Dyslexia has been ringfenced by the scientific community as requiring specialist support.
This approach can make teachers feel powerless, however, teachers are experts and the classroom teacher has the most powerful influence on a student’s learning journey and outcomes.
What is dyslexia anyway?
Think beneath the behaviours and consider how dyslexia looks across the curriculum for each child. There are more similarities than differences, but it can manifest in nuanced ways depending on support at home, when and how diagnosis occurred and the teaching received.
I tried to illustrate the bigger picture here:
Dyslexia is a sensory difference, reading and writing are largely physical, procedural skills. It takes longer for dyslexics to acquire them and the current system does not allow for this. Actually, the more rote styles of instruction in these areas, now so disliked, benefit them.
There is a difference between these core skills and knowledge. They are very good at retaining facts and information, when given the semantics (they need meaning, they need to know ‘why’) they are:
Think outside the box, excellent critical thinkers.
Very imaginative with an ability to visualise.
The important thing is to support them with language because if they haven’t processed the language, they can’t retain the knowledge.
This is linked to working memory weaknesses which I wrote about here:
There are lots of ways to explore language and spelling, phonics becomes less helpful as language becomes more complex:
When delivering a teaching point, be rigorous with your teaching and don’t assume – especially around language.
eg plan for teaching relative clauses
I had a long think, how do I approach the presentation of concepts to my students?
I came up with these principles:
Build a relationship, trust is so important. Knowing they can come to you for support means everything.
Have high expectations
Give the student opportunities to practise key skills
Praise specific progress
Be present to subtle bullying within class.
See previous posts: