Teaching Dyslexic Students To Read

2022-04-25 | By Orcam Staff

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Unleashing Potential: Expert Strategies for Teaching Students with Dyslexia

As a teacher, you may encounter many challenging students and personalities. Some are behavioral, and some are learning related. One common yet seemingly insurmountable issue that teachers have to deal with is teaching dyslexic students how to read. In this blog, we’ll talk about different strategies for teaching students with dyslexia.

Consider Training As An Orton Gillingham Specialist

Traditional methods of strategies for teaching reading to children with dyslexia have not been easy or necessarily successful. In the 1930s, the Orton Gillingham method was created. Like reading therapy, the Orton Gillingham method is a philosophy for teaching the structure and code of the English language with sequential, systematic, multi-sensory, and cumulative techniques. This philosophy is based on extensive studies of children with language processing difficulties like dyslexia. It is also meant to help children with reading difficulties and mentor their teachers accordingly. The method incorporates tactile and visual as well as auditory elements.


Becoming an Orton Gillingham specialist means not only studying theory but spending hours practicing on students under the direction of a highly qualified trainer. The average student requires 2 to 4 sessions per week, depending on how severe the reading deficit is, and results can be exceptionally rewarding.

Educational Games

A game’s design for dyslexic students is an awesome teaching strategy for students with dyslexia because any learner can benefit from them, so you can easily incorporate them into lessons for the whole class. Nothing will excite your students more than playing games!


There are hundreds of apps and games designed for dyslexic students out there. Some popular ones include:

Simplex Spelling – if you have iPads in your classroom, these games help build up students’ understanding of phonics and how words are constructed.  The apps improve English spelling and reading skills by using a powerful combination of phonics lessons, spelling/word patterns, and contextually relevant spelling rules.


Dyslexia Workbooks – If your classroom is not equipped with the latest technology, you can order some Dyslexia Games workbooks for your students. From art to puzzling to drawing to word searches, the Dyslexia Games workbooks bring joy back into learning while using art and logic to retrain the brain.

Patience and Understanding

The best strategy you can probably use to deal with dyslexic students is good old-fashioned patience and understanding.


Don’t ask a person with dyslexia to read aloud, as words are likely to be mispronounced and cause embarrassment.


Accept their homework if it’s typed on a computer and not handwritten, as physical handwriting can be extremely hard for people with dyslexia.


Give them the opportunity to answer questions orally instead of having them write them down, as it’s possible they understand the material but just have difficulty writing it into legible sentences.


And always use praise over criticism. They are already struggling with their self-confidence knowing they can’t do what the average student can, so building up their self-esteem is key in getting them to overcome these hurdles.

Assistive Technology and Tools

pocket spell checker can be a really great place to start when it comes to supplying your dyslexic student with a resource to help them write more easily. The dyslexic learner types in a word how they think it’s spelled, often phonetically and the spell checker will return a correctly-spelled match. This reinforces the student’s confidence that he is handing in a document with the words spelled correctly and that he won’t be embarrassed.


When it comes to computers and typing, teaching strategies for students with dyslexia abound. One very popular option for students who are just being introduced to typing is a colored keyboard. It aims to help assist learning by having an easy-to-remember color-coordination system.


While pocket spell checkers and colored keyboards are helpful, nothing can beat the feeling of being able to read independently and instantaneously.


That’s where OrCam Learn comes in. A student can hold the OrCam Learn device in their hand and with just the click of a button, have an entire page of text read to them instantaneously. Instead of reading line by line, a laser captures the full text on the page and then reads it back to the user. Zero percent struggle. 


It is our hope that by using some of the above resources you will be able to work better with your pupils, and your teaching strategies for students with dyslexia will improve. If you’d like to learn more about the OrCam Learn, enter your information below and one of our representatives will be in touch with you soon.

how to help students with dyslexia

Teaching students with dyslexia can be challenging but immensely rewarding. By implementing effective strategies, utilizing dyslexia learning tools, and following expert tips, educators can create inclusive and supportive learning environments for these students. Empower yourself with the knowledge and resources provided in this article to make a positive impact on the educational journey of students with dyslexia.


Remember to include relevant visuals, such as images or infographics, throughout the content to enhance engagement and understanding. Additionally, include internal and external links where appropriate to provide further information and resources to readers.


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Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a person's ability to read, write, and spell. It is essential to gain a comprehensive understanding of dyslexia to effectively support individuals with this condition.

Definition and Characteristics

Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties in processing language and decoding words. Individuals with dyslexia often experience challenges with reading fluency, spelling, and comprehension despite having normal or above-average intelligence. It is important to recognize that dyslexia is not indicative of a lack of intelligence or effort; it is a specific learning difference that affects the way individuals process written information.

Causes of Dyslexia

The exact causes of dyslexia are not fully understood, but research suggests that it is likely influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Certain genes have been identified as potential contributors to dyslexia, and there is evidence to suggest that difficulties with the development of language processing areas in the brain may play a role. Additionally, environmental factors such as early exposure to language and educational experiences can influence the development and manifestation of dyslexia.

Common Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of dyslexia is crucial for early identification and intervention. While the specific manifestations of dyslexia can vary from person to person, some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Difficulty decoding words and recognizing letter-sound relationships
  • Slow and labored reading, with frequent mistakes or skipping of words
  • Poor spelling and frequent spelling errors
  • Challenges with reading comprehension and understanding written text
  • Struggling to express thoughts clearly in writing
  • Difficulty with rhyming and phonological awareness tasks
  • Issues with organizing and managing time and tasks

It is important to note that dyslexia can present differently in individuals, and not all individuals will exhibit the same set of symptoms. Therefore, it is essential to consider the unique needs and strengths of each person when supporting individuals with dyslexia.

Recognizing Individual Needs

Each person with dyslexia has unique strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. Recognizing and addressing these individual needs is key to providing effective support. Some individuals may benefit from visual aids and hands-on activities, while others may respond better to auditory cues or technology-based tools. By understanding and respecting the individuality of each person with dyslexia, educators and parents can tailor interventions and accommodations to optimize their learning experience and success.

Strategies for Teaching Students with Dyslexia

Teaching students with dyslexia requires a tailored approach that addresses their unique learning needs. Implementing effective strategies can make a significant difference in their educational journey. Here are some strategies that have proven to be beneficial:

Multisensory Instruction

Multisensory instruction engages multiple senses simultaneously to enhance learning and memory retention. It provides students with dyslexia various pathways to process information. Here are some techniques to incorporate:

Incorporate Visual Aids

Use visual aids such as charts, diagrams, and graphic organizers to present information in a visual format. Visuals can help students better understand and remember concepts, supporting their comprehension and retention.

Utilize Auditory Cues

Incorporate auditory cues by using verbal instructions, repeating important concepts, and encouraging students to read aloud. Auditory reinforcement helps improve phonological processing and enhances understanding of spoken language.

Involve Kinesthetic Activities

Include hands-on activities that engage kinesthetic learners. For example, tracing letters in sand or using manipulatives can help reinforce letter-sound associations and promote muscle memory, aiding in reading and spelling development.

Integrate Technology

Leverage technology tools and educational apps that offer multisensory learning experiences. These can include interactive programs that combine visual, auditory, and tactile elements to reinforce reading, spelling, and language skills.

Phonics Instruction

Phonics instruction is vital for students with dyslexia as it helps them understand the relationship between letters and sounds. Here are key approaches for effective phonics instruction:

Explicit Phonics Instruction

Provide explicit and systematic instruction on letter-sound correspondences. Start with basic phonemes and progress to more complex ones, ensuring students have a solid foundation for decoding words.

Multisensory Phonics Activities

Engage students in multisensory activities that involve manipulating letter tiles, blending sounds, and segmenting words. These hands-on exercises strengthen their phonemic awareness and decoding abilities.

Provide Ample Practice Opportunities

Offer plenty of practice opportunities for students to apply their phonics knowledge. Use structured exercises and word-building activities to reinforce decoding skills and improve reading fluency.

Reinforce Phonics Skills through Reading

Encourage students to apply their phonics skills by reading decodable texts that align with their current skill level. Gradually introduce more complex texts as their reading abilities progress.

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology can significantly support students with dyslexia in their learning journey. Consider the following options:

Text-to-Speech Software

Provide students with access to text-to-speech software that can read aloud digital texts. This tool helps improve reading comprehension and accessibility to information.

Speech-to-Text Software

Enable students to use speech recognition software to dictate their thoughts, alleviating writing challenges and allowing them to express themselves more effectively.

Dyslexia-Friendly Fonts and Formatting

Utilize dyslexia-friendly fonts, such as OpenDyslexic, and optimize text formatting to enhance readability. Adjustments like increased spacing and clear font styles can make reading easier for students with dyslexia.

Electronic Organizers and Planners

Utilize electronic organizers and planners to help students with dyslexia manage their schedules, assignments, and tasks effectively. Digital tools can assist with organization and time management skills.

Individualized Instruction

Recognizing the individual needs of students with dyslexia is crucial to providing effective support. Here are key aspects of individualized instruction:

Conduct Assessments

Regularly assess students' strengths and areas for improvement to inform individualized instruction. Use formal and informal assessments to gather data on their reading abilities, phonemic awareness, and comprehension skills. This helps tailor instruction to their specific needs and monitor progress over time.

Differentiate Instruction

Adapt instruction to accommodate the diverse learning needs of students with dyslexia. Modify materials, provide additional support, or offer alternative assignments to ensure each student can access the curriculum at their level. Differentiated instruction promotes engagement and allows for personalized learning experiences.

Provide Structured Support

Establish a structured and predictable learning environment to support students with dyslexia. Use visual schedules, clear instructions, and consistent routines to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of stability. Provide organizational tools, such as checklists and color-coded folders, to assist with task management.

Foster a Supportive Learning Environment

Create a supportive and inclusive classroom or learning environment where students with dyslexia feel accepted and valued. Encourage peer collaboration, empathy, and understanding. Celebrate their strengths and achievements to boost their confidence and self-esteem.

Dyslexia Learning Tools

There are several helpful learning tools available to support students with dyslexia in their educational journey. Consider integrating the following tools:

OrCam Learn

OrCam Learn is a comprehensive reading and learning tool designed specifically for individuals with dyslexia. It combines advanced technology with educational content to enhance reading comprehension and support independent learning. Some key features of OrCam Learn include:

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR): OrCam Learn utilizes OCR technology to convert printed text into digital text, allowing students to access and interact with various reading materials.
  • Text-to-Speech: The tool has built-in text-to-speech functionality that reads aloud the text from books, documents, or worksheets. This auditory reinforcement aids in improving reading fluency and comprehension.
  • Interactive Guided Reading: OrCam Learn offers guided reading experiences, highlighting words or sentences as they are read aloud. This feature promotes active engagement and supports students in tracking their reading progress.
  • Vocabulary Builder: The vocabulary builder feature helps students expand their vocabulary by providing definitions and contextual explanations for unfamiliar words encountered during reading.
  • Study Tools: OrCam Learn includes tools for highlighting, underlining, and taking digital notes, enabling students to annotate and organize their reading materials efficiently.
  • Personalized Recommendations: The tool adapts to the student's reading level and preferences, providing personalized recommendations for books and articles that align with their interests and abilities.

OrCam Learn is a valuable tool for students with dyslexia, empowering them to become independent learners and enhancing their reading skills.

Text-to-Speech Software

Text-to-speech software converts written text into spoken words, providing auditory reinforcement and supporting reading comprehension. Students can listen to digital texts being read aloud, helping them access information more easily. Popular text-to-speech software includes NaturalReader, Read&Write, and Voice Dream Reader.

Speech-to-Text Software

Speech-to-text software allows students to dictate their thoughts and ideas, converting spoken language into written text. This tool helps overcome challenges with writing and promotes independence in completing assignments. Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Google Docs Voice Typing, and Dictation.io are commonly used speech-to-text software options.

Dyslexia-Friendly Fonts and Formatting

Utilizing dyslexia-friendly fonts and formatting techniques can enhance readability for students with dyslexia. Fonts like OpenDyslexic are specifically designed to improve letter recognition and reduce visual distortions. Adjusting text formatting by increasing spacing between lines and paragraphs and using larger font sizes can also make reading easier.

Electronic Organizers and Planners

Electronic organizers and planners help students with dyslexia manage their schedules, assignments, and tasks effectively. Digital tools like Google Calendar, Trello, or Microsoft OneNote can assist in organizing and prioritizing tasks, setting reminders, and improving time management skills.

Expert Tips for Teaching Dyslexic Students to Read

Teaching dyslexic students to read requires a thoughtful and supportive approach. Here are some expert tips to help you effectively teach dyslexic students and promote their reading skills:

Tip 1: Provide Explicit and Systematic Phonics Instruction

Offer explicit and systematic phonics instruction to help dyslexic students build strong foundations in decoding and word recognition. Break down the sounds and patterns of the English language, providing clear explanations and ample practice opportunities.

Tip 2: Use Multisensory Techniques

Incorporate multisensory techniques that engage multiple senses to reinforce learning. Combine visual, auditory, and kinesthetic activities to enhance phonemic awareness, letter-sound associations, and word decoding skills. For example, use letter tiles, sand trays, or finger tracing while teaching letter-sound relationships.

Tip 3: Provide Structured and Sequential Lessons

Deliver structured and sequential lessons to help dyslexic students understand the logical progression of reading skills. Break down reading tasks into manageable steps, guiding students through each stage of the reading process. Scaffold their learning and gradually increase the complexity of texts as they progress.

Tip 4: Foster a Positive and Supportive Learning Environment

Create a positive and supportive learning environment that nurtures the confidence and self-esteem of dyslexic students. Celebrate their successes, provide constructive feedback, and emphasize their strengths. Encourage peer support and collaboration, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance.


By incorporating these dyslexia learning tools and implementing expert tips, educators can empower dyslexic students to overcome challenges and develop strong reading skills. Remember to tailor your instruction and support to meet the unique needs of each student, fostering a supportive and inclusive learning environment.