Dyslexia and Visual Learning

“Dinosaur,” said six-year-old Sawyer. “The word is dinosaur!”

“That’s great!” said his exuberant mother. “Now read this word.”

She pointed to the word “dab,” thinking that it would be no problem for her son to read after a larger word like “dinosaur.”

“Bad,” Sawyer said.

“No, sweetheart,” she encouraged. “Look again…d-a-b. Sound it out with me.”

“It says bad!” her son screeched. “As in…I’m bad at reading.”

His mother tried to comfort him and help him sound out the word, but it made little difference. She didn’t understand why her son could read such a long word but couldn’t pronounce a simple three letter word.

When they went to his pediatrician, a simple assessment was done, and they discovered he had a common learning disability. He was struggling with Dyslexia. It turned out that Sawyer saw words as pictures in his head and had a difficult time deciphering individual letters, especially if they had the same shape but were turned different ways. As a boy who loved dinosaurs, her son had memorized what that picture looked like very early on, but he had a difficult time decoding the letters inside of it.

But Sawyer wasn’t alone. There are millions of other children currently suffering with the most common learning disability in the world. Between 7-10% of the general population suffer with Dyslexia. Not only are kids with Dyslexia not alone, but there is a plethora of educational options available to them.

Our brains naturally pick up spoken language easier than written language, whether we’re dyslexic or not. We all naturally receive spoken language. It’s how our ancestors passed stories along for centuries before it was easy to make copies of tablets, scrolls, or books and pass them along to the general population. Audible books and Bibles are so popular for this very reason, because our brains naturally learn that way.

We also use the visual cortex of the brain to assess the letters we’re looking at. But for children that deal with Dyslexia, they have a harder time deciphering what individual letters mean. For example, it’s easy to confuse a d and a b. After all, they’re very similar pictures. They’re both just lines with circles at the end. If they are turned opposite directions or upside down, isn’t it just the same thing?

When we’re learning to read as young children, we all must train our brains to memorize letters and recognize that if they’re turned different ways, they’re actually different letters, different pictures. Children with Dyslexia can see the letters, but have an easier time getting them confused, and need more time to train their brains to spot the differences.

The ability to decode letters and train our brains happens in the visual cortex of the brain. We all understand pictures, and if the picture of a dog in our brain gets reversed or confused in a mirror image, it’s no big deal. But it’s different with letters. This is one reason that pictures are an organic way for Dyslexic children to learn. While they’re training their brains to decode letters, they can also benefit from stories that offer more pictures, since that feels more natural to them.

That’s why resources like The Video Bible—where children can see vibrant, colorful pictures while an audible Bible is read over aloud—are so ideal. Anything that combines a dyslexic child’s natural visual learning with audible stories is an ideal way for them to learn! The Video Bible offers stories of the biblically accurate God, along with a historical narrative that’s already been passed down as audible stories for generations. Now with these lifelike, visual illustrations, the children struggling with Dyslexia can learn the Bible—and learn more about their learning abilities—in a whole new way.

Whether you want to start with a peaceful passage like Psalm 91, or you think your child would be more interested in stories of Jesus, like in John 12, there’s something for everyone. The Video Bible is available on both Apple and Android, but it can also be accessed from any computer. Try these bright and lively images today so that your Dyslexic learner can embrace their natural visual learning style with stories they’ll love.

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