The incidence of dyslexia is estimated to be between 4-10% of the population.  In the likelihood that you will have at least one pupil in your class with dyslexic tendencies Monmouthshire SpLD Service is providing this booklet to suggest some helpful strategies.

A dyslexic child may be experiencing difficulties with many of the following:-

  1. reading
  2. writing
  3. spelling
  4. copying
  5. short term/working memory
  6. visual stress
  7. handwriting
  8. sequencing
  9. letter confusion
  10. learning to tell the time/mental maths
  11. organisational skills
  12. self-esteem/tiredness


Multi-Sensory Approaches

Making Things Stick (Over-Learning)

Use as many sensory channels as possible – (auditory, visual, kinaesthetic).

Use colour and pictures, symbols, cartoons, chant, sing, record.

Do flash card drills against the clock/precison teaching; play pairs, snap or Wordshark/Nessy games for over-learning.

Use techniques such as S.O.S spelling/Fernald/Rainbow writing to help reinforce learning-  ALWAYS SAY THE LETTER NAMES WHEN SPELLING.

For those pupils with Visual Stress/Irlen Syndrome/Scotopic Sensitivity

Use coloured overlays/marking rulers

Use coloured paper

Change the background colour on the computer

If child has not already been assessed suggest he is checked by qualified Optometrist

Specific Learning Tutor can give preliminary check.

Tips for Displays/Writing on White Boards

Dyslexic pupils will probably find copying from the board really difficult.  Avoid if possible – give hand outs instead for child to read/highlight/notate with pictures/make mind maps from.

If unavoidable then use primary colours and alternate the colours so children can keep track by using the colours.

Use numbers rather than dots for bullet points – easier to find place.

Use appropriate font eg Comic Sans

Use bold rather than using italics to emphasise

Reading Strategies

Make it fun

Aim to raise self-esteem and engender a love of reading

Acquisition of sight vocabulary is essential (first 200 HF words)

A structured reading scheme that involves repetition and introduces new words slowly is important.  The structure ensures phonics are learnt in appropriate order.  The repetition ensures child develops confidence.

Save the dyslexic child the ordeal of having to ‘read aloud’ in class’.  Consider quiet times with teacher for reading or giving advanced time to read pre-selected reading material to practice at home

Paired reading – sentence/paragraph – will often generate enthusiasm.

Listening to story tapes will benefit vocabulary enhancement.  Child should track.

Cut out windows or use a coloured overlay ruler or cooler ruler to help keep place.

Ensure reading material is of appropriate reading age/interest age level.

Consider books with dyslexic friendly print/paper such as Barrington Stoke with levels clearly stated.

Reading games such as SWAP are excellent – fun and fast recall of words in phonic patterns


Comprehension Skills


Recognise that because of a dyslexic pupil’s difficulty with decoding/general reading there may be a disparity between their oral comprehension and their reading comprehension.

Ensure the questions and reading matter are commensurate with the child’s reading ability.

Use of highlighters can be useful for the dyslexic pupil who often has difficulty with sequencing and tracking so highlighting key words/parts of a passage helps locate relevant text.


Sequencing Difficulties

Display the alphabet, days of the week, months of the year.

Ensure child has time tables square (particularly for mental maths or learning division)

Always use concrete materials for maths.


Spelling Techniques

Need to be taught in structured and systematic way rules and patterns of language.

Teach one pattern at a time (give spellings on structure based words not topic)

Display visual clues around the classroom to prompt if needed

Raising self esteem is paramount – give strategies and clues!

Use mnemonics for irregular, high frequency words

Give practice opportunities on white board/magnetic letters, erasable pens

Use a multi-sensory technique – S.O.S/Fernald.

When marking ensure that only practised words are highlighted if incorrect and only underline part of word which is incorrect  eg meny

Ensure the child is familiar with the use of and has access to:  ACE dictionary and spell checkers

Over-learning is essential – use resources such as WordShark for daily practice.

Play games                    Use visual ideas to help jog spelling memory eg




Dyslexic children often have difficulty with handwriting.  When learning to read children first have to link the shape of the word with the sound it makes.  When it comes to writing they have to recreate that shape.  For dyslexic children decoding these patterns and making these links can often be very difficult and they can often fail to develop the automatic flow of writing which will help them to express themselves easily in writing.

It is recommended that children learn the continuous cursive style.  Each letter is formed without taking the pencil off the paper – so each word is formed in one, flowing movement. This enables their hands to develop a ‘physical memory’ of it .  Because letters flow from left to right children are less likely to reverse letters. There is a clearer distinction between capital letters and lower case.  The continuous flow of writing ultimately improves speed and spelling.

Give practice using multi-sensory materials – sand/salt,etc

Use handwriting books (coloured can be purchased from Crossbow Education) for letter size.

Give strategies to help with b/d p/q and other letter confusion.



Use writing frames/mind maps with Stick It notes to help with longer pieces of writing.

Give extra time for reading, planning, rewriting and proofreading their work.



Touch Typing

Some pupils with dyslexia and other related difficulties such as dyspraxia find that the difficulties associated with handwriting can inhibit their ability to structure and write a piece of work.  The handwriting can take up too much concentration and effort.

Teaching touch typing skills and allowing pupils to use a computer for written work can allow more concentration to be focused on the content of the piece.

Vary Ways of showing knowledge and understanding

(it doesn’t always have to be written)

Accept oral answer

Use diagrams/pictures/story boards/mind maps

Record for someone to transcribe/video child answers on ipad



Word processing



Have visual routine checklist

Use timer

Homework – is it clear what they have to do/have they got a homework planner/is home aware of when homework is coming and is it understandable

Teach the use of a diary/planner

Colour code

Have visual clues displayed

Classroom Equipment

  • Spellcheckers/ACE dictionaries/calculators
  • b/d (letter confusion) picture clues displayed on rulers/desks/walls
  • Spelling pattern displays
  • Wordshark/Nessy or other programmes to ensure over-learning eg Stile Tiles
  • White boards/erasable pens/magnetic pens/multi-sensory materials
  • Appropriate reading book (age level/interest level/page colour/text)
  • Coloured overlays
  • Reading markers/cooler rulers
  • Please note that for students to have exam access arrangements for public exams they need to have used those teaching/test arrangements throughout their schooling.



Monmouthshire SpLD Service delivers courses on:-

  1. Identifying the Dyslexic Child in your Classroom
  2. Teaching Strategies for Dyslexic Students

We are also happy to deliver courses on specific dyslexia friendly programmes such as Wordshark and Spelling Mastery

and on requested training on subjects such as assessment materials.


We are currently developing a training programme for parents on how they can best help their child to read.


All participants in our training courses receive certificated accreditation and are recorded in our County files as we endeavour to

ensure all schools in the county are Dyslexia Friendly.