Schools & Teachers
Information for Teachers and Schools
Class teachers working with dyslexic students will need to be flexible in their approach, so that they can find a way of learning, that suits the student.
Students with dyslexia may have many talents and skills. Their abilities shouldn’t be measured just on the basis of their difficulties in acquiring literacy skills. Dyslexic students, like others, thrive on challenges and have many strengths including oral skills, comprehension, good visual spatial awareness and creative/artistic abilities.
Dyslexic students can become talented and gifted members of our schools if we worked not only with their specific areas of difficulty, but also their areas of strengths from an early age. Read more at Dyslexia.com.
Here is some information that may help you when working with a student who has dyslexia. However, we advise you to also pursue other avenues for information and tools in order to achieve the best from your students.
Information about dyslexic students
As teachers, we can use our professional judgment and assessment tools to question whether a student needs further support with their learning.
Here is a list that may help you identify a possible student with a dyslexia challenge. Please take note that not all students with dyslexia will display these difficulties or characteristics. They may have strengths in other areas of the curriculum or other personal qualities or study habits.
The resource list below also provides more detailed checklists that can be used as an initial assessment by a teacher.
Further investigation then needs to be discussed with inclusive education teachers, coordinators or management within your school to decide what the next step will be.
Observation of the student
- Do they have trouble getting organised?
- Do they lose or forget their belongings?
- Do they need structure?
- Do they have difficulty with change in routines?
- Do they have difficulty finishing their work in a set time frame?
- Do they avoid doing work?
- Do they have problems listening and communicating their needs?
- Do they have problems following multiple instructions?
- Are they disruptive in class?
- Do they persist with tasks or give up?
- Do they have problems engaging in tasks and being motivated?
- Do they have trouble paying attention or concentrating?
- Do they get tired?
- Do they lack confidence?
- Are they quiet or withdrawn?
- Do they become upset or frustrated about their learning?
- Do they refuse to go to school?
- Do they have difficulty remembering or recalling information?
- Do they have trouble copying from the board?
- Do they have difficulty in writing neatly and have incorrect letter formation?
Other information can be gathered through testing
and work samples and these can include:
- Phonological awareness testing (knowledge of the sounds)
- Reading tests (whether they are on the correct reading level for their age)
- Knowledge of sight words (both in reading and spelling)
- Free writing samples
- Spelling tests (standardised and class results)
- Letter formation and handwriting
- Assessment in other curriculum areas
Information from families
- How are they at home?
- Do they get tired?
- What does their child think of homework?
- Do they get frustrated when it comes to doing homework or reading?
- How do they feel about coming to school?
Information from the student
- Have a discussion with the child about their learning. For example- their reading, spelling, other curriculum areas or school in general.
- What types of books do they like and why?
- What do they find difficult about school and why?
This will depend on the age and ability of the child.
You as the teacher
- Be empathetic, patient and understanding, as learning for dyslexic students can be hard, frustrating and tiring
- Repetition is important because the student may find retaining information difficult and slow
- Praise them for their successes and find their strengths and foster them. This helps build their confidence and their motivation to learn
- Dyslexic children are not lazy, slow learners or unintelligent
- Their learning needs to be direct, involve scaffolding and practise
This list of websites helps gather more information about the student, using checklists.
SPELD website: http://www.speld-sa.org.au/information/teachers.html