A Dyslexia Friendly Environment!
As the old saying goes, ‘knowledge is power’ so think about how much you know about dyslexia. If your answer is ‘not much’, then Dyslexia Awareness Week could be a great time to improve your knowledge! The British Dyslexia Association’s website is a great place to start, with articles, webinars and more information to help you become more Dyslexia aware!
With around 10% of the population having dyslexia (that’s 3 pupils in a class of 30) it’s important that we look to improve our understanding so we can better support all our learners. We want to focus on ‘positive dyslexia’ this week and celebrate the gifts and talents of those with this learning difference aligning with this years’ theme of empowerment!
Given that a lot of adults with dyslexia talk about how the attitude of their teachers impacted on their journey in education, it is important that we embrace a ‘dyslexia positive’ attitude in our schools so we can be welcoming, supportive and inclusive for those with dyslexia. As a Dyslexia Smart organisation, we have created the following list of top tips with our Training and Education Specialist Donna Stevenson, which you can follow to create a dyslexia-friendly environment in your classroom.
- Communications : Be aware of your written (both on a screen and on the page) and verbal communications. Communication should be as clear and logical as possible with no overwhelming, complex or heavy content. The BDA Style Guide is a great place to start when it comes to making your communication methods more inclusive.
- Time : give your learners time to reflect and process information. We know this can be tricky in a busy classroom with lots of content to cover, so build ‘brain-breaks’ and ‘talk-time’ into your day so children have time to process and reflect on what they have learnt.
- A step-by-step Approach : as dyslexia can impact on a child’s processing skills, try to help pupils learn or process information more effectively by breaking it up into ‘bitesize’ pieces. For pupils this helps to make learning new things achievable and fun; most importantly not an overwhelming experience.
- Making links : wherever possible, link new information with established knowledge to make the learning process as logical as possible, that is, explaining how new information relates to prior learning. Take your learner on a journey to help guide your pupil as they process and pick up new information!
- Kinaesthetic and Multi-sensory : make learning as hands-on and as practical as possible! Here at Lexplore, we love bringing books to life to drive engagement and make reading more accessible. There are many easy ways you do this in the classroom: reading recipes and cooking, using props, sharing video clips from YouTube for more factual books, or making the most of audiobooks. These methods can help make literature much more accessible, and not only for struggling readers. Children develop important listening skills and are able to engage with unusual material and vocabulary sometimes above their reading level.
For more information on supporting children with their reading, you can download the Lexplore Reading Support Guide or visit the British Dyslexia Association website for more information. You can also register to join our exciting, upcoming webinar with the BDA and Alison Tarrant the CEO of the School Library Association on making reading accessible for all children which will run in December.