Teaching strategies to help dyslexic children

There are numerous techniques for teaching dyslexic children. Not all dyslexics will respond to the same techniques, so it is important to work out what will work with each particular child. Presented here are some of the techniques you could try..
Start with the Child. Dyslexic learners may often have ‘failed’ and it is very important to start by talking to and listening to your pupil. This
 lets you get to know the pupil as a person and get to know their interests, allows the pupil to get to know you, builds up trust and confidence,  helps you to assess oral ability.

Learners need to feel confident to ‘have a go’ and often a dyslexic’s self esteem can be low because of previous failure. When trust is established it is much easier to find out the best way to help and support.

Try to use a range of resources and approaches which will ensure success early on which will motivate the student to learn more and to be more confident in his/her ability to learn.

What material should I use?

There are numerous programs, teaching aids, software packages etc that you can use with students. Whichever you choose, if you are positive about it then the pupil’s confidence is improved there is a far greater chance of success.

Tuition should be multi-sensory involving looking, listening, speaking, touching etc with as much variation as possible but we are all unique and it is good to observe whether the child/adult is predominantly a

VISUAL LEARNER (learns best by seeing)

AUDITORY LEARNING (learns best by listening)

KINESTHETIC LEARNER (learns by doing/feeling)

The following are just a few tips that can be useful for any type of learner. However, the more you get to know your pupil the more you will work together to find the best individual tips.

Visual Learners

    Use pictures and multi-media material
    Stick spelling words anywhere in view
    Look at pictures in a book before reading
    Play games eg ‘pairs’ to improve memory
    Draw mind maps
    Use different colour eg syllables in words
    Use good visual software programmes
    Have an uncluttered work area

Auditory Learners

    Talk about the book to be read or the information to be learned
    Make sure instructions are orally clear
    Get the student to record the information so it can be listened to again
    Use software which has good auditory input.

Kinesthetic Learners

    Trace letters in sand or in the air
    Use concrete objects which can be handled eg wooden letters, numbers etc
    Memorize facts while moving about

Tips for Numbers Work

    Talk about numbers eg TV channels, dates, house numbers
    Count eg climbing stairs, skipping, etc
    Handle real coins
    Discuss time – day/night, early/late
    Sequence days, months, birthdays
    Use board games, dominoes, dice
    Use maths words eg how many, the same
    Discuss symbols and signs
    It is very important for a dyslexic to feel confident using a calculator.

Good organization needs to be encouraged as dyslexics often jump to the answer. They need to be taught how to set down ‘working’.

Tips for Written Work

    Use lined paper
    Use spell checker
    Use word bank
    Close procedure (handouts with blanks)
    Use Co-writer or Texthelp (if available)
    Whenever possible give praise for content

Tips for Reading

    Limit reading demands
    Ensure appropriate reading level/material
    Paired reading
    Prepare a subject word list
    If the child has Meares Irlen Syndrome use coloured overlays/glasses
    Try out computer software eg wordshark
    Llisten to taped books

Classroom Assistants

The classroom assistant can be

    Crucial in helping a pupil achieve success of important help to the class teacher

The classroom assistant often knows a pupil far better than most of the other staff in the school because of the close daily contact in a variety of situations. The assistant can

    Break down instructions and tasks
    Keep a pupil on task
    Organize work materials
    Read and/or scribe
    Note down homework
    Help with practical tasks

For a dyslexic this support is invaluable.

The classroom assistant can sometimes help the class teacher to prepare individual work material. In addition the assistant can let the class teacher know

    Which tasks are causing difficulty
    Where the pupil’s strengths lie
    If homework is causing excessive stress
    If there are problems relating to peers

Difficulties with processing information mean that lack of time is often a problem for a dyslexic child. He/she will feel a failure if work is consistently left incomplete.

The individual support of a classroom assistant can allow a pupil to finish a task before moving on.


Canton Christian Academy is a 501c3 private Christian school formed for the community. Our school was started by a group of parents and friends who wanted to take responsibility for educating their children in a Christian



1315 W Dallas Canton

Texas, 75103



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