1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Dyslexia advice please

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by lucylollipop, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. lucylollipop

    lucylollipop Occasional commenter

    Hello, I am currently tutoring a Yr 5 child who has dyslexic tendencies.
    We are working on strategies to help him learn and remember spellings. When spelling out he will use a mixture of sounding and naming letters. Is there any advice on which ( sounding or naming) may be more beneficial?
  2. suzyshepster

    suzyshepster New commenter

    It's not as simple as that I'm afraid!
    Are you a specialist tutor, wuakifued in teaching students with dyslexia?
    Flanks likes this.
  3. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Both are valuable.

    Why not check if they can say their alphabet through first.

    Then check if they can make the 44 phonemes by going through the alphabet and making each sound for each letter.

    If they can do both confidently and fluently then you can support the learner to spell using one or the other.

    Remember that in practice they need to follow the ritual of:


    The 'say' is the critical part, as spelling is a phonological activity, not a visual one. Correct their pronunciation if it is incorrect and make them say it correctly. Then if they ask to see the word again while trying to spell, you should direct them to resay the word.

    Hope that helps.
  4. lizzielh

    lizzielh New commenter

    The letter names are not overly important and can confuse people with spelling difficulties. Focus on the sounds and make sure the sounds are pure (not with an added schwa which is the /uh/ sound sometimes added onto phonemes). Do an assessment to see what he/she knows relating to the basic alphabetic code - there are loads online of you do a search. Get the student to break words into syllables and tackle each one as they attempt a new word. You can do online training if you feel you need more information. I trained with Dyslexia Action but found some elements of their scheme out of date and had flawed practices so did an online course with Phonics International. That Spelling Thing is another course I've looked into and recommend. Am currently reading David A Kilpatrick's Assessing, Preventing and Overcoming Reading Difficulties which I wish I'd read ages ago - if you have time and the inclination.

    Alphabet code charts are a useful reference as its premise is the sounds are the starting point and show how they are represented in different ways. You need to make sure you get away from using visual strategies (so the Look, cover, write, check approach isn't always good if not used properly) - you don't want people to guess from the way a word looks (its shape) or initial letters (obviously this is more the reading aspect).

  5. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    On the other hand, phonics international is skewed towards a totally phonics approach. Some dyslexic children don’t get phonics even with increased intervention. Those children may find using their visual memory useful. I think it is important to consider all types of strategies and not rule them out as they may help.
    Sir_Henry likes this.
  6. lizzielh

    lizzielh New commenter

    visual memory - how would this work in practice?
  7. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    I’ve done a lot of revision work using visual memory. I have used visual techniques to teach spelling alongside phonics too. I have always been pleased with the results.

    One example is in a technical subject where the students had to learn Latin names of Torres. We went out to find the trees, I got the students to really look at the recognisable features of the trees, got them to feel and even smell elements like the bark, leaves then brought back specimens from the trees and draw round them, do leaf rubbings , draw them by hand. Then wrote the Latin names and common names using different colours to break up each syllable, then practice the pronunciation. Also sometimes used mnemonics if this worked. Even used a language master or dictaphone to listen back to the names.
    We sometimes used their phones to take pictures, record pronunciations. Also used iPads to do similar so we could flick back through the photos. Also made flash cards with the info on them to make revision packs.

    Have used coloured pens, imagery,mnemonics to teach tricky spelling words too.
    Sir_Henry likes this.
  8. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    Interesting article in TES about how some children who went through the reading recovery programme have performed well in their GCSEs recently. Less emphasis on phonics but much more emphasis on gaining a good understanding and enjoyment of the reading process.
  9. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

  10. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

  11. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    In reply to the op, I would use both letter sounds and letter names so both are consolidated.
    Sir_Henry and Flanks like this.
  12. lizzielh

    lizzielh New commenter

    Yes, but a great deal of criticism about the findings eg from Dorothy Bishop in Oxford questioning the validity of the process, the control group, how they selected candidates etc. Left me feeling the same as I did before re RR and the influence of Clay's work (not based on scientific studies of how we learn to read).
  13. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    I’m not anti phonics but am anti the message that phonics is the only way. It’s a tool as are other techniques and the more tools to get a child to engage and make progress, the better IMO.
    fairy78, Sir_Henry and suzyshepster like this.
  14. lizzielh

    lizzielh New commenter

    I don't really understand the 'phonics is the only way' idea. Phonics is the backbone of learning to read with decodable books so that students learn systematically. I have all too often seen children who have been immersed in books that are too complex for them and resort to using mixed methods eg guessing from the shape of a word, initial letters, context. We don't learn to read by imbibing it - it has to be taught systematically.

Share This Page