5 Recommendations for Teachers to Support Dyslexic Learners in their Classrooms
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Cindy Hall for an enlightening conversation about how we can help students with dyslexia, both parents and teachers.
Mrs. Cindy Hall is the founder and director of Cindy Hall Consulting and Mustard Seed Tutoring and the author of Dyslexia Friendly Classroom professional development. It is her passion to help struggling students identify why they are struggling and architect a plan for success.
Cindy is excited to work with individual students in a tutoring setting or to help teachers understand the characteristics of dyslexic students and best practices that are vital for dyslexic learners, yet good for all students.
Cindy was the founding director of the Dyslexia Center at Lindsay Lane Christian Academy, which she directed for a decade before retiring from full-time school-setting work. She has 17 years of classroom teaching experience with elementary students and another 17 years focused on teaching dyslexic learners.
She is a graduate of Faith Baptist Bible College with postgraduate work in special education at Iowa State University as well as many hours of training in the Orton-Gillingham approach for dyslexic learners.
During our conversation with Cindy, she shared with us specific recommendations for parents who want to help their students with homework and for classroom teachers who want to better support their dyslexic learners. Today, we want to share those teacher tips with you!
Here are 5 recommendations for teachers to support dyslexic learners in their classrooms:
There are so many things teachers can do to support dyslexic learners in their classrooms.
#1: Know that your role is very important.
Classroom teachers might feel like their role is not as important since the child is often taken out of the classroom by the reading specialist. This is not true. Your role as the classroom teacher is really important.
Now, your role is not to be the interventionist. That responsibility is not on your shoulders. You can't be a classroom teacher AND a reading interventionist at the same time. We know, sometimes classroom teachers feel like that’s what they’re being asked to do when they’re encouraged to better understand dyslexia. But, that is not your role AND your role is still important.
#2: Understand dyslexia.
Take time to truly understand dyslexia, not just the urban legends that you may have heard about it. Really dig in, understand what it is, learn about the associated memory issues, and all of the other aspects that make this so huge for dyslexic students.
#3: Work with the parents as a team.
The home and the school should be working together to support the child in a non-adversarial way. We all want the same things. We all want that child to thrive and we all want the very best for that child. When everyone remembers the main goal, and everyone respects the other team members, it becomes easier to work together.
The parent is the expert on the child. The Orton-Gillingham practitioner is the expert in tutoring. And the classroom teacher is the expert in what happens in the classroom. Everyone brings their area of expertise and they all matter.
#4: Be organized.
In the classroom, try to keep as organized as possible and as consistent as possible. Think about this even for simple things, like how you want the date written on paper. Write it the way you want them to write it on the top of your whiteboard. Display a sample of how you’d like papers headed in your classroom. This gives students something to look at and model.
Another example of being organized and consistent is to always have homework handed in in the same way.
For more help in this area, read 3 Steps to Gradual Release of Responsibility.
#5: Reinforce and communicate about homework.
If you can find the time at the end of the day, pull those kids who you know will struggle with homework and help them get a handle on what is happening with the homework.
- Ask them to repeat the assignment to you. If you can tell they don't understand the assignment, take a minute to review it and touch base with the parent about how to complete the assignment.
- Jot down a note for the parents about how long that assignment should take.
- Let parents know an amount of time not to exceed on that assignment.
For more tips on how you can support children with dyslexia, check this out!
For even more ways to support our dyslexic learners, check out our latest episode of the Together in Literacy podcast. If you like what you hear, don’t forget to rate, leave a positive review, and subscribe!
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