It’s not just about reading and writing

  • The most important thing you can do to support a dyslexic learner in your classroom is to understand how their dyslexia impacts the individual

  • Consider implications beyond literacy difficulties e.g. emotional wellbeing, memory, organisation, mathematics and how information is processed

  • Keep in mind that many dyslexic learners have great strengths. These talents should be celebrated and learners empowered to use them in their learning

Support for social and emotional impact

  • One of the greatest barriers to success is the damage which can easily be done to a dyslexic person's self-esteem if they are not well supported at school

  • Provide opportunities which allow learners to work to their strengths so they can show themselves and others that they have talents and value

  • How we go about marking and providing feedback can make a big difference to a dyslexic learners self-esteem (see "Feedback" section below for further information)

A video produced by Made By Dyslexia on the emotional impact of dyslexia. Click here

Award-winning short animated student film I AM DYSLEXIC. Click here

Multisensory learning

  • Almost any subject or topic can be taught using multisensory techniques

  • Using all the senses in learning activities supports ALL learners (especially those with dyslexia) to absorb, store and recall information and skills

  • Use a mixture of visual, auditory and kinetic tasks. (If you are retelling a story can you sequence images of the story whilst retelling it and then perhaps act it out)

  • Make tasks colourful, noisy, interactive and fun

  • Allow movement around the classroom where possible

  • Share resources and ideas with colleagues

The following link is a great video from the British Dyslexia Association about using a multisensory approach. Click here

Using technology and digital tools

  • The right technology and knowing how to use it can be transformative

  • Using cloud platforms or virtual learning environments can help you share content prior to a lesson for pre-learning, during the lesson for easy reference and after the lesson for practise/revision

  • Many devices now include features which can remove barriers to learning such as text to speech, speech to text, predictive text, spelling and grammar checkers and alternative display settings to reduce glare and visual strain

Helpful arrangements

  • Seat dyslexic learners near the front of the class/close to the teacher

  • Make sure learning resources are clearly marked and well organised

  • Avoid any activity that involves copying from the board e.g. give learners a set of notes so that they can focus on what you are saying or share electronically

  • Allow for regular movement breaks to help maintain focus and reduce fatigue

  • In planning learning for dyslexic learners always keep in mind the following key points:

- Learning should be progressive, structured and in small steps

- Over learning - lots of repetition and recapping prior learning

- Make it multisensory (see multisensory section)

- Consider barriers to learning and remove where possible e.g. alternative ways to demonstrate learning rather than lots of handwriting.

Giving feedback

  • Ask yourself, if a learner’s written work is hard to read and difficult to mark, how hard was it for them to write it in the first place? Consider effort

  • If marking without the learner present, mark their work in two colours. One colour for spelling, punctuation and grammar and the other for creativity, thinking and effort

  • Only mark spelling and grammar rules which have been explicitly taught or are currently your focus

  • If possible, give oral feedback as a discussion. Technology can be used to provide audio or video feedback on work completed digitally

  • Think carefully before using peer marking as this could lead to challenges for all involved

Further support and resources

The British Dyslexia Association: The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) has been the voice of dyslexic people since 1972. We are a membership organisation working to achieve a dyslexia-friendly society for all.

Made By Dyslexia: A global charity, led by successful dyslexics. Our purpose is to help the world to understand, value and support dyslexia.

Helen Arkel Centre: A charity which offers dyslexia support and advice to anyone who may need it, whether they think they have dyslexia or care for someone who may have dyslexia.

Dr Gavin Reid: Dr. Gavin Reid Ph.D., M.A, M.App.Sci, M.Ed., B.Ed, AMBDA, Assoc. F. B.P.S is an independent international educational psychologist. He is a director of the Red Rose School in the UK and Global Educational Consultancies (GEC) and a consultant to the Institute of Child Education and Psychology, Europe (ICEPE), the Open University and the BBC in the UK and the Child Early Intervention Medical Center (CEIMC) in Dubai.

Dyslexia Resource Booklet: A free to access digital booklet of information and resources to support those working with dyslexic learners created in collaboration between LGfL and The Islington Dyslexia Network.

Dyslexia Resource Booklet

The Islington Dyslexia Network and LGfL have collaborated to create this information resource booklet to help those supporting dyslexic learners.

Multisensory Learning

CPD resource to support understanding of multisensory learning. It includes how sensory issues affect learners as well as practical and affordable suggestions to use in school.

Learning Through Movement

CPD resource to develop an understanding of the significance of movement for learners to maintain focus and effective handwriting.