December 6, 2019 by Kim Wyrley-Birch
Christmas is coming! Where have the last six months gone? It only feels like yesterday that I was writing about maths apps to download in the summer holidays!
I’m sure your children will have started writing their Christmas lists by now. Mine are always itching to do it at the first sign of Christmas in the shops. However, if you still need ideas about what to buy your children - or grandchildren, nieces or nephews - I’ve pulled together a list of presents that would help dyslexic children with their learning. They’re not boring, I promise. I realise Christmas needs to be about fun! These ideas will make learning enjoyable, and no doubt, come in handy throughout the rest of 2020.
So, here are 8 Christmas gift and stocking filler ideas for children with dyslexia.
Buy from John Lewis here
Although rather a significant investment, a laptop is a transformational tool for any dyslexic child, and the sooner they learn to type quickly and navigate their way around Word, the easier it is for them to use this in class and exams as their ‘normal way of working’. Laptops help spelling, writing and reading – have a look at my ‘Let’s get all dyslexics on a laptop’ for more information.
This Asus is perfect for younger learners. It is so easy to carry around as it is small and light. The keyboard is the right size for smaller fingers. It also has a long battery life. As a bonus for Christmas, John Lewis is also offering a subscription to Microsoft Office 365 free for a year. This means that your child can access the full version of Microsoft Learning Tools, which an absolute game-changer for all dyslexic children.
I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts about how Kindle’s are great for reading when a child has dyslexia. Not only can you increase the size of the text and switch the font to OpenDyslexia, but you can purchase audiobooks with Audible too. Audiobooks allow children to follow the text on their Kindle while listening to the words. It works brilliantly when children are tired and kicking up a fuss about reading.
You will need portable Bluetooth Speakers or Bluetooth Headphones to listen to the books though. However, both presents together would make a great gift that’s sure to last for years.
CROSSBOW COLOURED READING RULERS
Buy from The Dyslexia Shop here
Many children with dyslexia struggle with words jumping around on the page when trying to follow the text. Did you know coloured rulers can prevent this from happening and improve a dyslexic child’s ability to read? Coloured rulers allow your child to focus on the words. The coloured plastic stops the words from jumping around, too, which helps your child decode the words more easily. However, do note that different colours work for different children. It’s about finding the right colour that works for your child. My daughter gets on well with jade, but you can choose from pink, blue, yellow, orange and more. The list is endless. A coloured ruler could make a perfect stocking filler!
PLAY-DOH SHAPE AND LEARN LETTERS AND LANGUAGE
Buy from Amazon here
This present is ideal for primary school children getting to grips with recognising letters and phonic sounds. I often suggest using Play-Doh to make letters, numbers and words to help get information into a child’s long-term memory. However, if your child loses patience with this, the Play-Doh Shape and Learn Letters and Language set is a great alternative. There are ready-made letter stamps and activity playmats to explore letter recognition and practice phonic sounds. There’s also a pen so your child can draw letters in the Play-Doh themselves – what a way to make writing fun!
SHIFU PLUGO COUNT MATH KIT
Buy from Amazon here
Many children get maths anxiety. However, if you teach dyslexic children numbers and sums using the right tools and techniques, many of them will end up being very good at maths!
We tend to shy away from using technology as we worry about things like too much screen time. However – in moderation – technology is beneficial for teaching children with dyslexia. People with dyslexia have strong visual skills. Therefore, if you can make their interaction with maths (and all learning) visually stimulating you will play to their strengths.
The Shifu Plugo Count (for 4 to 10-year-olds) incorporates the use of an app on a tablet with practical props. The app takes children through a series of story-based challenges to solve using a combination of numbers. Children use the props (which ‘talk’ to the app) to complete the sums. A game that’s sure to bring a lot of fun on Christmas Day – while practising maths skills at the same time!
Doctor Dyslexia Dude is the perfect present for children who may be struggling with knowing they have dyslexia. This book, written by Dr Shawn Anthony Robinson based in the US, is about an African-America boy who is a superhero with dyslexia. It captures everything dyslexic children will experience inside and outside of school brilliantly.
The story addresses learning difficulties and shows children they can achieve greatness – dyslexia is a superpower after all!
The book can be purchased from the author’s US website, or you can download the Kindle Edition from Amazon.
Buy from WH Smith here
Highlighter pens are invaluable to dyslexic children. We have a house full of them! If a dyslexic child can get into the habit of highlighting words as they read instructions, this will immensely help them focus and decode the action or answer.
Stationary to most children is a fun gift to receive, so why not pop this fab highlighter pen set in your child’s stocking or sack this year. You can enjoy watching them successfully tackle written instructions or words with their new tool!
USBORNE’S MY FIRST GUITAR BOOK
Buy from Usborne here
Usborne has lots of books that are fantastic for dyslexic children. The books are interactive with colourful pictures which make reading and learning a lot of fun.
When I saw Usborne’s My First Guitar Book, I had to include it in my gift guide. Some children with dyslexia can have difficulty with their rapid naming and visual processing skills. Rapid naming is how quickly your child can identify and name an item, letter, word or number. Visual processing is how your child’s brain can give meaning to what it sees. This book is ideal for practising these skills in a way that children are sure to find enjoyable. The book includes music sheets and a guitar with numbers and sounds. Children are required to read the numbers on the music sheets and press the number on the guitar to make a tune. What great entertainment! However, you might want to purchase earplugs for yourself!
If you’d like more gift suggestions for your child, do get in touch.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!