How to Teach Dyslexic Students

Dyslexia is a common learning disability that affects approximately 10% to 15% of the population. Dyslexic students face challenges in reading, writing, and spelling, but with the right teaching strategies and resources, they can overcome these difficulties and thrive academically. In this article, we'll explore effective ways to teach dyslexic students and provide helpful tips and resources for educators.

Understanding Dyslexic Students

Before diving into teaching strategies, it's important to have a basic understanding of dyslexia and how it affects students. Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects the way the brain processes language. It is not a sign of low intelligence, and dyslexic students can have average or above-average intelligence. Dyslexia can affect various aspects of learning, including reading, writing, spelling, and math.

Educational Tools for Special Needs Students

There are many educational tools and resources available to support dyslexic students in the classroom. These tools can help students with reading, writing, and spelling, and they can also improve their overall academic performance. Here are some examples of educational tools and resources for dyslexic students:

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology refers to devices and software that help students with disabilities to access information and perform tasks. Dyslexic students can benefit from various types of assistive technology, such as text-to-speech software, speech-to-text software, and electronic reading devices.

Multisensory Teaching

Multisensory teaching involves using multiple senses (such as sight, sound, touch, and movement) to reinforce learning. This teaching approach can be particularly effective for dyslexic students, as it helps them to engage with the material in different ways. For example, teachers can use colored markers or highlighters to emphasize important information, or they can use manipulatives (such as blocks or tiles) to teach math concepts.

Accommodations and Modifications

Accommodations and modifications are changes made to the learning environment or curriculum to support students with disabilities. For dyslexic students, accommodations and modifications might include things like extended time on tests, extra help with reading and writing, or alternative ways of demonstrating knowledge (such as oral presentations or projects).

How to Teach Dyslexic Students

Now that we've covered some of the educational tools and resources for dyslexic students, let's dive into effective teaching strategies.

Create a Structured and Predictable Learning Environment

Dyslexic students often benefit from a structured and predictable learning environment. Teachers can create this type of environment by establishing routines and procedures, using consistent language and directions, and providing clear expectations and guidelines for behavior and work.

Use Multisensory Teaching Strategies

As mentioned earlier, multisensory teaching can be particularly effective for dyslexic students. Teachers can use a variety of multisensory strategies in their lessons, such as:

  • Using visual aids and graphic organizers to help students organize and remember information
  • Incorporating movement and kinesthetic activities into lessons to engage students and reinforce learning
  • Using music and rhymes to help students remember information

Provide Explicit and Systematic Instruction

Dyslexic students often struggle with phonemic awareness (the ability to hear and manipulate individual sounds in words), so it's important to provide explicit and systematic instruction in phonics and phonemic awareness. Teachers can break down words into their individual sounds and teach students how to blend and segment sounds.

Scaffold Learning

Scaffolding refers to providing support and guidance to students as they learn new concepts or skills. For dyslexic students, scaffolding might involve breaking down tasks into smaller steps, providing visual aids or prompts, and modeling strategies for completing tasks.

Orton-Gillingham Approach

The Orton-Gillingham Approach is a structured, multisensory approach to teaching reading and writing. It emphasizes phonics instruction and teaches students to break down words into smaller components. This approach can be very effective for dyslexic students because it provides them with a structured and systematic approach to learning.

Dyslexic Students: How to Identify Them

Identifying dyslexic students is an important step in helping them succeed. The following are some common characteristics of dyslexic students:

  • Difficulty with phonemic awareness (the ability to recognize and manipulate individual sounds in words)
  • Slow and laborious reading
  • Difficulty with spelling and writing
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Difficulty with math word problems

If you notice these characteristics in a student, it's important to evaluate them for dyslexia and provide appropriate support.

Learning Disabilities Awareness Month

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month, and it's a great opportunity to raise awareness about dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Educators and parents can use this month to advocate for dyslexic students and promote understanding of their unique needs.

Educational Tools for Special Needs Students

There are many educational tools available for special needs students, including dyslexic students. These tools can help students with organization, reading, writing, and more. Some popular tools include Dragon Dictation (speech-to-text software), Kurzweil 3000 (text-to-speech software), and Livescribe Smartpen (a digital pen that records audio and syncs it with written notes).

Special Education Technology

Technology has revolutionized the field of special education. There are many specialized technologies available to help students with disabilities, including dyslexia. Some examples of special education technology include assistive technology, specialized software, and adaptive devices.


In conclusion, teaching dyslexic students requires patience, understanding, and the use of specific techniques and tools. It's essential to recognize that dyslexia is not a sign of laziness or lack of intelligence, but rather a learning difference that requires specialized teaching strategies to help these students reach their full potential.

Here are the key takeaways from this article:

  • Dyslexia affects language processing in 10-15% of the population.
  • Dyslexic students struggle with reading, writing, and spelling.
  • Effective teaching tools and strategies: assistive tech, multisensory teaching, accommodations.
  • Create structured, predictable learning environments.
  • Utilize multisensory teaching methods involving visuals, movement, and music.
  • Provide explicit phonics instruction and scaffold learning.
  • Consider the Orton-Gillingham Approach for reading and writing.
  • Identify dyslexic students through signs like phonemic awareness difficulties.
  • Use special tools like speech-to-text software.
  • October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month for promoting dyslexia awareness.
  • Dyslexia is a learning difference; students can thrive with support.
  • Assistive technology can be helpful for dyslexic students, such as text-to-speech software and dyslexia-friendly fonts.

By understanding dyslexia and implementing effective teaching methods, we can help dyslexic students unlock their potential and succeed in their academic and personal lives. Let's continue to raise awareness and advocate for the needs of dyslexic students, and support them in achieving their goals. 

  • Dyslexia affects language processing in 10-15%.
  • Dyslexic students need specialized teaching methods.
  • Use assistive tech and multisensory teaching.
  • Create structured, predictable learning environments.
  • Emphasize phonics, systematic instruction.
  • Identify dyslexic students by observable signs.
  • Promote awareness during Learning Disabilities Awareness Month.