I am writing about a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

I am writing about a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o P q r s t u v w x y z

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 1

Aa
about above across after again all almost along also always am an and animals another any are around as asked at

balloon because bed been before began being below better between big birthday both boy brother brought but buy by

Christmas clothes cold come coming could

every eyes

great grow

Ff
father fell fire first follow food for found friend from

Hh
had hair half happy has have he head heard help her here high him his home house how

inside into is it

Jj
jelly jolly jump just

live lived long look lots love

Dd
dad day did didn’t different dig do does dog don’t door down dragon during

Mm
made make man many may me might money more morning mother much mum must my

new next nice night no not now number

Oo
of off often old on once one only open or other our out outside over own

paper park people place play played playing push pull put

Ss
said saw school second see seen she shop should show sister sleep small so some something
sometimes

Tt
take than that the their them then there these they things think this those though thought through time to today together told too took tree tries turn turned

Qq
quality queen quick quiet quite

Kk
keep knee knew know

Gg
garden gave get giant girl give go goes going gone good got

Cc
call called came can can’t cat change children

Ll
lady last laugh leave left light like little

Rr
ran read reading right ring room round run

Bb
baby back bad ball

Ee
each earth eat even

Ii
if I’m important in

Nn
name near never

Pp

sound start started still stopped story such suddenly sure swim swam

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005

Uu
under until upon us used up

Vv
very volume

Ww
walk want was watch water way we well went were what when where

which while who whole why will window witch with without woke word work world wood would

Colours

Days
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Word groups
–ight –dge –tele television telephone telescope telepathy –ible terrible horrible
impossible

Numbers –tion –oast
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 one two three four five six seven eight nine

black blue brown gold green grey indigo orange pink purple red silver violet white yellow
Months

–ount

Seasons

light sight bright fight fright tight slight might

hedge wedge edge bridge ridge midge

count mount fountain mountain

–rash

Spring
–or

–age

Summer

Xx Yy
year yes you your you’re young
January February March April May June July August
September

doctor visitor motor horror junior

page cage bandage cottage cabbage

sensible invisible –ure puncture furniture capture overture
temperature

crash brash trash thrash
–ould

mention station attention ration nation aviation question fraction

roast toast coast boast
–ong

–ory

Autumn
–eigh

–ar

could would should

factory history memory story directory victory
–mb

song belong strong wrong among
–able

10 ten 11 eleven 12 twelve 13 thirteen 14 fourteen 15 fifteen 16 sixteen 17 seventeen 18 eighteen 19 nineteen 20 twenty 30 thirty 40 forty 50 fifty 60 sixty 70 seventy 80 eighty 90 ninety 100 one hundred
DfES 1184-2005

Winter

October

Zz

November December

eight weigh weight freight neighbour sleigh

vinegar dollar popular polar jaguar solar ajar singular

–ity

cable fable stable enable disable
–ink

–ea weather leather breakfast breath

activity electricity capacity city pity

climb dumb tomb bomb numb thumb

think drink shrink

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday January February March April May June July August September October November December

Aa
about after again all always am an and another any are as ask at away back ball be because been

Bb
before best big both boy brother but by call came can can’t come

Cc
could

Dd
Dad day do does done don’t door down even every

Ee
find first for friend from

Ff
gave get girl give go

Gg
goes good

Hh
had half has have he help her here him his I if in into is

Ii
it

Jj
jump just

Kk
keep know last laugh like little live

Ll
long look love

Mm
made make many me more Mum much must my name new never next night

Nn
no not now of off old on once

Oo
one only or other our out over park people play played pull

Pp
push put

Qq
quiet

Rr
ran right said saw school see seen

Ss
should sister so some soon take that the their them then there these they thing

Tt
think this thought time to today too took two

Uu
up us use used

Vv
very way walk want was well six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen

Ww
went were what when where sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty which who will with would thirty forty fifty sixty seventy

Xx

Yy
year you your

Zz
zoo

one two three four five

eighty ninety hundred thousand

* * * * *

red blue green yellow orange

black white brown grey purple
DfES 1184-2005

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday January February March April May June July August September October November December

Aa and at are am Ee for all big

Bb cat can come Gg go going get Jj Kk look like he have

Cc dog Dad day Hh

Dd

Ff

Ii I in is it Nn no on of Ss said she see school Ww we was went with
1 2 3 4 5 one two three four five 6 7 8 9 10 yellow pink six seven eight nine ten

Ll my Mum me Qq

Mm

Oo play

Pp

Rr

Tt to the this they Xx you yes up

Uu

Vv

Yy

Zz

11 12 13 14 15 blue grey

eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen green

16 17 18 19 20

sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty

30 40 50 60 70 white

thirty forty fifty sixty seventy brown

80 eighty 90 ninety 100 hundred

red purple

black

orange

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005

Mathematics resource box/bag
An individually owned resource bag/box, which is added to, and moves on with a child from year to year, ensures easy access to resources and helps develop independence. These resources aid inclusion and are often used very imaginatively by high-achieving pupils. Most schools will have all the resources in school and will probably only need to find the initial outlay for bags or boxes. This cost is offset by the need to replace resources less frequently, as children tend to look after them when they are their own responsibility and for their own use. Some schools favour bags which are large enough to hold laminated A4 number squares and a whiteboard and ruler; others use a flat box which is durable enough to last through to Year 6 and fits into the child’s tray, and keep the number square, ruler and whiteboard separately in the child’s tray. This leaves the whiteboard and ruler free for other subjects too. The following list is suggested. Most of these resources are advocated by the National Numeracy Strategy. Schools should decide what resources the children need regular access to and add them to the box.

• •

Whiteboard pen and piece of cloth for eraser When children have their own pen they tend to tell you when it has run out, so this is a good time-saver. A number square Laminated A4 paper makes a good number square. These can be individually labelled and also move with the child from class to class. A reversible square marked from 0–99 on one side and 1–100 on the other is useful for working in pairs exploring different patterns. Number bond cards These are very useful for children with memory difficulties and initially for all children to establish recall of number bonds. Arrow cards for place value work From Year 1 children should work with at least tens and ones. Hundreds can be added through the year or at least at the beginning of Year 2. In Year 4 add decimal arrow cards and thousands if you wish to use them. Some schools also have money cards, but decimal cards can be used equally well, with children annotating for pounds or pence.

• •

• •

Digit cards These should be 0–9 initially for all children, and then 0–20; they are useful for a variety of activities. Number lines There are many number lines available, either commercial or teacher-made. Initially some children need a numbered line to support their calculations.
DfES 1184-2005 Learning and teaching for dyslexic children | Session 4: Mathematics

© Crown copyright 2005

Primary National Strategy

21

Blank lines can be put on the back. Number tracks with pictures for Reception and Year 1 are also useful before the children make the transition to number lines.

Calculator Individual calculators are useful from Year 1 but many children will use them in Reception for play. Children will need an arithmetic, not a scientific, calculator. If overhead calculators are used then it is useful to have the same type. Although calculators should not be used to replace calculation by mental and written methods until Year 5, they are very useful for exploring large numbers and investigating patterns. Children who are familiar with a calculator from a young age are more proficient at using all the facilities later. They can also be a good access strategy for some children who are working below year group expectations. They also promote the reading of large numbers and are very motivating. Counters or cubes 10 or 20 bead string Die/dice A protractor A set square A compass

• • • • • •

Some of the early apparatus will become redundant for most children, but as the boxes are named it is easy to discreetly leave some children with apparatus they still need. All children benefit from keeping number squares and arrow cards throughout the primary school and will adapt them for their own use, for example moving all numbers on a number square by one decimal place, or stretching arrow cards to make very high numbers.

22

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children | Session 4: Mathematics

DfES 1184-2005

© Crown copyright 2005

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Case study: Year R
This case study describes how one setting promotes children’s interest in writing and their ability to see themselves as writers from an early age.

Strategies used in the setting
Embedding learning about reading and writing in children’s self-initiated play. As an example, after a visit to the setting by an optician, staff set up the role-play area as an optician’s shop. They put up letters and numbers on charts for children to read out, tapes to measure distance, spectacle frames, sunglasses, mirrors and pictures of optical illusions. Nearby were an appointments book and a range of materials for children to use to make signs, notices or posters and to write letters and bills. Providing ‘come and write’ bags with clipboards, sticky notes, pens and paper around room at every activity. Children are encouraged, for example, to write a caption or draw a label for their models and adults model this for them. Providing writing prompts, in a variety of languages, which are modified and changed regularly. The suggestions for writing are taken from the children and linked to their current experiences. Using digital cameras so that children can take photographs for captions, posters and to make books. Children regularly take photographs home and parents/carers are encouraged to send in photographs of children at home to support writing at school. Providing exciting pens, paper, little books, huge bits of paper, paper in interesting shapes, paper in long strips, and so on. Using individual whiteboards so that children can try out suggestions for shared writing and have a go at spelling words. For example, the children always take home in their reading bags the poem of the week, which they know by heart and can ‘read’. They have a go at writing some of the words that they can remember from their poems on their whiteboards at different times during the week Making sure children have plenty of time with talk partners, sometimes using talk frames to say sentences in a ‘writerly’ way.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 1

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Doing some shared writing every day, linked to shared stories, role-play stories the children have been developing, events in practitioners’ and children’s lives – short bursts with the whole class, followed up with groups. Having a writing wall and class books to help children see themselves as writers. Providing magnetic letters, a feely bag of wooden letters, and lots of word games. Having a rainbow magnetic alphabet, for use by all the children. Developing phonic knowledge systematically to build writing confidence, using multisensory approaches – tracing letters in sand trays, writing on each other’s backs, using feely bags, chalking letters on the floor, playing hopscotch on a letter grid.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 2

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Case study: Year 6
Learning context: This literacy lesson formed part of cross-curricular work on World War II. The learning objectives were to develop strategies to work out how to spell words containing unstressed syllables, and to make comparisons and links between different texts.

Whole-class word level work
The teacher asked the children to spell the word ‘business’, using individual whiteboards. Some children worked in pairs. She asked what was difficult and explained the idea of an unstressed syllable. She went on to explore what the root word (busy) was, how that might help, and reminded children about the rule about ‘y’ and suffixes. Children described strategies they used to remember words, such as thinking of a link word, finding a hidden word or deliberately mispronouncing the word. They discussed which of these would help with ‘business’, then applied these to spelling ‘mathematics’. Children selected a word from a list of varying difficulty, all of which contained unstressed syllables, discussed with a partner how they were going to remember it, and had a ‘mini test’ with their partner. Emma then gave them 30 seconds to move in some way – stand up, stretch, wave, go round their table shaking hands, and so on.

Whole-class shared text
Shared text work began with paired talk to share memories of Friday’s lesson when the class had read an account from The Diary of Anne Frank and one from Carrie’s War (the class novel). After brief feedback, the teacher moved on to explore the difference between Anne Frank and Carrie. Children highlighted the evidence in the text when giving their answer. The teacher made brief notes using a grid based on their answers. She asked the children to close their eyes, imagine the scene and listen carefully for differences. She then read the next part of Anne Frank and arranged paired talk to discuss more similarities and differences between

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 1

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Anne Frank and Carrie. When feedback was taken, the children referred to the texts in support of answers. A child who had given an answer made notes, or asked their partner to make notes, on the class grid, while the class was discussing the next point so that notes were built up efficiently and the teacher was able to praise children for writing understandable notes, not sentences. Emma explained and briefly modelled the task.

Task
Write a formal comparison of Carrie and Anne Frank. A group of eight children worked with the teacher on the computer for this task. Flipchart grid notes from both lessons were placed near the group with most difficulty. This group had a short writing frame and vocabulary bank on the table. Writing frames were available for all children who wanted them.

Plenary
The children read out different comparisons between the two girls. The class had to give comments on the work that was read out without knowing beforehand what they would be asked to comment on. Good focused listening was praised.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 2

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Case study: Year 5
Class context: 29 children, 70% with EAL, including three recently arrived children at very early stages of learning EAL. Two children at School action plus with literacy difficulties. Learning context: This was a history lesson focusing on life in the 1960s. There was a class exhibition of primary/secondary sources from this period. Later in the week, children were to write a report about an event in the 1960s to add to this display. Other year groups would visit the exhibition and read the reports.

Starter
The children were allotted 30 seconds to recall learning from the previous lesson, which was about sources of evidence on life in the 1960s. Children worked in pairs to write possible sources of evidence on cards, in large writing. These cards were then grouped into primary/secondary sources; children were asked to explain their reasoning as the cards were sorted.

Main part of lesson
Children were given three photographs of life in the 1960s. They were asked what the photos told them, and what other sources would be needed. They discussed what they knew about the photographs and what they had found out for homework by asking parents/carers or grandparents. The teacher modelled note making as the children gave their thoughts. The children then had 10 minutes to make notes in pairs in answer to a number of questions. Who was involved and what was the event? What happened (brief summary of the event)? What did people at the time think? Why do we remember this event today?

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 1

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

The children read out their notes and the teacher contrasted the notes with full text to emphasise the difference.

Independent task
Children chose whether to work in pairs or as individuals. They used a selection of texts and pictures available from books at different levels of readability. Children could select from these to make notes that would add to those they had already made. These notes would be used to write the report for the class exhibition at the end of the week. Some children highlighted a photocopy, some made notes in books, some on sticky notes. Others used the computer, searching for Pathé news clips from the period. The teacher held a series of mini-plenaries during the lesson, in which children read out what they had written to make sure it sounded like notes rather than sentences.

Plenary
Some children read out their notes so that children could hear the difference between notes and full sentences. Listeners were encouraged to add any new information to their own notes.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 2

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Case study: Year 4, term 2
Class context: 31 children (five in the early stages of learning EAL, 22 at later stages, three children on School action plus, including one child with dyslexia). Learning context: The learning objectives were to write poems based on the structure and style of models read together and to understand the use of figurative language. This lesson was linked to work on colour in art and design. The poems written by the children were published as a collage. The shared text was a classic poem, Christina Rosetti’s What is pink?

Starter
The teacher wrote three unfamiliar words from the poem on the board. He asked the children what to do about words we can’t read or words whose meaning we don’t know. The class discussed how breaking the word into syllables helps with decoding and how to blend phonemes or syllables ‘robotstyle’. They explored how to use ‘chin bumps’ to count syllables. The teacher provided a range of words at different levels of difficulty for pairs of children to split into syllables and blend. Children explained how they would read another unfamiliar word from the poem to a partner. They discussed the meanings of the unfamiliar words, for example ‘mellow’, acting this out and identifying times from that day when their teacher may have felt mellow.

Main activity
The teacher read the poem to the children, pointing to the pictures in the shared text to support their understanding and asking them to make a picture in their heads as they listened. Afterwards he asked whether there were any new and interesting words in the poem that needed explaining. Two words were identified by the children. The

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 1

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

teacher asked for a volunteer to have a guess at their meaning and engaged that child in some extended dialogue about how they had come to their guess. The class then read the poem together, with the choice of reading from the big book or having their own photocopy from which to read. The children discussed questions that focused on figurative language using ‘think pair share’. The teacher chose children to answer rather than asking for ‘hands up’, but children did not have to answer if they didn’t want to. His questions included: How would you help me with this word or idea? Why does that comparison help me see the picture in the poet’s head? Why am I pleased with that answer?

Shared writing
The teacher and the class wrote a simple poem on a movable whiteboard, using a structure that forced the children to make a comparison. Some key vocabulary was written on a Mind Map® with little sketches beside the words.

Independent work
The children wrote their own poems. The model provided through shared writing enabled all children, including those learning EAL and the child with dyslexia, to compose a repetitive but effective poem. The movable whiteboard with the poem composed by the whole class was put on one table for the group with the most difficulty. The dyslexic child made a tape recording of her poem, rather than writing on paper.

Plenary
The children read out the comparisons they had used and explored what made them effective.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 2

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Case study: Year 3, term 3
Class context: 80% EAL, including two children recently arrived who are in the early stages of learning EAL. 32% FSM. Twelve children identified as having SEN, including five at School action plus. Two children with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia). Learning context: Literacy letter-writing unit of work linked with Citizenship as the class wrote letters relating to conservation at the end of the unit.

Five-minute starter
The children were asked to talk for 2 minutes to a partner using the talking frame written on a flipchart. The teacher modelled the activity: ‘I would love to look out of my window and see ... because … (the structure of the sentence is linked to the Dear Greenpeace text). The teacher took feedback from two pairs of children.

Whole-class shared work
The teacher held up the Dear Greenpeace text and gave the children 30 seconds’ thinking time to consider what sort of book it might be and give reasons. Responses from the children included: ‘It’s about a letter because of the stamp – also it’s got “Dear” in the title’ and 'It’s about a girl who doesn’t like vegetables’ (which led to discussion of ‘peas’ and ‘peace’). The teacher warned the children with dyslexia about the question she would ask them shortly. They both answered well when asked. Next came a discussion of what Greenpeace does. One child asked, ‘Is it like the council?’ The teacher explained words like environment and protection, using schoolbased examples. The teacher read the first letter in the text, stopping when Lucy asks for information about whales. She asked whether anyone had any comments about this page and the children commented on a number of things that interested them.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 1

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

The teacher explained that the task was to find some information about whales for Lucy. She asked what kinds of things it would be useful for Lucy to find out. The teacher sorted and noted the children’s answers onto a Mind Map® on the flipchart, using the categories food, sleep, what happens when whales get injured and where they live normally. The teacher modelled how to select text, find information and make notes on a sticky note.

Independent work
One child with dyslexia was paired with a partner to use the Living Library software on a PC; the other was put in charge of the sticky notes in a group with an identified reader. All children had a choice of books or photocopies of texts with differing readability levels. The teacher worked initially on labelling a picture with children in the early stages of learning English as an additional language. She moved to the group with one child with dyslexia and did some paired reading with him. She discussed what they had read as a group and identified a fact that he wanted to write on his sticky note. He then wrote it independently, using words identified in the text by a blob of sticky tack and his list of common words.

Plenary
Children read out a sticky note and placed it on the flipchart Mind Map® in the right category. The teacher quickly explained vocabulary as it came up, for example warm-blooded, mammal, and so on. The teacher explained that she would type up some of these notes so that all children had access to the research of the whole class when they were writing their own letters later in the week.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 2

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Case study: Year 1, term 1
Class context: 27 children in the class. 80% EAL, two very early stages of EAL. One child with a statement which identifies attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Two children at School action plus with literacy difficulties. Learning context: This lesson was followed by work in PSHE on feelings and managing feelings with this very challenging class. Prelude When taking the register all children had to reply by giving some of their favourite words from the story the class had been enjoying together (The Fisherman and his Wife). The teacher always uses the register to cue children in to learning that follows. They had read the book twice already. Whole-class shared work The teacher shared with children the learning objective: to retell the story and ‘pretend you are in it’. She led them in a dramatic retelling of the story; the children acted out the events and joined in with lines from the story.

All be magical fish … feel your fins sparkling, swim through the waves, they’re getting rougher ‘You foolish man’ … say it again to show you’re getting fed up Why is the fish fed up, what word is in the story for fed up? Yes, grumpy. All be grumpy. When might you feel grumpy? Imagine this classroom has turned into a mansion. Gaze round in amazement – what do you see? Tell the person next to you what you see. What is the wife going to be feeling? Why do you say that? What would you feel if … did that? Think of the words ‘Ruler of the whole universe’. Say it as if you wanted to be king of the whole world – show how important you feel.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 1

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Word level work The class has 15 minutes of phonics work every day. The class applied recently taught phonic strategies to blending words from three sentences taken from The Fisherman and his Wife. The teacher chose from the story sentences that the children with reading difficulties would later be using in their independent work. Independent work In their independent work, mixed-ability pairs of children retold the story in writing (with one child acting as scribe), some (including a number of EAL learners) worked in groups to retell the story orally using puppets and props, and some children with reading difficulties used software with on-screen word grids containing the words from three key sentences to recreate the sentences and print them out. Plenary In the plenary children who had used the computer read out their printed sentences and asked the group that had used puppets and props to act them out. The children then talked to the person next to them about what they found hard in the lesson, what they found easy, and what helped them to learn. The teacher took feedback from three pairs and made links to the learning they would be doing together the next day.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 2

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 1

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 2

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 3

Ideas bank
I wonder …

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 4

Lists and comparisons

• • • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 5

Story planner flow chart
Make notes or sketches: opening, something happens or goes wrong, events to sort it out, climax, resolution and ending. Not all stories have all of these.

Opening

Useful words, names, notes, etc.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 6

Paragraph planner
In the boxes, sketch or note words for the main event/idea in each paragraph. Use these when you write each paragraph. .…………….………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………………………………………….

…………..…………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………………………………………….

…………..…………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………………………………………….. ……………………………………………………………………….

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 7

Writing mat: enlarge to A3 and laminate. Rest child’s writing paper on these line guides.

Common words Topic words back because called come could girl have here him little love make more people put
Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

should their them there they very was went what when where with would your

Primary National Strategy

DfES 1184-2005 1

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

What is dyslexia?
Do you know when dyslexia was first identified? It was documented in the British Medical Journal of 1896, when Dr Pringle-Morgan, a general practitioner, first published his famous account of Percy, a boy of 14, who could: ‘only with difficulty spell out words of one syllable’, wrote his name as ‘Precy’, and; did not notice his mistake until his attention was called to it more than once. The schoolmaster who taught him for some years says that he would be the smartest lad in the school if the instruction were entirely oral. ‘Percy F… has always been a bright and intelligent boy, quick at games and in no way inferior to others of his age. His great difficulty has been – and is now – his inability to learn to read. This inability is so remarkable, and so pronounced, that I doubt that it is due to some congenital defect. In spite of … laborious and persistent training, he can only with difficulty spell out words of one syllable. ‘Precy’ for ‘Percy’ ‘scone’ for ‘song’ ‘soojock’ for ‘subject’ ‘seasow’ for ‘seashore’’ In light of recent knowledge it appears that Percy was able to calculate well in mathematics. He also recognised words such as ‘and’, ‘the’, ‘of’. However, in contrast: ‘Other words he never seems to remember, no matter how frequently he may have met them. He seems to have no power of preserving and storing up the visual impression produced by words – hence the words, though seen, have no significance for him … His father informs me that the greatest difficulty was found in teaching the boy his letters and they thought he would never learn them.’

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 1

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

It was baffling then ... and needs explanation even now. How can a child calculate and yet not be able to learn their letters? How frustrating for bright children, their parents and their families. Percy and the doctor lived over 100 years ago. Today we understand a great deal more. Scientists have identified genetic and chromosonal links; psychologists have found ways to assess; teachers know how to identify and at last have found ways to bypass weaknesses and develop strategies. Today we are making provision for numerous children who, like Percy, are trying to learn with a hidden disability. The key to their success is … YOU! When teachers get it right, children flourish. Let’s try and understand further.

Key points: How to identify dyslexia. What might teachers see?
1. Some dyslexic children are very good orally and there is a big difference when you see their thoughts on paper. 2. Some of these children are artistic, but cannot explain their ideas in words. 3. Some dyslexic children have great difficulty learning to read. 4. Some dyslexic children can read but do not understand what they have read. 5. Some children repeat the line they are reading or the one above or below; their eyes do not stay fixed on the line. This will reduce their comprehension levels. 6. Some children see words that move in front of their eyes. They find it hard to focus on the written word and decode it. They won’t tell you because they do not know that others do not see in the same way. 7. Some dyslexic children can read well, but their writing is almost illegible. 8. Some of these children spell very poorly and inconsistently. 9. Some of these children cannot hear the ‘soft’ sounds in words. If they cannot hear them, they will not spell them. 10. When language is spoken at speed, these children are often lost. When this happens, they get into trouble for ‘not listening’.

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

11. For some of these children, the problems transfer over into work on numbers and calculation. For example: if they cannot read well, they will not understand instructions; if they reverse letters, they may well reverse numbers. 12. Many of these children are disorganised; they may also have difficulties sequencing. This can affect their management of equipment and materials in school, and their work at home. 13. Many of these children have inefficiencies in working memory that may lead to general working memory difficulties such as: forgetting sequences of instructions; an inability to keep track of what is being said in a lesson. This also manifests itself in difficulty in: learning times tables; learning words to spell; remembering and generating sequences – letters, sounds, days of the week, months of the year; learning modern foreign languages. 14. Some of these children will take a long time to learn how to do up their shoelaces and do up their buttons. 15. Sometimes these children exhibit a confusion between left and right. They might: reverse letters; produce mirror writing; lose their way around school; confuse their left and right in the PE class. 16. They have to work very hard indeed – it has been suggested up to 10 times harder than their peers and they still may not achieve their potential. 17. As a result of the immense effort they have to make, they are often overtired and lose concentration. Watch out for this. 18. These children are often the butt of teasing, which contributes to a feeling of insecurity and low self-esteem. This is bullying, and needs to be addressed through the school’s anti-bullying policy.

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What do I do if I can’t spell a word?
1. Try using phonic strategies. Say the word and segment the phonemes. Split a longer word into syllables. cu-cum-ber What can I do if I get stuck on a spelling? Put enough letters in to do for now, underline it and come back later. Or try the three ideas listed here.

2. Think about the words that sound the same. Can you use what you know about similar words? could – should – would

3. Look at your spelling log, word banks or displays in the classroom. Can you find the word you want?

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Useful sources of information
Websites
General reference www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/primary www.bdadyslexia.org.uk British Dyslexia Association website www.dyslexia-inst.org.uk Dyslexia Institute website www.dyslexichelp.co.uk Information, links to other sites, particularly helpful for parents. www.psych-ed.org General information about dyslexia, links to other sites, spelling information and readability check for texts. www.iamdyslexic.com is run by a boy with dyslexia and has many useful ideas.

ICT www.bda-dyslexia.org.uk/main/information for information on speech recognition software, small and portable devices, study skills, ICT to support mathematics and literacy. www.dyslexic.com for a range of products, for example small keyboards, wordprocessors, spell-checkers, talking pens, pen readers, and so on. www.abilitynet.org.uk Downloadable fact sheets providing helpful information on modification to screen, mouse and whiteboard to make the writing process easier. www.listening-books.org.uk Books on tape www.nwnet.org.uk Information on teaching resources for use on PC/laptop or for whole class with interactive whiteboard. www.teem.org.uk/ Although not a special needs website, this site provides evaluations of most ICT programs, CD-ROMs and websites by practising teachers. Worth checking out before you buy anything.

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Mind Mapping® www.mind-map.com Information about Mind Maps from Buzan Centres Ltd. www.Kidspiration.com or www.mindmanager.com Mind Mapping® software Interactive whiteboards also have Mind Mapping® templates included in their software.
®

Primary National Strategy materials
Available from the DfES order line: Tel 0845 60 222 60 Early Literacy Support (DfES 0652/2001) Large range of picture cards for sorting and word games, etc. Playing with sounds (DfES 0280-2004) Games and suggestions for teaching phonics. Assessment, research background and coaching material also included. Targeting support: choosing and managing interventions for children with significant literacy difficulties (DfES 0201/2003) Including all children in the literacy hour and daily mathematics lesson (DfES 0465/2002) The daily mathematics lesson: guidance to support pupils with dyslexia and dyscalculia (DfES 0512/2001) Teaching and learning for children with SEN in the primary years (DfES 0321-2004) Supporting children with gaps in their mathematical understanding: Wave 3 mathematics (DfES 1168-2005 G)

Primary National Strategy

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Self-belief and the relationship to behaviour
Behavioural difficulties arise for a range of reasons. For dyslexic children, it is often as a result of their being: misunderstood; badly handled; misdiagnosed; underestimated. How do we see this in the classroom? Many dyslexic children are full of ideas and able to express themselves well orally. The fact that they cannot portray their knowledge on paper makes them very frustrated and sometimes sad. Often they will buy into the label of ‘incapable’ with which they believe others tarnish them. Their struggles often manifest themselves in one of two reactions. They ‘act out’. They ‘withdraw’ into themselves. It is easier for a child to become popular as the class clown than it is to be laughed and sneered at by peers. It is emotionally easier to get into trouble for not trying than it is for failing to succeed. The following examples illustrate what can happen to dyslexic children.

Cameo 1
Johnny, aged 7, comes to school dreading Monday mornings. The day starts with writing about the weekend’s activities. He has already had a fight at home with his mum that morning. She asked him to get his bag ready the night before – he forgot. Now he is late and has lost one football boot and a reading book. Mum is late for work and has no time to search with him; she has the other children to get ready. She shouts at him and he in turn has got angry with his younger sister, leading to a fight. The toddler is now crying. Chaos reigns in the kitchen. Johnny gets to school late and the teacher is cross with him. She tells him to get out his pencil and his writing book. He can’t find his pencil and the carton of orange juice that his mum gave him for break has now burst – all over his writing book. The teacher and Johnny are in despair.

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Johnny decides to make a joke of it all – he does not want his friends to think he can’t write and is really struggling. He jokes around, falls over a bag and ends up being sent out of the room. It is only 9.25am on Monday morning.

Cameo 2
Lesley, aged 9, is also dyslexic. She is highly organised; her mum has sent her to school with everything ready for the day in her bag. She listens to her teacher, is very well behaved and tries hard to please. However, she also has to write about her activities over the weekend. Her way out is to write nothing at all! Her teacher is worried and reports this to the headteacher who is concerned that there are problems at home causing Lesley emotional difficulties. Why else would the child say that she has done nothing at home and has nothing to write about on a regular basis?

Cameo 3
James, aged 8, is trying to write down his weekend activities, as are his classmates. He puts pen to paper and begins at the right-hand side of the page. The teacher notices and is cross with him. She points out that he has been in school for three years and should know which side of the page to start writing on. His ‘friends’ laugh at him. He begins to write and spells the same word three different ways in the same piece. The teacher cannot understand why, if he got it right once, he got it wrong on two further occasions. This she remarks in front of the class. She points out his mistakes, tells him to erase them and rewrite the work correctly. His handwriting is laboured and his control over the pencil is not well developed. He takes the eraser and begins to rub over the first word. In a few seconds he has made a hole in the paper and the teacher is again cross. The other children continue their activities and James is asked to stay in at break to redo his work. Is it any surprise that the children’s reactions lead to: frustration; anger; demotivation; low self-esteem?

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Coping strategies
Even very young children employ coping strategies – from the child who is the class clown to the child who sits quietly at the back of the class not disturbing anyone. Avoidance is one of the most common ways of dealing with impending failure. Remember: If you don’t try, you can’t fail! For example: the child develops a need to leave the classroom (headache, stomach ache); they might offer to help others, or you, so that they do not have to face the difficult task themselves; they might do all the ‘easy’ parts first and leave the difficult parts to last; they might pretend that the task has been completed when in fact it hasn’t; they might announce to the class that something is too easy: ‘This is boring!’; ‘What is the point? I already know this!’ or ‘This won’t help me’; they might try cheating. This is one of the most desperate ways of avoiding a task.

What can be done?
These children ultimately will have to learn to communicate their ideas and succeed in school just like their classmates who experience no specific learning difficulties. It is critical that all teachers and teaching assistants fully understand what is going on in the children’s minds. It is not their fault that they cannot express their ideas on paper. During the literacy hour, the children will be given the opportunity of learning in the way they learn best every day of the week. It is hoped that they will make progress; if not they will be directed to specialists who can help them.

General pointers for help
1. Ensure that both you and the child know why they are doing the task – the benefits. 2. Does the child need someone to work with? Do you need to find an alternative way to work with the child? 3. Ensure that the child experiences multisensory teaching and that everything is over-learned. Never test anything that has not been successfully taught and understood.

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4. Never put the child in the position of having to publicly do something they find really difficult, for example read out loud or tell the time if they cannot. This means that you must be aware of what they do and do not know. 5. If a child can’t learn something the way other children do, ensure that other and more appropriate ways of teaching are introduced. 6. Tell the child that if they do not understand something, it is your job as a teacher to find a way that they can learn. It is never their failure. 7. Do not assume that because you taught something yesterday, they should be able to do it today. Until the skill has become automatic, it will need to be taught and practised repeatedly. 8. For many children, the speed at which language is spoken means that they cannot process and remember what you are saying. Slow down and chunk your words. 9. Be aware of how best the child likes to learn. Understanding their learning styles will aid successful teaching. 10. Ensure that every child feels valued for who they are – use words and exemplars. Ensure that your body language reinforces your words. Give praise for application, commitment and effort. Never give false praise; they will know it is not genuine. 11. Reward for success and achievement. Ensure that their successes are displayed. If the child’s work needs redrafting in order to reach an acceptable standard, it is worth doing. Reading the child’s work to the class is highly reinforcing. 12. Always find something positive to say about and to the child. Over the course of time, the child’s confidence will grow and everyone will benefit from achievements.

Self-belief
Children need to believe that they can achieve, that they are capable. There is an emotional component that is critical to any child’s success. Very often by the time they reach you, dyslexic children will have been through several years of upset and distress from both home and school.

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Attitudes exhibited and general opportunities offered by class teachers are critical to successful learning across the curriculum. If a person believes they are incapable of achieving, they will not learn … they will determine their own future, despite excellent teaching – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In the extreme
In some cases of severe distress some children may exhibit extreme behaviours that are unacceptable. How can poor behaviours be turned into positive ones? Alongside effective multisensory teaching, teachers should take note to build and develop self-esteem on a regular basis. The following five groups of behaviours should be noted, together with suggestions for teachers. 1. Characteristics described as demanding special attention: clowning, mischief making, restlessness. Teacher’s response may be: irritation and annoyance. Try to: encourage recognition of a role which is key to the group or class. 2. Characteristics described as power and control: aggressiveness, hostility, defiance, resistance, apathy and lying. Teacher’s response may be: anger. Try to: put the child in charge of an activity or responsibility. These children are often good problem-solvers as well as being persistent and determined. 3. Characteristics described as hurtful, violent, destructive, stealing, vandalism. Teacher’s response may be to feel hurt. Try to: put them in the position of identifying or helping disadvantaged people or the underdog. They are often sensitive individuals who can be encouraged to identify sympathetically with people worse off than themselves. 4. Characteristics described as a quitter, one who avoids making an effort, when criticised will stop doing the activity. Teacher’s response may be to feel helpless. Try to: guarantee success through coaching at one activity and use those skills for the good of the group.

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

5. Characteristics described as often more intelligent than they appear, turned off by routine, gather in groups or gangs. Teacher’s response may be to feel uncertain about what is likely to happen next. Try to: address the fact that the child is likely to be full of initiative. The child will need to have his routine changed regularly to ensure a stimulating environment. Encourage the child to add to or enhance the group or class by knowledge and/or skills. When the child feels a sense of value, he/she will then dare to believe he/she can learn again. With the appropriate teaching programme in place the child will then go on to succeed.

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Literacy resource box/bag
An individually owned resource bag/box, which is added to and moves on with a child from year to year, ensures easy access to resources and promotes independence. It is likely that most of the resources will already be in school, so that the initial outlay will be for bags or boxes. This cost is offset by the need to replace resources less frequently, as children tend to look after them when they are their own responsibility and for their own use. Some schools favour bags which are large enough to hold a whiteboard and ruler; others use a flat box which is durable enough to last through to Year 6 and fits into the child’s tray, keeping the ruler and whiteboard separately in the tray. This leaves the whiteboard and ruler free for other subjects too. The following list represents a starting point. Schools should decide which apparatus or resources they like children to use and include those. Whiteboard pen and piece of cloth for eraser – when children have their own pen they tend to tell you when it has run out, so this is a good time-saver Word book or mini-dictionary (depending on the age of the child) Disk for saving computer work, although this is best kept in an electronic folder on the computer Word/spelling mat Targets – small laminated card Pen/pencil, rubber, pencil sharpener Phoneme frame – size depends on age/ability.

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Key visuals
What are key visuals and graphic organisers?
Key visuals and graphic organisers are visual representations and organisational tools with important applications in two distinct areas. 1. They can be used to help practitioners to focus on, understand and develop children’s ‘meanings’, the connections they make and the ways in which they organise ideas and information. 2. They can also be used to help children to focus on and understand organisational patterns and the cohesion of ideas within texts. They are particularly useful tools for EAL learners as they give teachers important insights into prior knowledge and experience, promote inclusion by allowing pupils to construct their own meanings and make their ‘ways of seeing’ explicit, they facilitate access to linguistically demanding tasks, they generate talk and powerfully support the development of cognitive and academic language.

Focusing on, understanding and developing children’s meanings, connections and ways of organising information
Purposes To activate prior knowledge To assess understanding To develop the relationship between ideas To link prior knowledge to new learning. Thoughts and ideas generated in order to activate prior knowledge can be grouped into diagrams in order to help children to clarify their thinking. Mind Maps®, semantic webs or concept maps can be constructed by practitioners in ‘guided’ sessions or by children working independently in groups. They help assess children’s existing knowledge, the ways in which information and ideas are grouped, and the connections children are making. Misconceptions can be identified and the visuals revisited at the end of a unit of work to see how ideas have changed or developed.

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Each step in a procedure, a sequence of events or the attributes of a character or an object can all be represented in a visual form. Children will be developing and using the language associated with listing, classifying, sequencing and prioritising.

Recognising and using common organisational patterns in texts
Purposes To develop awareness of the structure of a text To summarise main ideas from a written text in a visual form To organise relevant information and ideas from a discussion in order to support the construction of a formal talk or a written text. Structures typically identified are: lists, including chronological lists; cause – effect; problem – solution; compare – contrast; main idea – further detail. Each organisational pattern can be represented by a key visual which can then be used as a framework for note taking or contextual support to help with text comprehension or text construction, before, during or after reading, before and during writing, and during and after discussion. Lists Fiction and non-fiction texts will generate a range of lists. In order for these to be useful they need to be organised into categories. Eric Carle’s The very hungry caterpillar will generate two lists – days of the week and the things the caterpillar ate. These lists can be organised into a chronological sequence. Information grids or retrieval tables, timelines, flow diagrams and cycles can all be constructed from different kinds of lists. Some examples follow.

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Retrieval charts, tables or information grids Who? the hungry caterpillar he Ate what? 1 apple 2 pears When? Monday Tuesday

Mini beast

Habitat

Food

Predators

Flow diagram

For example, how we get our milk.

Timeline l_______l_______l_______l_______l_______l_______l_______l_______l

Cycle

For example, life cycles, daily routines, and so on.

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Cause – effect This pattern is often found in narrative, signalled by phrases such as ‘because of this the queen became more and more despondent’. In reports the language which signals cause and effect often includes use of the passive voice and nominalisation (abstract nouns created from verbs). For example, ‘Erosion is caused by rainfall’, ‘A decline in the manufacturing industry led to high unemployment.’ Cause Effect 1

Effect 2

Problem – solution This is another organisational pattern often found in narrative. Scaffold as for cause and effect. Compare – contrast In order to compare, pupils will need to develop and use language such as: ‘both X and Y do/have/are but X is …’ ‘whilst …, however…’ ‘same’, ‘different’, ‘similar’, etc.

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Life in a village in Pakistan Lanterns used to light the way at night Narrow streets Clay ovens in the courtyard People go to bed early

Life in a city in Pakistan Street lights Wide roads Modern gas cookers People are out and about in the evening

Water comes from a pump

Water comes from a tap

Miss Dynamite likes:

Miss Dynamite doesn’t like:

people music

violence racism

Ways in which they are the same

Ways in which they are different

Biographies Nelson Mandela Both Ghandi

Venn diagrams would be an appropriate alternative visual here.

Main idea with further details These can be differentiated for pupils with different needs in a variety of ways, for example by providing headings and sub-headings.

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Key visuals include the following. Pyramids (hierarchy of ideas)

Tree diagrams

Structured overviews

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Suggestions for teaching and learning strategies with key visuals and graphic organisers
Practising sorting, sequencing and ordering a range of things from objects to information according to different criteria. Encourage children to explain their thinking during these activities. Using graphic devices within text, for example highlighting, underlining, arrows to connect ideas, bullets and numbers, and space. Demonstration and guided practice of constructing key visuals from text. Specific teaching of the language which signals the organisational pattern with opportunities to practise at sentence level where appropriate, for example using ‘so’ and ‘because’ sentences to distinguish between cause and effect. Demonstration and guided practice of constructing text from key visuals. Provide opportunities for pupils to construct visuals that reflect their thinking and understandings. This strategy is particularly powerful where pupils are required to explain their thinking to others and compare their format with visuals produced from the same text by other groups of pupils.

Useful website
The graphic organiser website (www.graphic.org) is a useful source of references, articles, templates and links.

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Instructions
If you have to tell someone what to do it helps if you: say the instructions in the right order: ‘Tidy your tables, push in your chairs, put on your coats and line up’; split the instructions up into short sections; speak slowly and deliberately; ask the listener to repeat what you said. If you have to remember what to do it helps if you: listen really carefully; count the number of things to be done; imagine yourself doing the things as you are listening; say the words over to yourself.

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Individual differences: the animal school A fable
Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a ‘New World’. So they organised a school. They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects. The duck was excellent in swimming, in fact better than his instructor but he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practise running. This was kept up until his webfeet were badly worn, and he was only average in swimming. The average was acceptable in school so nobody worried about that except the duck. The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much make-up work in swimming. The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the tree top down. The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there. At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well, and also run, climb and fly a little, had the highest average and was judged the best student. Does this fable have a moral?

Dr George H Reavis, Asst. Superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools, 1939–1948

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An example of dyslexia-friendly layout
Look at the notes you made when observing the candle. Write some poetry based on what you saw. You can use these sentence starts if you like. You can use them in any order.

The flame

Yellow as

It reminds me

The candle

Flickering Deep in the flame The wax

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

The dyslexia-friendly classroom
The arrangement of a classroom, which is inclusive for dyslexic pupils, encourages inclusion for all learners. Many of these children have a mild level of difficulty that can be managed in the mainstream classroom. For those that experience problems at a more severe level, it is critical that the classroom and methodologies are designed to answer their needs. All children will benefit; the dyslexic child cannot manage without them!

Building self-esteem
It is critical that dyslexic children believe that they have value and that they can achieve. Without that, whatever methodologies are employed are likely to fall on deaf ears. The attitude and expression of the teacher will cue other children as to how to relate to this child. As there is a high emphasis on assessment for learning, marking should be linked directly to the learning objective or intention. Moving on prompts need to be made. This will help both academically and support the child’s growing sense of self. 1. Use specific praise for the child. 2. Assess work on the basis of the knowledge the child has and not the way work is written, unless it is writing itself that is your focus. 3. Make sure that the feedback you give children on spelling, punctuation, grammar and mathematics only reflects that which has been specifically and systematically taught to them. 4. Reward for content, ideas and general content. 5. Identify the child’s strengths; encourage them to use them in the classroom. 6. Never expose weaknesses in front of peers. 7. When the child is clearly tired or fractious, be understanding. 8. Be consistent in your demands and ensure they are reasonable for that individual. 9. Watch that other members of the class do not tease the child. Children who are dyslexic may experience bullying. They can develop poor attendance or show behavioural, social or emotional difficulties as a result.

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Methodologies
1. Use multi-sensory teaching approaches wherever possible. 2. Make the children aware of their own learning styles. 3. Be aware of your own teaching styles and ensure that you adapt what you do to meet the children’s needs. 4. Ensure that there is sufficient time given to over-learning. These children will need to practise many times in order to remember and use information. They should never be taught all their tables at once – even with over-learning. They need to be given training that will help them devise strategies. 5. Ensure that all work given follows a structure and that they only move on once they have mastered the stage at which they are working. 6. Ensure that they have to copy from the board as little as possible. (When copying from the vertical to the horizontal planes, many errors are likely to be made.) 7. If you use a board or paper, use colour to separate sections and highlight ideas. If you use an interactive whiteboard/PC/laptop, change the background colour to pastel shades to avoid glare. 8. Use photocopies for work if possible. 9. Keep spares of equipment in the classroom for those children who are prone to forgetting. Ideally have a resource bag or box which stays at school and if necessary one at home to support homework. 10. If you need to ask children to bring something to school, make a note in their diaries for them. They are otherwise unlikely to remember. Structured, sequential, multi-sensory learning is the key to success … Once they believe they can learn, they will!

Useful actions for success
1. Only give homework once the child has demonstrated an understanding. You do not want to reinforce errors. 2. If the child performs slowly, reduce the amount of work he/she is given. Never take away the child’s playtime; he/she needs a break more than most! 3. Present the information to be learned in a range of ways if he/she doesn’t appear to understand.

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Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

4. Ask the child to quietly repeat instructions so that you are both aware of what has to be done. 5. If the child has great difficulty in the writing process, get him/her to present work in alternative ways so that he/she can succeed while developing literacy and numeracy skills. 6. If the child cannot write effectively, encourage the use of ICT skills. 7. Arrange the alphabet in a rainbow shape and leave it on permanent display. The child may not be able to use the dictionary without it. 8. Keep a copy of the ACE spelling dictionary (published by LDA) in the classroom, so that the child can identify how to spell a word by sound if needed. Many children cannot use a regular dictionary as they do not know the sequence of the order of the alphabet. This dictionary will allow them more independence. 9. Teach the child how to prioritise – this is a useful skill that he/she may not otherwise pick up. 10. Teach the child how to identify what is important to do and what is not.

Memory skills
1. Use colour in a range of ways. 2. Play memory games in class to help develop this skill. 3. Develop the use of Mind Mapping® or spidergrams. 4. Encourage the use of aide memoire.

Reading
1. Use a method that is structured, sequential and multisensory. 2. Use this method on a daily basis in the literacy hour. 3. Provide texts for reading that reflect only that which has been taught. 4. Once basic reading skills have been mastered, encourage the use of books reflecting low-level literacy and high intellectual content. 5. If the child cannot cope with the literacy content of texts in class, put them onto tape. This will allow the child to ‘read’ while listening so that he/she can join in the lesson and learn with his/her peers.

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6. In extreme cases, there may be justification for a ‘reader’ although this would be unusual. It may be essential however in mathematics in order for the child to show their full potential.

Writing
Dyslexic children find it difficult to learn, unlearn and relearn. It is therefore important to teach them the way you need them to learn from the beginning. Handwriting Use continuous cursive script from the beginning of the writing process. This will: prevent many errors due to letter reversals; enable young children to use their motor memory to help them learn to write effectively; help establish the pattern of spelling for some dyslexic children in their memories. The writing process 1. Encourage the use of comic strip writing to encourage reluctant writers to try. 2. Use a wordprocessor if and where appropriate. 3. Use scaffolding techniques to help the child organise his/her work. 4. Always make a plan. 5. If he/she cannot get started, talk it through with him/her. This will help the child get over the initial hurdle. 6. If there is a great disparity between their written work and that which is known, allow the use of an amanuensis (scribe) or a tape.

Spelling
1. Teach spelling according to a multisensory method. Assess where the child is at and go through the programme step-by-step, ensuring over-learning takes place. 2. Put all new spelling rules onto index cards and work with the child to review them quickly as a pack of playing cards each day. Encourage them to do this during their holidays too – to prevent forgetting.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 4

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

3. Ensure that there is good and consistent transfer of use of spellings into a written piece. Knowing a word on a spelling list does not mean that it has become ‘automatic’ for the child. 4. Only correct that which has been taught – and praise when it is correct. 5. Help the child set up a small spelling dictionary for his/her own words. The child should keep it with them at all times. 6. Encourage the use of a spell checker and a thesaurus when using a PC – to both enrich and encourage higher-order language skills. 7. Show the morphological connections between words.

Mathematics
1. Use a structured approach to learning mental strategies. 2. Display prompts around the classroom, number lines, number squares, tables, etc. 3. Have mathematics dictionaries at the appropriate level available for children to use. 4. Plan the use of mathematics dictionaries into their lessons so that they learn to use them in a purposeful way. 5. Encourage all children to use apparatus independently to support their learning (resource bags). 6. Do not expect all children to learn their tables by rote. Teach them methods for working out new facts from known facts. Provide prompts and apparatus. 7. Link mental strategies to written work. Do not move on to more concise methods too quickly. 8. When calculating using larger or decimal numbers, revert to expanded methods if necessary to confirm understanding. 9. Use models and images to help build sound concepts. 10. Build an environment of respect for everyone’s methods and contributions. Make children aware that they are not all expected to use the same methods, but the most efficient one for them. Let them know that the Key Stage 3 Strategy continues to use expanded methods; this will take the pressure off them to move too quickly to compact methods.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 5

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Asking dyslexic children about dyslexia friendly teaching
118 children completed questionnaires – 52 children from primary and 66 from secondary schools. The pupils were encouraged to fill in the questionnaires with the help of their parents but to respond in their own words. They were asked always to think about teachers, classes and schools in their own experience. The results for primary and secondary pupils were similar but with some interesting differences. Question 1 asked about the characteristics of a teacher you can easily learn from. Primary pupils said that at the start of a lesson teachers should, ‘Make it clear exactly what she wants you to do’. This should be taken slowly, ‘Show us, don’t just tell’, ‘Give us time to listen’. The use of pictures and structural materials make it easier to understand. A significant number of pupils said it was easier if the teacher was enthusiastic. After this pupils liked to be able to ask questions and to have teachers check that they were doing the right thing. Effective teachers gave help if you ‘got stuck’ and were patient if you needed things repeated. Finally, teachers should be nice, should not shout if you got things wrong, should be patient with your mistakes and create a peaceful environment in the classroom. Nearly half of the responses of the secondary pupils also related to being understanding, ready to spend time helping, explaining things carefully, proactively checking, repeating instructions and explanations, and being ready to answer questions. ‘Explain, then ask if I understood, if not, explain with pictures, etc. But if I do understand then don’t overdo it so that it becomes boring.’ ‘Good teachers aren’t ignorant and unsociable people. They can notice when you are having problems and they don’t dismiss you by ignoring you and your questions.’ Next came the use of handouts, writing instructions clearly and carefully on the board (preferably a whiteboard) and ensuring that students had a homework diary. ‘A good teacher writes things down clearly and just writes and teaches the basic information without rambling on about other things.’ Only after these crucial elements have been provided do they mention making lessons fun and practical, giving time to think and write and

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 1

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

encouraging and rewarding good attempts. ‘When I am stuck I know I can put my hand up and not get shouted at for not listening. The teacher smiles at me and then explains it again, doing at least two examples with me.’ It is interesting that again personal characteristics were all seen as more important than the provision of support materials. Good support materials included putting and leaving instructions and spellings on a large whiteboard or personal ‘crib sheet’, putting homework instructions on tape, allowing oral or taped responses, etc. The overall impression is quite clear – pupils with dyslexia need teachers who are clear and concise, pleasant with their classes and prepared to recognise that not everyone understands the first time. Question 2 was the reverse of question 1 and asked about the characteristics of teachers it was difficult to learn from. Nearly half the primary pupils said that they gave too many instructions too quickly, didn’t check if you understood and didn’t allow you to ask questions. Time itself was important too. Pupils needed time to do their work – particularly if it involved writing. Ineffective teachers ‘Rush you – they tell you off if you don’t get enough done’. ‘They don’t let you think long enough before making you start work.’ ‘Say you have a time limit for something and you want to make it a good piece of work and then you have to finish it off badly by saying something like, ‘Happily ever after!’’ For a third of the pupils the main complaint was shouting and they were clear about the effects on their learning. ‘They shout all the time for no apparent reason’ as one pupil succinctly put it, and ‘Getting into a stress when I get something wrong’ resulted in disruption of their ability to think. ‘When she shouts a lot it makes it hard to think, you can’t concentrate.’ ‘If I get told off it sticks in my head and I can’t concentrate on my work.’ The second complaint was being shown up in front of the class: ‘Like being asked aloud in class how many correct in my spelling test’. ‘Ask you to do things that they know you will fail at.’ ‘One teacher told the whole class I wasn’t doing very well and I felt embarrassed and really couldn’t think.’ One in five complained about work on the board and displays generally. These included not being able to see the board, teacher writing on the board and then rubbing it out too soon or

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 2

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

standing in front of it. One teacher, ‘Put the number line at the back of the class and then told me off if I turned round to look at it!’ For the secondary pupils, two categories were most frequent – teachers who don’t give you enough time and teachers who make you copy from the board, an OHT or a book. ‘Feeling rushed’ is probably a very good indicator that all is not right with the teaching/learning process rather than a direct cause in itself. Again, resorting to the very ineffective method of just getting pupils to copy down information is a feature of poor teaching generally. This is confirmed by the next most frequent category: ‘Talks too much or too fast’. Taking these categories together they cover a third of all the responses. The next complaints were, ‘Can’t control the class’, ‘Shouts all the time’, ‘Puts you down’ and ‘Doesn’t explain’. Question 3 asked what subject they found most difficult because of their dyslexia. Three subjects were identified by a significant number of primary pupils – English, mathematics and science. The reasons, unsurprisingly, related to literacy – writing, spelling and reading being mentioned in that order. English was again the most frequently mentioned by over half the secondary pupils. Mathematics, modern foreign languages (MFL), science and humanities followed, each mentioned by about one in three. Again, the reasons given related to curriculum delivery rather than content or process. Overemphasis on grammar, spelling and punctuation was the main complaint, followed by the need for writing or having to take dictation, too much reading or having to remember facts or formulae. The only actual criticism of a subject was directed at MFL: ‘I can’t spell in English so spelling in French and Spanish is madness’. ‘I find it hard to spell and I don’t understand tenses and punctuation. I can barely understand English so French is worse.’ Interestingly, some students disclaimed any problems: ‘In secondary school I do not find any subject too difficult – I like a challenge. In primary school, however, I found maths hard. This is probably because we (the class and I) were forced to do many timed tests (mainly mental arithmetic) approximately four times a week.’ Another student said, ‘None, because all teachers were well informed by the SENCO’. One summed up the whole issue succinctly with the reply, ‘Maths, because he is not a good teacher!’

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 3

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Turning to easy subjects in primary schools, art and design was the least affected with, perhaps surprisingly, mathematics next. Mathematics itself they could readily cope with, but the reading and writing associated with it created many problems. PE was the third subject mentioned. There then followed science, music, design and technology, music and games. The main reasons were given as ‘No writing’, feeling they were, ‘Good at it’ or that it was a practical, hands-on subject. This emphasis on the demands that the actual teaching process makes rather than the conceptual nature of the discipline is even clearer in the responses from pupils at secondary schools where specialist teaching throws it into greater relief. The ‘top’ subjects were art and design followed by PE. However, again mathematics, science, humanities and design and technology posed few problems if teachers demanded ‘no writing’, presented their subject in a ‘practical’ way or did not emphasise spelling. There were also comments relating to enjoying the subject, it being made interesting by good teachers, there being appropriate support or that they were prepared to work hard. ‘I like them (sic) subjects. I have a real interest in them and that overrides my dyslexia.’ ‘We have good teachers and science and history you can think through.’ ‘My dyslexia helps me to think in a different way.’ We now asked about their feelings – what were the three worst effects on school life generally of having dyslexia? Nearly one third of the responses from primary school pupils related to feeling stupid or different and/or not knowing as much as the others. Some of this is brought about by thoughtlessness: ‘You have to ask for spellings all the time if you want to get them right and the teacher writes them on the board which makes the rest of the class think how stupid I am.’ ‘Not being given credit for being as intelligent as others just because I have difficulty in speed of writing and spelling.’ ‘I am never picked to do cool things because I can’t read or remember things like everyone else.’ The second effect was not being able to write either easily or properly and the problem of working slowly, therefore work, particularly homework, ‘taking ages’. The majority of secondary pupils said the main effect was that they couldn’t read, write or spell easily. (‘Ask a silly question’ came to mind on reflection!)

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 4

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

‘Being different’ followed and ‘People don’t understand you’, ‘Work takes a long time to complete’ and bullying in one form or another. The interpersonal categories are somewhat worrying. Nearly 40% of our respondents claimed that their dyslexia affected either how they felt about themselves or how others treated them. Judging by the overall quality and cogency of their replies, these pupils and students were well integrated with good selfawareness. They were being made to feel different, sometimes aggressively, in their school situation. In other words, their classrooms were not inclusive. Typical responses were: ‘People can do things I can’t. They can understand things more easily.’ ‘Being embarrassed to keep asking for help – going to the special needs group.’ ‘When you are in need of help people explain things to you as if you are stupid.’ ‘Being made to feel stupid in front of my friends.’ ‘Teachers saying, “Children like you…”’ ‘Letting down my parents (but dad is dyslexic too).’ ‘Being followed around by a teaching assistant.’ Finally we asked, ‘If you were able to tell all teachers something about how to teach pupils with dyslexia, what would you say?’ There was a clear consensus among all the pupils. More than 80% said that teachers should explain better in the first place, then check whether pupils had understood. They should be prepared to repeat instructions and explanations. ‘Talk plainly, clearly and to the child.’ ‘Watch over my shoulder every so often and write spellings in the margin.’ ‘Concentrate on what the person is saying without thinking about what you are going to have for dinner or who’s fighting over there. They are having a hard time telling the teacher because they are embarrassed.’ ‘They should explain what you have to do as many times as needed – twice the same way before maybe a different approach.’ This was then followed by a similar, almost as great (70%), consensus that teachers should not shout, should be patient and give more time. In other words once instructions and so on have been understood, trust pupils to be involved in their work and accept mistakes as genuine attempts at learning. As one of them said in answer to an earlier question, ‘Don’t get into a stress when I get something wrong’. In short: ‘Good teachers notice when you are having problems and they don’t dismiss you by ignoring you and your questions.’ ‘When I am stuck I know I

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 5

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

can put my hand up and not get shouted at for not listening. The teacher smiles at me and then explains it again, doing at least two examples with me.’ Overall, it is clear that these pupils have no difficulty recognising the learning environment in which they can succeed. It is interesting that the underlying theme is the emotional climate in the classroom rather than any specific techniques or special methodology. They want calmness and security, the feeling that teachers might actually like them and are enthusiastic about their subject, quiet recognition of their difference and the provision of low-key differentiation and support. This all builds a picture that suggests enhancing the achievements of pupils with dyslexia does not make unreasonable demands on teachers at either primary or secondary phases of education. It is the way they go about their teaching and organising classrooms that are seen as either facilitating or frustrating. The key comes in understanding how each pupil thinks and feels.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 6

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

Anxious parents or carers
Teachers need to understand why parents/carers are stressed and occasionally might even appear aggressive when discussing their dyslexic children. There are several reasons for this and there are ways to overcome the difficulties. Don’t forget … from a parent’s or carer’s perspective, if they do not support their child in every way possible, who will? Teachers have many children in their care; the parent or carer may have only one.

Reasons for anxiety
1. They are living with tension at home. There are often frustrations over homework, organisation and forgetfulness. Parents/carers want to see their children succeeding and they realise that they are failing. They feel so often that if only the child tried harder, all would be well; no one has told them that this is not the case. 2. Children want to do well at school; they want to please their teachers and their parents/carers. These children do not understand why things are so difficult for them, so make the incorrect assumption that they must be incapable. When they are trying as hard as they can, they get frustrated and disheartened as they experience daily failure. The tension is often taken home. 3. Parents/carers are aware of attitudes in society today in relation to the value placed on academic qualifications. They know that there are chances that their children might not succeed. They are concerned both for the present time in terms of daily failure and diminishing self-esteem, as well as for their child’s future. 4. There is much frustration when schools do not seem to accept a parent’s or carer’s concerns. Teachers have often made comments such as ‘The child will grow out of it … he is a late developer’. Parents/carers may have experienced this before in themselves and know full well that you do not grow out of dyslexia.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 1

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

5. Occasionally, but not often, parents/carers encounter staff who suggest that there is no such thing as dyslexia. This incenses parents/carers, some of whom will have experienced it themselves. They see the disparity between what the child can say and what he or she can produce on paper and know that dyslexia is real. Some may have a diagnosis for their child; others do not understand completely, but sense serious problems ahead. There is so much documented scientific evidence as to the existence of dyslexia that no one could reasonably argue the case that it does not exist. Further, the SEN Code of Practice and the Disability Act recognise it, so it is a teacher’s duty to take action regardless of their personal beliefs. 6. Parents/carers themselves have often experienced similar difficulties at school. They remember the struggle they had and do not want their children to experience the same difficulties. They may know that there are effective methods for intervention available to schools today and they will want their child to have access to them. They will be very concerned as to the suitability of the next school that the child will have to attend.

Tips for teachers to help parents/carers
1. Recognise that a parent’s or carer’s anxiety is justified. 2. Offer parents/carers solutions: listen to them; use assessment for learning to identify the child’s learning needs; show parents/carers that the school is aware of their child’s strengths and difficulties and is making provision for the child. 3. Ensure regular communication between home and school. 4. Ensure that all staff are made aware of strengths and difficulties of individual dyslexic pupils. 5. Ensure that a programme is in place to develop both abilities and weaknesses.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 2

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children in the primary years: further information

6. Objective measures of progress should be in place; this will allay fears and build confidence in the teacher and in the school. 7. Create opportunities to build self-esteem. 8. Ensure that any necessary provision for tests and examinations are in place to offer equal opportunities for these children. 9. Offer the child and the family examples of successful dyslexic people at school, in the local community and in the world of the famous. 10. Give appropriate advice in relation to the next school. 11. Ensure that transition to the next stage of learning is as smooth as possible.

Primary National Strategy

Learning and teaching for dyslexic children

DfES 1184-2005 3

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