Why is it that some students with dyslexia yawn so much when they are reading and spelling? Why do they yawn during anything that involves these activities, such as school, dyslexia tutoring and dyslexia treatment? Parents of children with dyslexia often ask me this question. They may observe that their child is in a completely alert state, but once they are asked to start reading or spelling, they suddenly seem tired. Dyslexia tutors, and anyone who works in dyslexia treatment or dyslexia tutoring, tends to notice this issue. The reason why students with dyslexia yawn a lot is something that I like to call “word fatigue”. This isn’t an official term, but a phrase I started using after observing this phenomenon.
For a child with dyslexia, reading and spelling can be exhausting activities. To read a few pages, or even a paragraph or two, they often have to dedicate a great amount of focus and energy. The same focus and energy are required when they are spelling. As a result of this effort, the child may become tired and start yawning. This does not mean that the child is lazy, not paying attention, or lacking in focus; rather, it simply means that reading and spelling are still tiring activities for them. Additionally, this yawning should not be taken as an indicator of the student being bored. Quite often, the child may be enjoying what they are doing, but reading and spelling still cause them to become fatigued.
Is there a solution for all this fatigue and yawning? After all, if you are a teacher, parent, or dyslexia tutor, you may find that all of this yawning is a bit of a distraction. The only effective, long-term solution for this issue of dyslexia fatigue is to help the child make progress with their reading and spelling. When a child with dyslexia receives the instruction that they need from a dyslexia tutoring and dyslexia treatment program, reading and spelling will start to be easier for them. Eventually, as they make more and more progress, reading and spelling will not tire them out so much, and the yawns will lessen or disappear completely.
In the short term, there are also techniques that you can use to help a student with dyslexia remain alert. You can intersperse breaks involving physical activity with activities involving reading and spelling. You can also play reading and spelling games with a child. Even though these activities will still involve reading and spelling, the change of pace may be enough to perk them up. We use a lot of games in our online dyslexia tutoring program, because they help reinforce everything we are teaching, and also help keep our students engaged.