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Dyslexia: teaching strategies and methods

Symptoms of dyslexia can often be misinterpreted for other types of disorders. Identifying dyslexia requires the intervention of physicians and neurologists as well as MRI testing. Once a child has been recognized as a dyslexic, there are teaching systems in place that have found great success for over eighty years.


Dyslexia teaching strategies and methods involve multi-sensory instruction. The reason behind this is that the dyslexic brain utilizes the right hemisphere of the brain for the reading and comprehension tasks. It is not the most efficient part of the brain to use, and therefore the dyslexic brain is ‘wired’ differently from the non-dyslexic brain.

The most important teaching method of a dyslexic individual is understanding that it’s not what you are teaching, but how the information is taught. Multi-sensory instruction involves the auditory, visual, tactile and kinesthetic. In essence, it is teaching the dyslexic student to use other portions of their brains via their senses to understand the requirements.

Phonic awareness is the most important first step. Without the use of phonics, a dyslexic individual doesn’t know syllables, understand how they are supposed to be placed together to speak or rhyme, as well as identifying order of words. Using the multi-sensory approach the dyslexic can hear, feel and see variations of what is expected of them and then relate it to the alphabet. A secondary step will be to correlate the sounds of an alphabet or syllable to the actual letter and syllable itself.

Usually by the time a dyslexic child has been diagnosed, they are in total confusion regarding the English language, reading, spelling and pronunciation. Teachers must often take the approach of returning back to basics that are far below the student’s level, to find out they do know and begin instruction from there. This is one of the first lessons for dyslexia teaching strategies and methods.

Learning the rules of the English language can be rough enough for the non-dyslexic student. There are a number of to spell the same sounds, let alone the same sounding words that are spelled differently. i.e. there, their; bare, bear. The shun sound can be tion or cion, etc. Getting the rules and regulations down is the next step.
Dyslexic students do not utilize the part of the brain that allows them to match like situations and accomplish problem solving when it comes to the written word. Without this intuitive learning, you have to teach, in detail, each and every rule that governs the English language.

Another priority level of teaching is often referred to as synthetic and analytic phonics. Synthetic is the ability to take individual letters and sounds and combine them to make words. Analytic is the ability to take sentences and break them into words and the individual syllable sounds. Both synthetic and analytic phonics must be included throughout the entire teaching process.

Tutors, instructors and teachers of the dyslexic student are required to monitor whether the student is truly understanding or has developed an ability to hide and respond based on a repetitive pattern. Since repetition is a major portion of the instruction, this can be easily accomplished and therefore the student isn’t really learning.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

One Response to “Dyslexia: teaching strategies and methods”

  1. 1
    Andrew_James Says:
    I have been involved in teaching strongly dyslexic children for some time, and some of the methods briefly mentioned in this article are widely used. Multi-sensory instruction is the key. I would like to hear from anyone who is involved in this field, or who has had particular success with certain teaching methods.