Unfortunately, the label of 'being dyslexic' is often been seen as a negative one. One which can produce upset, limitations and hurdles to a student. However, with the right training, teaching and encouragement it can also produce strengths, talents and creative gifts.
Specialist London-based tutoring agency Tutor House has recently come up with a guide to aid teachers, private tutors and parents on teaching dyslexic children. The article analyses the effects of dyslexia on academic performance, how to identify it as well as quality teaching strategies to help people with dyslexia.
What are the effects of dyslexia?
Research suggests that individuals with dyslexia have great difficulties in fluent and/or accurate word identification, often resulting in a slower reading ability, poor concentration, difficulty with spelling and grammar and in some cases trouble with organization and planning.
A key concern for people with dyslexia is the lack of confidence and the negative effect it can have on a student's self-esteem. Low self-esteem leads to other challenges such as a lack of motivation, concentration, and self-belief and in some cases, anxiety.
Tips for teaching students with dyslexia:
1. Be as visual as you can with your teaching. Dyslexics are visual thinkers, so try to include diagrams, flow charts and pictures wherever possible.
2. Think about the level of distraction around the classroom and how you can reduce such disruptions. Working in a quiet, comfortable room with at little to distract the brain as possible will allow students to focus and therefore improve their
3. Play to the strengths of dyslexia whilst teaching. Really think about the positives - creativity, imagination and a hands-on approach; and integrate them into your teaching techniques.
4. Use mind maps when teaching new and intimidating subjects. Mind maps work the way the brain works, which isn't in nice neat lines. Mind maps are a very visual way of teaching, and because the brain best memorises keywords and images, they are ideal for teaching students with dyslexia.
5. Help to develop organisational skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Use colour-coded folders to separate different subjects or subject topics and encourage them to implement and stick to a daily routine. Schedules are very useful for individuals with dyslexia as they help them know what to expect and what is coming up next.
6. Use approved specialist software to diversify teaching techniques and encourage willingness to learn. Software such as word and grammar based games; word processors as well as digital voice recording are useful for teaching dyslexic students. Get creative and make it fun, they will respond to new and exciting teaching techniques.
7. Students with dyslexia may struggle with short-term memory and concentrating for long periods of time. Be aware that you may have to repeat yourself often and try to break up the lesson with short breaks such as learning games, chats and active learning techniques.
8. Focus on verbal reasoning. Don't just hand out sheets of paper for the student to read, as they may struggle to absorb and understand the information. Discuss the topics with them and engage them in conversation; it's a much more effective way of teaching.
Tutor House has a group of professional Educational Psychologists who assess the level of dyslexia and then give feedback to specially trained tutors.
Tutor Houses' educational support tutors work closely with dyslexic children and adults, often meeting with the families and parents of the student in order to effectively gather information and construct an successful plan for dyslexia support. The tutors have years of Dyslexic and Autistic teaching experience for individual, group and residential tuition.
Tutor House employs the services of around 150 specialist tutors, offering a variety of disciplines, from PE to physics, tennis to IT, with specific tuition offered for dyslexia support for senior school examinations, GCSE and A levels.