How to create a Dyslexia Friendly Classroom

A Dyslexia Friendly classroom will include a variety of teaching and learning strategies enabling every child to access the full curriculum. This needs to be in a style which will encourage confidence and success, as well as developing good self-esteem.

How to create a Dyslexia Friendly ClassroomThe following list is a summary of successful primary classroom strategies:

  • A well organised environment with clear routines to minimise movement and noise.
  • A good mix of Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic activities within each lesson.
  • An alphabet arc on the wall.
  • Dyslexic pupils sitting within easy eye contact of the teacher.
  • Colour coded storage system (e.g. yellow for Literacy; blue for Numeracy).
  • Resource boxes / Goody boxes.
  • A variety of writing implements including red and blue pens for practising spellings before writing in books (red for vowels; blue for consonants).
  • Revisiting reading and spelling strategies at the start of each year and having these displayed for constant reference.
  • A selection of high interest/ low reading age texts available.
  • Whiteboards with coloured markers to practise spellings and sentences.
  • Keyword cards /Days of the week/Months of the year cards.
  • Writing planning boards or writing frames.
  • Using a variety of recording methods – mind maps, storyboards, flowcharts, video, diagrams, oral presentation.
  • Using ICT as a multi-sensory method of working.
  • Giving children thinking and talking time.
  • Having drinking water available.
  • Using ‘buddies’ or ‘peer mentors’ to help with homework / organising.
  • Colour photocopies / coloured wallets for use with white paper

If a child’s working environment is right – they will find it easier to achieve.

2 thoughts on “How to create a Dyslexia Friendly Classroom

  1. Alphabet Arcs where the letter shapes are not perpendicular are the last resource you would want to use to support a child with dyslexic tendencies.

    Perhaps you could reconsider how best to present the alphabet letters for any child, let alone a child who tends to get muddled.

    • Thanks for your comment.
      We’re sorry if an alphabet arc hasn’t proved useful for the child or children you’re working with. Our view is this: that Dyslexic children are often visual learners. They also often benefit from kinaesthetic learning. We’ve found many children with dyslexia struggle with alphabetic ordering; an alphabet arc gives a visual method that helps many to remember this. For example, if ordering the whole alphabet along the arc, children may remember that l, m and n are somewhere near the middle, that a, b, c are at the beginning and that y, z are near the end. By physically placing the letters on the curve, saying them out loud as they go, learning the letters and sequence of the alphabet becomes a more multi-sensory experience. We’ve seen success with games then being played with children, just using a few letters at a time to improve their recall and knowledge. So ‘where do you think the m goes? What letter comes after r and before t? What’s the 4th letter of the alphabet’ as just a few examples. We’ve then heard of schools using their arcs when it comes to building simple CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words. So the alphabet is organised on the arc; children then build the target word, moving the letters from their place on the arc and then moving them back again afterwards (again, helping to cement the alphabetic order). We can’t say that every child benefits from this method – we all know that every child is different. However, from the classrooms we have been into, and from the many conversations we’ve had with SENCOs, teachers, advisors, therapists and dyslexia specialists, we can confidently say this method does help many children. There are many alternative ways to teach the alphabet from using tactile letters in feely bags, to making them with things like clay or wikki stix. If there are any particular challenges the child you are supporting is facing, please let us have more details and we will try to recommend something else to help.

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