Dyslexia is a spectrum disorder that is commonly found along with many other needs.
This page gives general information on how we can help pupils with dyslexia.
Dyslexia is a condition which affects the way in which the brain decodes written information, meaning that learning to read by phonics I difficult and children with dyslexia often recognise the shape of words rather than the individual phenomes.
We have a great deal of experience in supporting pupils with mild to moderate dyslexia and these children usually do very well at Campion.
We regularly update our staff on how to support pupils with dyslexia; these training sessions cover both strategies to help them with teaching and what it feels like to be in school from the child’s point of view. You can see the training materials by clicking here.
Pupils with a working diagnosis of dyslexia will have a key worker, usually a teaching assistant at the school, as a point of contact between the school and home. It is important that this is the main route for communication as multiple routes can lead to confusion and missing information.
Support for Pupils with Dyslexia
Where it is appropriate we will try our best to make sure that there is a teaching assistant in classes where there are pupils with dyslexia. However, most children with dyslexia do not need this level of support.
We offer a homework club after school to help children with SEND needs complete any homework that has been set.
We have a club at break times and lunch times where children with SEND can go if they prefer a quieter and more structured place to spend their time. The Access club offer Minecraft, crafts, board games or just a space to read a book. Some pupils enjoy chess club or ICT catch-up in the computer rooms. It is important to realise that children with dyslexia are individuals like the rest of their peers and it would be wrong to group them together to offer them the same activity or experience.
Children with dyslexia will often feel tired as their brains have to work harder to decode and interpret information. This needs to be taken into account if they need breaks.
Pupils with dyslexia respond to good teaching as with all other pupils.
The key elements of good teaching for pupils with dyslexia are:
- Keep written language to a minimum
- Use fonts such as Arial or Verdana, minimum size 12
- Double line spacing is better than single line spacing
- Use headings and subheadings in bold to help with scanning
- Use bullet points, images and diagrams where possible
- Black text on a white background is often a problem. Try and use a pastel shade such as cream for paper with text. Different tints for papers, overlays and lenses work in some cases, but these tend to very colour sensitive to each individual
- Dyslexia is not a barrier to reading. Many pupils with dyslexia are late readers, but once they start reading they can enjoy reading. Some or voracious readers
- Pupils with dyslexia take longer to compete written tasks and have to put in greater effort to write compared to other pupils
- Learning to write with cursive scripts often helps with handwriting
- Spelling is usually taught through phonetics, but pupils with dyslexia often learn by shape. They memorise the shape of the word and so will have difficulty with words they have not met before.
- Mnemonics can sometimes hep with remembering spelling words – such as 1 collar and 2 socks for necessary
- Encourage spelling out loud and allow time for repetition
- Use look, write, check to practice spellings
- Poor handwriting is a symptom of their dyslexia and not of any laziness. They should not be asked to rewrite work to “make it neater”
- Use multi-sensory methods such as assistive technology to help with letter formation and spelling
- Rubber pen grips may help with letter formation and writing
- Break the lesson down into manageable chunks
- Pupils with dyslexia can take longer to process information such as the answer to a direct question in class
Building self Confidence Strategies
- Mark on content and not spelling as far as possible
- Give an overview of the bigger picture
- Give clear step-by-step instructions
- Use signalling language: firstly, secondly, …, lastly
- Have key vocabulary listed on the board
- Avoid copying text and diagrams from whiteboards
- Encourage pupils to write down what they need to bring to their next lesson in their planners
- There is a condition which many, but not all, pupils with dyslexia suffer from, called Irlen’s Syndrome. This is a condition where text moves – either vibrating or sliding around on the page. Pupils with Irlen’s Syndrome often get headaches when they are expected to read large amounts of text.
- Use visual explanations and cues
- Allow pupils time to process information before starting tasks
- Give time to allow for organisation of equipment at the beginning and end of lessons
- If a diagram needs to be copied stick a copy on the left hand page and get them to copy it on to the right hand page so there is a correct copy in their books if they find copying and labelling difficult
- Encourage the use of memory maps, spider diagrams, charts and bullet points
- Use writing frames to help pupils plan written tasks
- Use tinted reading rulers to help pupils with Irlen’s Syndrome
- Encourage use of highlighter pens to mark key words and phrases