Kindness for Dyslexic Students

Dyslexic students are some of the most discriminated against and beaten down students in the classroom.

One concept that is lost on many teachers is to be kind to their dyslexic students.

I've had students tell me their teachers said the following things:

"You should forget about going to college."

"If you weren't lazy, you would know how to read."

"You didn't pass the test, you don't get to go to the class party."

“The other students did well with this. What’s wrong with you?”

“You will never be able to graduate from high school.”

Some teachers really forget to have a heart.

Here are some ways you can help your dyslexic learners in math:

  1. Teach with manipulatives. Kids with dyslexia don’t always understand symbols immediately. You can use manipulatives like base-10 blocks to teach basic math operations. Avoid rote learning like the plague.

  2. Write accessible word problems. Use straightforward language with simple vocabulary and short sentences.

  3. Spend more time teaching math facts. Mastery of math facts frees up working memory for other cognitive demands.

  4. Use graph paper. Sometimes kids with dyslexia have a hard time lining up their numbers.

  5. Try alternate methods for teaching math facts. Many of my students finally learned their math facts with the Schoolhouse Rock songs.

  6. Avoid timed math drills. Timed tasks send anxiety levels skyrocketing. You can use the same tests and turn off the timer. Some kids prefer to be tested privately so they can’t compare themselves to others.

  7. Provide calculators. I recommend allowing students to use calculators once they’ve demonstrated conceptual proficiency and fact fluency. This will free up working memory so they can do higher-level work.

  8. Invest in programs designed for all kinds of learners. I’ve found the Making Math Real and Jump Math programs helpful.

Here are more tips and tricks

Whatever you do, talk positively with and to your students.

Here are other websites I recommend:

International Dyslexia Association

What Teachers Should Know About Reading

Reading Rockets!

Keys for Learning

The Orton Gillingham Online Academy


The Orton Gillingham Online Academy

Orthographic Mapping

Speech is Beautiful

Really Great Reading

Dr. Dan Willingham's

Reading Horizons

Five Ways to Build Lasting Self-Esteem

Recognizing Dyslexia May Prevent Low Self-Esteem and Anxiety



Heidi Nord