In the previous post, I discussed one of the ways that dyslexia tutoring addresses a dyslexic child’s difficulty with lowercase “b”, “d” and “q”. Another common symptom that dyslexia tutors see on a regular basis is the skipping of words when a student is reading. Word skipping is very common for dyslexics, and the symptom can manifest itself in various ways.
A severely dyslexic student may have a very difficult time even noticing that they are skipping words. For example, they may read a sentence like “Jack went down to the store yesterday,” as “Jack went the store yesterday.” Now, to a listener who hears this sentence read aloud, it will clearly sound like there is something wrong. However, for a dyslexic who is reading this sentence aloud, it may sound perfectly normal.
Word skipping is something that dyslexia tutors work to improve with their dyslexic students. In the last part of every session I tutor, I have my students read aloud to me, and this is one of the things that I watch for. If a student skips a word when reading a sentence, I will have them read the sentence over again slowly. If they miss the word again, I often have them read it again while thinking about the meaning of the words while they are saying them. Often, with many of my students, this is enough to get them to catch their mistake and to correct it.
While word skipping is a very common symptom of dyslexia, it does not always indicate that the student is not understanding what they read. A good friend of mine, who has been a dyslexia tutor for fifteen years, had a student who was regularly skipping words when she read. The student’s ability to read all the words in a sentence did improve as she received tutoring, but even after she had made a lot of progress, skipping words was still an issue when she read aloud. My friend, the dyslexia tutor, was curious, and started quizzing the student on the content of what she had read. As it turned out, even in paragraphs where the student was skipping words, she was understanding the content of what she read quite well. In her case, this indicated that reading aloud itself was a hurdle that was causing her some difficulties.