My teaching strategies for students with dyslexia – Steph
As teachers, we strive to create an inclusive classroom well suited to all learning styles. Unfortunately, some of these inclusive practices end up singling out struggling students.
We are taught that forming different level reading groups will help all students improve upon their learning. But what happens when our inclusive strategies fail?
After years of working in both a mainstream and special education setting, I have noticed that one of the most underdiagnosed and often completely overlooked learning difference is dyslexia.
Students often have no idea they have dyslexia but feel defeated in the classroom, like they are unintelligent and different from their peers.
So how can we support these students if we have yet to identify them? Here are three simple adjustments I’ve made in my classroom to make it a more inclusive environment for all my students.
One simple, low-cost technique, which ensures no child is isolated or singled out, is to move away from a white background. Children with dyslexia struggle to read from a white background.
Varying up the colour paper of classroom activities, not only will help students with dyslexia understand the text but is a simple way to get all students excited and engaged in their work. You can also play around with different fonts and text sizes as well.
Second, try and remove fluorescent lighting. Let’s be honest; no person enjoys the flickering mess that is fluorescent lighting. If your classroom gets plenty of sunlight, opt for natural lighting. Teaching in a dark classroom? Speak with the administration about switching to other white or yellow lights. This minor adjustment will be highly beneficial to not only students with dyslexia but other learning differences.
Lastly, create a multisensory learning environment. Creating activities that allow the student to absorb and process the information in a relatable manner allows for higher retention and understanding. Plus, younger students absolutely love these activities.
Some of my personal favourites are shaving cream letters or words, sandpaper letters, using scents to convey emotions or encourage memory retention, and music learning. Younger primary aged students will stay incredibly engaged throughout these activities and show excitement for learning.
We teachers want the absolute best for our students. Sometimes we overlook the most straightforward option, asking our student how they are feeling or how we can best assist them. By getting to know our students, learning their interests, we can utilise these interests to foster learning. In combination with the above mentioned, no student will feel isolated or incapable of learning in our classroom.