Strategies to support a student with dyslexia


In the Classroom (Primary and Secondary)


  • give encouragement and praise to boost self-esteem
  • encourage participation in class discussions
  • think carefully about seating, usually at the front is best
  • regularly and discreetly check whether instructions are clear, or help is required 
  • introduce lessons with targets
  • keep instructions short and simple, use props and visual aids if possible
  • allow the opportunity to discuss complex written instructions and work through them step by step, using a checklist
  • provide a variety of activities, include practical activities where possible
  • avoid asking a student with dyslexia to read aloud 
  • allow the child with dyslexia the chance to move around, for example, to hand out worksheets  
  • a child who tends to fidget, could be allowed to squeeze or play with a pencil or rubber, etc, provided this does not distract other pupils; they may also benefit if allowed to leave the classroom, so they can refocus when they return
  • end lessons by summarising the key points and reinforcing any homework assignments, for example, by asking the pupil with dyslexia to repeat the task set
  • avoid copying too much written work from the board; a child may need to be given a hard copy of the lesson notes or permission to type their work. 
  • use the child’s strengths and help them develop strategies to overcome their difficulties, for example, by developing planning skills using a mind-mapping technique or by making a PowerPoint presentation.
  • allow the pupil to record their knowledge in alternative ways, for example, by producing a poster or mind map, a speech using PowerPoint or recording their voice
  • when extended independent written work is required, provide a computer, a list of high frequency words and key spellings, and a set of questions/ bullet points to help them develop ideas and compose pieces of text
  • teach proof-reading skills in a structured way: firstly, to check that writing makes sense, secondly, that sentences are punctuated, thirdly, for spelling accuracy.  
  • focus on the tasks which have been successfully accomplished rather than the number of errors made; sometimes it is not appropriate to identify all the spelling mistakes in a piece of work as this is too demoralising but subject specific errors should be identified.  
  • give credit for using more mature vocabulary, even when there are incorrect spellings
  • set a smaller quantity of homework for a child with dyslexia or limit the amount of time they should spend on homework
  • allow time to fully explain homework and for it to be written down
  • for further information and advice about difficulties associated with dyslexia, see:,


Individual/Specialist Teaching


The focus of the sessions of individual/small group teaching support may include:


  • regular practice of high frequency words, for example, “want”, “watch”, and teaching of spelling patterns, using a structured spelling course, for example, Nessy; this practises systematic, explicit teaching, reinforcement and over-learning of spelling patterns, in word families, using multisensory techniques as they make it easier to retain new information or new processes 
  • practising deconstructing words into syllables and developing “word attack” skills for reading unknown words; similarly, practising spelling words using phonemes and syllables, for example, by breaking up “invitation” as “in-vit-a-tion”
  • using the context to help predict words and correct what they read
  • practising handwriting skills, for example: distinguishing the “ascenders” and “descenders” from other letters
  • practising telling a story, one sentence at a time
  • developing writing skills, for example: planning for essay writing, practising sentence construction and use of punctuation
  • proof-reading exercises and editing of own work
  • practising visualisation techniques to help support the memory  
  • understanding the structure of English words; learning about the structure of language and understanding that morphemes are the meaningful parts in words, for example word roots, prefixes and suffixes
  • forming opposites by adding the prefixes un-, dis, etc, is useful for developing vocabulary knowledge as well as spelling.
  • regular typing practice, using free programmes, for example: , to develop touch-typing skills; alternatively, Touch, Type, Read and Spell,  is an excellent on-line programme designed to improve both typing and spelling skills.


Assistive Technology


  • An online dictionary or thesaurus can be a useful aid, for example: 

  • Free voice recognition technology, for example, Google Docs Voice Typing is a tool found within the Google Docs word processor.  
  • Free read aloud software is also available, for example: Natural Reader  It may be worthwhile considering more advanced options are available from, for example: 

  • The British Dyslexia Association have produced a guide to assistive technology:


Access Arrangements


Depending on the results of test scores and the person’s normal way of working, a range of arrangements can be awarded, including:

  • 25% extra time  
  • a reader
  • a scribe
  • a word processor
  • rest breaks


For GCSE examinations, at the school’s discretion, working within the framework of the Equality Act 2010 and to comply with the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), the person will need to have an assessment at secondary school, from year 9 onwards, for exam access arrangements. These recommendations are therefore subject to their decision.  The monitoring and re-assessment of a student’s requirements should be carried out in line with up-to-date national guidelines, using this report for guidance.




  • support with homework 
  • timing homework, to ensure the student does not spend too much time completing it  
  • help with proof-reading.
  • regular encouragement to practise using the correct fingers on both hands when typing
  • support with learning spellings, particularly high frequency and key subject spellings.
  • watching YouTube videos to support learning, for example, for books studied in English, and for using science equipment.
  • when starting secondary school, use of a calendar or weekly diary; colour coding can help with planning studies
  • for coursework and revision, help with time management and plan
  • colour coding and highlighting of headings, key words and facts in notes and in exam questions at secondary school
  • using the Microsoft PowerPoint programme to make notes for revision and plans for writing essays


For further information about support at home, see: