A Dyslexic Child in the Classroom

A Guide for Teachers and Parents

Patricia Hodge, Dip.spld (dyslexia) © 2000

Image by Sophia via stock.xchngProficient reading is an essential tool for learning a large part of the subject matter taught at school. With an ever increasing emphasis on education and literacy, more and more children and adults are needing help in learning to read, spell, express their thoughts on paper and acquire adequate use of grammar.

A dyslexic child who finds the acquisition of these literacy skills difficult can also suffer a lot of anguish and trauma when they may feel mentally abused by their peers within the school environment, because they have a learning difficulty. Much can be done to alleviate this by integrating the child into the class environment (which is predominantly a learning environment) where he/she can feel comfortable and develop confidence and self esteem.

Class teachers may be particularly confused by the student whose consistent underachievement seems due to what may look like carelessness or lack of effort.

These children can be made to feel very different from their peers simply because they may be unable to follow simple instructions, which for others seem easy. It is a class teacher’s responsibility to provide an atmosphere conducive to learning for all pupils within their class.

Class teachers need to have an understanding of the problems that the dyslexic child may have within the classroom situation. Hopefully, with this knowledge, a great deal of misunderstanding of a child’s behaviour can be prevented. In a positive and encouraging environment, a dyslexic child will experience the feeling of success and self-value.

Of particular importance is an understanding of the problems that poor auditory short term memory can cause, in terms of retaining input from the teacher.

Examples of poor auditory short term memory can be a difficulty in remembering the sounds in spoken words long enough to match these, in sequence, with letters for spelling. Often children with poor auditory short term memory cannot remember even a short list of instructions.

The following items should provide useful guidelines for teachers and parents to follow and support :


In the class
Copying from the blackboard


In order to be able to teach, as far as possible, according to each child’s educational needs, it is essential to see him or her as a whole person, complete with individual strengths and weaknesses.

An understanding of the pupil’s specific difficulties, and how they may affect the student’s classroom performance, can enable the teacher to adopt teaching methods and strategies to help the dyslexic child to be successfully integrated into the classroom environment.

Dyslexics have many strengths: oral skills, comprehension, good visual spatial awareness/artistic abilities. More and more dyslexic children could become talented and gifted members of our schools if we worked not only with their specific areas of difficulty, but also their specific areas of strengths from an early age. To do this we have to let go of outmoded viewpoints that a dyslexic child must first fail, in order to be identified.

These are the children of our future and they have a right to help and support before they develop the dreadful sense of failure which is so insidious.

Class teachers dealing with dyslexic children need to be flexible in their approach, so that they can, as far as possible, find a method that suits the pupil, rather than expecting that all pupils will learn in the same way.

Above all, there must be an understanding from all who teach them, that they may have many talents and skills. Their abilities must not be measured purely on the basis of their difficulties in acquiring literacy skills. Dyslexic children, like all children, thrive on challenges and success.


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  • Dottie S

    I have a soon to be 4th grader who is dyslexic. His writing is slow and his spelling is pretty poor. He reads slowly. Luckily he is a very auditory learner. I am looking for technology thay can help him take science and social studies notes. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!


    I first learned I had a form of dyslexia in 9th grade taking Japanese at Fairview High in Boulder Colorado in 1998. I then enlisted in the military to be a paratrooper, where I learned to adapt and over come by any means nessary. People with this condition that succede have really learned to work harder and develop coping strategies for success. I have finally graduated from a 4 year university with the help of caring professors. School was hard, but employment has always been extremely easy because of the work ethic developed to finish school. Go Bulls!

  • dan


    I know I have dyslexia but I loved your article and help it gave me. but I am now searching for a behavior intervention plan integration for me to for my school. can you link me to some like this post that are organized and are free?


    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Dan, you are welcome to explore the articles on our website and blog, but I think you will need to do your own research beyond that. But perhaps others who see your post may be able to share some suggestions. (We would not ordinarily allow users to post links to commercial sites, but if others know of free or nonprofit resources, they can post a reply to your comment).

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