Starting points

30th October 1998 at 00:00

MATHS FOR THE DYSLEXIC. By Anne Henderson. David Fulton Pounds 14.

DYSLEXIA: Literacy Strategies for the Classroom. By Virginia Vivian. Pounds 10 Croydon Special Needs Support Service, tel: 0181 656 6551.

There is now such a forest of publishing about dyslexia that it's difficult for the non-specialist to know where to start. Yet many non-specialists need to know about dyslexia, from parents wanting to help their child at home to teachers struggling to cope with dyslexic children in a mainstream classroom.

Margaret Walton's Teaching Reading and Spelling to Dyslexic Children claims to be for both these groups, but would probably appeal most to parents or other lay-teachers working one-to-one with a dyslexic child. It provides a detailed, well-structured course written in a sensible, friendly tone, although perhaps a little wordy. Unfortunately, it sticks largely to pencil and paper teaching, ignoring the many uses of home computers for helping dyslexics, nowadays one of the most valuable areas for parents to explore.

Maths for the Dyslexic deals with a much-neglected aspect of the subject,and should prove a boon to parents and teachers alike. It is full of clear,jargon-free advice and teaching tips - many of which will be useful for the mainstream teacher too - covering everything from basic skills to teaching strategies for algebra and geometry. Computer-assisted learning is recognised and recommended, with notes of relevant software throughout the text.

However, neither of these manuals makes particularly easy reading. The busy teacher, coping with the myriad demands of the classroom and wave upon wave of government initiatives, needs basic information in bite-sized chunks. This is admirably provided in Dyslexia: Literacy Strategies for the Classroom, a collection of A4 sheets of practical advice, each focusing on one aspect of dyslexia, such as early identification, mnemonics, maths, computers or self-esteem. Teachers can photocopy and keep pages as they need them, or you could run an informal course on dyslexia by sticking a page a week on the staffroom noticeboard, then collecting them in a file for reference.

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