15 Guided Reading Activities, Classroom Accommodations, and Teaching Strategies for Students with Dyslexia - Waterford.org (2023)

Dyslexia is a language processing disorder that affects phonological and phonemic awareness, spelling, and word recognition. Around 90% of all reading difficulties are rooted in dyslexia, which affects approximately one in five students.[11] Because you’ll probably have at least a few children with dyslexia in your class every year, it’s essential to learn how to best reach these students.

Read on to find 15 fun and useful activities, learning strategies, and activities for students with dyslexia. Then, learn a few facts and myths about dyslexia to understand more about students with this chronic reading disorder.

Guided Reading Activities for Children with Dyslexia

Activities are a great way to make reading fun while reaching students with dyslexia who may need added academic support. Check out these five activities for struggling readers to engage your students while addressing common dyslexia symptoms. Although these activities are designed to be educational games for dyslexia, you can play them one-on-one or as a class.

1. Letter Art

Students with dyslexia often benefit from visual aides while learning to read and recognize letters. Assign a letter for your students to paint or draw–maybe a letter they’ve had trouble writing or one they often mistake for a different letter. Encourage them to make it as colorful and creative as they want. Once they’ve finished, have them share their art with the class.

For older students who already have their letters down, try having them paint vocabulary words or drawing illustrations to go through commonly mistaken words.

2. Storytime Rhymes [3]

Rhyming is one of the best phonological awareness activities because it helps students with dyslexia learn letter-sound connections. Try reading a picture book with plenty of rhymes to your students. After each rhyming pair, brainstorm other words that rhyme to encourage students to practice phonological awareness on their own.

Here are a few examples of fun rhyming books you can read during this activity:

  • Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Eric Carle and Bill Martin, Jr.
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  • Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss

3. Building Words with Magnets [9]

Many students with dyslexia benefit from tactile activities so they can rely on more than just words on a page while learning to read. Hand out alphabet magnets as well as a magnetic board to your students and have them build simple words with the magnets to give them a visual and tactile reference for different letters.

4. Phonemic Awareness Name Game [1]

Another common symptom of dyslexia is issues with phonemic awareness, or the ability to identify specific sounds in words. For this activity, have your students gather in a circle. Choose a student’s name and sound it out one syllable at a time while clapping in-between syllables. Then, have the class repeat the student’s name together in the same way.

Go around and repeat this activity with every child’s name in your class. Once your students get the hang of it, try playing this game with vocabulary words.

5. Online Reading Activities

There are a variety of online reading games that are made for students with dyslexia or early learners in general. Plan computer lab sessions with your students to play online reading games and strengthen literacy skills in a non-stressful environment. Some reading programs can even adapt to focus on a student’s academic weaknesses, which can help students with dyslexia practice skills that they need to improve the most.

Classroom Accommodations for Dyslexia

Finding the right accommodations for students with disabilities can help them catch up to their peers and reach their academic potential. Try these five accommodations for students with dyslexia to give every child in your classroom the tools they need to succeed.8

6. Audiobooks

Because children with dyslexia are often slow readers, assigning them print books on their own can frustrate them. Instead, try providing audiobook files alongside a take-home print book. That way, your student can read along with the narrator without getting caught on challenging words or letters.

7. Voice Recorder [2]

Similarly, it can take more time for a student with dyslexia to copy down notes than it would for their peers. Recording devices or apps can let your students record lessons in case they’re unable to copy down everything they need to remember in class.

8. Scribe or Speech-to-Text Software

For students with severe dyslexia symptoms, assigning a teacher’s aide to write down their notes can help keep the lesson on track and prevent your student from feeling overwhelmed. Speech-to-text software can also be useful for older elementary school students, who can use it for drafting typed assignments.

If you’re unable to offer either of these accommodations to your students, you could also provide copies of your lesson notes beforehand or write down the key points on the board.[2]

9. Spell-checker or Dictionary

Since children with dyslexia often mix up words or letters, discovering how to help a child with dyslexia spell can be tricky. A spell-checker can help your student correct simple mistakes that they might not notice at a first glance. As a non-electronic alternative, dictionaries can give students a reference for challenging or similar-looking words.

10. Quiet Time

Sometimes, too much outside stimulation can make it hard for students with learning disabilities to focus. If your student with dyslexia is having trouble with an assignment, ask them if they’d like to go to the library or a quiet corner of the room to work. Cutting out external stimulation can help their dyslexia symptoms feel less overpowering.

Effective Literacy Strategies for Students with Dyslexia

Teaching strategies for dyslexia are designed to help students learn to read in a way that aligns with how their brain works. If your student with dyslexia is having a hard time learning literacy skills, use these four guided reading strategies and dyslexia exercises to help them turn their weaknesses into strengths.12.

11. Use Letter/Sound Flash Cards

Teaching students with dyslexia the relationship between print letters and sounds can help them grasp complex reading skills later on.[3] Flashcards are a particularly effective way to teach children with learning disabilities phonics and sight words, according to a study published in 2011.

Purchase a pack of index cards and write an alphabet letter on one side and the sound it makes on the other. Go through each card with your student, setting aside the ones they get wrong to practice later. With practice and repetition, children with dyslexia will begin to see a pattern between print letters and their specific sounds.

12. Try Multisensory Reading Techniques

Multisensory learning is one of the best strategies for dyslexia that educational researchers have discovered so far.[9] This means that while teaching a student with dyslexia to read, it can be helpful to engage their other senses. You could, for example, teach your students the alphabet song or give them letter-shaped graham crackers for a snack. Any activity that engages their auditory, tactile, visual, or even taste-based senses can make a big difference.

13. Simplify Written Instructions [2]

Although students with dyslexia are often smart enough to understand verbal directions, sometimes complicated written instructions can confuse them. Try to simplify the directions you write on an assignment as much as possible to make them accessible for all students in your class. If a student with dyslexia still has trouble understanding an assignment, try to talk them through anything that confuses them.

14. Give Students with Reading Disabilities Extra Time for Assignments [2]

Even if students with dyslexia work very hard on an assignment, they might have trouble finishing it on time. For reading or writing assignments, offer students with dyslexia extra time if they need it. That way, your student won’t feel rushed and can turn in the best assignment that they can once they’ve finished it.

15. Maintain Daily or Weekly Routines [9]

Students with dyslexia work best if they know what to expect in their assignments. Try to keep children with dyslexia on a regular schedule with similar projects every day or week. You could, for example, give your students time to read quietly every day or have weekly vocabulary assignments to establish a routine.

Dyslexia Facts vs Dyslexia Myths: Teacher Edition

When it comes to learning disabilities in children, there is no such thing as “typical.”[12] Every student with reading disabilities is different and has their own strengths and weaknesses beyond common dyslexia stereotypes. Discover the truth behind these popular dyslexia myths to understand more about this well-known, yet misunderstood reading disorder.

“Dyslexia is caused by poor eyesight.”

A 2011 survey found that the majority of PreK teachers believe that dyslexia is a visual processing disorder.[13] But this reading disorder doesn’t have to do with vision problems at all: dyslexia is a language processing disorder that originates in the brain, not the eyes. Even students with 20/20 eyesight can develop dyslexia.

“Boys are more likely to have dyslexia than girls.”

When teachers research how to help and spot dyslexia symptoms, their female students are often overlooked. But while educators often believe more boys are diagnosed with dyslexia than girls, they are mistaken. According to a study by the American Medical Association, dyslexia is equally common in both genders.[7]

“Dyslexia isn’t real. Students who have it are just lazy or ignorant.” [10]

While researchers haven’t pinpointed the exact cause of dyslexia yet, they now know that it is caused by genetic and neurological factors. These students usually work as hard or harder than their peers on their assignments, which can make their reading difficulties even more frustrating. Many students with dyslexia go undiagnosed for their entire life, and educators sometimes think their students are just reluctant readers when they have a legitimate learning disorder.[11]

“Given time, dyslexia can be fully cured.”

Dyslexia is chronic, which means that it doesn’t always go away with treatment. But while certain symptoms may stay with a student for their whole lives, the right activities or learning strategies can teach them to read and write in a way that works best for their brain.

Plus, there are actually some cognitive benefits to having dyslexia. Educational researchers have discovered that students with dyslexia are highly creative thinkers and more likely to come up with innovative solutions to their assignments.[11] Students with dyslexia may think and learn differently from their classmates, but that doesn’t make their strengths any less valuable.

“Children with dyslexia can never hope to read well or succeed in school.”

When a child is diagnosed with dyslexia, some teachers believe that they will never learn to read as well as other students. But children with dyslexia can learn to read and write as well as anyone else, given time and plenty of instruction.

In fact, quite a few famous writers have been diagnosed with dyslexia, including:

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
  • Agatha Christie (Murder on the Orient Express)
  • Hans Christian Andersen (The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, and The Snow Queen)
  • Avi (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle)
  • Lewis Carroll (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

Another name you might recognize who makes the list of famous people with dyslexia? Albert Einstein, who many people believe to be the smartest person to ever live, was also diagnosed with this reading disability. No matter what a child with dyslexia decides to study in life, their only limits are their passion and their motivation to succeed.


Adams. M.J., Foorman, B., Lundberg, I., and Beeler, T. Phonemic Activities for the Preschool or Elementary Classroom. Retrieved from readingrockets.org: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/phonemic-activities-preschool-or-elementary-classroom.[1]

International Dyslexia Association. Dyslexia in the Classroom: What Every Teacher Needs to Know. Retrieved from dyslexiaida.org: https://dyslexiaida.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/DITC-Handbook.pdf.[2]

The Understood Team. Dyslexia Symptoms in Children. Retrieved from understood.org: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/signs-symptoms/could-your-child-have/checklist-signs-of-dyslexia-at-different-ages.[3]

Learning Ally. Hidden in Plain Sight: Seven Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom. Retrieved from learningally.org: https://www.learningally.org/Portals/6/Docs/white-papers/HiddeninPlainSight_WP_o.pdf [4]

Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. Signs of Dyslexia. Retrieved from yale.edu: https://dyslexia.yale.edu/dyslexia/signs-of-dyslexia/.[5]

National Council for Special Education. Dyslexia and Reading Instruction. Retrieved from sess.ie: https://www.sess.ie/dyslexia-section/dyslexia-and-reading-instruction.[6]

Shaywitz, S.E., Shaywitz, B.A., and Fletcher, J.M. Prevalence of Reading Disability in Boys and Girls Results of the Connecticut Longitudinal Study. Journal of the American Medical Association, August 1990, 264(8), pp. 998-1002.[7]

International Dyslexia Association. IDA Dyslexia Handbook: What Every Family Should Know. Retrieved from readingrockets.org: http://www.readingrockets.org/sites/default/files/IDA%20Dyslexia%20Handbook.pdf.[8]

International Dyslexia Association. Multisensory Structured Language Teaching Fact Sheet. Retrieved from dyslexiaida.org: https://dyslexiaida.org/multisensory-structured-language-teaching-fact-sheet/.[9]

Gwernan-Jones, R., and Burden, R.L. Are they just lazy? Student teachers’ attitudes about dyslexia. Dyslexia: An International Journal of Research and Practice, February 2010, 16(1), pp. 66-86.[10]

Dyslexia Resource. Interesting Dyslexia Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from dyslexiaida.org: https://dyslexiaresource.org/information-about-dyslexia/dyslexia-facts/.[11]

Elliott, J.G. Dyslexia: Diagnoses, Debates, and Diatribes. Education Canada, 2010, 46(2), pp. 14-17.[12]

Howard-Jones, P.A. Neuroscience and education: myths and messages. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, October 2014, pp. 1-8.[13]

Erbey, R., McLaughlin, T.F., Derby, K.M., and Everson, M. The effects of using flashcards with reading racetrack to teach letter sounds, sight words, and math facts to elementary students with learning disabilities. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, July 2011, 3(3), pp. 213-26.[14]


What classroom accommodations can you suggest to help students with dyslexia? ›

Accommodations involving materials
  • Use a tape recorder. ...
  • Clarify or simplify written directions. ...
  • Present a small amount of work. ...
  • Block out extraneous stimuli. ...
  • Highlight essential information. ...
  • Provide additional practice activities. ...
  • Provide a glossary in content areas. ...
  • Develop reading guides.

Is guided reading an effective approach for teaching students with dyslexia? ›

Unfortunately, popularly employed reading approaches, such as Guided Reading or Balanced Literacy, are not effective for struggling readers. These approaches are especially ineffective for students with dyslexia because they do not focus on the decoding skills these students need to succeed in reading.

What are two strategy recommendations interventions for students with dyslexia or other reading or language disabilities? ›

Post visual schedules and also read them out loud. Provide colored strips or bookmarks to help focus on a line of text when reading. Hand out letter and number strips so the student can see how to write correctly. Use large-print text for worksheets.

What is the most effective intervention for helping children with dyslexia? ›

Use multisensory methods to explicitly teach new content.

This goes for letters, sounds, spelling patterns, grammar, even math. It's easier with phonics to make things multisensory but you can find ways to integrate multiple senses into any activity. Some ideas include: color coding & highlighting.

What is the best teaching method for dyslexia? ›

Experts agree that the best practice for teaching children with dyslexia is to teach them by engaging all their senses (multisensory teaching). This means using visuals, motion, body movement, hands-on, and auditory elements in their learning.

What are sensory activities for dyslexic children? ›

Specific tactile techniques include the use of letter tiles, coins, dominoes, poker chips, sand, raised line paper, textures and finger paints. Small puzzles such as the rubik's cube also involve tactile learning. Finally, modeling materials such as clay or plasticine make for good tactile learning media.

What is the reading method for dyslexia? ›

The Orton-Gillingham approach is the “gold standard” for teaching reading to kids with dyslexia. It focuses at the word level by teaching the connections between letters and sounds. Orton–Gillingham also uses what's called a multisensory approach.

What are guided reading activities? ›

Guided Reading is a research-based instructional approach in which a teacher works with a small group of students who are reading at similar levels at a particular point in time. The teacher supports each reader's development of effective reading competencies.

What are some guided reading strategies? ›

Steps in the guided reading process:
  • Gather information about the readers to identify emphases.
  • Select and analyze texts to use.
  • Introduce the text.
  • Observe children as they read the text individually (support if needed).
  • Invite children to discuss the meaning of the text.
  • Make one or two teaching points.
Jan 18, 2019

What methods of instruction may support the teaching of reading in the case of dyslexia? ›

Developing the Strengths of Students with Dyslexia: Six Teaching...
  • Incorporate Multisensory Learning into Your Practice. ...
  • Be Accommodating. ...
  • Read to Students. ...
  • Use Graphic Organizers, Skeleton Outlines, Note-taking Prompts and Concept Maps. ...
  • Provide Audio-based Reading Alternatives.

What are 4 strategies for a learning disability in basic reading? ›

There are five strategies that have been proven to improve reading comprehension with these special needs students. The strategies include the following: explicit instruction, prior knowledge, theme identification, graphic organizers, and literature circles.

What reading strategies to use with students with learning disabilities? ›

Make sure they're reading text on level. Read short segments and ask students to repeat using the same voice. Allow students to record their voice when reading and listen back to it. Provide opportunities for repeated reading, reading the same text over and over while fluency builds.

What type of reading intervention is typically used to treat dyslexia in public schools? ›

For dyslexia, effective interventions should include training in letter sounds, phoneme awareness, and linking letters and phonemes through writing and reading from texts at the appropriate level to reinforce emergent skills.

What are prevention suggestions and strategies pertaining to dyslexia? ›

Several techniques and strategies are used to help people with dyslexia. These include taping lectures rather than writing notes, listening to books on tape rather than reading them, using flash cards, and using computer software to check spelling and grammar.

What are kinesthetic activities for dyslexia? ›

Kinesthetic Learning

One common kinesthetic teaching method used with dyslexics is 'air writing', where students say a letter out loud whilst simultaneously writing it in the air. The same exercise can be done in sand or with plasticine. Anything that connects body movement to learning is kinesthetic.

What are sensory activities examples? ›

Some examples of sensory play includes exploring colour with rainbow rice, exploring texture with fluffy soap foam, or exploring smell with apple scented playdough. Many activities even explore more than one of the 5 sense; taste, hear, smell, touch and see!

What are the five sensory play? ›

So what is sensory play and how does it benefit your child? Sensory Play - includes activity that arouses and enhances children's senses. These senses include touch, taste, smell, movement, sight, hearing and balance.

What are the 5 strategies for reading? ›

This panel concluded that there are five essential elements of effective reading instruction, commonly known as the “Five Pillars of Reading”. These pillars include phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension strategies.

What are 2 examples of guided activities? ›

Guided practice examples include reading aloud, using graphic organizers, doing experiments, and working through math problems together. Guided practice activities are listed below: Graphic organizers-When teaching a lesson on how a bill becomes a law, the teacher could explain the new concept with direct instruction.

What are the 5 components of guided reading? ›

Effective instructional programs and materials emphasize the five essential components of effective reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

What is an example of a teacher guided activity? ›

Activities that are teacher-guided might look like bingo board games like Alphabet Bingo, Colors & Shapes Bingo, and Number Bingo; memory matching games like Seek-a-Boo, and traditional “first” board games such as Candyland or Chutes and Ladders.

What are the 7 types of reading strategies? ›

To improve students' reading comprehension, teachers should introduce the seven cognitive strategies of effective readers: activating, inferring, monitoring-clarifying, questioning, searching-selecting, summarizing, and visualizing-organizing.

What are examples of guided practice strategies? ›

Examples of Guided Practice
  • Split learners into pairs to work together on drawing visual representations of the informationk, for example, concept or mind maps.
  • Post several questions for learners to discuss. ...
  • Pair learners so that one learner explains how the task is performed and the other learner listens.

What are the four components of guided reading? ›

Each of the following posts will focus on the key parts of a guided reading lesson (book introduction, reading the book, post-reading conversation, and follow-up activities).

How can students with dyslexia be taught to learn to read and write? ›

You can teach a dyslexic child to read by using a specific method called “systematic phonics-based instruction.” Phonics is the name for the process of matching letters to sounds. Kids with dyslexia have a hard time with phonics and need to learn it in a slow, structured way.

What is Orton Gillingham method of teaching dyslexia? ›

Orton–Gillingham is a structured literacy approach. It introduced the idea of breaking reading and spelling down into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, and then building on these skills over time.

How do you accommodate students with learning disabilities in the classroom? ›

Assisting Students with Disabilities
  1. Include a Disability Statement on Your Syllabus. ...
  2. Follow the Instructions on the Accommodation Determination Letter. ...
  3. Meet with the Student in Private. ...
  4. Protect Student's Privacy. ...
  5. Provide a Safe and Fair Learning Environment. ...
  6. Use Student Disability Services as a Resource.

Why do students with dyslexia need accommodations? ›

The purpose of accommodations is to ensure equal access to the full school experience for students with dyslexia or other learning disabilities (e.g., providing extended exam time for a student who has slow processing speed affecting academic fluency).

What accommodations are available for dyslexia spelling? ›

Effective Accommodations:

Allow use of a personal 'vocabulary' notebook, a dictionary, a speller's dictionary, a Franklin Speller, or similar device for in-class assignments and to assist with correct spelling.

What are some things you can do to help students with dyslexia if they have difficulty with spelling? ›

Use flashcards or play matching games to let your child see the words lots of times - the more times they see the word, the better they will be able to read and spell it. Use cut out or magnetic letters to build words together, then mix up the letters and rebuild the word together.

What are 3 examples of effective teaching strategies for a student with a learning disability? ›

  • Allow student to use a word processor with a spelling checker.
  • Grade written assignments for ideas only or provide two grades: one for content and one for technical skills.
  • Provide advance notice of written assignments. ...
  • Encourage student to use the Writing Lab and to get tutoring.

How do you accommodate students with disabilities in reading? ›

How does a child receive accommodations?
  1. Provide on audio tape.
  2. Provide in large print.
  3. Reduce number of items per page or line.
  4. Provide a designated reader.
  5. Present instructions orally.

What strategies can teachers use to help children with learning disabilities? ›

How To Help Children With Learning Disabilities In The Classroom
  • Allow extra time for completing class tasks. ...
  • Use a tape recorder. ...
  • Reduce need for writing. ...
  • Keep classroom chatter to a minimum. ...
  • Use visual aids and multi-sensory learning techniques. ...
  • Assign them a 'study buddy'
Jun 11, 2017

What classroom activities might be difficult for a person with dyslexia? ›

Not every student with dyslexia looks the same. Some students may also struggle with staying organized, remembering tasks, and prioritizing assignments. Other students with dyslexia will be well-organized and able to prioritize assignments but struggle with completing reading and writing assignments.

How can I improve my dyslexic reading skills? ›

How to teach kids with dyslexia to read
  1. Quick tip 1. Make reading multisensory. Make reading multisensory. ...
  2. Quick tip 2. Tap out the syllables. Tap out the syllables. ...
  3. Quick tip 3. “Scoop” words into phrases. “Scoop” words into phrases. ...
  4. Quick tip 4. Use a whisper phone. Use a whisper phone. ...
  5. Quick tip 5. Listen to audiobooks.

What is the importance of accommodations and modifications for students with disabilities? ›

Whether for instruction or testing, accommodations provide students with opportunities to achieve the same outcomes and to obtain the same benefits as students without disabilities. By addressing barriers, accommodations create better access to learning opportunities for students with disabilities.

Where should a student with dyslexia sit in the classroom? ›

Give students with dyslexia preferential seating.

Also consider seating them next to students who will be willing to assist them. o Seat the student near the focal point of the lesson, near the teacher, presenter, or audiovisual equipment. o Whenever possible, have the student work in naturally lighted areas.

What do students with dyslexia benefit from? ›

One of the more advantageous qualities in many dyslexic people is their ability to think outside of the box. They come up with excellent, unorthodox ideas that are not only fresh, but lucrative as well. Critical thinkers: Another trait that some dyslexics possess is their ability to use logical reasoning.

How teachers can help students with dyslexia? ›

Teachers may also consider the following inclusive strategies when giving instructions:
  • Offering written step-by-step directions and reading them aloud.
  • Keeping instructions simple.
  • Showing students how to break assignments into smaller tasks.
  • Providing checklists that help students monitor their understanding and progress.
Jan 17, 2023

What are the 4 spelling strategies? ›

Good spellers use a variety of strategies for spelling. These strategies fall into four main categories—phonetic, rule-based, visual, and morphemic.

What are the 4 types of dyslexia? ›

The 4 types of dyslexia include phonological dyslexia, surface dyslexia, rapid naming deficit, and double deficit dyslexia. Dyslexia is a learning disorder where the person often has difficulty reading and interpreting what they read.


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