How to Give Your Child Multisensory Experiences in Reading

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Learning Styles, Multisensory Experiences, IEP Scores and What? Can Somebody Just Tell Me What’s UP With My Child?

Many different types of reading issues can be helped by giving the child multisensory experiences with the language and words that we hope they can learn to read and eventually master.


But what does a multisensory experience mean?

  1. Kids use their eyes, and what they see, to make connections to the print or text.
  2. It uses their ears, and what they hear…
  3. It uses their fingers to touch and manipulate real materials like playdough or pipe cleaners or blocks or paint, or their arms and hands to move or mimic the arcs and planes of a letter, or their bodies to form a letter, or to join with others to complete a letter or word or idea.
  4. It uses what they think as they experience a language situation (such as reading or listening) and how they translate all the pieces into ideas that they can visualize and understand.


This isn’t a scientific explanation, but I’ve found that it’s a lot easier for others to understand than using the exact lingo, phrases and analysis that more academic books and sites use. I like plain speaking, so that we focus on what to do for the child.

On top of that, so few “experts” agree! There are 100 different descriptions, each vying to be the accepted one.

Me? I don’t care what “the accepted way” is! Let’s forget all that and work with your child and your child’s needs. In ANY way that may help. I talk to moms and dads and kids, not other professors and researchers.

I’d rather talk about what we can try, between you and me. Or what you can do on your own (with suggestions from me, if you wish) if you choose not to go with tutoring.

Any reader who is not succeeding needs help NOW. That is my only agenda.

Oops. I got back up on my soapbox again. Continue to remind me to stop doing that! I don’t have time to battle the bureaucracy of the school, the district, the state, or the feds. And you’re possibly quite tired of it yourself. So why talk about it, right? 😉

Back to using a multisensory techniques at home if you choose to:

A very simple example can be shown with any word your child chooses and a hunk of playdough or clay.

If your child doesn’t know letters, have him select something in the house that he loves. Pick a letter from the word, and tell him the sound it makes. “Do you hear the ssss sound in basssket? Say it for me!”

After he’s made the sound for you a few times, ask him to make the letter in playdough. Talk about ‘s’ words while he works. Then go around the house looking for things that have it in their name.  stove    glasses     Susie      toothpaste      custard and so on.

If the problem is with words, let her pick one, write it down as a model, and have her make it with clay. Then let her label it by copying your letters, or even by typing the letters on the computer. Cut out the label and put it on a mat with the object she made. Add other shapes to it over time. Make up sentences that use two or more of the words she’s created. Continue to direct her attention toward the figure, the sounds, then the written word itself, to make new connections in her brain.

If the problem is with reading, and she knows what is supposed to happen, but can’t seem to do it herself, read the words to her, then ask her to act out each sentence as you go, or the first page. Then look at the text again, and point to the words she used while acting. Maybe she can then have you act it out! Again, compare your performance to what the book actually said.

Or make it a family affair. Everyone can act it out, then take part in the word identification. Let your child summarize it for everyone. Applause!

Turn a book into a dance, or a song. Use markers, crayons or even glue and string, or toothpicks, to depict a scene from it after reading. Talk about it, using other words that were in the story. Then read it again, and have him join in with you when he knows a word or words by heart, or pause to let him predict the next word. Make comparisons between his art and the words.

How happy are you when he “reads” it with you successfully, even if he didn’t read it truly, just had a bit memorized? You’re delighted. Let him know!

I have so much confidence in you moms, dads, aunts, grandparents and concerned friends who’ve joined me here to find out how to help the child you know who can’t read or is doing poorly in school because of reading issues.

YOU RULE in my book. You’re showing your particular child you believe that he or she will finally make it and go out into the world proud, confident and empowered, reading as well as anyone else.

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