Creating an inclusive classroom for children with dyslexia and literacy difficulties
Author Maria Buttuller
Date 4th Oct 2023
Dyslexia mainly affects the development of literacy and language-related skills, and learners with dyslexia are likely to have problems with phonological processing, working memory and processing speed. This can have a huge effect on the confidence of dyslexic learners in the following ways:
- Children may struggle to access the curriculum and understand the instructions and feedback from teachers.
- They may have low self-esteem and confidence and feel frustrated or embarrassed by their reading difficulties.
- Children may avoid reading for pleasure or information and miss out on the benefits of reading such as expanding their knowledge, imagination, and critical thinking skills.
- Dyslexic learners may have trouble with standardised tests and exams that rely heavily on reading and writing skills
Developing inclusive and collaborative classroom environments
Creating a dyslexia friendly classroom is essential to support and empower students with dyslexia and other literacy difficulties. It is based on the principle that good practice for dyslexia is good practice for everyone.
The good news is, that with the right targeted support and interventions, dyslexic children can overcome any challenges. With early identification and appropriate instruction, dyslexic learners can improve their confidence, literacy skills and achieve their full academic potential! Some of the elements of a dyslexia friendly classroom include:
- Reading to children and sharing reading with them. This can improve their vocabulary and listening skills, and also encourage their interest in books. Reading should be a pleasurable activity, not a chore, so it is important to use books about subjects that children are interested in and make reading fun.
- Providing regular teaching in small groups or one-to-one sessions with a specialist teacher who uses a structured synthetic phonics program. This can help children learn to recognise and identify sounds in spoken and written words and combine letters to create words and sentences.
- Using multisensory input and activities that involve more than one sense at a time, such as seeing, hearing, touching and moving. This can help children make connections and learn concepts in different ways. For example, using flash cards, puppets, story videos, real objects, gestures or drawing in the classroom.
- Offering learners choices in how they engage with tasks and materials to make learning more meaningful and inclusive. For example, allowing children to draw rather than write notes, use different colours or fonts, or listen to audio books or podcasts.
- Giving children extra time to complete tasks and respond to questions This can help them process information at their own pace and reduce anxiety and frustration.
- Using assistive technology to read text aloud or write text by voice, such as a C-pen reader or text-to-speech software. This can help children access written information and express their ideas without struggling with spelling or handwriting.
- Providing sound charts and other visual supports to assist with spelling. This can help children remember the sounds and patterns of words and improve their accuracy.
- Playing games to support the development of phonological and phonemic awareness skills This can help children improve their ability to manipulate sounds in words and recognise rhymes, syllables and word families. For example, playing I Spy, Bingo, Memory or Hangman with words that share the same sound or pattern.
Looking for further ways to support dyslexic learners?
Find out more about our online tutored course: Dyslexia and Significant Difficulties in Reading.
Certified for 20 hours CPD, with a flexible delivery at a pace to suit you, this course aims to develop the knowledge, skills and practice of all education professionals working with children and young people (CYP) with dyslexia.
You will learn how to assess the needs of a learner and go on to develop a support plan consisting of SMART goals and interventions, which you will implement and later review to determine how well it has met the learner’s specific developmental needs.
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