Supporting Dyslexic Students in Schools


One of the challenges that teachers and teaching support staff encounter in the classroom is educating dyslexic students. Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability and is one of the most common. A dyslexic child may have difficulty with learning to read and may display a differing comprehension of language despite normal or above-average intelligence. In the UK, it is estimated that 1.2 million children have dyslexia.

Identifying Dyslexia – What to look for

For a teacher, recognising that a child may be dyslexic is not always easy. Each child with dyslexia is unique and the extent of the disability and its manifestation in school may vary. Knowing what to look for is vital. If the child exhibits comprehension of a topic in the class by taking part in a debate and answering questions but finds it difficult to translate this into written form then this may be possible evidence of dyslexia and should be followed up with further assessments. Gaining an understanding of the difficulties that an individual dyslexic is facing can enable effective help to be given. 

A common misconception about dyslexia assumes that dyslexic readers all write words backwards or move letters around when reading. Dyslexia takes many forms and this only occurs in half the population of dyslexic readers.  It is very important not to mistake reading difficulties with lack of interest. Neither is it a reflection on the ability of the student. Perhaps the most important role that a teacher can play in the life of a dyslexic is to recognise the signs and intervene to help the student achieve his or her true potential.   

How teachers can help

As one of the leading teaching agencies in the UK, Tradewind Recruitment recognises that dyslexic children need help and encouragement while studying.  When planning lessons, our teachers can play a key role in supporting such students by planning lessons that are suitable for all. Many dyslexic children have attention difficulties and find it hard to concentrate. This should be taken into consideration when preparing lessons and activities in the classroom.

The following teaching tips are easy to implement and will help dyslexics understand what is expected of them and how to approach tasks in the classroom:

Try to use a multisensory approach. Support verbal learning with visual material and support visual learning with verbal materials. If you are writing on the board speak as you do so. Images are also very helpful. Talking non-stop is something that a student with dyslexia will find hard to cope with.

When setting work, hand out printed guidelines that clearly set out what is required. Keep the instructions short and to the point, avoiding unnecessary detail.

Ensure that the child sits close to the front of the classroom so that help is readily available if necessary.

Many people who have battled dyslexia go on to have successful careers and fulfilling lives.  Sir Richard Branson, Keira Knightley and Jamie Oliver have all done very well in life despite having the condition.

The essential point is that all children have individual strengths and weaknesses. The UK school curriculum is placing more emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar and these are areas that dyslexic students may struggle with so teachers need to do all they can to assist when necessary.

If you are looking for a rewarding teaching job, then Tradewind Recruitment can help. We are a UK teaching agency that specialises in providing recruitment services for both schools looking for professional teachers, and teachers looking for UK teaching jobs vacancies. Register with us and let us find the right teaching job for you.