What is dyslexia and how do you teach children with dyslexia? Learn about the top three recommendations and tools for students and other people with dyslexia so they can read and write better.
What is dyslexia? Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects a student’s ability to read and write as well as their peers of the same age. This disability also impacts other language-based areas of education like spelling and pronouncing words.
Dyslexia affects the executive functioning in our brains, which is the part of the brain that helps us process information. While dyslexia makes it hard for students to read and write, our brains have plasticity, which means that we can use tasks and techniques to rewire them.
The good news is that there are many techniques we can use to help students with dyslexia. Here are the top three recommendations:
- Review, Repetition, and Extended Time-It helps for students with dyslexia to be exposed to concepts repeatedly. Pre-teach new or important concepts for reinforcement. Give directions several times—once orally and once written. Then ask students to repeat the directions to make sure they understand them. Spend a little time doing a bit of review from the previous day. Sometimes it helps to tackle harder concepts in small group settings.
- Break Assignments Down-Too much information at one time confuses students with dyslexia. Design worksheets so that students can work the easiest problems first and the hardest ones last. Give students an organizer for lessons where they can fill in the blanks during class time to help them stay focused and on task.
- Audio Software and Oral Answers-Take some help from technology by letting students read along with audio books, or use text-to-speech software. Give them a reading pen, which reads passages aloud to students and helps them with spelling. Reading pens will even store audio text for the student to play back later. Get creative and let students turn in their homework using video, oral presentations, or posters.
Students with dyslexia often have a high level of intelligence and they can usually express themselves very well orally. Given the right tools, they can learn to read and write well. It’s important to be patient with them and be open to teaching them using alternative methods.