How to Support a Child with Dyslexia

Three Methods:Supporting a Dyslexic Child as a TeacherSupporting a Dyslexic Child as a ParentUsing Technology to Help Your Dyslexic Child

A child with dyslexia will face many challenges, both with her abilities to read and emotionally. However, there are ways that you can support your child and make his challenges a little less scary. By helping to create a positive learning environment, supporting your child emotionally, and learning about technology that can help your child, you will be able to make his or her life more rewarding.

Method 1
Supporting a Dyslexic Child as a Teacher

Supporting a child in the classroom generally falls to the teacher. However, for your child to successfully overcome his or her dyslexia, there must be open dialogue between the parents and teacher.

Creating a Positive Learning Environment

  1. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 1
    Create a support team for your child. It takes a team of concerned individuals to address dyslexia. This is often called student support teams which can consist of parents, principals, school psychologists, teachers, speech therapists, reading therapists and other professionals who have the competency to help the child get the learning he deserves at school in the light of thier special needs as a dyslexic. This team will meet regularly to discuss the child’s existing learning issues and their progress if he is already receiving a specialized learning program.[1]
  2. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 2
    Do not be judgmental when teaching a child with dyslexia. After their parents and other members of the family, teachers are the adults children look up to. Teachers inspire, motivate and support their students. If a child seems like he wants to engage in class but is unable to take the pressures of schoolwork, do not assume that there is a problem with their attitude. He may be struggling with their inability to read, write, spell, or speak well.
    • If you notice that a student seems to be struggling, schedule a meeting with his or her parents to discuss what may be the issue.
  3. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 3
    Be patient. Try to understand the problems that the child is facing such as understanding instructions or keeping up with the pace of the work or with peers. Try to provide a conducive atmosphere which is free of taunts, ridicule and mockery. Encourage her to make use of simple tools like folders and some software apps to keep herself organized.
  4. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 4
    Educate your other students about dyslexia. Going to school can be a traumatizing experience for a child with dyslexia--he may be afraid that other kids will make fun of him or he may feel like there is something wrong with him. If you notice this child falling behind socially, make an effort to educate their peers about dyslexia in an effort to make them more empathetic.
  5. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 5
    Encourage him to take baby steps. Commend him for what he achieves--doing this will boost their self-esteem and when this is high he will not hesitate to take on bigger responsibilities and bigger steps to take charge of their learning.
  6. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 6
    Win their trust. Place him in a seat that is close to your desk--by doing this you will be able to monitor their mistakes and discuss them quietly with him, rather than announcing them in front of the whole class. It is important to make him feel comfortable and to avoid putting him in situations in which he may feel uncomfortable.
    • For example, if he struggles with reading a sentence without making mistakes, do not make him read aloud in class.
  7. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 7
    Allow the child some extra time to complete work. It is important that you allocate a few extra hours just for her to make sure that she is able to cope with her work. If you have time, or your classroom as a teacher’s aid, ask him or her to spend some time working with the child on phonics.

Teaching Techniques to Combat Dyslexia

  1. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 8
    Teach memorization through visualization. This technique helps kids associate letters with actual words by turning the letter into its own picture. Kids with dyslexia can have trouble putting words together and remembering how these are arranged in a sentence. They also have serious trouble memorizing phrases as short as those consisting of only four words. To help them with this, allow them to create graphical representation of the vowels thereby allowing them to associate the letters with the words they use every day.[2] For example:
    • An “a” can be written so that is would look like an apple (a simple leaf on top of the “a” can do the trick).
    • “E” can assume a more oblong shape reminding the child of an egg.
  2. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 9
    Help your child with phonics. Phonics is often taken for granted in reading skills. Most kids get phonics early with no problem at all. This is simply not the case with dyslexic children. Phonics, which literally translates to “language sounds”, is harder for kids having serious issues with letters in the first place. There are two major ways to help your child with phonics as listed in the following steps.
  3. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 10
    Make it a habit to read to your dyslexic child rhyming stories. This can help him have a clear idea of word families that will be a building block in letter sound identification later on. With the help of rhyming story books, the child can group words like ban, man, tan, and pan, or sat, mat, hat, bat, and cat easily adding to their understanding of these words and what letters these words consists of.
  4. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 11
    Help your child build a word family. When your child gets the idea of rhyming words, help him build a word family which can be as short and simple as fig, big, wig, and so on. When this is proving to be getting easier to your child go on to harder word families like shop, prop, flop, and chop. Get the difficulty level progress forward as your child understands the association of these words and letters.
  5. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 12
    Give your dyslexic child ways to express herself without words. While writing an essay might not be her strong suit, creating a picture or poster to express her thoughts on a subject may work better. Create projects that do not focus on the written word, like art projects or construction projects.[3]
  6. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 13
    Give oral exams as well as written exams. If a dyslexic student in your classroom is seriously struggling with written exams, allow her to perform oral exams. Make every other test an oral exam, or at least have an oral component of each exam that you give.

Method 2
Supporting a Dyslexic Child as a Parent

Supporting a dyslexic child does not end when he or she leaves the classroom each day; you must also support your child at home. Show him or her love, kindness and respect so that your child knows he or she can rely on you when faced with challenges.

  1. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 14
    Make your child a part of the decision-making process. Let your child help make decisions regarding the education program he enters and the learning tools he uses. Allowing him to be a part of the decision making process will boost their self-esteem and widen their awareness about their disability. With an increased awareness, he will also be able to see that he has the ability to overcome the challenges he faces.[4]
  2. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 15
    Talk with your child about her disability. Explain dyslexia to your child. At the same time, let your child talk about what she is experiencing. Let her talk about herself, what she is going through, and how she feels about it. You can also help her to analyze her disability, look at her strengths, and come up with a plan to overcome her challenges.[5]
  3. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 16
    Treat your child with respect. Extend your unconditional love to him. Realizing that there are people around him he can fall back upon for support is very comforting. Help him take pride in who he is and what he has achieved. Motivate him with love and support.

Method 3
Using Technology to Help Your Dyslexic Child

  1. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 17
    Purchase a read-aloud application. There are applications that can convert text to speech which can enable you to listen to the books instead or reading them. This can be helpful to children who have difficulty reading but are good listeners and can follow what they hear. These applications come with different font and color settings to provide further assistance to the child in identifying words. They also have multiple sound and voice options, allowing the child to choose one he can relate to.[6]
    • Kindle, read2go, ClaroSpeak, web reader, and audiobooks from Audible are just some of the applications you can choose from.
  2. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 18
    Get a speech recognition application. There are applications that work with speech recognition software which perform the task of converting the speech to text on the screen. This is especially useful for children with dyslexia who have difficulty writing correctly using the correct spelling and grammatically appropriate sentences.
    • Howjsay Pronunciation Dictionary is an app that provides pronunciation related assistance.
  3. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 19
    Use an application that helps with word recognition. There are also applications that assist the child in word recognition and pronunciation by creating a phonics program that promotes better reading skills.These applications will also help your child with word identification, sounds of letters and reading.
    • These applications include ABC phonics word families and ABC pocket phonics.
  4. Image titled Support a Child with Dyslexia Step 20
    Consider getting applications that help with test taking. These applications are especially helpful for teachers who have dyslexic children in their classes. Some apps such as Audio Exam Creator help the teacher to record test questions for children with reading difficulty. Apps like this enable the students who are challenged by reading to take the exams by hearing the test questions read out to them aloud.


  • Do not coddle your child. While he or she may have a disability, your child must also learn how to support him or herself and overcome challenges.
  • Check in with your child’s teacher regularly. Find out what your child is struggling with and take extra steps to make sure that your child gets the support he/she needs in that area.

Article Info

Categories: Child Care | Dyslexia