What can teachers do to help pupils with dyslexia?

With Scotland’s Dyslexia Awareness Week fast approaching, the charity Dyslexia Scotland offers some tips for teachers

Dyslexia Scotland offers advice on how teachers can support pupils with dyslexia

Dyslexia Scotland’s helpline doesn’t just receive enquiries from adults and parents of children with dyslexia, but also from teachers who want to know how best they can support pupils in an already busy and demanding workplace.

As Dyslexia Awareness Week in Scotland approaches, here are our top tips for teachers:


How to support pupils with dyslexia

  • Communication is key – one of the things we hear most often from parents is that they are unhappy about the lack of support that is offered in school. We believe that this is sometimes due to how this is communicated by the school. Watch this short film about the importance of communication between parents and schools.
  • What helps pupils with dyslexia helps everyone – time and time again we hear that a dyslexia-friendly classroom benefits all pupils, not just those with dyslexia.
  • Encourage the positives – remember that pupils with dyslexia often have great skills such as creativity and a keen problem-solving ability. Try to help pupils to use these to their advantage. Show clips and stories from our website for 8- to 18-year-olds, Dyslexia Unwrapped.
  • Keep it simple – often small changes are all that are needed. Coloured paper or overlays; quiet, distraction-free areas; and not asking pupils to copy from the board or read aloud are just some examples. Have a look at our leaflet Information for Teachers for lots more practical ideas. See all our leaflets, including information on study skills, here.
  • Dyslexia Scotland has produced a list of top 10 resources for teachers, which you can see here.
  • Use the Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit – this free online resource has been designed to help teachers and is supported by Education Scotland. The toolkit has three free Open University dyslexia and inclusive practice modules, which teachers can complete at their own pace.
  • It is not just the job of support-for-learning staff – all teachers should have at least a basic knowledge of dyslexia and all teachers should know if a child in their class is dyslexic. The modules mentioned earlier can help with this.
  • Scotland’s Dyslexia Awareness Week (5-10 November) gives every person who has dyslexia and those who work with them the chance to learn more about how it affects them in sometimes surprising ways. This year’s theme is "Dyslexia: My Wider World". Use the resources on the Dyslexia Awareness Week page of our website to promote awareness and understanding of dyslexia among pupils and staff in your school. 

Lena Gillies is national development officer for Dyslexia Scotland

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