As a teacher, whether you are a fresh graduate or a veteran, you most likely have a print-rich classroom. And all teachers welcome and continue to look for suggestions, and improve their teaching strategies to help their students better.
We at Cassidy Education understand the challenges a teacher of special needs students has. So, we have surveyed teachers and compiled the following strategies, in the hope they may spark some new ideas for you as a teacher. You can use these strategies for all types of learners, but they will be extra beneficial for students with dyslexia.
As always, choose strategies, activities, and learning materials that best fit your students, available resources and of course, you.
For students who struggle to write, try asking your student to dictate their story and support it by drawing pictures. Afterwards, an adult can then transcribe and even bind it into a “storybook.”
Provide multisensory experiences to students for each book or story they read. Examples are puzzles, coloring pages, and games along with a storytelling guide.
Increase print-awareness by playing a game. Ask your students to look for everything they can find with writing on it (road signs, food packaging, labels, etc.)
When telling a story, dramatically pause at key events and allow students to “fill the gap.”
Incorporate sound-matching games in lessons. For example, start with a prompt that goes: “Think of things that start with Aaaah.” Your student might say, “Apple, ant, anchor,” give clues when your student encounters a difficulty. Say, “Everybody loves a juicy, red and crunchy aaaah.” (Apple).
When drawing and writing (letters and numbers), guide your students by placing your hand on top of theirs. Over time, gradually reduce the level of assistance, as required.
Make a point of providing opportunities for writing and spelling. Welcome different formats: encourage writing in a journal, sending an email, making lists, copying parts of stories or writing thank-you letters.
Improvements in word-retrieving skills can be gained through participating in games such as:
- Crosswords and other word puzzles.
Encourage your students to keep a journal. Pique their interest by requiring visual elements to be added for each entry. It can be drawings, photos or magazine clippings.
When teaching maths, always make it a point to give manipulatives especially when the lesson is related to time, money or fractions.
Practice handwriting. The following low-tech tools have always worked:
- Slant board
- Pencil grips
- Paper with raised lines
- Jumbo pencils also work.
Provide lots of positive feedback (vs. correction). Praise students every time they spell words accurately, as it greatly improves their self-esteem.