Many of the following strategies will benefit all learners.
- If a pupil has difficulties with working memory, then (s)he might be more easily distracted by background noise – so some attention should be paid to position in the classroom.
- It can really help to provide worked examples of maths calculations or completed subject work, so that the pupil knows what the end result should look like.
- Encourage the use of a laptop computer with appropriate support software for all writing.
- Introduce mind maps and other visual aids to support the development of ideas, and to help in planning written work.
- The dyslexic pupil might be able to get through class work more efficiently if (s)he is allowed to write single word answers only– these could later be expanded if a permanent record is required.
- It can be helpful if you get into the habit of writing page numbers and similar information on the board – and always in the same place.
- Where possible, check that the pupil has understood spoken instructions.
- Encourage the use of checklists and flow charts for classroom activities. This can also support personal organisation.
- Permit the use of number squares, or an electronic calculator, for working with number operations.
- It really helps to issue homework well before the end of a lesson, and to have some system to check that the pupil has a correct note of it.
- Where possible, provide copies of new reading/curriculum materials in advance, so that the pupil can become familiar with any new terminology.
Areas to watch out for
- Some pupils who are quite competent readers will find it very difficult to read aloud in front of others.
- People who have difficulties with working memory sometimes know information, but need a little more time to retrieve it.
- Dictation is a skilled activity, and one that dyslexic pupils are likely to find difficult, no matter what their level of ability is.
- It is not always necessary to over-simplify curriculum materials; weaknesses in reading are not necessarily accompanied by low cognitive ability.
- Dyslexia can lead to some difficulties with self-esteem, and pupils might be hesitant to ask for help in class.
- It can be hard to stay motivated when some of the key skills of classroom learning are difficult to master.