The Best Strategies For Teaching Dyslexic Students

Strategies For Teaching Dyslexic Students

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that primarily affects reading and writing skills.

It’s a condition that is often first apparent in childhood and continues on into adulthood.

Dyslexia does present a number of challenges, but with the right support and tailored teaching techniques, someone with the condition can learn and go on to do well with their studies.

In this article, we will share advice on the best strategies for teaching dyslexic students, as well as tips on how this progress can be continued at home.

Let’s get started.

A Recap Of Dyslexia

Understanding dyslexia is the first step to helping students.

Dyslexia is a condition that makes reading, writing, spelling, and sometimes speaking challenging due to difficulties in processing language.

Recognising that dyslexia varies in severity and can coexist with other learning difficulties is crucial.

Equally important is understanding that it’s not a reflection of a child’s intelligence or hard work.

Dyslexic students often have strengths in other areas like creative thinking or problem-solving.

For more information on getting a dyslexia diagnosis, please click here.

Tips For Teaching Dyslexia Students

Now we’ve recapped what dyslexia is and how it can impact a child, let’s go over some of the ways you can support your student or child on their learning journey.

Creating A Dyslexia-Friendly Environment

A dyslexia-friendly environment is supportive and non-judgemental. It’s essential to create a learning space where students feel safe, understood, and valued.

This includes adjusting lighting and seating arrangements and providing a clutter-free, organised space.

Adopt Multi-Sensory Teaching Techniques

Multi-sensory teaching techniques can be highly effective.

This approach involves using multiple senses (sight, hearing, touch, and movement) to help students learn and remember information.

For example, using letter tiles to form words or coloured overlays for reading can make a significant difference.

Use Of ColourAand Visual Aids

This expands on our advice in the point above – use colours and visual aids to enhance learning.

Incorporating colour coding, charts, and visual organisers can make information more accessible and memorable.

Try To Simplify Instructions

Clear and concise instructions are key, so break down tasks into smaller, manageable steps and provide them in verbal and written form.

Repeating instructions and checking for understanding can also be helpful.

Encouraging Oral Participation

Many dyslexic students excel in oral skills. Encourage class discussions, oral presentations, and storytelling.

This not only builds confidence but also allows students to demonstrate their understanding in ways that play to their strengths.

Use Technology

Technology can be a great ally. Text-to-speech and speech-to-text software, audiobooks, and digital learning tools specifically designed for dyslexic learners can be very beneficial.

Focus On Their Strengths

Emphasise students’ strengths and celebrate their talents and interests, whether in arts, sports, or other areas.

This can boost their self-esteem and motivation.

Adjust Reading Materials

Choose your reading materials carefully.

Use texts appropriate for the student’s reading level, with a clear font and good spacing.

Providing summaries or simplified versions of texts can also help.

Create Individualised Learning Plans

This is perhaps one of the best things you can do, as each dyslexic student is unique.

Individualised learning plans (ILPs) that cater to their specific needs and learning styles can be highly effective.

This might involve one-to-one tutoring or small group sessions.

Teach Different Spelling Strategies

Teaching specific spelling strategies, like mnemonics or breaking words into syllables, can be useful.

Encourage the use of spell checkers but also teach the skills needed to identify when a word ‘looks wrong.’

Encourage Reading For Enjoyment

This can involve allowing students to choose their reading material based on their interests, which can foster a more positive attitude towards reading.

Build Writing Skills Gradually

Develop writing skills gradually.

Start with simple sentences and gradually move to more complex structures.

Mind mapping can be a useful tool for organising thoughts before writing.

Provide Extra Time

Allow students with dyslexia extra time for reading, writing, and test-taking.

This helps reduce stress and allows students to demonstrate their understanding and skills fully.

Develop Their Listening Skills

Work on helping the student to develop good listening skills.

Activities that involve following verbal instructions can enhance listening and comprehension abilities.

Offer Alternative Assessment Methods

Be flexible with assessment methods.

Consider oral presentations, visual projects, or practical demonstrations as alternatives to traditional written tests.

Be Patient And Consistent

Patience and consistency are essential when teaching students with dyslexia.

Celebrate small achievements and maintain a steady approach to teaching and learning.

Collaborate With Parents

Work closely with parents or caregivers to share strategies and resources and communicate openly about the child’s progress and challenges.

Seek Professional Development

Engage in professional development.

Understanding the latest research and teaching methods for dyslexia can greatly enhance teaching effectiveness.

Continue Learning At Home

Parents and teachers who communicate can support a child with dyslexia in and out of the classroom.

Parents can adopt the tried and tested methods from school to reinforce learning and provide support with homework tasks.

What Is The Best Teaching Method For Dyslexia?

The best teaching method for dyslexia involves a multi-sensory approach, which engages more than one sense at a time, enhancing learning and memory.

This method acknowledges that dyslexic students often struggle with traditional reading and writing techniques due to difficulties in processing language.

By incorporating visual, auditory, kinesthetic (movement-based), and tactile (touch-based) learning activities, educators can create a more inclusive and effective learning environment.

We’ve included a few examples of this further up in the guide.

Don’t forget that lessons should be structured in a way that breaks down information into small, manageable chunks.

Repeated reinforcement and regular, positive feedback are crucial to build confidence and skills.

This method doesn’t just focus on the areas of weakness and leverages the student’s strengths, such as creativity or problem-solving skills.

The multi-sensory approach is flexible and can be adapted to each student’s unique needs, making it one of the most effective methods for teaching dyslexic learners.

Further reading: Is dyslexia a disability?

Our Final Thoughts

Teaching students with dyslexia effectively requires understanding, patience, and tailored strategies.

By creating a supportive environment, using multi-sensory teaching methods, and focusing on each student’s strengths and needs, educators and parents can help dyslexic students overcome their challenges and achieve their full potential.

Remember, dyslexia is just one aspect of a student’s learning profile, and with the right support, they can excel academically and in other areas of life.

If you think your child may have dyslexia, you can book an assessment here or get in touch for more information.