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Supporting students with dyslexia in the classroom

Some suggested teaching methods to support children with dyslexia in the classroom

With the right support and patience, a child with dyslexia can thrive in school. Dyslexia is a learning difference in which children struggle with managing information. A student’s learning may at times be slow and difficult however this is not a reflection on intelligence or willingness to learn.

Strategies to support students with dyslexia in the classroom

 

1. Multisensory Learning

As students with dyslexia struggle with information particularly that which is written, try to consider creative ways of presenting information. Using a multi-sensory approach will benefit not only your students with dyslexia but also make it fun and engaging for your other students too.   

Examples of multi-sensory activities for the classroom include:

  • Writing letters and words

    • Place either shaving foam, hair mousse or sand in a large tray and encourage your students to write letters with their finger or a stick.

    • Use beads or Lego to create letters

 

  • Spelling

    • Identify words and use hopscotch or jump rope for children to spell out words.

 

  • Reading

    • Take your class on a letter hunt around the school and ask them to look for certain letters or words. You can also use this for numbers too.

    • As your students progress their reading, you can set up scavenger hunts around the school where the children need to collect and read clues.

 

2. Assistive technology and tools

There are many assistive technologies and Apps available to support children with dyslexia in school., some include:

This allows your student to type in a word how they think it is spelt and the checker will return a correctly spelt word. If using a computer, students can use the Spell checker function. This tool enables children to not feel alienated and slowly build their confidence in writing and spelling. With practice, students may be able to then commit the spellings to memory.  

Using a line reader will enable your student to highlight and magnify a specific piece of text which will help your student keep their place easier.

Coloured key board overlays will enable children to better identify different letters. You can also download apps for text-speech which will enable students to express themselves better particularly if producing a story or longer prose.

 

3. Classroom approaches

  • Support your student to record and absorb key information

Support your student with note taking – Give them a printout of the key information you are conveying and left blanks for them to complete. This will enable them to have access to the key information and focus on absorbing the key information.  Simply writing information on a board for your student to copy may not translate, causing anxiety and misinterpretation.  

  • Be patient - Give time

Give your student plenty of time to complete tasks. If you expect a task to take an hour, give them three. If you are setting homework, do not give it one day and ask for it to be in the next. Set the homework on a Friday and give your student the weekend to complete it. Communicating with your student’s parents/ carers in essential. Write a note for their parents/ carers to explain what the homework is.

  • Praise and reward

As your student finds spelling and ordering difficult, take this into consideration when marking work. It may be that they have given considerable time and effort to a piece of work, but it contains some spelling errors however they have completed the task. Praise your student for good work and give marks for effort.

 

Dyslexic learners may be less skilled than their peers at spelling and grammar. However, if their thought process and creativity shine through the errors and it’s clear they’ve made an effort, this should be praised. Avoid using red pen to correct errors and always start with a positive response to their work as they will be aware of their difficulties, experience sensitivities which could escalate into anxiety. You can continue to support them with strategies to support ordering and spellings.

 

Having a range of stamps or stickers can allow you to offer praise in a fun, accessible way and vary your response as well as boosting your student’s self-esteem.

 

4. Educational Games

  • Using physical games and educational apps is a great way to engage all children in your class.

  • There are many games you can use to support your student with Dyslexia to learn and will be engaging and fun for all your class that are available to purchase, however there are a lot you can create yourself such as:

    • Word Bingo - Students match words to pictures

    • “Snap” Matching games- starting with animals and moving onto letters and words

    • Story cubes or story cards- initially starting with pictures move onto singular words that students have to use to create a story

    • Word building- Write letters on pebbles or bottle lids and encourage child to build words initially, moving onto phrases or sentences.

  • Encourage children to use their creativity to practice ordering and sequencing such as bead work, knitting

  • Encourage children to follow instructions through supporting them to follow a recipe to cook a dish, build something or participate in a treasure hunt

 

Examples of Education Apps:

  • Highspeedtraining and dyslexia.com

  • Nessy.com- This supports students to understand the sounds that make up words

  • Dyslexiagames.com- Puzzles, drawings and reading activities

  • Simple Spelling series

The  International Dyslexia association has a handbook for teachers , free to download online.