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Teacher Strategies for Students With Dyslexia

written by: Jennifer Fidalgo • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 1/4/2012

Teaching strategies for students with dyslexia involve using multisensory techniques, whole language approaches and phonic drills that are systematic and in depth. Individual tutoring sessions and speech therapy can be utilized to improve reading and language in dyslexic students.

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    Multisensory Techniques

    Multisensory methods use sight, touch and hearing to teach students with dyslexia. This technique is used to teach names, letter formation, and sounds in education. An example of a multisensory technique is having students trace a sentence while the teacher reads it. In this instance, the child sees the sentence, touches it and hears the teacher recite the sentence. Different forms of tactile experiences can be used as well. Cards with sand paper letter imprints on them can teach students in a mutisensory way. Writing in shaving cream can create an experience that uses sight, touch and hearing. Multisensory techniques provide dyslexic students with a higher retention rate for learning new material.

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    Whole Language Strategies

    Whole language strategies combine reading, writing, vocabulary, phonics, spelling and comprehension under one systematic theme. The different sections of language arts are taught in the context of reading. The teacher first chooses a book for the class to read. Then vocabulary, spelling, writing assignments and other language arts sections correspond to the chosen story. A real piece of literature should be used in the classroom instead of stories written for textbooks. The reading material should be easy to understand and free of difficult words. Students with dyslexia develop better reading skills when teachers use whole language strategies.

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    Phonics Instruction

    Phonics instruction should be taught in a systematic sequence with daily practice on decoding and encoding words. Dyslexic students learn best when vowel sounds, digraphs and phonograms are reviewed often. These children should be provided with materials that are integrated with other language instruction being covered in class. Multisensory techniques can be utilized when students need additional sensory input.

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    Reading Instruction

    Students should be prepared prior to reading stories. Teachers should build on prior background knowledge and mental schemes. Instructors should find out what the students know about the subject and introduce supplemental material. Graphic organizers and visual aids can be used to increase comprehension.

    Books should be read aloud so that students with dyslexia can follow along easily. Dyslexic students should be allowed to tape record reading sessions so the student can go back over the material at a later time when necessary. Comprehension should be taught in context of the story being read. Students can be paired in reading groups so that students of different academic abilities can work together.

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    Additional Services

    Individual tutoring allows dyslexic students to work one on one with an instructor. These students can practice areas that they have deficits in and catch learning errors so that positive changes can be made.

    Speech therapy can help students with dyslexia learn sight words and develop strategies to decode words. Since sessions are individual, instruction can be tailored to suit the child's needs. Assessments can be made to evaluate students progress so that adjustments in instruction can be made.

    Reading teachers can also work with students who have dyslexia. These instructors can offer programs that are more sensory focused or find materials that are suitable to accommodate students at different educational levels. Diagnostic assessments are often used to evaluate what students reading scores are at the beginning and end of the school year.