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What should I do if one of my students has dyslexia?

Posted: 21 Jul 2007, 08:08
by k8eee1955
What should I do if one of my students has dyslexia? I don't know what to do and I strongly suspect that he has dyslexia or something similar. He is from another country (Saudi Arabia) so we don't have enough shared language for me to even talk with him about this issue. He is frustrated and so am I. I don't know how to even begin to deal with this situation. (I teach high-beginner) Please give me any suggestions you have! Thanks, Kate

Posted: 26 Jul 2007, 03:24
by Peter Easton
You have to avoid using text books and other written materials and keep your classes focused on speaking and listening.

And remember, a picture tells a thousand words.


Posted: 27 Jul 2007, 00:05
by shlee
Peter is right-on regarding this...If you want to make any progress you need to begin using listening/speaking activities along with other language inputs that will help your student focus on things they can use right away to express their self. It will be hard at first, but the more you use this system the easier to language will come for the student, and lessen your frustrations as well...

Re: Right...

Posted: 27 Jul 2007, 04:47
by Peter Easton
shlee wrote:Peter is right on regarding this...
You mean Peter is wrong in regard to some things??? :)


Posted: 27 Jul 2007, 11:05
by shlee
Naw, Peter, just supporting you on this...I do see the humor in the response though...Thanks... :lol:

Posted: 28 Jul 2007, 02:36
by Peter Easton
Ah, so perhaps you mean 'Peter is right-on regarding this'?

Anyway, back on topic. Dyslexia goes unnoticed in most of the world but remember that dyslexics usually have other strengths which compensate their impaired ability to read and write. Your student may be particularly creative in some areas and have other communicative strengths which can be used to his advantage in the classroom such as critical thinking, perceptiveness, problem solving, story telling, artistic or musical ability, and a sophisticated sense of humour, etc.

thanks guys!

Posted: 02 Aug 2007, 04:35
by k8eee1955
I will try to do this when I can but I have a class of 10 other students who I have to teach at the same time. (and keep-up with set materials) Maybe I'll suggest that he add some tutoring (S and L) and see if that helps. I could offer to do it now that i kinda know the parameters of how to go about it. Thanks so much for your help:)

Pace yourself...

Posted: 02 Aug 2007, 22:21
by shlee
Remember to keep everything in perspective. You can only do what you can do. If there are heavy amounts of time you need to spend with a particular student then you might be wise to discuss this with your superiors who should be offering assistance in helping with the needs of your class. They may offer to lend a hand during certain times to lighten the load you have...

Posted: 30 Sep 2007, 08:31
by kmdalton
Hi Kate,

I studied dyslexia in ESL students for my Masters Degree. You can be dyslexic in one language and not in another. Dyslexia just doesn't impact upon language learning/acquisition but you may also find that the student will confuse music notes and addition and subtraction symbols. Check to see if the student can read an analogue clock.

There's many things you do to help this student develop good learning strategies:
* Don't use white paper (it can cause "visual blindness") try a cream or pale blue.
* Keep written tasks short or perhaps let the student record their work onto a cassette tape and then ask them to transcribe their work at their own pace.
* Mark written work on content not spelling.
* Try and use Arial with a minimum font size of 12 points.

Hope this helps you out a little.


Posted: 19 Dec 2007, 15:03
by brendaschouw

I completely understand your frustration. Though my advice would be to try to focus on a dyslectic student's capabilities instead of its incapabilities. In my experience dyslectic students often suffer from a lack of self esteem, because of their experiences in the educational system. They were often faced with failure or got behind in class because of their handicap. This might be the reason your student is frustrated at this point. A teacher's ingenuity concerning this topic can make school life a lot easier for a dyslectic student.

Here are several things that work for me:
* You can try to find talking books in the library which makes 'reading' a text much easier.
* Try to include as much visual, aural and kinaesthetic aspects in your teaching as you can. This will only support your written message and it’ll make it easier for the dyslectic student to comprehend.
* Offer the student the possibility to take oral tests instead of written (so he/she can experience success).

I hope my tips are useful to you. The best of luck!

Kind regards,


Re: Dyslexia and ESL

Posted: 21 Jan 2008, 21:49
by daniel
HI everyone
This is my first post.

I teach ESL from grade 1to 6(elementary level school).
One of my student has dyslexia and I gave him good grades for his first semester. My principal doesn't understand how a child with dyslexia could have good grades.

50% is for oral, 15% for writing. He speaks well, much better then some other, so I think he deserves it.

I will have to argue with my principal about this.

Any idea to help me?

kmdalton, do you have a link to your master?

p.s. It's not the first time that I see student with reading difficulties, performing quite high orally.

Re: Dyslexia and ESL

Posted: 06 Jan 2009, 17:12
by abf
I have an adult student who is dyslexic in his native (Sp.) language and is having great difficulty in my class. I teach short 3-week intensive courses for the state with great emphasis on improving literacy. While I can (and am) reading as much of the material aloud to help him, I am concerned that he is not improving his basic literacy. Is there something I can do to help him read better? What are the techniques employed by LD teachers? How can they be applied to the ESL classroom?

Thank you

Re: What should I do if one of my students has dyslexia?

Posted: 17 May 2009, 15:58
by taffy
There are lots of booklets on assessing EAL students for possible specific learning difficulties. Milton Keynes has excellent ones (free downloads) as do the Standards site. There is information on assessment, identification, case history, with questionnaires and how to help student. If it is just spelling you are worried about then it may not be dyslexia. There is also a booklet on Assessing the Needs of Bilingual Pupils Living in two languages by Deryn Hall. Its quite expensive but offers you advice on assessing your students.
There are a lot of issues to look at here but you need to start with case histories and keeping a record of the student's progress or lack of it.
Talk with your local school SEN dept. if you really think they are dyslexic and take along examples of spellings or written work.
Good luck

Re: What should I do if one of my students has dyslexia?

Posted: 24 Jan 2010, 14:18
by AmyFields
One thing that is proven to help dyslexic children is when writing on the blackboard to change color on each line aswell as space out your writing. And break down tasks into smaller easier to manage activities.


Re: What should I do if one of my students has dyslexia?

Posted: 03 Mar 2011, 15:00
by amrifa
First of all, I think it’s a really good thing that you were attentive enough to realize/notice this, because I have seen and heard of teachers who just try to ignore these kinds of problems. For students with dyslexia, everything school-related is harder for them compared to the rest of the students. Words just don’t work the same so it is important that they learn in a different way. They don’t necessarily think the same, and as was previously mentioned, it would be a good idea to use visuals/objects, pictures, and drawings to teach what you want to get across to the student. Also, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for that student to get a little bit of help outside of class time. Dyslexic students need a lot of support and motivation.

Re: What should I do if one of my students has dyslexia?

Posted: 03 Mar 2011, 15:01
This is really touchy but usually the school you're working in should have the resources to help you out with that. In the school where I work, I used to monitor a dyslexic girl. I helped her with her reading skills in French and I gave her a few tricks to be able to read in French with ease. She told me that her teachers have adapted her syllabus to still be in the regular classes and so she can keep her confidence. I would suggest you though to have her followed by a specialized technician that can take care of her while you pay more attention to the rest of the class. It's important not to lose your other 29 students for the one with a lot of difficulties. That's why I recommend you using the services of a technician. If it isn't available, you could always pair your dyslexic student with the stronger of the class (or the one who's the fastest) in a coop-like activity setting. In that way, you have a string student who can help you weakest student without putting all your attention on him/her and have more time to give for the rest of the class.

Re: What should I do if one of my students has dyslexia?

Posted: 03 Mar 2011, 15:04
by TallMikeV
I know this thread is quite old but who knows, some people might still read it...

One of my good friend is dyslexic and we went to school together. I remember him telling me how difficult it was, especially in English. I know that he hated reading and writing in French, so you can figure out his opinion of English classes. I remember that during high school, we talked about his problem and he told me that the most simple way for him to do writing tasks in French or in English was to always write double spaced, and use different colors on words he had problems and even on the different lines of his text before putting everything back in black (we used Word to write our texts). If you happen to have a dyslexic students and you need him to write something, I would suggest to follow the same methods that my friend used. If it comes to reading, I can only say that my friend found it easier when there was a lot of visual and when the text was well spaced. That helped him concentrate on the spelling of words.

Re: What should I do if one of my students has dyslexia?

Posted: 03 Mar 2011, 15:14
by melgaut
Dyslexia seems to be a very common problem into the classroom. Those previous posts are very useful. Students with special needs are often left aside. Because they speak differently and are not as good as other students in the classroom, they may have difficulty to feel included within a group. A student with dyslexia is not less intelligent then another. As mentioned earlier, it is important to give them the opportunity to listen and speak more than emphasize their writing skills. You should not consider them different. You should adapt the material and give special attention to this type of student. It is important that you encourage their effort. Especially in language teaching they need to be highly motivated. I would like to hear your teaching experience with students that have dyslexia. What are the activities that worked the best?

Re: What should I do if one of my students has dyslexia?

Posted: 03 Mar 2011, 15:24
by jetard
I understand how this situation might be frustrating for both of you. Since you both do not have enough language to communicate properly, maybe the parents of your student speak English? You could discuss with them. Maybe you could also ask a specialist in your school to evaluate your student to try to determinate if the problem really is dyslexia or if it is something else. In the immediate moment, the thing to do might be to provide this student with a lot of visual tools, to give him more time to do writing and reading tasks, and to have him understand that you want to help and give support.

Re: What should I do if one of my students has dyslexia?

Posted: 08 Aug 2011, 12:46
by fitzybhoy
to provide this student with a lot of visual tools, to give him more time to do writing and reading tasks
good advice. this will help him to get more into language, and little by little he'll be able yo use these words in his speech