Helping Students with Dyslexia: 3 Strategies for Academic Success
October 28, 2019
I once heard it said that the most important man in history was Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press. While this is debatable, there’s no denying Gutenberg’s contribution to the world was revolutionary. The mass production of books allowed for the rapid dissemination of knowledge all across Europe. Even today, we’re still reaping the benefits of his printing press, especially when it comes to education.
Nearly every school subject, from Science to History, involves reading. It’s a resource we use to instruct students and provide classrooms with a sense of direction. But what happens when reading becomes an obstacle? For countless students with dyslexia, this is a very real problem. Reading isn’t a source of help, but rather a constant struggle.
Teachers know they need to be prepared to welcome students with dyslexia and assist them in overcoming their academic hurdles. But where do they start?
Dyslexia and IQ
When supporting students with dyslexia, a first step should be encouragement. Students with dyslexia can sometimes suffer from low self-esteem. Difficulty with reading can lead them to believe that they are somehow less intelligent than their peers. This is absolutely not true! Dozens of studies, including one from Yale University, have determined there is no link between dyslexia and a person’s IQ.
Students need to hear that their reading ability does not dictate their potential. Share stories of famous individuals overcoming dyslexia such as Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs, and Albert Einstein to build their confidence. Sometimes, having a supportive figure on your side is half the battle.
Provide Access to Audiobooks
One easy workaround for dyslexic students is to provide them with audiobooks. This is particularly helpful when it comes to English-Language Arts. Audiobooks allow dyslexic students to expand their vocabulary, exercise their creative and critical thinking skills, and stay abreast of their peers when studying literature. As an added benefit, audiobooks will also give students a chance to practice their listening skills while they work.
School and local libraries often have a wide selection of audiobooks that educators can take advantage of. However, if their resources are lacking, teachers can always turn to websites like Bookshare and Audible.
Record Your Lessons
Finally, consider recording your lessons for students to review. Dyslexia is primarily a language processing issues, so students may have difficulty with multistep instructions or keeping notes throughout a long lecture. By allowing students to record lessons or important assignments, you can bridge the gap between homework and the classroom. The Google Chrome extension Screencastify is an ideal tool for recording lessons, while students can also download Screen Grabber Pro on tablets for their personal use. Finally, consider allowing students to use a talk-to-text tool for papers so they can focus on getting their ideas down without getting slowed by spelling.
Ultimately, the keys to overcoming dyslexia are encouragement, adaptability, and perseverance. Teachers can obtain tools which will make it easier for students overcome their reading difficulties, but in the end, their success depends on them and it depends on you. Show your students that just because they have trouble with one aspect of life, it doesn’t mean they can’t reach for the stars. Be the kind of teacher who stands out!
What about you? How do you support students with dyslexia?
*Editor’s Note: Today’s image was supplied by the book, Tom’s Special Talent by Kate Gaynor. Order your copy now to help students learn more about dyslexia!