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Dyslexia: Reading doesn't have to be so hard...

Understanding Dyslexia

It has been suggested that Dyslexia affects up to 10% of the UK population to varying degrees, with 4% being severely affected. The affect of this neuro-logical condition on the individual can have serious social implications, since it can severely affect self-esteem and confidence. Linda Jones from the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Southsea gives an overview of the condition.

We often hear children and adults described as ‘dyslexic’, but what do we mean and are we right? There are many different views on what dyslexia actually is and definitions vary across cultures and professions. In fact there is no right or wrong answer, as there is no accepted definition for dyslexia. In broad terms dyslexia is mainly a language based learning disability. Those affected have problems acquiring and retaining literacy skills such as reading writing and spelling. It is now widely accepted that dyslexia can also affect a number of other areas including memory, organisation, concentration and even balance. This is why processing information can be so difficult for dyslexics.

However, many famous people diagnosed with varying degrees of dyslexia, such as Albert Einstien, Winston Churchill and Richard Branson, were not prevented from becoming highly successful in their chosen fields. Dyslexia does not have to prevent people from achieving. But, because it affects the way people process information it can as a result affect their ability to learn. This processing difficulty can be due to a number of reasons:

  • A marked inefficiency in the working or short-term memory system
  • Problems connecting the letter patterns with the associated sounds
  • Difficulties ordering or sequencing; this may also show itself as clumsiness caused by the brain sending the wrong signals to parts of the body in the wrong order
  • A range of problems connected with visual processing and accessing the memory of visual patterns

We are aware that dyslexia is an umbrella term and therefore like to assess each child in order to determine their particular needs. For those who wish to receive support at one of our centres we design individual lesson plans and target areas for development. We also praise children’s strengths and boost their confidence as children can feel very negative about their difficulties in this area.

If a child comes to us for tuition we see them either once or twice a week for 80 minute sessions. During this time they will use both written and computer based resources and complete up to six activities. Success is built in and the progress they make is built upon weekly. This is supported by weekly homework as well. It sounds a lot but the children love seeing their skills grow. It is so rewarding to see children become more confident readers and writers.

 Flash cards of spellings                                

Whatever you choose to do, learning spelling can seem a boring process when it requires so much effort from a child.  Make it as much FUN as possible by using a variety of materials and activities.

Transition to High School

For the almost teens making that jump from primary to high school can be a big deal. If the family works together it can mean a lot less stress all round.

Your kids will probably be experiencing a mixture of emotions ranging from excitement to a sense of loss and even fear.

The move from primary to high school is confusing in many ways. Kids are having to deal with both endings and sadness while at the same time anticipating new beginnings, this may include feelings of excitement and nervous anticipation. Old friends may be left behind and the fear of the unknown looms ahead.

Even for well adjusted children this can be a daunting experience. If your child is struggling in other ways due to family disruption, moving to a new location, falling behind in their school work or other problems the thought of all the change involved with high school can be daunting. However, there is plenty you can do to make this a positive experience for your child.

Do some research yourself so you can understand the emotions your pre-teen may be experiencing.

  • Remember, kids don’t always know how to express their feelings, they may act out in other ways instead of talking about how they are feeling
  • Put yourself in their shoes – think back to your first day at high school.
  • Make sure they are confident in their school work. Its important that reading and maths skills are up to standard before they enter high school
  • Ensure you are ready as a family – take care of the practical things such as uniforms, books and school bags. Be patient! It may take time for your pre-teen to adjust to their new environment.


Get Ready for School – Start school on the right foot

Kip McGrath has developed a specialised programme to help pre-schoolers transition to ‘big’ school. Many of our centres offer this programme at key times of the year.

Give your child the confidence to succeed.

Impact of Poor Literacy and Numeracy (LLN)

Poor language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills are shown to directly impact on skill development and productivity, and on a learner’s ability to progress in their vocational education and training (VET).

Reading is the single most important activity to develop a child’s future literacy skills (the ability to read and write the printed word). Research shows that children who experience difficulties in learning to read are unlikely to catch up to their peers.

Poor literacy skills are generally associated with lower education, earnings, health and social outcomes.

The impact for young adults can result in poor academic reports, the lack of good interpersonal skills, less chance for career development and low self-confidence.

Investing in quality tuition for children who are struggling, will help prevent achievement deficits and produce better education, social and economic outcomes. Such investments will reduce the need for costly remediation and social spending while increasing the value, productivity and earning potential of all individuals.


UK Report

Many children are falling behind in LLN skills by the age of seven and by 2020, around half a million youngsters, many from poor families, could be struggling in reading after two years of compulsory schooling.

According to a UK report by Save the Children, youths should not be written off at the age of seven because they are struggling with the basics, suggesting that if pupils are not confident in reading, then all other subjects become a “closed book”. The charity’s study is based on an analysis of government figures over the past couple of years on the performance of seven-year-olds in England in maths and English.

It cites recent figures show that 13% of all seven-year-olds – around 76,000 pupils – did not reach the standard expected of the age group in reading.

It concludes that if the same rate of progress continues, by 2020 around 480,000 youngsters will have fallen behind in their reading skills by age seven.

An analysis of writing skills suggests that by 2020, if the current rate of progress is made, around 740,000 seven-year-olds will be behind in this area

The report goes on to say that there is an enormous cost to society if something is not done to combat the issue of youngsters who struggle with the basics.

Source* http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/sites/default/files/docs/Read_On_Get_On.pdf

Unemployment rate by level of education.

… or hear from other parents.

Owning and running my own Kip McGrath Education Centre has given me control of my life. I can teach without the hassle of endless paperwork and I know that I am able to make a real difference to the lives of the children I help.

After only 4 years, I run a centre with over 270 students attending each week, have a great lifestyle and it’s all made possible by the easy to use Kip McGrath business system.

Franchisee, Kip McGrath West Yorkshire