Here are some great ideas condensed from 100+ Ideas for Supporting Children with Dyslexia by Gavin Reid and Shannon Green (published by continuum).
Identify the child’s learning style – visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or tactile.
Do you think of ideas or information in pictures?
Do you prefer to find out information from a video?
Do you like to draw and illustrate work?
Do you prefer to listen to obtain information?
Do you like to read a lot of factual information?
Do you prefer to discuss information with others?
Do you prefer to learn through role-play and acting?
Do you prefer to learn by building models and making things?
Usually children with dyslexia have a preference for visual/kinaesthetic learning.
Children will learn more effectively when they are relaxed. This is especially the case for those with dyslexia. Relaxation activities include the following:
- Eyes closed, listening to classical music
- Visualisation techniques
- Allocating time for a favourite activity without any form of structure or demand
- Exercises involving body flexing
- Games & sports
Write, Recite and Repeat
One of the main difficulties experienced by dyslexic children involves the use of short and long term memory. It is important that children have a personal notebook, write down notes and make a daily ‘to do’ list.
- write it down – the actual process of writing can help strengthen the kinaesthetic memory
- recite it to himself, or to others – this can help to absorb the information through the auditory channels
- repeat it a number of times – this can help to absorb the information through the auditory channel
- annotate the notes with visual symbols and key words – this helps to develop the visual skills
READING & READING COMPREHENSION
Developing sight word vocabulary
The term ‘sight words’ can be used to refer to words that are recognised instantly. It is necessary to explicitly teach these words and for children to memorise the spelling therefore they will likely need a considerable amount of over learning.
- Tracing the letters – glitter glue is a great way to make these quickly.
- Sky writing – draw the letters in the sky with your arm straight and your index finger pointing out.
- Create a reading deck of sight words. Review the words daily.
Using Visual Imagery
Giving a student a picture to write about is a great way to stimulate creative ideas. Allow the child two or three minutes to study the picture and then. Ask the student three open ended questions about the image. Then ask the class to write a paragraph about the picture. It will be interesting to note the difference between what the student writes and what they actually tell you about the picture.
Here are some ideas of pictures that will stimulate creativity in a child’s mind:
- A beach scene
- Interesting Activities
- Interesting Facial Expressions
Brainstorming is a great way for children to develop their vocabulary and to get them thinking more quickly. When they are finished with a brainstorming activity, they will have a list of ideas to work from for writing. Try to get the pupils to write a good long list of at least ten or more items. (Spelling never counts in brainstorming activities).
Simultaneous Oral Spelling
An effective way of teaching a child to spell is using visual, auditory and tactile methods.
Step one (Visual): Look at word.
Step two (Auditory and tactile): Write the word, sounding out each letter.
Step three: Write the word and see if the spelling is correct.
Hide the word and repeat steps one to three. Repeat this process three times a day for one week. Within this timeframe you the student will have learnt the spelling of one new word.
Addition and Subtraction
Teaching children how to add or subtract can be made much easier by using physical and visual representatives for the numbers in the sum.
For example, when adding or subtracting use blocks or beads to help. Always make sure they articulate the process.
Learning tables can be made into a fun exercise rather than the monotonous listing of each table. By making it into a fun exercise such as singing times tables children won’t suffer from the anxiety of trying to learn off their tables.
‘Two little caterpillars crawling on the floor, they were joined by two more, then there were four.
Four little caterpillars looking for the door and they were joined by another two more.’
Then ask the student how many caterpillars there are now. Add drawings of caterpillars to help them count and add up how many caterpillars there are.
Telling the time
Dyslexic children often find it difficult to tell the time. A great way of teaching a child to tell the time is to make two separate cardboard clocks. One for an hour hand and the second for the minute hand.
Label the minute hand clock one to twelve. Emphasize the word minute and how the minute hand is long just like the word. Explain that the minute hand goes around the clock quicker than the hour hand.For the second clock emphasize how the word hour is short, just like the hour hand.
Once the child can distinguish between the hour and minute hands provide them with a blank clock face and ask them to draw a specific time.