The Dyslexia Friendly Classroom

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Dyslexia By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Dyslexia
Last updated: 27/02/2013
Tags: dyslexia, dyslexia teacher, what to do about dyslexia

Here is the British Dyslexia Association's definition of Dyslexia:

‘Dyslexia is best described as a combination of abilities and difficulties which affect the learning process in one or more of reading, spelling, writing, and sometimes numeracy/language. Accompanying weaknesses may be identified in areas of speed processing, short term memory, sequencing, auditory and/or visual perception, spoken language and motor skills. Some children have outstanding creative skills, others have strong oral skills. Whilst others have no outstanding talents, they all have strengths. Dyslexia occurs despite normal intellectual ability and conventional teaching. It is independent of socio- economic or language background.‘

Dyslexia is legally recognised as a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act


A Framework for Learning

•Not all strategies will apply to every learner

•There is no specific formula for any individual

•Dyslexic learners have different strengths /weaknesses and learning styles

•A multi-sensory approach is the best way to aid learning

•Strategies will also benefit students with Speech and Language problems


Overcoming Barriers to Learning                                                                      

•Place students within peripheral vision to pick up non-verbal communication

•Slow down speech and simplify sentence structure

•Teach mind-mapping, visualisation and thinking in pictures as an aid to memory

•Take pauses to give thinking /word-retrieval time

•Use think-aloud, talk-aloud and performance modelling to demonstrate processes

•Use check lists, chunking and bite-sizing



•Use Comic Sans, Verdana or Arial fonts

•Font size to be a minimum of 12-14 pt

•Use lower case rather than capitals

•Expand spacing between letters and lines

•Use bold to highlight rather than italics or underlining

•Avoid underlining titles or key words

•Use of coloured paper is effective: use cream, buff or pale colours rather than white/brights

•Use different colours for different topics


Paired Reading

•Give a reading partner for reading of texts and instructions

•Use ‘paired reading’ wherever possible:

a) read text to student

b) read same text together

c) student reads same text alone


Key Words

•It is crucial to introduce key words at the start of a topic

•Display enlarged words on card

•Model words by sounding out phonetically and breaking into syllables

•Put words into sentences plus repeat frequently


Confidence Building

•Emphasise it is ok to make mistakes

•Accept that dyslexic students may know things one day but forget them the next

•Ask questions e.g. ‘Which ways do you think help you learn best?’

•Model how to ask for help

•Praise has a beneficial impact on learning

Linda Black Special Educational Needs (SEN) Tutor (North West London)

About The Author

I have a lot of experience and success in working with individual students to raise their literacy and English levels. I am adept at developing students' self- esteem and their ability to overcome barriers to learning.

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