Dyslexia Policy – Dyslexia Friendly Classroom (Appendix 1)

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We recognise all children’s strengths and make sure that they have opportunities to demonstrate them: for example, the child who struggles with numbers and the number system may be very good at problem solving, or a child who has difficulty with word-level work may shine in oral work and shared reading or writing sessions.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

Children have ‘study buddies’ whose skills complement their own:

a child who has good ideas for writing (composition) but difficulty with spelling and handwriting (transcription) is paired with a child who is good at transcription but weaker at composition;

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We encourage a positive view of dyslexia and dyscalculia among children – helping the class to understand what dyslexia means and talking about positive role models (talented adults, celebrities and ‘ordinary’ people who are themselves dyslexic).

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We make arrangements for any text that a child will struggle to read (written instructions, word problems in mathematics, texts in literacy) to be read to them by a ‘study buddy’, teaching assistant or teacher.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We avoid asking dyslexic children to copy from a blackboard, whiteboard or OHP, as they may struggle to find their place as they go from board to paper and back. Instead, we have them work with a study buddy, or we quickly jot things down for them, or use a photocopied transcript.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We recognise that dyslexic children may know something one day and forget it the next, may lose or forget equipment they need, or may forget what they are supposed to be doing in the course of a lesson. We avoid getting cross with them when this happens; instead, we talk with them about strategies, linked to their personal learning styles, which they can use to help them remember things.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We listen to parents’ or carers’ concerns and make sure that they are clear about what is being done to help their child and how they can contribute. We actively involve the child as well as their parents or carers in deciding on the targets to be set and the strategies which the child, their parent or carer, teacher and teaching assistants will use to ensure progress.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We have sought and used advice on the best hardware and software for dyslexic and dyscalculia children - audio-taped texts, portable word processors, speech supported texts, spellcheckers, mindmappers, software to be used within a programme of teaching in order to practise phonics and spelling, or promote recall of number facts and the order of numbers, software which provides images and models to help the child understand the number system.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We write down homework instructions, so that the child can concentrate on listening to the teacher, and not misunderstand what needs to be done.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We make sure we use the special arrangements available for National

Curriculum tests for children with special educational needs.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

If work has to be marked in the child’s absence, and there are lots of errors in spelling, for example, or recalling number facts and doing calculations, we highlight one or two rather than highlighting all the errors. We use these errors as teaching points, suggesting a way of avoiding the mistake in future. For example, we highlight the similarity of the spelling to other known words, the nearness of a number fact to other known facts, a resource (like a tables square or alphabet chart) they should be sure to use when in doubt.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We make frequent use of techniques that work for visual and kinaesthetic learners, as well as those that work for auditory/verbal learners - for example: mind-mapping as a way of recording ideas, planning writing, or showing the steps involved in approaching mathematical problems; providing diagrams, illustrations and practical equipment (for example, bead strings) to model ideas and techniques.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We design worksheets so that the layout is uncluttered and the reading level accessible. We use large print (12–14 point) and a clear font such as Arial. Important information is in bold or coloured; we use cream or buff paper wherever possible, to reduce glare.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We recognise that sequences such as counting on or back in different steps, days of the week, months of the year, or the alphabet may be difficult to learn, and provide the child with aids (for example, a pocket alphabet or calendar, number grids and squares).

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

Where children struggle to remember things by rote, we help them to overcome the problem by drawing on their strengths in the use and recognition of pattern and meaning - for example: • morphemes and spelling rules;

• patterns in multiplication tables;

• subtraction as the inverse of addition,

multiplication as the inverse of division,

deriving new number facts from

known facts.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We understand that some children find it hard to hold questions, information or instructions in their heads for long enough to act on them (short-term memory difficulty). For these children, we:

• repeat instructions/questions;

• ‘chunk’ them rather than saying in

one long string;

• jot them down on a sticky-note, or

encourage the child to do so;

• allow time for processing (for example,

paired discussion with a partner before

putting hands up).

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We frequently praise children’s ideas, effort and any success in reaching personal targets, using at least four positive comments to every one negative, so as to boost their self-esteem.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We vary child groupings according to purpose and learning objective, avoiding arrangements which lead any group to class themselves as ‘low ability’.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We never ask a child with dyslexic difficulties to read aloud in front of other children, unless they volunteer.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We provide the child with a study pack containing, for example, highlighter pens, sticky-notes, a line tracker for following text, blank audio tapes, index cards for subject vocabulary or spelling mnemonics, sticky labels to use to correct or conceal, a tables square, place value cards, a pocket number line, number cards, a hundred square, a calendar, a shapes chart.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

Handwriting models and mnemonics are on display so that the child can avoid reversals.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We use children who are fluent readers to tape texts and mathematical tasks and problems so as to boost our library of taped materials, including, where appropriate, bilingual materials.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

There is a clear understanding of the difference between two aspects of writing - composition and transcription. We know that children can be good writers even if their transcription skills are poor; we highlight the strengths while working on the weaknesses. Where children have

difficulty with transcription - the secretarial aspects of writing - we provide alternatives to paper and pencil recording: for example, pairing the child with another child who acts as scribe, use of suitable ICT (on-screen word grids, predictive word processing and speech feedback).

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We make sure that someone (parent, carer, peer, older child) is reading aloud to the child things that they can’t or won’t read for themselves.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We provide practical aids which anticipate possible difficulties - for example, an alphabet strip, spelling resource box, word mats, words on the wall, words on bookmarks, spelling dictionaries.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We give children the books or text to be used in shared and guided reading ahead of time, so that they can practise; we also plan for them to have pre-tutoring on the texts with an adult or a peer.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We make sure we use age-appropriate reading material (high interest/low reading age) in guided and individual reading so that the Key Stage 2 child does not have to be seen to read, for example, texts which children will associate with Key Stage 1.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

There is a clear understanding of the difference between numerical fluency and mathematical understanding. We know that children can be good at other aspects of mathematics even if their numerical fluency is poor; we highlight the strengths while working on the weaknesses.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

In mathematics, there is an understanding that some children find mental calculations difficult because their short-term memory problem makes it hard for them to hold a question or a multi-step operation in their heads while they work out the answer. For this reason, we encourage the use of jottings (for example, on sticky-notes).

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

Where children have difficulty in retrieving basic number facts we encourage them to use aids - like a small tables square, place value cards, pocket number line or pocket number ruler for pairs of 10 as shown below;

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We use numbers that children can manipulate successfully when introducing new mathematical procedures, so that the child can focus on the method and not on the numbers themselves.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We make sure that the older child can use a calculator when problems in numerical fluency are holding them back from solving problems that are within their level of understanding.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We encourage flexible approaches to working out calculations, building on previous knowledge - for example,

40_29 derived from known 40_30 and

36–9 using 36–10+1.

The ‘dyslexia-friendly’ classroom

We encourage a variety of ways of learning the number facts for multiplication - for example, doubling, halving, finger multiplication, using the commutative law, the pattern of 9s.

Reviewed summer 2019

To be reviewed summer 2021