What are the best classroom and tutoring environments for a child with dyslexia?

Nancy F. English, M.Ed.

Nancy F. English, M.Ed.

Question:

What is the best type of classroom for a student who is dyslexic? What tutoring programs work best with children who are dyslexic?

Answer:

Students with dyslexia should be placed in a classroom that is structured for multisensory, small group instruction. Most classrooms engage students through sight and/or sound. Information is presented in written and/or spoken form. Students in turn are asked to practice and share what they have learned using these two senses. Quite often students with learning difficulties are slow to process information using one sense. A multisensory instructional approach allows students to process information using a variety of senses: visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic; often times simultaneously. This will help the child’s brain to develop memories to hang on to as the student learns and applies concepts. Dyslexic students need repetition and differentiation. Therefore, off-grade level instructional and practice materials should be available. Opportunities to practice what has been taught should be plentiful. Students should be given many opportunities to engage in word work, writing, reading, and listening to reading.

Dyslexic students should also be tutored using a multisensory language approach. In a classroom, students participate in a variety of instructional settings; whole group, small group based on ability, small group based on academic strength or weakness. The tutoring situation should be done one on one or in a small group setting of a maximum of 2-4 other students. Tutoring for dyslexic students often continues as long as 2-3 years. Foundational reading areas should be the focus of instruction: phonological/phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary with a focus on word parts. Repeated practice is necessary for mastery. It doesn’t matter which program is used as long as the facilitator is certified to teach using that program.

Nancy F. English, M.Ed.

Nancy is an Instructional Coach for the Vestavia Hills City School System (Alabama). She is a National Board Certified Teacher and has a special certificate to teach students with dyslexia and students struggling with reading difficulties.

Comments

  1. Carla carter says:

    I need my child test for a learning abilities in Chicago please help thanks.

    • Contact a neuropsychologist. If you can’t afford their rates, contact an educational therapist or puchase a Slingerland Screening for Specific Language Disability.

    • Sue Sasko says:

      Write to your school district (email, note to principal, anything in writing) stating that your child needs to be tested for learning disabilities.

  2. regina williams says:

    I have a child that I know has a learning disability and when I tried to get her help her school is saying there working with her on the issue. But a law has passed that if she doesn’t pass this state test she’s going to be left in the 3rd grade by law. I have seen samples of the test and its going to be impossible for her to pass. What can I do to help her?

  3. Is dyslexia considered a vision problem? and Should I have his eyes checked specifically for this?

  4. April Metrock says:

    Can you please explain to me why dyslexia is not covered by IDEA and why Alabama is allowed to deny IEP’s for dyslexia and defer you to a 504. ALSDE recently passed a Dyslexia Bill of Rights under their AAC but it is written so vague that it allows for school district interpretation. Since 504’s are not funded by the federal government, the state and local governments keep postponing intervention for dyslexic students on the basis of lack of funding.

    How is Speech Therapy covered by all schools but Dyslexia Therapy is not. A student who receives services for speech may struggle to speak clearly but can write, spell and read. A student with dyslexia may speak clearly and articulately but struggles to read, write and spell. Both are considered to be a LBLD. Speech Therapy is offered free of charge as early as age 3 and effects one life skill, speaking. Dyslexic Therapy is not covered by schools and effects reading, writing and spelling, 3 life skills. How is this not disability discrimination?

    Dyslexic students are being denied the opportunity to be successful, many of them perform far below grade level despite the fact that they have average to far above average intelligence. How is Speech Therapy covered but Dyslexia therapy is not?

  5. Gail Mc says:

    Once your child has been tested and proves to have dyslexia, what procedures are in place for the school to help him learn? His school is saying the have to test him when he has already been tested. Can you please advise on what the schools part is. And also who I should contact other than the school to be sure he gets the proper teaching?

  6. I can see how multisensory instruction would be great for students with dyslexia. I am just glad that there are teachers who are willing to make the extra effort to teach these kids. My son has dyslexia, and I hope he has teachers who help him learn in this way.

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