Improving learner outcomes

Tips for supporting dyslexia in the classroom

Jacqui Webber-Gant

Author Jacqui Webber-Gant

Date 24th Oct 2019


It is estimated that 10% of children in the UK have dyslexia, which suggests that in a class of 30 children, three will be dyslexic.

With dyslexia affecting such a high percentage of the population, it’s important to consider the obstacles that children with dyslexia can face, and adapt lesson plans to suit their needs.
The good news is, a big difference can be made with just some very small adjustments:

Multisensory learning and other classroom aids
One of the most successful methods of helping dyslexic pupils is multisensory learning. This takes typical lessons, such as spelling and writing, and turns them into manageable exercises. For younger children, this could include making words out of different materials including beads, pasta and building blocks.

Different equipment can also aid learning. A popular choice is a colourful keyboard with enlarged keys and letters to make typing more accessible. The different colours help students differentiate the letters and make typing considerably easier.

Pocket spellcheckers, colour overlays, pens that turn written words into audio and voice recorders can also be useful learning aids to introduce to the classroom.

10 helpful things to know and do for dyslexic students in the classroom

  1. Use oral directions or simplified written directions.
  2. Allow students more time to process their response to a question or task. Students with dyslexia may need a longer time to process information.
  3. Where possible, provide extra time on assignments and a quiet place to work/test if needed
  4. Provide, in advance, an outline of class lectures, a copy of class notes, organisers, and/or study guides.
  5. Try to break assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  6. Reduce the amount of words on a spelling list.
  7. Do not require a student with dyslexia to read aloud in class, unless the student volunteers to read.
  8. Use visual presentations, PowerPoint projects, poster boards and discussions to help a child participate without feeling embarrassed or fearing failure. Visuals really help to secure ideas in the working-memory.
  9. Provide worksheets to organise information for writing assignments - templates with different types of writing frames and mind maps that students can choose from when preparing a writing assignment.
  10. Try to avoid penalising a student for spelling, or provide separate grades for content and spelling.

Remember, dyslexic students thrive in a classroom environment that:

  • has varied means of assessment (projects as well as written tasks)
  • looks at the individual child and what he/she can add to the class
  • gives credit for class participation, homework, and general effort

Every child deserves to reach their full potential, and identifying and supporting dyslexia early on is one of the key ways to ensure that all pupils can thrive in every classroom.

Further learning 

For further support you can enrol on our supported online course and discover how to meet the individual needs of pupils with dyslexia through your own classroom interventions.

About the author

Jacqui is a Director of OnLineTraining. Contact Jacqui at or on Twitter @Team_OLT.


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  • Mary Jacobs said on: 10th Nov 2019 at 10:24

    I would add to consider what 'fun' tasks are given to children such as word searches which can cause great distress to dyslexic children.

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