Help! The kid is dyslexic… what can I do?

Author: A M Scott

One of the most frequent conversations held around dyslexia is the expression of concern and panic by teachers who feel under informed or under qualified to deal with a learner who has dyslexia. Training is good and intervention essential, but every teacher can support these learners and make a difference, without expensive resources and specific up-skilling. Here’s how:

1.  Let the child have time to process information. Back off on time allowed when it is not absolutely necessary to work at pace. Let them think and seek clarification as they process new text or information.

2.  Stop marking spelling on every written expressive task. The spelling will not improve because you circled and underlined it.  Likely, any corrections will be erroneous too. Rather, assess the flow of ideas and the structured thoughts of the writer.

3.  Reduce the amount of homework you prescribe. Go for quality not quantity with these kids. Can they show you in one or two examples what they know? If so, drop the rest of the exercise.

4.  Put your red pen away. At the most, write constructive criticism in a colour that is less intimidating. Ban comments like, “Must try harder,” and “Did you learn?” altogether.

5.   Fly the ”X” for errors.  Rather, mark one or two points for review with a discreet underline.

6.   Add “yet” to your dialogue. “He hasn’t mastered the times tables yet”,  offers optimism in the face of reality.

7.    Never, ever, keep such a child in from break or off the sports field because he or she must redo or complete classwork. Never.

8.    Give these children subject choice opportunities or high interest tasks to enjoy often.

9.    Do not read their marks aloud or have them call their result across the class.

10.  Refrain from calling on the child with dyslexia to read aloud, in front of his or her peers.

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