Over the past few months, I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about dyslexia. However, I never quite got around to it until tonight. Tonight, when I’m sitting in a tent, without access to my books and to studies that would lend authority to my opinions.
So let me just talk to you as a mother and share some of the experiences I’ve had and the results I’ve seen.
Dyslexia is a reading disorder where a person cannot interpret the written code of letters on a page. That’s my definition, anyway.
Usually dyslexia isn’t diagnosed until a child is past the normal age for learning to read and yet is still having difficulty. That can vary a lot, from child to child, from personality to personality, so I don’t personally feel comfortable giving a child a label until he or she is past the age of 10 and is still having trouble reading. Even in those cases, I would want to know if the child has had consistent instruction in phonics first.
Why is dyslexia a problem? Honestly, it can be tough to function in our world or to progress in school without a solid ability to read and comprehend. But to me, the biggest problem with dyslexia is that it hampers a child’s ability to read the Word of God.
I do realize that ability for each of us individuals to have our own copy of the Bible, in our own language, is a relatively new thing in the history of the world. During the first century, only a few Torah scrolls were available to local synagogues, and of course, only the most well-educated rabbis and church elders had access to them. Women were rarely taught to read.
Yet it was prophesied that during the time of the Reformation, the little book that is as sweet as honey would be opened, and that this book would “prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” (see Revelation 10).
We stand again at a crossroads in human history, with the worldwide spread of the Internet during the past twenty years. As Ezekiel saw in his vision, the only way the dry bones will come to life is when they are prophesied to, so that the Spirit of God can come upon them and make them stand up (see Ezekiel 37).
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Certainly we can read aloud to our children, but our ultimate desire is for them to be able to read the Word of God in their own Bibles, with their own eyes, and to be able to understand what God is saying to them. (See Psalm 19:7, Psalm 119:30, and 2 Timothy 3:14-17.)
I also know that God is the originator of languages, whether Hebrew or one of the other languages of the 70 nations (see Genesis 10-11). He created mankind in His own image, with the ability to communicate is both spoken and written languages, which is something none of His other creatures have the ability to do. Furthermore, Yeshua is the Word made flesh (see John 1).
So what does all of this have to do with dyslexia? First, I believe we are at a crucial time in history, when so much depends upon the written Word being able to prophesy to the “dry bones.” However, if this is a prophetic time, we can expect a monumental battle against the ability to read. I believe we see this battle in both the kinds of so-called reading “instruction” that will be popular in government schools and also in a rise of physical disabilities that will hamper children’s ability to read. In other words, I think this is a spiritual battle over biblical literacy. (See Ephesians 6:10-19.)
Second, I believe that we need to take up the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, to fight this battle. I think there are two ways we can take this up with our children.
- Instruct our children in language as God created it. I don’t have space to explain all this here, but I firmly believe in teaching a child to read (no matter the language) by using systematic phonics instructions. I believe YHWH created the world with order and design, and that when we use a methodical process to study His order and design, we can help a child with learning disorders “rewire” his brain as God intended it to be. Will this be easy? No! This will be hard work, and it might take 1-2 years of consistent, daily instruction. Not happen chance, but methodical, careful, consistent instruction.
- Read orally from the Bible to and with our children. I could tell you story after story of dyslexic children, teenagers, and adults who finally learned to read and comprehend after daily, out-loud reading of Scripture. I would recommend 20-30 minutes of Bible reading out loud together per day (depending on the age of the child). You read a verse or two, then ask your child to read, taking turns back and forth. I believe it’s the oral reading that is essential to helping the brain be rewired, as well as the way Scripture is internalized into more than just brain cells. Scientific studies show that God’s Word is processed in the heart, the kidneys, the small intestines, the large intestines, bone marrow, and probably every other cell of our bodies. If your child has a brain injury, this is an excellent way to get around it! It’s okay if your child needs a bookmark under the words to help him keep his place. It’s okay to help him sound out difficult words. It’s even okay to only have him read a word or two at first. But read daily from Scripture, and read aloud.
The following websites will give you many more ideas and resources:
We have tried to develop the phonics instruction and copywork suggestions at HomeschoolingTorah in accordance with the advice given from these authors and others. If you need help placing your child in a specific level of phonics, please feel free to write and ask.
However, do not put your hope in a curriculum. Place it in the supernatural power of the Word of God in your child’s life. Read the Word. Meditate on the Word. Memorize the Word.
May we see the dry bones prophesied upon and given life in our day!
keithann porter says
You are so right on. I have twin 12 year olds that were diagnosed as dyslexic and two other reading disorders in the 4th grade and put into special reading in which I had the opportunity to substitute their class many times. The public school changed their teaching style both years and did not seem to work for any of the children. When I started Homeschooling Torah and using the phonics sheets daily, and reading Torah out loud daily I noticed an improvement and they were better able to sound out the words. The past three months have been focusing on phonics sheets and reading the Torah portion out loud daily. We are trying to improve in speed and smoothness. Some days it just flows out of their mouth and once in a while they struggle. They are now reading aloud at our midweek assembly and everyone can hear the improvement. They have been learning to read Hebrew and actually read it better than English. Praises to Abba!
This is such good news!!! YHWH is good.
I am near weeping at reading this tonight. It’s no secret how much I love HT and what an answer to prayer it has been to my family. My near 6 year old not only wants to read but wants to read Bible stories so bad. She is struggling so much in this area. I felt it laid on my heart to go back to HT phonics (I got scared and tried something else that just leaves her in tears). Now I remain firm in my commitment to HT. Thank you so much Kraig and Anne and your precious children for being so diligent for OUR children as well. For providing godly instruction and focusing on what is pure, lovely and true.
Raina Shey says
This is the best post on dyslexia I have ever read! So encouraging yet practical.