Teaching strategies for students with Dyslexia

Improving classroom environment is an excellent strategy to make students with Dyslexia feel safe

Every child and an emerging young adult spends a significant amount of their developmental years in educational institutes. As a teacher, you will come across a diverse group of students, and each comes with a different set of difficulties or quirks that you will discover eventually.

Teaching a dyslexic child can be challenging, but what makes them dyslexic has nothing to do with their intelligence or willingness to learn. We have used this article to give you tips and strategies on teaching children with Dyslexia. Before we jump into that, you must pause and consciously recognize Dyslexia.

Recognizing Dyslexia

Dyslexic students have a learning difference. Their brains are unable to hold information as efficiently and easily as someone who doesn’t experience it. This makes learning a slow, frustrating, often impossible process.

It is a language-based learning disability where people have difficulties with specific language skills, especially reading. Spelling and writing are also experiences that are difficult for people with Dyslexia. This is a learning disability that affects the person their whole life. Forcing him/her to change is fruitless and relatively insensitive.

Academic success in the most traditional sense, for a dyslexic student, can prove to be a challenging task. 

Before you unpack the teaching strategies for students with Dyslexia, here are some tips to remember that can help transform the child’s learning experience with just a few thoughtful gestures. 

Tips to help children with Dyslexia in the classroom

Use colored paper for worksheets

When you photocopy worksheets, print sheets for those students who might have Dyslexia on a colored paper, usually, purple, blue, or grey work to ease the reading process. If the child feels like they are standing out, then print the whole class’s set on colored paper. In a class of student(s) with Dyslexia try to work with double spaced bold texts with a slightly larger font. 

Use colored backgrounds 

Use colored backgrounds for your class lessons. If you’re using smartboards or computer screens, try to make sure that the background is a solid color, and not white. Slightly dim the screen brightness to accommodate the student. Also, allow dyslexic children to use colored paper to write their notes or assignments on.

Teach students to read the paragraph twice 

Dyslexic children have difficulty reading, as we have previously established. It also takes them extra time to comprehend what is being said in the lessons. Sometimes children will read or force themselves to read even when they’re having a hard time. Usually, this is done with the focus only on reading and no comprehension.

Try to train the students to read paragraphs twice. Use the first try to decode the text and then once more to comprehend the meaning. 

Focus on writing rather than spelling 

Dyslexic people are known for reversing the order of spellings as they are reading, while true, there is a world of differences that make them unique. More important than the spellings or the dictation of the text is writing good quality sentences and paragraphs.

You can take help from aids or visual tools like spell check and so on. 

Strategies for helping students with Dyslexia

Multisensory learning 

Learning that involves multisensory activities helps children process and understand the information sustainably. They retain what they learn by using senses like touch and movement with sight and hearing.

While dyslexic children benefit the most from it, multisensory learning will help the rest of the class. Engaging in something different and hands-on excites students and improves their engagement with the subject.

 Ways you can incorporate multisensory activities in class is by:

  1. Introducing physical activities to help practice spelling like jump rope or hopscotch. Make the children spell out the word with each jump.
  2. Use different mediums to write words and sentences, like glitter glue, colorful pens, Lego, or paint.
  3. Hunt letters and words, prepare a scavenger hunt, divide students into teams, and give them each a word. Write the letters onto notes or hide alphabet blocks all over the class. Give them clues to find the word.

Helpful environment 

More than everything else, children who are different should not feel different in a way that limits their learning or interactions. Create an inclusive classroom where you promote a healthier and safer learning environment for every student.

If you already know dyslexic students in your class, make small changes within your routine, materials, and activities, so children do not feel overlooked. Assistive teaching technologies, specific classroom strategies are crucial in ensuring dyslexic children find success in the classroom. 

Don’t force any student who is uncomfortable with reading aloud to read. There will be many classroom activities that may involve tasks that can make students with Dyslexia feel self-conscious. Thus, as an educator, you will need to create a helpful environment and be sensitive to their particular needs.

Some technology or tools that helps dyslexic learners are,

Pocket Spell Checkers 

Dyslexic students type in words the way they think they are spelled. Often this is done phonetically, and the spell checker aids in giving the correct spelling of the word. This helps the child feel confident in his/her writing and reading abilities.

Colored Keyboards

Using colored backgrounds for learning has proven to be quite successful with dyslexic students. Provide students keyboards with colored overlays and large letters to make typing more accessible. Some keyboards also come with multimedia hotkeys that enable the user to play, pause, stop, or rewind audio, which is useful for dyslexic learners. They used text-to-speech software when reading and writing.

Line Readers 

Line readers magnify and highlight the portion of text over which they are placed. 

Arrangements in class 

As we discussed earlier, you will need to pay extra attention to a dyslexic student need. How, exactly, can you do this? 

  1. Please give them a sheet that contains the key information for the lesson you’re about to teach, so it covers everything before the lesson starting. If the students want to take note, they can, without the fear of losing out on important information during class.
  2. If an assignment takes around one day to complete for an average student, distribute the homework a day prior, so the child has more time to work on it. You can also give their parents the homework schedule for the month, so they prepare better.
  3. While the education system somewhat forces our hand to make tests standardized, try to mark students for the effort and ideas they bring to the table more than you would for how correct.

We hope that using the strategies and tips mentioned above help to teach students with Dyslexia, and you’re able to provide a safe and meaningful learning experience to each student you encounter.

If you want more teaching tips, how to write lesson plans, anchor charts, and so on, visit our blog at Digiteachers.