. Give them the gift of your support and love while nurturing their inner spirit and discovering their inner superpower. The day they become their own superhero is the day the door to endless possibilities will open.

5 Reasons Why Audiobooks are a Great Option for Struggling Readers

One of the questions I get asked fairly often is whether audiobooks are a good option for struggling readers. The answer is a resounding “YES” and here are five reasons why.

  1. Listening to Audiobooks Will Support the Process of Teaching Your Child to Read -  Some parents view the use of audiobooks as providing a crutch to struggling readers when in fact, audiobooks can actually support and strengthen the development of decoding skills. Especially when paired with actual written text, audiobooks can make the learning process more fun and effective. Listening while reading offers a multi-sensory experience that supports both reading skill development and overall enjoyment.

  2. Audiobooks Offer Children Who Struggle to Read Much Needed Inspiration to Love Literature – When a child is a struggling reader, decoding can be an unpleasant and undesirable experience.  Most children who struggle to read, avoid reading at all costs. While it is more than understandable that a child who struggles to read would prefer to avoid reading as much as possible, the downside is that they may never develop a love of literature at all. Audiobooks allow struggling readers to access literature that is above their reading level so they can learn to love it and can access books they are unable to do on their own. The hope is that while their decoding skills improve, so will their motivation to attempt more challenging books as they become ready and able to do so.

  3. Audiobooks Offer a Struggling Reader a Feeling of Independence – While you should never replace reading with your child with audiobooks, the use of them does offer your child the opportunity to develop self-confidence and self-reliance skills. Children need to feel like they don’t have to depend on you (or anyone else, for that matter) to function in life. Feeling independent when it comes to reading is no different.

  4. Audiobooks Can Provide a Child with High Verbal Comprehension Skills the Ability to Learn the Way He Learns Best – When children with high verbal comprehension skills are given the opportunity to listen to books while reading along with their eyes, their comprehension is positively impacted. They typically comprehend better and retain more information. Audiobooks also make reading more fun for the learner who learns best by listening!

  5. Time Spent Doing Homework Can be Dramatically Reduced with Audiobooks – Your child may qualify for a LearningAlly.org or BookShare.org account. Both not only provide access to popular reads but also massive textbooks. If incorporating audiobooks allows your child the ability to participate in extracurricular activities simply because the use of them cuts down on the total amount of time spent doing homework, that should be reason enough to take advantage of them. However, they will also benefit from increased comprehension and engagement during homework sessions. Some great audiobook provider is Audible.com... but I might also suggest taking a trip down to your local library for some off-the-shelf selections.

If you have a struggling reader and have been reluctant to incorporate audiobooks, you could be missing out on an opportunity for your child to benefit from increased comprehension, enjoyment and more time for other activities.