For kids with dyslexia, reading can be challenging. Spelling and writing can be challenging too. What classroom help level the playing field for students with dyslexia? Here’s a look at some of the supports teachers can use to help students who struggle with reading, spelling, and writing.
Classroom materials and routines
- Post visual schedules and also read them out loud.
- Provide colored strips or bookmarks to help focus on a line of text when reading.
- Hand out letter and number strips so the student can see how to write correctly.
- Use large-print text for worksheets.
- Use audiobooks like those available through services like Bookshare, a free online library for students with disabilities.
- Allow the student to use a text reader like a Reading Pen or text-to-speech software.
- Use speech-to-text software to help with writing.
- Have on hand “hi-lo” books (books with high-interest topics for students reading below grade level).
- Provide extra time for reading and writing.
- Give the student multiple opportunities to read the same text.
- Use reading buddies during worktime (as appropriate).
- Partner up for studying — one student writes while the other speaks, or they share the writing.
Introducing new concepts
- Pre-teach new concepts and vocabulary.
- Provide the student with typed notes or an outline of the lesson to help with taking notes.
- Provide advance organizers to help the student follow along during a lesson.
- Provide a glossary of content-related terms.
- Use visual or audio support to help the student understand written materials in the lecture.
- Give step-by-step directions and read written instructions out loud.
- Simplify directions using key words for the most important ideas.
- Highlight key words and ideas on worksheets for the student to read first.
- Check in frequently to make sure the student understands and can repeat the directions.
- Show examples of correct and completed work to serve as a model.
- Provide a rubric that describes the elements of a successful assignment.
- Help the student break assignments into smaller steps.
- Give self-monitoring checklists and guiding questions for reading comprehension.
- Arrange worksheet problems from easiest to hardest.
Completing tests and assignments
- Grade the student on the content that needs to be mastered, not on things like spelling or reading fluency.
- Allow understanding to be demonstrated in different ways, like oral reports, posters, and video presentations.
- Provide different ways to respond to test questions, like saying the answers or circling an answer instead of filling in the blank.
- Provide sentence starters that show how to begin a written response.
- Provide extended time for taking tests.
- Provide a quiet room for taking tests, if needed.
Do you have a student with dyslexia? Read a one-page fact sheet to learn more about this common learning difference.
Do you think your child may need accommodations? Explore tips for talking to the teacher about your child’s dyslexia.
About the author
About the author
Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days.