Understanding how children with dyslexia learn
When you’re looking to help a child with dyslexia a good place to start is understanding how children learn. There are three main types of learners:
- Visual learners work best with images, videos, tables and graphs; anything where the information is seen.
- Auditory learners, where learners work with heard information.
- Kinaesthetic or tactile learners where learning needs to involve the whole body with movement and touch.
Auditory learners have a slight advantage in conventional classroom settings, here teaching still relies on listening to the teachers talking to pass on information and give instructions.
When we look at a dyslexic brain through an MRI scan, we can see it behaves slightly differently to a non-dyslexic brain. Dyslexia is believed to be a learning difficultly which centres on the left-hemisphere; this is the part of the brain which helps us with speech, language processing and reading.
In people with dyslexia there is less activity seen in the left-hemisphere of the brain. This is where we have systems which efficiently decode words and language to recall frequent sounds structures.
In a dyslexic brain there is a greater reliance on less efficient systems in the brain to help them problem solve to read, causing a more frustrating and laboured reading experience.
This understanding that a dyslexic brain uses a more multi-sensory, problem-solving approach to reading and language suggests that a more multi-sensory approach to teaching may give us the best results.
With this in mind I have found the best results come from using a combination of Initial Word Mnemonic Chants along with phonic flashcards and structured worksheets. Using these together to teach the reading and spelling of high frequency words is the highly multi-sensory approach that supports the way the dyslexic brain works.
In my course I’ve brought together a multi-sensory the auditory learning of sound and repetition in the chants with the visual element of cartoons. A focus on the meaning of words is encouraged through the story like chants to make learning fun.
Our brains respond really well to stories because they give things meaning, and our brains build their own pictures in our imagination, like a mini film show! This all adds to the visual element of learning.
The whole learning structure involves actions; creating drawings and colouring them, handling the phonic cards, dealing them and timing them with a stop-watch and this gives us the kinaesthetic learning element needed.
Pupils thrive on this multi-sensory approach to my courses, and this helps them quickly gain confidence when they experience their improved reading and spelling. This method has taken non-readers and turned them into “bookworms”. As a bonus it’s easy to administer and fun to do.
About Help for Dyslexia
Watch our video to hear about our teaching from the people who it makes the biggest impact on – our students.
When it comes to showing what’s achievable when you have dyslexia our students are a shining example, we’re so proud!
Useful learning resources
If you’re looking for learning resources to support your dyslexic child at home I have a range of resources which follow my teaching methods.