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.
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About the author
About the author
Amanda Morin is the director of thought leadership at Understood and author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.” She worked as a classroom teacher and early intervention specialist for more than a decade.