teaching methods for dyslexic students: a teacher at a table with three children showing a card with the letter "A" to them.

Artem Podrez by Pexels

As a parent of one or more dyslexic children, you are very likely a subject matter expert on dyslexia. You know dyslexics are often gifted with athletic, creative, and mathematical talents, and are also known to have good emotional intelligence.

Most of all, you know children don’t “outgrow” dyslexia and know that those who have it struggle with reading—a fundamental skill that is essential for learning. (See: Does my child have dyslexia? What to watch for. What to do.)

“Students with dyslexia possess intelligence and perseverance, despite the hurdles they face with reading and spelling.” says Leigha Brigham, The Open Door’s Education and Family Support Specialist.

Talk with your child’s teacher about reaching your dyslexic child.

Some teachers are familiar with methods for teaching dyslexic students and others are not. We suggest approaching your child’s teacher to explore their knowledge of dyslexia and then discussing the most effective teaching methods for reaching your child.

The following methods—which are also very effective for teaching non-dyslexic students—are recommended by our Open Door tutors as well as Cynthia M. Stowe in her book, How to Reach and Teach Children and Teens with Dyslexia:

  • Give students the gift of time. It’s an easy gift and will go a long way toward showing confidence in the students’ intelligence and abilities. Reward effort not speed as mentioned below in The Growth Mindset.

As Ms. Brigham remarks, “In my experience, providing students with additional time for tasks has been immensely beneficial. By exercising patience and refraining from immediate corrections, I’ve noticed that students often arrive at the correct answers independently.”

  • Involve and engage. Have you ever been to a presentation where the speaker spoke in a monotone voice and showed zero interest in their subject? You probably fell asleep! To make students feel actively engaged, the teacher needs to be animated, excited and, to show enthusiasm for the lesson they are teaching.


  • Use multi-sensory teaching methods. Use all the senses to teach the lesson. The Barton Reading and Spelling system—developed by Susan Barton specifically for dyslexic learners—uses tiles with letters printed on each tile to teach students how to build syllables and sound out words.


  • Teach students to use logic rather than rote memory. As mentioned earlier, dyslexic children are very intelligent and think logically. To teach spelling and the structure of the English language, they learn best when using logic. Teach students how and why words are spelled the way they are.

Ask a Barton student when to use “K” or “C” to spell the /K/ sound in a word.

“It’s disheartening to see dyslexic students unfairly labeled as lazy or lacking in motivation, which couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Ms. Brigham. “In reality, they show remarkable determination, and simply need more time and alternative learning approaches to thrive.”

For more tips about dyslexia and other effective teaching methods to discuss with your child’s teacher, explore these Open Door blog links:


Marion May is the Blog Curator and Content Writer for The Open Door blog. Her blog content is “local, organic and specific” and is written for parents of children with dyslexia. Comments? If you have comments about this blog or would like to contribute, please contact us at blog@theopendoor.ca We welcome your blog topic suggestions!
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