Help and Hope for Dyslexics (and other struggling readers)
4.7 (10 ratings)
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Help and Hope for Dyslexics (and other struggling readers)

Flip-side strengths to dyslexia challenges. Strengthen weak dyslexic phonics skills & alternate remediation approaches.
4.7 (10 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,046 students enrolled
Created by Beth Ellen Nash
Last updated 11/2015
Curiosity Sale
Current price: $10 Original price: $30 Discount: 67% off
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  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 5 mins on-demand audio
  • 2 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Have a fresh perspective on dyslexia.
  • Understand that some of the weaknesses commonly associated with dyslexia are the flip side to some incredible strengths.
  • Understand a range of options for remediating the weaknesses of dyslexia.
  • Learn a range of accommodations to help level the playing field for dyslexics.
View Curriculum
  • Understand English
  • Have an open mind

Welcome to Hope and Help for Dyslexics and Other Struggling Readers.

Do you, or does someone you care about, have dyslexia?

Perhaps you are trying to figure that out.

Maybe dyslexia has seemed like nothing but a struggle and you could use fresh perspective on dyslexic strengths.

Perhaps you are just starting to learn about options for accommodation and remediation for dyslexia.

Or maybe you have tried a number of things already and are trying to sort through all the remediation options available before sinking more money into expensive therapy with promises that sound too good to be true.

My primary target for this course is parents seeking to help their dyslexic child.

Adult dyslexics, teachers, and tutors will also benefit from this course.

If any of the things I have mentioned above are true for you, then I encourage you to take this course.

In about 2 1/2 hours’ worth of material, I’ll provide an overview of remediation and accommodation options, woven together with my personal history of working with dyslexics over the past 16 years and my experiences with many different programs and approaches to helping dyslexics.

Some of the approaches that I’ll address include:

●The Orton-Gillingham phonics based approaches, whichdirectly address underlying phonological processing weaknesses found in 80-90% of dyslexics.

●The Davis Dyslexia approach, which uses dyslexic strengths in 3D picture thinking to get around this weakness and teaches tools for helping the dyslexic manage their dyslexic brain.

●Other approaches I’ll overview address the underlying developmental and cognitive skills that need to be strengthened in order for the dyslexic to become a more efficient and effective learner.

●Still other recommendations involve accommodations to level the playing field for dyslexics.

In this course, you will also learn:

●what it means to be dyslexic and dysgraphic

●that dyslexics are smart, with differently-wired brains.

●five key reading skills and some strategies to support student growth in each.

●teaching strategies for supporting dyslexics and dysgraphics.

●information about key accommodations to help your dyslexic become the best they can be.

●what comprises an Orton-Gillingham phonics-based approach.

●some of my adaptations to OG to engage the student.

●several options for implementing an OG approach.

●key elements of the Davis Dyslexia Correction program.

●information about several other programs that address underlying developmental and cognitive skill weakness.

I hope you will be encouraged by these fresh perspectives on some of the strengths that are often the flip side of the more familiar dyslexic challenges.

Who is the target audience?
  • The primary audience for this course is parents who would like to better understand dyslexia and the options available for accommodations and remediation.
  • Tutors and teachers seeking to better understand dyslexia and how to help their dyslexic student are also good candidates for this course.
  • Those who are dyslexics themselves can certainly learn a lot from this course, however, my language will be referring to a parent trying to help their child.
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
35 Lectures
2 Lectures 11:22

Welcome! We'll briefly go over the intended audience and what the student can expect from this course.

Preview 04:51

I’ll introduce myself and share a bit about my background as an Orton-Gillingham trained tutor, Intervention Specialist for a private K-12 school targeting “outside-the-box learners,” author of Wings to Soar Spelling with Words You Really Use, speaker, and educational consultant.

Preview 06:31
What does it mean to be dyslexic?
3 Lectures 22:01

Common weaknesses associated with dyslexia, as well as strengths often associated are introduced, along with a few statistics that may get your attention.

What is Dyslexia?

Adults tend to work in jobs that emphasize what they are good at. School is the only time in life where we are expected to be good at everything. Dyslexic skills have been highly valued throughout history.

Real World Perspectives

The brain’s wiring functions a bit differently in dyslexics which creates both strengths and weaknesses. The genetic component of dyslexia may be found in it’s associated strengths, as well as in the challenges in learning it causes. You can’t fix a dyslexic, because they are NOT broken!

Smart, but wired differently
Dyslexic Strengths
6 Lectures 12:18

There are at least four major categories of possible strengths that a dyslexic may have: Material Reasoning, Interconnected Thinking, Narrative Reasoning, and Dynamic Reasoning strengths.

Preview 02:18


Many dyslexics have material reasoning strengths that allow them to see the world and manipulate information in the visual-spatial realm with impressive 3D imagery.

Material Reasoning Strengths

Dyslexics with interconnected thinking strengths excel at big picture thinking, making interdisciplinary connections, higher order reasoning, and inferences.

Interconnected Reasoning Strengths

While it may seem unlikely, many dyslexics have narrative strengths and are excellent storytellers. They also learn best through narrative, examples, and illustrations rather than isolated bits of information.

In the resources section, the linked video of a live webinar on Teaching Social Studies Through Strengths contains some great examples of how Leila Leoncavallo does an amazing job of using MIND strengths, especially the narrative strengths to bringing learning to life.

Narrative Reasoning Strengths

Individuals with dynamic reasoning strengths often excel in situations where relevant variables are incompletely known, changing, or incompletely known, situations that are often overwhelming for those without this strength. Others may not understand their insight based processing, but they are usually right in their conclusions.

Dynamic Reasoning Strengths

This section summarizes the MIND strengths discussed in this section.

Dyslexic Strengths Section Wrap-Up
Key Reading Skills
5 Lectures 10:04

The section will overview the 5 key reading skills identified by the National Reading Panel as essential for reading success.

Key Reading Skills Intro


Phonological and Phonemic Awareness and Phonics are key foundational skills for reading success.

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness and Phonics

Fluency involves being able to recognize words with automaticity at a rapid enough pace to allow the focus to shift toward comprehension, rather than on figuring out the individual sounds and words.


Students with dyslexia often lag in their vocabulary development due to exposure to significantly less text. Ear reading to continue to expose dyslexics to new words and concepts while the student works on strengthening their other reading skills can help fill this gap. Ear reading is compared to finger reading to bring into question the ultimate supremacy of eye reading that most have assumed is what reading is will be addressed here as the ultimate goal is learning and gaining understanding of the information contained within text that has been written by others.

Vocabulary and Comprehension

Accommodations and Supports
6 Lectures 28:35


Some teaching strategies that are particularly helpful for dyslexics and dysgraphics are presented.

Preview 03:48

Modern technology such as text-to-speech and digital audio can help dyslexics who Ear Read better than Eye Read to have a more level playing field when it comes to building background knowledge

Ear Reading

Dysgraphia is a challenge in getting words onto paper that is often related to dyslexia. Some suggestions for supporting students with dysgraphia are also included. To help a young dyslexic get their good ideas onto paper a parent or older sibling may need to serve as a scribe. Some dyslexics greatly benefit from a scribe in college as well. For teens and adults, speech recognition software can allow dyslexics to express their good ideas in writing without the barriers of the sometimes associated dysgraphia. Then the dyslexic can focus on refining their ideas with the words already on the page.

Dysgraphia, Scribes, and Writing

Writing is one of the most working memory intensive tasks we ask our brains to do. Parents are encouraged to act as scribes for dysgraphic students until they reach mid-adolescence when they should learn to use speech-to-text software.

Writing, Working Memory, and Speech-to-Text

Dyscalculia involves a difficulty with numbers and math that is associated with dyslexia in some individuals due to the same procedural processing and 2D sequential processing with symbols challenges. Individuals with procedural processing and rote memory issues need creative ways to learn math facts. And if these prove not to be effective, then calculators should be used with a focus on applying math skills, rather than on the computation itself.

Procedural Processing and Dyscalculia

Accommodations help level the playing field for those with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Ear reading through audio books give equal access to text. Scribes and speech recognition / speech-to-text software help dysgraphics (and others who process better orally) get their good ideas into writing. Calculators and the role of copious computation practice need to be considered for those with procedural processing challenges and dyscalculia.

Preview 00:33
5 Lectures 27:28

Orton-Gillingham phonics based approaches are the gold standard to address the phonetic processing weakness that affects 80-90% of dyslexics.

Preview 02:24

All standard Orton-Gillingham programs follow the same basic format as outlined in this lecture and accompanying PDF.

Basic Orton-Gillingham Session Format

In this lecture, I share ideas to increase student engagement with the phonetic and outlaw family practice needed through word sorts and games.

Increase Engagement with Word Sorts, Games, and Novelty

The more neural pathways we can engage in the learning process, the more hooks we have to recall the information later. And, things we learn with an association to fun tend to stick better in our memories. In this lecture, I share additional ideas for multisensory practice to engage more kinesthetic and visual learners. Additionally, in the resource section, I've shared a PDF with 75 multisensory practice ideas to keep things fun and mix up the practice.

Expanded Multisensory Practice

There are a number of ways a family can get Orton-Gillingham phonics based practice for their dyslexic. A parent can take training themselves, hire a tutor, use an online tutor / mentor approach, take my future class on how to do my modified OG approach, or use an online program that is Orton-Gillingham based.

Preview 02:43
Davis Dyslexia Correction
1 Lecture 19:42

A totally different approach that bypasses the phonetic weakness is found in Davis Dyslexia Correction. Students learn a mental tool to help them choose when to use their 2D and 3D thinking skills. Trigger words and their dictionary definitions are modeled in clay. And a procedure known as Sweep-Sweep Spell is used to build sight recognition.

Davis Dyslexia Correction
Underlying Cognitive Skills Approaches
4 Lectures 10:51

Other approaches target the weak underlying developmental skills and cognitive functions such as memory, attention, processing speed, and sequencing that may be holding dyslexics and other students with learning struggles back.

Preview 02:44

NILD (National Institute for Learning Development) and FIE (Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment) are two educational therapies that strengthen underlying cognitive skills. Both of these therapies can have lasting and significant effects in a student's thinking skills and overall efficiency in learning. There are many links to external videos with further information about NILD and FIE in the Resources section if you wish to explore further.

NILD and Feuerstein

Fast ForWord and Cogmed Working Memory Training are two online programs that address underlying cognitive skill weaknesses that we use at Wings to Soar Online Academy.

Preview 02:18

In this lecture, I briefly mention a number of other programs that work on underlying developmental and cognitive skill development. In the resources section for this lecture, I provided what I felt to be the most relevant links to help you start exploring any of these programs further if you choose to do so. I do NOT have personal experience with these programs and cannot personally recommend any of these programs and provide them only as options for you to further explore if you so choose.

Other Developmental and Cognitive Skills Options
3 Lectures 07:17


In this lecture, we recap the key points from the course and reiterate the need for a balance of a strengths based approach and remediation to address the underlying weaknesses to help individuals with the dyslexic style to become the best dyslexics they can be.

Preview 00:42

This bonus audio lecture provides a sneak preview to my upcoming Udemy course on Spelling Success with High Frequency Phonetic Patterns that I plan to release in March 2015. I will teach high frequency spelling patterns worth learning and the words from the top 500, 1000, and 3000 that are worth spending the time to learn.

In this bonus audio lecture, I share a few examples of highly useful spelling patterns. I also demonstrate why I feel that some other patterns should be learned as "outlaw patterns" which I define as a small group of words that break the rules together, rather than as a core phonetic spelling pattern.

The top 300 words make up 65% of the words in written English, top 1000 make up 90%, top 2000 make up 95%, and the top 3000 make up 97%. I believe any dyslexic should work to learn at least the top 300 words. And I also feel that they should try to learn the words from the top 1000-3000 words that are in the highest frequency word families, and the common outlaw pattern words. Words that the individual dyslexic needs as personal high frequency words should be learned. Beyond that, use spell check and predictive text.

Bonus: Spelling

A variety of additional resource links are provided to help the student extend their study of the topic of dyslexia. Contact information for Wings to Soar Online Academy is provided should you wish to discuss with the instructor how Wings to Soar can provide a Custom Learning Plan to help your outside-the-box dyslexic learner.

Preview 02:03
About the Instructor
Beth Ellen Nash
4.7 Average rating
10 Reviews
1,046 Students
1 Course

I am the founder of Wings to Soar Online Academy where we create Custom Learning Plans for Outside-the-Box Learners for grades pre-K through 12. I am also the Curriculum Integration, Individualization, and Intervention Specialist.

As a teacher, speaker, author, consultant, and educational coach specializing in dyslexia and online education, I share my expertise on homeschooling and special needs. I have also worked with students with learning disabilities that include ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, sensory and auditory processing issues and working memory challenges, as well as other challenges such as RAD, OCD, anxiety, depression, and victims of rape, along with those who otherwise learn differently from traditional schooling. I have taught, tutored, assessed, and / or consulted with hundreds of families with special needs at all grade levels, from pre-school through college.

I have my bachelor's degree in Elementary Education (1-9) from the University of Wisconsin—Madison School of Education, along with 16 years of experience working with struggling learners. Prior to founding Wings to Soar Online Academy in 2011, I spent eight years as the director and lead teacher at Hope Academy, a school for struggling middle and high school students in Madison, WI. I am also the author of Wings to Soar: Integrated, Multisensory Language Arts with Words You Really Use and am in the process of publishing Help and Hope for Dyslexia. I have taught, tutored, assessed, and/or consulted with hundreds of families with special needs, as well as spoken at homeschool conventions around the US on a variety of special needs topics.

Aside from teaching those with learning differences, I also enjoy developing and teaching Integrated Liberal Studies courses. Personal transformation is one of my great passions, along with organic gardening and my two Maine Coon.

I speak at homeschool conventions around the US on a variety of special needs topics:

Help and Hope for Dyslexics and Other Struggling Readers

Foundations in Phonological Awareness and Phonics for Reading and Spelling

Multisensory Ideas for Mastering Tricky Spelling Rulebreakers and Outlaws

Thriving as a Highly Sensitive Person

I Just Forgot!: Attention and Memory

Homeschooling for Outside the Box Learning: Scaffolding for Success

Customizing Curriculum for Outside the Box Learners

Fostering Resilience and Well-Being

Teaching All Kinds of Minds

Habits of Mind and Strengths of Character

I'd love to hear your opinion of which of these I should develop into a Udemy course next!