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Tutoring Learners with Dyslexia

In order to really help learners’ with dyslexia, you need to understand what exactly dyslexia is. Dyslexia is a learning disability that causes an individual to struggle with reading and writing. It can also affect other areas of a person’s life such as with memory skills, focusing and organization. When you understand how to teach a learner with dyslexia, you can help to improve their self-awareness as well as their cognitive skills by using teaching methods that include a multi-sensory approach. This can help them, not only in the classroom, but in other areas of their lives as well. Learners with dyslexia differ significantly in their ability to give oral presentations, partake in discussions, write letters, numbers, and paragraphs, spelling and have difficulty working in noisy or disorderly settings.

The following tips may help to improve your tutoring as well as their performance:

If you are helping the learner with a project – Outline the task before you start.  Think it through and figure out what steps to take, what is needed and how much time it will take to complete. Break a big project up into smaller and less intimidating sections.  Prioritise the work, not only by what is due, but also by what requires more or less time.

During a lesson:

  • Provide step-by-step instructions
  • Arrange work from the easiest to the hardest. Early success keeps learners motivated to work!
  • Present new or difficult information in small parts and complete each section in steps
  • A regular review of previous lessons can help learners connect new and old information
  • Don’t fall into the ‘no homework’ trap.  Instead, use any free time to do revision or begin work that is due later
  • Oftentimes, asking the learner to repeat directions and information in their own words can help them understand what is required of them. This is also a vital part for recalling information at a later stage when you are not necessarily there to assist
  • Combine verbal and visual information. Studies show that dyslexic learners are more likely to understand and retain visual information than information that is verbal or written
  • Use visual prompts. Put symbols or bullets next to questions or activities that are worth more marks. This helps learners to spend the right amount of time on each question
  • For learners who have difficulty with handwriting, the response mode should be changed to include a variety of answering methods such as underlining, selecting from multiple choices, sorting, or marking
  • Reduce the amount of copying. Instead, ask the learner to repeat what has been read or heard in his or her own words
  • Have learners turn lined paper vertically for math. This helps to keep numbers in the appropriate columns

Lastly, patience and encouragement is key! Build up a level of communication between you and your learner to improve your understanding of one another. Communication and understanding will provide much-needed encouragement, increase work performance and to get the most out of your lessons together.

Do you have any thoughts or tips to share when tutoring a learner with Dyslexia?

Written By Kristin Naude – Brightsparkz Tutor – Maths Literacy, English and Business Studies Tutor

Tutor Tips – How to Make the Most of Your Tutoring Session

How to Make the Most of Your Tutoring Sessions:

As tutors, we are accustomed to the individual needs of each learner. We know that each learner understands and retains information in unique ways. As such, it is important to know how to make the most of each tutoring session. In this way, we are able to get the most use of the time provided, for the learner as well as ourselves.

Prior to the first session, the following checklist can be helpful:
• Arrange a meeting with the learner’s parent(s) to determine the goals of the learner and the parents
• Find out why the learner requires a tutor
• Become familiar with the learner’s interests
• Diagnose the learner’s difficulties (if any)

Having a lesson plan and goals can be vital for saving time and making the most of each session:
• Set goals for the session based on the learner’s development
• Create an instructional lesson
• Provide resource materials and exercises
• Construct a review activity to check on goals achieved and previously taught work
• Construct a suitable set of exercises (homework) for the student to complete before the next tutoring session

When conducting the lesson:
• Be on time!
• Create a positive environment for you and the learner
• Sit beside the learner and not across
• Start with a review of the objectives and go over information from previous sessions
• Discuss the lesson plan and then involve the learner as soon as possible
• When checking work, let the learner make the corrections with your guidance. Avoid answering for the learner wherever possible
• Listen carefully to the learner’s explanations and responses
• Keep your learner informed about his or her progress during the session and regularly make sure that the learner understands what you are teaching
• Making the lesson fun will improve learner involvement and promote learning
• End the tutoring session on a positive note!
If you have any further suggestions or would like to add some information on feel free to leave a comment below.

Written by Kristin Naude – BrightSparkz Maths and English Tutor