Most of the sites I went on trying to find information never said anything that a teacher could do to help children with
dyslexia in the classroom. The only thing I could find was ways to help students when you are giving out homework.
Below are some stories from a few teachers and tutors who give insight on how to give homework and help students with dyslexia.
Many of us are guilty of hastily writing homework on the board in the last minute of a
lesson, and dyslexic children often arrive home with an incoherent and incomplete note of what is to be done. Parents try
to help, but cannot work out what the homework is supposed to be.
Copying homework from
the board is a daily problem for dyslexic children in school, and a regular nightmare for parents. Here are some suggested
teacher guidelines for making it easier for dyslexic children to go home with an accurate note of their homework:
- Put daily assignments on the morning board. Some dyslexic students seem to function better in the mornings. They might
not have a problem transcribing from the board when school first begins. (There also might be less on the board at the beginning
of the day.)
- Try to keep the board clear from several days work and only do one day at a time. The extra clutter seems to be very distracting
and frustrating. It is hard to distinquish Yesterdays work, from tomorrow or todays.
- Leave the assignments on the board for the entire day. This not only prepares the students for the day, but
also allows adequate time for copying from the board. Dyslexic students like being informed ahead of time about what will
be expected of them. This would be an excellent way for the student boy to know the days agenda.
- Write in block letters and larger.
- Use short assignment terms and always the same terms.
- Position the assignments in the same place on the board everyday. This will help the dyslexic students feel confident
that they are copying the right thing down.
- Asking to see all the students assignment sheets before they leave for the day would be a way of
checking to make sure it was copied correct. Students could pull the assignment out and lay it on their desk. You wouldn't
be asking only the dyslexic student to do this, but at the same time you would be able to check the work.
I am tutoring an 8th grade dyslexic boy, and was recently asked by his parents to attend his
parent/teacher conference with them.
They have been very frustrated with the public school
system, and felt like modifications needed to be made for this child. They felt that if I was there to support them, that
possibly something might be done.
Before I went to the conference with them, I sat
down with both parents and child to make a list of things that we could present to the teachers to help him succeed in school.
Many of the things we came up with were different ways to adapt his homework and work in the classroom. The following is a
list of some of the ideas that we presented, and that the teachers were more than willing to try.
- Put assignment for that day on the board at the beginning of the class, so that he could write it
down in planner, and mark it off at end of class period if completed or not.
- Make sure that his desk was in close proximity to teacher and front, so that copying from the board
was not difficult, and if questions arose the teacher was easily accesible to him.
- When necessary allow him extra time to complete assignments, and have the ability to use a computer
since his handwriting is illegible.
- Adjust his spelling list and vocabulary to words that were more on his level of comprehension and
- Make sure that he knew the instructions for all assignments and could recite them back to teacher
verbally, before leaving the classroom.
- Have access to school website, where homework assignments could be obtained. Provide a peer-tutor, not only in class, but also someone
he could call for help if needed.
- When necessary allow him to tape lectures, so that he could hear the notes for the day, and not
have to worry about writing them down during class time. All of these things were considered by all of these students teachers.
A copy was given to each of them, and also to his guidance counselor. We are hoping for successful results, and only time
GUIDELINES FOR HOMEWORK
- When writing homework assignments on the board give
plenty of time for dyslexic students to write them down and make sure the due date is included.
- When giving homework give the dyslexic student enough
work to practice the concept but not so much that too much time is required to complete the homework (e.g. 12 out of 20 math
- Check what they have written down to ensure each
student has copied homework expectations correctly.
- Or have a handout with homework assignment on it
for dyslexic students.
- Make sure the homework instructions are concise
- Make sure student has a homework buddy who lives
near him/her so they can clarify expectations.
- A school website where handouts and requirements
for assigned projects can be checked is quite useful in case they forget to bring the handout home.
- Second copies are useful for assignments not due
immediately, one to keep at home and one in the workbook. That way, if the workbook is forgotten he/she can still work on
their project or study for their test. Many teachers don’t offer this due to budget constraints but, given the opportunity,
parents may agree to pay for the extra copies.
- Take into consideration what additional homework
the student will be given from other teachers. If each teacher gives the student 45 minutes of homework times 6 classes it
is impossible for them to complete it, and for the dyslexic student it is entirely overwhelming.