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The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders, 2nd Edition by Sandra F. Rief

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5.3 Strategies for Building Word Recognition, Decoding, Fluency, and Vocabulary

  • Many children with ADHD also have the coexisting learning disability dyslexia. As described in List 5.1, dyslexia is characterized by poor ability to read and spell words. These children struggle with word recognition and the ability to use phonics and other skills to decode or figure out unfamiliar words. Because they read slowly and laboriously, their reading fluency (speed, flow, and accuracy) is affected and therefore impairs their reading comprehension.
  • However, not all children who have poor word recognition and decoding skills and lack fluency have dyslexia. These students may have had minimal phonics and word analysis instruction and simply may not have been taught these skills and strategies sufficiently. Also, children with ADHD who do not have dyslexia may be weak in these skills because of issues related to inattention and poor working memory capacity.
  • In order to become fluent readers, children must first become skilled at recognizing and decoding the printed word. They need a large enough bank of words that they can read at an automatic level without having to sound them out (for example, high-frequency words and irregular or sight words such as said, their, and they).
  • These students also need direct, explicit instruction (and early intervention whenever possible) in how to break the code in reading, which involves learning and proficiency in these skills:
    • Alphabet knowledge
    • Letter-sound ...

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