Hyperlexia is a condition few in education know about. It is characterized by having the ability to sound words out with little or no meaning. Hyperlexic students do not read with expression. They do not pause at commas or stop at periods. And while they can sound almost every word out with complete accuracy, they cannot tell you what they have just read.
It appears that there are two types of Hyperlexia. The first is developmental. The second is acquired.
Students with developmental Hyperlexia are word callers who attain this skill without being taught and generally before age 5 years. They can recognized almost any text but with the complete absence of meaning. More on this in a later post.
Students with acquired Hyperlexia are taught it through the overemphasis on teaching phonics-based word recognition activities. They start to believe that reading is about getting the words right rather than meaning. They become stuck at skills.
Students with acquired Hyperlexia need to be taken out of a skill-first approach immediately and put into a highly structured meaning-based program such as Failure Free Reading.
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