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Teaching Students with Dyslexia: 4 Effective Lesson Plans

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Update 4/6/2017: After more than a year, we’ve updated our recommendations for teaching students with dyslexia to include more lesson plans.

Those of us who deal with disorders from birth sometimes grow up thinking we are either unintelligent or insufficient, when in reality we are simply different from those who learn and develop like everyone else.

dyslexic

As someone who suffers from ADHD, I understand this feeling all too well, but I also know that I simply process information and stimuli different than my peers.

The same can be said to an even further degree for those who suffer from dyslexia.

There is a widely held misconception that dyslexia is a “reading disorder” and that it is limited to just reading alone. However, dyslexia is a disorder that can also affect a person’s writing, spelling, and speaking skills.

Lesson Plans for Dyslexic Students

As an educator, it is your duty to make every effort to reach and educate your students, whether they have ailments or not. In order to reach those dyslexic learners, you need lesson plans and ideas that will accommodate the difficulties they have and help them retain information in a way that works for them.

Given that,  I’ve compiled four great lesson plans for teaching students with dyslexia.

Lesson Plan Idea #1: Letter Blend Bingo

One problem dyslexic children have is difficulty matching letters to their corresponding sounds. Special Education Expert Eileen Bailey has come up with a lesson plan for kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders to deal with this issue, using what she calls “Letter Blend Bingo.”

Using bingo charts and flashcards with words that use specific consonant blends, you as the teacher will read a word or show the picture of a word to the student(s), while they place a marker on the bingo board with the matching consonant blend. This process is repeated until the student(s) have matched up enough consonant blends to have “BINGO.”

This activity helps dyslexic students learn and remember their letters and letter combination sounds through repetition, auditory, and visual aid.

Lesson Plan Idea #2: Spelling Stations

Dyslexics struggle with perceiving the sequence of letters in a word, which can lead them to see a “b” as a “d” or may have them rearrange a particular word (for instance, the word “read” may appear as “erad”).

If you want to understand what that feels like, here is a video example of different types of dyslexia:

In order to help students who suffer with spelling due to dyslexia, Education Corner created “Spelling Stations” to give students in grades 1-3 the opportunity to sharpen their spelling skills through different visual, auditory, writing, and verbal repetition stations.

This lesson should be used several times a week to enforce learning by repetition, which solidifies their skills but in a fun and engaging way.

Different station ideas for this lesson plan:

  • Letter Magnets – Using magnetic letters on a metal surface, students spell out words that are given to them.
  • Puzzle Time – This station will be made up of spelling worksheets such as crossword puzzles and word searches. These help students learn spelling through word recognition, while at the same time keeping students engaged through fun games.
  • Colorful Words – Students who visit this station will write out their spelling words using different colors for each letter. Using these different colors, students can use associations between colors and letters to learn the correct sequencing for certain words.
  • Pop Quiz – Students in this station quiz each other on spelling words. One student will read words out loud, while the other either vocally spells the letter or spells the word on paper. This aids the students in auditory and verbal spelling challenges.
  • Word Art – Using crayons, markers, glitter, and other art materials, students spell out words on construction paper, then decorate the words. This helps students retain word spelling through visual association with art, which can lessen the effects that dyslexia has on a child.

Your students should rotate between these stations so that each student can find the method that teaches them spelling best. The constant changes in methods keeps their minds occupied and entertained while they learn to overcome their ailment.

Lesson Plan Idea #3: Wordshark

Similar to the Spelling Stations idea, the school software Woodshark uses multi sensory learning to teach dyslexic students how to spell, read, and write. With over 50 games it teaches phonics, spelling rules, word sequencing, and word sounds to increase spelling recognition.Each game increases in complexity and timing to motivate student improvements.

This software can be modified to fit the individual needs of specific students and comes with week-by-week reports of progress.

This software comes in both an individual format as well as a network format if you want to use it in a large classroom setting. The price for the software is displayed in British pound and is split up into tiers for school wide use or single user.

Lesson Plan Idea #4: Scrabble/Words With Friends Day

After weeks of intensive work on teaching your dyslexic students the formulations of words, sequencing, and spelling, why not take a day to reinforce all of those concepts through a game day?

You can host a game day either with a classroom Scrabble tournament, or by utilizing modern technology, such as cell phones, that many students already have on them, and holding the tournament on the “Words With Friends app.”

In fact, Learning Works for Kids recommends “Words With Friends” in their top five games for children with dyslexia.

These games are a fun activity that utilize students’ abilities to spell larger and more complex words in a healthily competitive environment, motivating them to put what they just learned into practice.

More Lesson Plan Ideas

There are plenty of other lesson plan directories to choose from which offer lists of simpler lesson plan ideas for dyslexic students, such as:

Digital Wish Dyslexia Lesson Plans

Digital Wish offers a comprehensive list of fun lesson plans for dyslexic students of all ages spanning across multiple different subjects.

Lesson Plan Examples:

Ancient Greece Podcast – History – Grade 7

From Book to Script to Claymation – Language Arts/Tech Ed – Grades 3 to 6

Color Coded Reading – Reading Comprehension – Pre-K to Grade 8

Vivid Visual Vocabulary – Language Arts – Grades 4 to 12

University of Michigan Dyslexia Strategy for Teachers

Not only does the University of Michigan offer simple lesson ideas for teachers to implement in the classroom, but they also deliver many actionable tips on how to carry out those lessons.

This strategy guide is a necessity for any teacher looking for ways to build a teaching strategy for dyslexic students because of its comprehensive overview of the lesson process.

Conclusion

Have you tried any of these lesson plan ideas? Do you feel like any ideas should make it onto the list? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author

Nick Morpus

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Nick Morpus is a Content Writer for Capterra, a free resource that matches buyers and sellers of business software. He has a background in politics, economics, and journalism, which he dedicates his off-time to contributing his thoughts to other political sites. In his free-time he enjoys reading, drawing, photography, playing guitar, writing, and cooking.

Comments

Nick, thank you for your insightful article. It was very helpful for me when I was working with students who suffer from dyslexia.

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