Sometimes, we end up being assigned a review that I’m not very excited about. Dyslexia Gold was one of those—but I may end up being thankful for it, anyway. When I filled out the form to indicate my interest in a lifetime subscription for the Dyslexia Gold Full Bundle, I gave it a fairly low interest level, but said that I would be willing to do the review if they needed people. I suspect that Mr. Sweetie has a mild level of dyslexia, so I hoped that if we used this program it would help him. The biggest reason for my hesitation is the fact that it is hard for us to fit computer work into our homeschooling day!
Mr. Sweetie has been playing games on Dyslexia Gold most school days since the middle of April. There are four categories of games, Engaging Eyes, Fluency Builder, Spelling Tutor and Times Table Tutor. I told him to do Engaging Eyes every second time, and choose one of the others for the days in between. Engaging Eyes is supposed to help children’s eyes learn to track better, which is what I suspect to be his biggest struggle with reading. Before he started, I downloaded a couple of stories from his grade level and marked the errors as he read while I timed him. His reading speed at that time was 52 words per minute, with 8 errors per minute. I had him read the same story again yesterday, and his reading speed was 61 words per minute, with only 5 errors per minute. When he was tested by the Dyslexia Gold website, his reading speed on April 14 was 66 words per minute, but by May 27, when they tested him again with a different story, it was 71. So, it looks to me as though this program might be working! Also, I noticed yesterday that he sat down and read a story to Little Miss without any prompting. I am going to have him continue to use this program for awhile, and see if it helps.
Engaging Eyes has several different games to help children be able to read better. The one Mr. Sweetie has used the most is Target Practice. He wears 3-D glasses for this one, which were sent to us in the mail. They make red and blue circles converge and appear to be at different levels, and then he uses keyboard arrows to aim at them and move the “gun” up or down. Whack an Alien teaches children’s eyes to move quickly. Speed Fix flashes several sets of letters, and you are supposed to click if you have seen an “a” in the set. Eye Tracking has letters appearing across the screen, and you’re supposed to click when you see a certain one.
Fluency Builder is mostly a phonics program. It doesn’t seem to have been very helpful here, as I have already put Mr. Sweetie through a couple of intensive phonics programs. Spelling Tutor had him write a sentence on paper, then check it. If he missed a word he had to practice it several times. This didn’t seem very helpful to him, either. The Times Table Tutor, however, I believe, will be quite helpful. Mr. Sweetie is having trouble learning his multiplication facts, and this is a good way to practice them. The main point is to get faster, which is what he needs. I’m planning to have him do this frequently, too. (This photo is of Mr. Sweetie doing Fluency Builder.)
When you log on to Dyslexia Gold, you are given the choice of the four types of games. There is also a tab on that page for reports. That’s where I found Mr. Sweetie’s reading speed from the two times the website tested him. It also tells what level he has reached with each game and how often he has used it.
I don’t know if I can say this program is worth paying money for; I’ll have to have Mr. Sweetie use it longer to know that. I do know he doesn’t complain about doing it, and even seems to enjoy it, which is more than I can say for most of his schoolwork! If you suspect eye problems to be at the root of your child’s reading difficulties, this might be a good program to check into, however.