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I'm having some problems planning lessons with a young learner. He is 11 years old and has dyslexia. I was asked to give him four lessons a week for the next six weeks, she told me that he doesn't know any English and his private tutor recommended that he begins at ABC. I planned the first ten lessons and made worksheets for the alphabet, basic greetings, colours etc. As he is dyslexic i don't want to use a textbook but rather i am focusing on games and more authentic situations in order to encourage speaking. The first lesson was today and i was completely thrown as he knows the alphabet, lots of vocabulary (professions etc). His English is definitely not beginner and yet he is still confused with basics like 'I like' and 'I want'.
I am trying to make some new worksheets for him and include an element of fun as i have been told that he lacks focus in lessons. To be honest in today's lesson he came across as very bright and able to read without problems so i do not think his dyslexia will be a big problem. Do you have any ideas for lessons? Also how do you teach at this level i.e. not a beginner, but still needs revision in some areas?
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I think that your work plan is the best way to proceed. A mixture of speaking activities and games will help him very much. The language that he knows will be activated through games and exercises involving speaking.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the fact that he confuses “like” and “want”. This is quite common; some languages don’t have the same distinction between these verbs as we have in English. Also for children, liking something is the same as wanting it. This is common in children much younger than 11; still it is not a reason for concern.
I suggest you take a pre-intermediate or elementary book as the basis for your lessons; take a look at a couple of books at these levels before making your choice. Do as much speaking and as many games as possible. Just make sure that the games have a real learning objective and that you are not playing games just for the sake of playing.
Take a look at the communication games series and the teacher's book that accompanies most course books for speaking activities and games. Also look at “Teaching Children” by Susan Halliwell. Teaching Teenagers will be another good resource (I don’t remember the name of the author). You can also look through the TEFL Help Desk forum where I have answered many similar questions. In the special needs forum of this site, you will find ideas for working with people who have dyslexia.
If you want more specific ideas, please write in again.
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