Tips For Dealing With Dyslexia in the Classroom

Published: 10th August 2010
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Educators often become frustrated by the lack of specialized services that are available for students in their classroom that suffer from dyslexia, a learning disability that chiefly affects the sufferers ability to read, write, and spell. Students with this condition often require special tutoring and teaching above and beyond any special education classes that they might attend. Being unable to spell correctly prevents the student from being able to express themselves fully, which can extend across the spectrum and cause long term problems. Children are typically only taught spelling as part of a language arts curriculum in the early grades, and generally only in the perspective of learning to read. Children who suffer from dyslexia, on the other hand, need a much more wide-ranging and broad spelling support that continues well after the time that they learn to read, and even past their tenure in special education classes.

Improving Learning Environment for Teaching Dyslexia

An important component in teaching the dyslexic child includes specialized instruction across the curriculum and throughout many grade levels. Identifying the dyslexic child early on may be fundamental to overcoming the ill effects of the condition. Spelling and phonics instruction must begin in the formative years of elementary school and continue throughout their educational years, particularly in areas of the curriculum where reading is essential to their success. Dyslexic children should always be seated near the teacher's desk and the chalkboard, and should be kept from distractions as much as possible. The dyslexic child has an elevated difficulty focusing on the teacher when there is background noise and other distractions, in a much more pronounced way than the typical student.

Curriculum Needs

For a dyslexic student to succeed, curriculum needs must be given staunch consideration from day one, including:

- Explicit phonics instruction in both reading and spelling lessons. Children who suffer from dyslexia must learn to identify sounds and patterns among letters, especially where reading and spelling are fundamental to mastering a concept.

- Multi-sensory lessons where viable. Incorporating lessons that require the use of multiple senses other than visual cues, including sound and touch, or even smell and taste in more creative lessons.

- Focus on individual sounds and letters in spelling curriculum, mastering one before moving to the next. For example, focus totally on the letter "d" before proceeding to the oftentimes confused "b". Never teach confusing letters or letters with similar lines at the same time.

- Call for parent participation. While having a good rapport with all parents is ideal, the dyslexic child needs the additional support at home in order to be successful. Ask parents to reinforce skills learned at school, and schedule regular progress meetings to compare notes.

All too often, the dyslexic student will encounter classroom difficulty that relates to a lack of confidence that can cause problems in other areas of their studies other than spelling. Paying close attention to the child's ability to spell and helping the child develop good spelling skills will go a long way toward helping the child become successful throughout his entire education. Continuing to focus on spelling is vital to achieving the educational goals of the dyslexic student, even after any special education services that the child receives are considered unnecessary.

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