Welcome to Inclusive Education.


Dyslexia and learning

http://inclusive.tki.org.nz/guides/dyslexia-and-learning/

Dyslexia is common. Approximately one in 10 people experience dyslexia and it is prevalent in most cultures, irrespective of language.

Dyslexia has a significant impact on learning in literacy-related tasks across the curriculum. It can be accompanied by strengths in creativity and big-picture thinking.

This guide focuses on areas for specific support and on whole-class strategies that benefit all students. It includes links to in-depth resources.

Information about dyslexia

Students with dyslexia need support in literacy-learning tasks and thinking strategies. Their strengths may include problem-solving, making connections, enhanced creativity and an ability to see the big picture.

We are told our dyslexic children often become successful when they leave school. Surely we want them to experience success whilst they are there!

A parent

Suggestions and resources

An overview of dyslexia (video)
Dyslexia - so what is it all about?

A short, animated video about dyslexia and how teachers can create classrooms that meet students’ needs and work more effectively for everyone.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Voices from the margins (UK)

An overview of dyslexia
What is dyslexia? (image)
Thumb print
Dyslexia is like a thumb print

“Dyslexia is a word that is used to describe difficulties with language, organisation and short term memory. However, no-one’s dyslexia is the same.”

Dyslexia - so what’s it all about

Source: Steve Ritchie

What is dyslexia?
A definition of dyslexia

Dyslexia is a term used to describe a range of persistent difficulties with aspects of reading, writing and spelling. It may assist with understanding why some students do not make expected progress in these areas despite the teaching and extra support that would be helpful for most other students. By working with the strengths of students, difficulties associated with dyslexia can be reduced.

Source: About Dyslexia, a Ministry of Education resource on TKI Literacy Online
A definition of dyslexia

Resources and downloads

Defining dyslexia

An explanation of the definition of dyslexia by the Ministry of Education website. This information is part of the Dyslexia page from the Literacy online website on TKI.

About dyslexia

A Ministry of Education handbook that provides specific strategies for supporting students in phonological awareness, reading, and writing.

What is dyslexia? Straight talk for busy teachers

Information about teaching students with dyslexia from the 4D website (NZ).

Indications of dyslexia

Dyslexia is usually associated with difficulties in reading and writing, particularly related to phonological awareness. However it can frequently be identified by a range of difficulties in other areas including:

  • auditory and/or visual perception
  • planning and organising
  • short-term memory
  • motor skills
  • social interaction.

When the need to read and write is removed (for example, by using a reader/writer or by working in other modes), students are capable of achieving in the same way as other students.

Indications of dyslexia
Identifying dyslexia (image)
Dyslexia
Information on dyslexia

Find out how to identify students who may have dyslexia in this PDF from the British Dyslexia Association.

"It wasn't until my son was diagnosed as dyslexic that I realised why I had such a rotten time at school."
James Whale, tv and radio presenter (UK)

Source: British Dyslexia Association

Identifying dyslexia

Resources and downloads

Recognising dyslexia

Information from the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand website.

How to support a child with dyslexia

Information for parents and whānau from the Ministry of Education. Support for parents of primary aged children includes: strategies for supporting learning at home, what to expect when starting school, who to talk to, key features of a successful learning programme.

About dyslexia

A Ministry of Education handbook that provides specific strategies for supporting students in phonological awareness, reading, and writing.

What is dyslexia?

Illustrated UK resource for schools and teachers. Includes information on indications of dyslexia and dyscalculia, good practice tips for early childhood, primary and secondary settings, student perspectives and policy recommendations. Developed by the British Dyslexia Association (BDA).

Students describe dyslexia (NZ) (video)
Dyslexia at Kapiti College

In this student-made video, students at Kapiti College describe their personal experiences of dyslexia.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Liam Jennings (NZ)

Students describe dyslexia (NZ)
Animated video of dyslexia (video)
Dyslexia, so what is it all about?

This animated video demonstrates how dyslexia affects young people at school.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Voices from the margins (UK)

Animated video of dyslexia
Areas of difficulty

Dyslexia affects people in different ways and differently depending on contexts. Most students with dyslexia have difficulty with literacy and/or numeracy and many may also need support to process thinking or with self organisation. Difficulties may include:

  • remembering instructions
  • forgetting or not understanding homework
  • avoiding tasks or acting up to conceal difficulties
  • forgetting equipment/not having the appropriate material for a specific class
  • spelling erratically
  • words seeming to move on the page when reading
  • not completing work within a given time
  • frustration and lack of motivation.

Adapted from: Beyond words, a school pack from the British Dyslexia Association

Areas of difficulty
Dyslexia and numeracy (image)
Dyslexia
Dyscalculia

Find out how some students with dyslexia may need support with numeracy in this PDF from the British Dyslexia Association.

Source: British Dyslexia Association

Dyslexia and numeracy

Resources and downloads

Speech by a New Zealand student about the experience of dyslexia

Text taken from a collection of personal perspectives given in a speech; collated by the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand.

Beyond Words: Dyslexia Awareness Week school pack

A booklet for schools about dyslexia, produced by the British Dyslexia Association.

How to support a child with dyslexia

Information for parents and whānau from the Ministry of Education. Support for parents of primary aged children includes: strategies for supporting learning at home, what to expect when starting school, who to talk to, key features of a successful learning programme.

Kara Tointon – "Don’t call me stupid" part one

A BBC documentary (part 1 of 10) in which actress Kara Tointon shares her experience of dyslexia.

Dyslexia – recognition, understanding, action

An information booklet on understanding dyslexia and approaches teachers can take to support students with dyslexia, from the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand.

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Identifying needs and strengths, and accessing support

Get to know the student and take an evidence-based approach to identifying where they need support. Work in partnership with the student, their whānau and those with expertise and experience.

Once identified, it is important that dyslexia is not regarded as a label, but rather as a call for action. Modifying the learning environment will benefit all students. 

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Closed captioning available in player

Suggestions and resources

Sample learner profile (image)
Learner profile
Who am I?

A learner profile can be created in any format including:

  • a document with photos
  • a slide presentation with a series of pictures
  • a video
  • a blog.

Source: Ministry of Education (NZ)

Sample learner profile
Benefits of learner profiles

It’s useful to develop a profile of all of your students, and to use this as the basis of a class profile.

A learner profile tells teachers about students. It sits alongside assessment data. It helps school staff to build relationships with students and to understand things from a student perspective. This can inform planning, classroom layout, timetabling, and supports to enable students to participate and contribute in all classroom learning.

Developing a learner profile means your students can:

  • express who they are
  • address assumptions
  • express their aspirations and passions
  • have a say in what goes on for them.

Senior students may prefer to just have a conversation. Take time to get the student’s views of what will support their learning.

 

Benefits of learner profiles
What to include in a learner profile

The purpose of a learner profile can be agreed by the student, their whānau, and the teacher.

Depending on its purpose, a useful profile (whether an official document or simply inquiry on your part) can include:

  1. important people

  2. cultural connections and experiences

  3. languages spoken

  4. things the student is good at

  5. memorable life experiences

  6. how they like to unwind and relax

  7. likes and interests

  8. dislikes and things they avoid

  9. how they like to learn and what helps

  10. things that make it hard for them to learn

  11. what they do when they need help.

What to include in a learner profile
Surveying students

In the video Student Profiles, Canadian secondary teacher Naryn Searcy describes how she asks students about how they learn most effectively. She also asks students what is important to them beyond school.

She uses this information in her planning:

"I personally do a survey at the beginning of every class every semester, just everything from personal background to their history in the subject area to things they like to do outside of school, usually put a whole bunch of activities down there that we would potentially do in the class and ask them to rank it, you know what would you enjoy doing, what would you not like doing.

So just to get an idea of who is in the classroom to begin with and what they would benefit, or what they want to see in the class, what would work for them."

Source: UDL supporting diversity in BC schools (Canada)

Surveying students
Supporting self-advocacy

Having students create a learner profile for themselves is a great way to have them develop a better and fuller understanding of who they are as learners. In creating their profiles, students can reflect on what motivates and challenges them when learning.

This develops their independence and places them in a better position to self-advocate for the tools, learning materials, and presentation options that can optimise their learning experiences.

Naryn Searcy ;

Source: Student Profiles - UDL supporting diversity in BC schools (Canada)

Supporting self-advocacy

Resources and downloads

Rachel's learner profile (NZ high school)

An example of a secondary student’s learner profile.

Laiza’s transition

An example of a primary school student’s learner profile, developed by the adults around her.

Student profiles

A resource from UDL British Columbia Schools providing information to support developing student profiles. It contains a video with teachers sharing strategies they use to get to know their students each year.

Developing learner profiles

This document provides general support and guidance when developing a learner profile. It includes prompts and questions, along side purpose and benefits for students.

Most effective when used together

Tapping into passions (image)
a ballet dancing year 12 with dyslexia
“Dancing: the most important thing in her life”

Give her only a pencil and you will never see what she is capable of.

Source: Chrissie Butler

Tapping into passions
Dyslexia can be familial (image)
Father and daughter with dyslexia
Dyslexia can run in families

As dyslexia is often hereditary, family members may have had a difficult time at school and their experiences may colour their expectations of the contribution a school can make.

Source: Chrissie Butler

Dyslexia can be familial
Parent knowledge

A parent’s insight into a student’s interests outside school

My son is not great at decoding. Actually he is terrible, but he loves to read using his kindle. He loves to learn and finds ways to learn all the time with his iPad. Recently he got his first paying job – teaching some adults how to use a website and Facebook and got paid $25 an hour. They said they felt he was able to explain how to learn in a non-threatening and understandable way. Could this be because he has had to struggle and knows what helped him to learn?

Parent ;
Parent knowledge
Suggestions for working with parents

Suggestions for working with parents, caregivers, and whānau

  1. Communicate and share information in a meaningful way, demonstrating understanding and support for parents’ concerns.

  2. Value what parents and caregivers have noticed or assessments they have had done outside school.

  3. Involve parents and caregivers in determining strategies to support student learning and well-being.

  4. Work with any programmes or materials they are using at home, to maximise consistency and support for the student.

  5. Develop systems for passing on information about a student’s needs, progress and next steps.

  6. Share information about out-of-school programmes that may help to boost the student’s self-esteem (for example, classes or groups for music, art, debating or sport).

Suggestions for working with parents

Resources and downloads

Members: Dyslexia solution and information providers

Organisations recommended by the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand that provide understanding, tools and skills that enable dyslexic individuals to overcome learning issues and harness their potential.

Family/whānau file

A booklet published by the Ministry of Education to help parents of students with additional needs to brief their child’s school.

Parent perspectives

A range of parent perspectives collated by the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand.

Working as a team

Suggestions for an effective partnership with the learning support coordinator 

  1. Share your concerns, questions, and ideas.

  2. Take an inquiry approach; evaluate assessment data together, and consider possible strategies and approaches.

  3. Meet together with the student and whānau. Take a team approach to planning and providing support.

  4. Find out about other staff members who have experience of teaching students with dyslexia, or a personal experience of dyslexia, who might be happy to advise you.

  5. Ask about recommended resources and online communities.

  6. Discuss screening options.

Working as a team
Assessment support (image)
About dyslexia
About dyslexia: Section 5

Detailed information to support classroom observation and assessment processes are outlined in section 5 of About Dyslexia.

Source: Literacy Online (NZ)

Assessment support
Using e-portfolios to collaborate (NZ) (video)
Timely communication

John Robinson, HoD Learning Support, reflects on the impact of using digital tools to share information about students among staff.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Using e-portfolios to collaborate (NZ)
Teaching as inquiry

Be a learner as well as a teacher

Inquire into and reflect on the impact of your practice and actions.

  1. What is important (and therefore worth spending time on), given where my student is at?

  2. What strategies (evidence-based) are most likely to help my student to learn this?

  3. What has happened as a result of my teaching and what will I need to do next?

Teaching as inquiry
Out-of-school teaching programmes

Many students with dyslexia participate in out-of-school dyslexia support programmes

Having an overview of the different teaching approaches will support more informed discussions with parents and whānau and provide continuity for students.

Out-of-school teaching programmes
OpenDyslexic font

Introduce students with dyslexia to the free, open-source font, OpenDyslexic, which can be downloaded from the Open Dyslexic website.

The OpenDyslexic font has been designed to increase readability for readers with dyslexia.

OpenDyslexic font

Resources and downloads

How to support a child with dyslexia

Information for parents and whānau from the Ministry of Education. Support for parents of primary aged children includes: strategies for supporting learning at home, what to expect when starting school, who to talk to, key features of a successful learning programme.

About dyslexia

A Ministry of Education handbook that provides specific strategies for supporting students in phonological awareness, reading, and writing.

4D 4 dyslexia: The new thinking paradigm

A web space of cohesive and comprehensive dyslexia resources developed by the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand.

Back to top

Supporting key areas of learning and well-being: reading, writing, and spelling

Students who have learning differences associated with dyslexia often experience difficulties with reading, writing and spelling. Early identification of student needs enables educators to plan tailored support.

Listening and speaking are powerful learning modes for students with dyslexia. Provide plenty of discussion opportunities in your classroom.

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Closed captioning available in player

Suggestions and resources

Supporting group work

Many students with dyslexia will benefit from targeted support built into general or small group strategies that build phonological awareness, and reading, writing and spelling skills. These strategies include:

  1. using interactive, paired or shared writing activities, where the writing is co-constructed by a small group of students and discussed orally before it is written

  2. using a headphone splitter, with 2 inputs, to enable two students to listen and follow a print or digital story to build up their reading and letter-sound knowledge

  3. fostering tuakana-teina relationships, where a more expert tuakana (older child) helps and guides the less expert teina (younger child).

Supporting group work
Multi-sensory approach
  1. Teach the names and sounds of letters by having students bring objects from home that begin with that letter sound. Place the objects in a box. Take them out one at a time and discuss them, focusing on the initial letter sound.

  2. Use hoops to identify syllables with one hoop for each syllable. Have the students jump from one hoop to the next as they say each syllable aloud.

  3. Encourage older students to explore rhyme using poems, pop songs and rap, with accompanying dance moves.

  4. Introduce students to read-aloud options or text-to-speech functions that highlight and track the text when it is read aloud.

  5. Use colour-coding to distinguish between roots, affixes, chunks and syllables.

Multi-sensory approach
Supporting reading and writing

Common approaches that have been used to support reading and writing

  1. Teach spelling by building on a student’s strengths and what they know – start with known sound or spelling patterns and develop lists of words that fit into these patterns.

  2. Develop word-recognition strategies by teaching students how many words can be analysed into the parts they are built from. Start with roots, affixes, chunks, syllables and rhymes and use word-part cards to explore possible combinations.

  3. Teach awareness of phonemes (the small distinctive sounds in language) using blending and segmenting, and allow time to guide students.

  4. Develop and display a list of high-frequency words that students with dyslexia can use for easy reference.

  5. Provide extra time.

Supporting reading and writing
Using online tools at Silverstream School (NZ) (video)
Using technology to support independence

Primary teacher Linda Ojala describes how she utilises Reading Eggs and other online tools to support student autonomy in literacy.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Using online tools at Silverstream School (NZ)
Sounds and Words, online resource

Sounds and Words is a resource designed to support teachers and students to learn about phonological awareness and spelling. It can be accessed from the Ministry of Education website, Literacy Online. 

Literacy Online is guided by an inquiry framework, Improving teaching, improving learning. It also builds on the (draft) Literacy Learning Progressions in support of the reading and writing standards.

The Sounds and Words online resource provides support in four areas:

Sounds and Words, online resource

Resources and downloads

Resource teachers of literacy conference 2013: Phonological and morphological awareness workshop handout

A paper by Gail Gillon of the University of Canterbury for the Resource Teachers of Literacy Conference, 2013. It explores linguistic awareness intervention activities for older children struggling with reading and spelling.

About dyslexia

A Ministry of Education handbook that provides specific strategies for supporting students in phonological awareness, reading, and writing.

Improving teaching, improving learning

Sounds and Words is a Literacy Online resource to support teachers and students to learn about phonological awareness and spelling.

Jolly Phonics video

A video introduction to a recommended multi-sensory phonics programme.

Literacy progressions

On this site you will find the reading and writing progressions in child friendly language. These have been put together by New Zealand teachers for teachers and students.

Technology and Design Offered Equal Opportunities for Success

A short multi-media chapter from the article 2020's Learning Landscape: a Retrospective on Dyslexia. The chapter describes how a UDL approach to supporting literacy has unlocked learning for many students. Authors: Dr David Rose and Ge Vue from CAST.

What is dyslexia?

Illustrated UK resource for schools and teachers. Includes information on indications of dyslexia and dyscalculia, good practice tips for early childhood, primary and secondary settings, student perspectives and policy recommendations. Developed by the British Dyslexia Association (BDA).

Utilising text-to-speech tools (video)
Introduce students to alternative ways of accessing text

In this video tutorial, US educator and UDL consultant, Kit Hard explains how to use text-to-speech to access digital text across the curriculum.

View transcript

Source: Kit Hard (US)

Utilising text-to-speech tools
Turning on closed captions (image)
Screen shot showing captions on website
Turn on the closed captions (cc) on YouTube videos

Closed captions (cc) are essential for students with hearing impairment.

They are also a useful literacy tool for second language learners and readers who need additional support.

Visit Media Access Australia for more information.

Source: Department of Conservation (NZ)

Turning on closed captions
Technology tools for literacy

Introduce students to free or inexpensive tools that can remove barriers and provide support for literacy learning.

  • Text-to-speech (TTS) software converts text from a website or digital document into speech by reading written information aloud. It is often highlighted with word tracking.
  • Word prediction software predicts a required word as a student writes, producing a list of words. Explore LetMeType.
  • Explore Readability or use the Reader function on Mac operating systems to access clutter-free web pages.
  • Spell and contextual grammar checkers. Explore Ginger for Chrome.
  • Closed Captions (subtitles). Turn them on when sharing videos with students.
Technology tools for literacy
Laptops to support writing (NZ) (video)
Supporting writing

Sandra Gillies from Onslow College shares how she poses questions directly onto a student’s laptop as they are writing to support them with expanding and organising their writing.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Laptops to support writing (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Popular movies help children improve literacy

A study by the University of Canterbury (NZ) showed that using captions not only significantly improved literacy levels, particularly among Māori and Pasifika students, but also reduced students’ truancy through engagement.

Milly, Molly and the bike ride

Milly, Molly is a series of digital books with a range of built-in supports such as: text highlighting tools, touch a word to hear it read aloud, and the ability to record the reader’s own narration.

2020’s learning landscape: A retrospective on dyslexia

This interactive paper by David Rose and Ge Vue imagines the future of literacy learning by pre-creating the Presidential Address at the International Dyslexia Association Annual Conference in 2020.

MyStudyBar

This is a free floating toolbar for Windows desktops and netbooks that provides a suite of portable open-source applications to support learning.

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Using whole-class strategies to support students with dyslexia, years 1–6

Take a reflective look at your classroom, including your teaching methods, assessment processes, materials and the ways you construct learning tasks. Consider how it works for your students who have dyslexia.

Primary teacher Linda Ojala describes how she talks with students with dyslexia in her class to find out what most effectively supports their learning.

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Closed captioning available in player

Suggestions and resources

Problem-solving at Stonefields School (NZ) (video)
Supporting collaboration and resilience

Support students to develop strategies for "getting out of the pit" when they get stuck in their learning.

View transcript

Source: Stonefields School (NZ)

Problem-solving at Stonefields School (NZ)
Ideas for building confidence
  1. Use your knowledge of students’ cultures, interests and strengths to create opportunities for them to take the lead.

  2. Foster tuakana-teina relationships and create a class culture where students support each other.

  3. Recognise and eliminate situations that students may find difficult or embarrassing because of their physical or cognitive differences.

  4. Feedback success to students’ parents and whānau.

  5. Act quickly on any concerns about a student’s well-being.

  6. Recognise avoidance strategies and provide support and encouragement.

  7. Build on the student’s out-of-school dyslexia programmes.

  8. Make text-to-speech available to all students.

  9. Give ongoing prompts and positive feedback and provide the student with strategies to help them when they get stuck.

  10. Create a culture where students support each other.

Ideas for building confidence
Give students time to succeed (image)
Give students time to succeed
Giving students with dyslexia the time they need to succeed

Consider reducing the quantity rather than the complexity of the learning for students.

Source: Ministry of Education (NZ)

Give students time to succeed
Sharing learning beyond the classroom (NZ) (video)
School TV at Point England

An online school TV station can be a significant motivator for students. 

The TV station provides an authentic audience for students' story telling in a wide variety of media.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Point England School (NZ)

Sharing learning beyond the classroom (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Is my classroom dyslexia aware?

A self assessment to consider the options available to students with dyslexia in your classroom. This checklist includes consideration of resources, environment, time, communication, and classroom culture.

Plus 20 in 2016 - Making good in the classroom

A web page with information from the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand. Included in this information is a diagram – It's not rocket science – that outlines the optimum learning journey for students requiring extra support in reading and writing.

Using visuals and visual timetables (NZ) (video)
Supporting understanding

Linda Ojala describes how she uses visuals alongside text and spoken language to support access to information and increase understanding for all students.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Using visuals and visual timetables (NZ)
Multi-sensory methods (video)
Working to student's strengths

At Southfield School, teachers use multisensory methods to support students with dyslexia in the classroom alongside their peers. 

Dr Kate Saunders (British Dyslexia Association) and Southfield School teachers reflect on the impact of these class-wide strategies for all students.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Creative Education (UK)

Multi-sensory methods
Presentation considerations

Suggestions for presenting content to support access and understanding

  1. Take a multisensory approach – use real experiences, physical activities and manipulables to support understanding.

  2. Provide multiple visual and physical examples of information, using infographics, real objects, images, video and interactives on devices.

  3. Support text with visuals and audio.

  4. Offer digital alongside printed text so that students can personalise it by choosing fonts, font size, screen brightness and digital tools such as glossaries.

  5. Use blogs, wikis, and online tools such as Moodle to bring together different versions of content in one place (for example, a YouTube video, a graphic and some text).

Presentation considerations
Technologies support flexibility (NZ) (video)
Providing options

Offer students information, content and instructions in different ways to support understanding.

Use digital technologies to support independent access to rewindable information students can revisit.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Technologies support flexibility (NZ)
Finding videos with closed captions

How to find YouTube videos with closed captions using a laptop or desktop computer

  1. Search for YouTube and open the home page.

  2. Type search subject (for example “frogs”) into YouTube search bar and press return key.

  3. On left of screen, click the tab called “Filters” and a menu box will open.

  4. Select “subtitles/CC” under the Features list.

  5. Select a video from the selection of filtered videos presented by YouTube.

  6. Watch the selected video with the closed captions turned on to check for accuracy before sharing with students.

  7. Share closed captioned video with students.

Finding videos with closed captions

Resources and downloads

Representation

In this video on the UDL: Supporting diversity in BC schools website, Canadian teachers share some of the ways they prepare learning materials to address diverse student needs in their classrooms. No captions or transcript available.

Creative ways to show what you know

Model and practise creative ways to present information that supports student engagement and understanding. A downloadable list of 101 ways for students and teachers to share ideas and information.

Universal Design for Learning iPad strategies: Text-to-speech

A video introducing text-to-speech to access digital text. Developed by US educator Kit Hard.

Readability: supports clutter-free online reading experiences

A free browser add-on and app that turns any web page into a clean, clutter-free view for reading. It can also store and save articles and pages for later.

UDL guidelines

A coloured-coded overview of the UDL guidelines outlining the three principles and their associated guidelines and checkpoints. Developed by Cast.org

Multiple Means of Representation - Professional Development Resource

A multimedia online resource introducing the UDL principle of Representation. The resource contains videos by David Rose and Grace Meo from CAST, accompanying text, and powerpoint slides. Collated by the Alberta Regional Consortia.

Environments to support thinking (NZ) (video)
Options at St Mary’s School, Mosgiel

Flexible learning environments enable students to adjust and adapt them to meet their needs.

Innovation in reducing distractions can lead to unique solutions.

View transcript

Source: EDtalks (NZ)

Environments to support thinking (NZ)
Collaborative classroom strategies (video)
Dyslexia: Inclusion in the classroom

Practical classroom strategies, including a buddy system, are described.

Part 2 of a UK training resource from the Department of Education.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: educationgovuk (UK)

Collaborative classroom strategies
Suggestions to support organisation

Suggestions for supporting student’s organisation and processing

  1. Label key areas of the classroom and resources with visual and text labels.

  2. Use charts, visual calendars, colour-coded schedules, visible timers and visual cues to increase the predictability of regular activities, transitions between environments and activities, and changes in discussion topics.

  3. Make graphic organisers and flow charts available to support breaking tasks into chunks, and thinking and planning in all curriculum areas.

  4. Highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas and relationships using visuals, mind maps, 3-D manipulatives, outlines, flow charts and real objects.

  5. Give students multiple opportunities to engage with new ideas in a range of contexts.

  6. Allow time for students to think and process before responding in a discussion.

Suggestions to support organisation
Using mind maps (image)
A mind map
Supporting understanding

Model the use of colour, symbols, and images alongside text when using mind maps.

Encourage students to use mind maps to support thinking and organise ideas.

Source: Laurie Sullivan

Using mind maps
Supporting thinking
  1. Highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas and relationships using visuals, mind maps, 3-D manipulatives, outlines, flow charts and real objects.

  2. Give students multiple opportunities to engage with new ideas and concepts.

  3. Provide extra time for students to think and process before needing to respond in a discussion.

  4. Use mind maps to brainstorm ideas and make connections.

  5. Support group and class discussions with visual annotations to prompt later recall of key ideas.

  6. Offer students a variety of graphic organisers and flow charts to support thinking in all curriculum areas.

Supporting thinking

Resources and downloads

Graphic organizers

A collation of free graphic organisers from the Universal Design for Learning toolkit. These include hardcopy, App organisers, Chrome extensions, and computer options.

Dyslexia: Inclusion in the primary classroom – clip 1

The first part of a UK video showing a buddy or paired approach and how alternatives to paper and pencil tasks can overcome reading and writing difficulties.

Graphic Organizers

Advice about how to support students in the effective use of a variety of graphic organisers on the Resources for Teachers website.

Interactives: Geometry 3D shapes

An example of a collection of 3D interactives used to illustrate concepts visually.

An iPad unlocks learning (NZ) (video)
Access and success

For Felix, a student with dyslexia, joining an iPad class has had a significant impact on his learning.

Felix uses the iPad to listen to instructions, text, and emails. He also uses iWordQ to help him with his writing and reading.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

An iPad unlocks learning (NZ)
Options for student expression

Provide options for students to express what they know in a variety of ways

  • Create opportunities where students can personalise learning tasks and build on their knowledge, experience and strengths.
  • Develop success criteria with the students and present it supported by visuals.
  • Structure collaborative activities so that each student knows what they are expected to do.
  • Create opportunities for students to gain confidence in a range of media so that they can select the most appropriate to express and share their learning.
  • Make learning support tools available to all students (text-to-speech, graphic organisers, planning tools, storyboards and so on).
  • Assess understanding and presentation separately.
  • Discuss the best environment for students to work in during exams and assessments.
Options for student expression
Using digital collaborative tools (image)
Google Doc with student comments
Flexible collaboration

Offer students tools such as Google Docs that easily support 24/7 collaboration and timely feedback.

Introduce students to hidden supports and add-ons in Google Docs such as highlighting, word prediction and text-to-speech tools.

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Using digital collaborative tools
Utilise flexible technologies (video)
Explain Everything

A student describes how her class uses the app, Explain Everything, to share ideas and support working together.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Gina Hamelin

Utilise flexible technologies
Supporting success in assessments

Discuss with students what support they need to demonstrate their understanding in assessments.

Consider:

  1. possible barriers hidden in the physical environment, for example: unfamiliar layout of room, lighting, temperature

  2. possible barriers hidden in the resources and materials, for example: cluttered presentation, hard-to-read diagrams, unclear layout, hard-copies only

  3. approaches to managing time allocations such as calendar tools and visual timers

  4. approaches to managing anxiety

  5. approaches to maintaining concentration

  6. negotiating breaks

  7. use of digital technologies such as text-to-speech and predictive text

  8. pre-teaching specific assessment/exam skills, such as how to approach multiple choice questions

Supporting success in assessments

Resources and downloads

Creative ways to show what you know

Model and practise creative ways to present information that supports student engagement and understanding. A downloadable list of 101 ways for students and teachers to share ideas and information.

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Using whole-class strategies to support students with dyslexia, years 7–13

Take a reflective look at your classroom, including your teaching methods, assessment processes, materials and the ways you construct learning tasks. Consider how it works for your students with dyslexia.

Students and teachers discuss the impact of dyslexia on learning in a secondary context. They highlight effective whole-class strategies that can be used across all learning areas. 

Source: Education not Limited (UK)

No captions or transcript available

Suggestions and resources

Valuing difference (video)
Dyslexia: An Unwrapped Gift

Students and young adults with dyslexia talk about how recognising and valuing their strengths and the different ways they learn turned around their approaches to school and life in general.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Silva Productions (UK)

Valuing difference
Suggestions to foster confidence
  1. Ask students how they like to learn.

  2. Use students’ interests and strengths as a basis for teaching.

  3. Recognise and eliminate situations that students may find difficult or embarrassing because of their physical or cognitive differences.

  4. Feedback success to students’ parents and whānau.

  5. Pick up quickly on any concerns about a student’s well-being.

  6. Recognise avoidance strategies and provide support and encouragement.

  7. Give students extra time to complete work.

  8. Make learning supports, such as text-to-speech and word prediction, available to all students.

  9. Enable students to show their strengths and contribute their ideas in collaborative work, without the challenge of lengthy writing tasks.

  10. Give ongoing prompts and positive feedback, and provide the student with strategies to help them when they get stuck.

Suggestions to foster confidence
Demonstrating empathy (NZ) (video)
Increasing knowledge of dyslexia

A student from Kapiti College describes the impact of dyslexia on his learning and self-esteem. He then reflects on what has made a difference for him and makes some recommendations for teachers.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Liam Jennings (NZ)

Demonstrating empathy (NZ)
Checking students’ well-being (image)
Bored girl
Notice and act

"Even more debilitating than having difficulty with basic skills can be an accompanying feeling of failure or low-self worth". 

Teachers need to be alert for signs that a student is feeling bad about themselves as a learner or that their contributions are not valued.

Discuss observations with the wider team.

Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand

Source: Adreson

Checking students’ well-being

Resources and downloads

Is my classroom dyslexia aware?

A self assessment to consider the options available to students with dyslexia in your classroom. This checklist includes consideration of resources, environment, time, communication, and classroom culture.

Plus 20 in 2016 - Making good in the classroom

A web page with information from the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand. Included in this information is a diagram – It's not rocket science – that outlines the optimum learning journey for students requiring extra support in reading and writing.

Overcoming dyslexia, finding passion: Piper Otterbein at TEDxYouth@CEHS

Piper Otterbein, a senior student at Cape Elizabeth High School in the US, talks about her experience of dyslexia and discovering her strengths in 2013.

Using a range of multimedia (video)
Seek out a variety of content

Offer students learning materials in a range of different media.

When using videos, consider using videos that have closed captions, where the accurate narration also appears like subtiltes at the bottom of the video. Visit this Find closed captions on Youtube blog post for more information.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Vi Hart (US)

Using a range of multimedia
Providing information in multiple ways

Provide students with multiple ways to engage with information

  1. Present content in more than one way.

  2. Support text with visuals and audio.

  3. Use digital technologies to create options for students.

  4. Create digital rather than only hard copy content and information. This enables students to personalise how they access. They can listen to it, add digital sticky notes, or sync it to online calendars and organise it in ways that work for them.

Providing information in multiple ways
Ideas for presenting content

Ideas for presenting content in more than one way to support understanding

  1. Take a multisensory approach – use real experiences, physical activities, manipulables, photos, graphics and video alongside text or spoken content.

  2. Present digital rather than printed text so that students can personalise it and use tools such as text-to speech.

  3. Use blogs, wikis, and online tools such as Moodle to bring together different versions of content in one place (for example, a YouTube video, a graphic and some text).

  4. Turn on the closed captions on videos.

  5. Avoid using handouts or workbooks that can’t be adjusted.

  6. Make instructions, demonstrations or key content rewindable and accessible 24/7.

Ideas for presenting content
Vary approaches (image)
A list of ways to show what you know
Be creative in presenting information to students

Model and practise creative ways to present information that support engagement and understanding.

Source: For the teachers blog

Vary approaches
Finding videos with closed captions

How to find YouTube videos with closed captions using a laptop or desktop computer

  1. Search for YouTube and open the home page.

  2. Type search subject (for example “frogs”) into YouTube search bar and press return key.

  3. On left of screen, click the tab called “Filters” and a menu box will open.

  4. Select “subtitles/CC” under the Features list.

  5. Select a video from the selection of filtered videos presented by YouTube.

  6. Watch the selected video with the closed captions turned on to check for accuracy before sharing with students.

  7. Share closed captioned video with students.

Finding videos with closed captions

Resources and downloads

Popular movies help children improve literacy

A study by the University of Canterbury (NZ) showed that using captions not only significantly improved literacy levels, particularly among Māori and Pasifika students, but also reduced students’ truancy through engagement.

The MindShift guide to digital games and learning

A guide to support educators using digital games for learning. From the page access the guide a downloadable PDF or the blog posts by Jordan Shapiro that it is based on.

Self management at Fraser High (NZ) (video)
Managing myself

A student with dyslexia at Fraser High School reflects on managing her learning. (This is one section of a longer video.)

View transcript

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Self management at Fraser High (NZ)
Ideas for supporting concentration

Provide options to support concentration and short-term memory

  1. Monitor and moderate the classroom for visual and auditory distractions.

  2. Present information in a range of ways over an extended period of time (for example, a week) to help students to retain information, build their understanding, and stay stimulated and focused.

  3. Discuss the effectiveness of the classroom with students and make modifications and remove barriers where needed.

  4. Make effective use of visual prompts and cues to support understanding and navigation in online environments.

  5. Make hyperlinks to background knowledge or previous learning to increase connections.

  6. Encourage students to adapt the environment to meet their needs by, for example, wearing headphones, moving to a quiet working environment or taking a walk to support their thinking.

Ideas for supporting concentration
Suggestions to support planning

Suggestions for supporting students’ planning and organising

  1. Use charts, visual calendars, colour-coded schedules, visible timers and cues to increase the predictability of regular activities and transitions.

  2. Encourage students to use their mobile devices to schedule alerts and reminders for regular and novel events and task deadlines.

  3. Highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas and relationships using visuals, mind maps, 3-D manipulatives, outlines, flow charts and real objects.

  4. Model and make available graphic organisers and flow charts to support planning and thinking in all curriculum areas.

  5. Break tasks and lengthy assignments into small manageable parts. Schedule workflow using Trello to organise what needs to be done and when.

  6. Provide options so that students can submit work online.

Suggestions to support planning
Using visual timers (video)
Using visual timers

For students with dyslexia, a visual representation of time passing can help support personal time management.

Access the Time Timer Apps, or visit the link in the resources section, to find timers that might be useful for your students.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Time Timer (US)

Using visual timers
Supporting thinking
  1. Highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas and relationships using visuals, mind maps, 3-D manipulatives, outlines, flow charts and real objects.

  2. Give students multiple opportunities to engage with new ideas and concepts.

  3. Provide extra time for students to think and process before needing to respond in a discussion.

  4. Use mind maps to brainstorm ideas and make connections.

  5. Support group and class discussions with visual annotations to prompt later recall of key ideas.

  6. Offer students a variety of graphic organisers and flow charts to support thinking in all curriculum areas.

Supporting thinking

Resources and downloads

Free technology toolkit for UDL in all classrooms

A collection of free tools and resources, aligned to Universal Design for Learning approach, that support students in their learning.

Graphic organizers

A wide range of graphic organisers from Education Oasis that can be printed and some that can be filled out online. These are also useful as a starting point for creating students’ own designs.

Personalising learning checklist

Optimise the environment for personalised learning

Identify and minimise potential barriers to students successfully demonstrating their understanding.

  1. Create opportunities where students can personalise learning tasks and build on their knowledge, experience, and strengths.

  2. Develop success criteria with students and present it supported by visuals.

  3. Encourage independent and collaborative work in different formats, such as mind maps, videos, photos, podcasts, and diagrams.

  4. Provide opportunities for students to gain confidence using a range of media so they can select the most appropriate to express their learning.

  5. Make learning support tools available to all students (text-to-speech, graphic organisers, planning tools, storyboards and so on).

  6. Use collaborative, peer mentoring, and cooperative learning models.

  7. Provide alternatives to multiple-choice tests.

  8. Provide support in assessments, for example, a reader-writer or assistive technologies.

  9. Assess understanding and presentation separately.

Personalising learning checklist
Thinking aloud at Onslow College (NZ) (video)
Helping students decode difficult words

Sandra Gillies, Onslow College, explains the importance of thinking aloud to model the process of decoding. Sandra suggests that thinking aloud helps students to connect with their own background knowledge and build meaning.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Thinking aloud at Onslow College (NZ)
Ways to show what you know (image)
A list of ways to show what you know
Creative ways to show what you know

Offer students a range of options and supports to enable them to confidently and creatively express their thinking.

Visit the blog post, Creative ways to show what you know for more ideas.

Source: For the teachers’ blog

Ways to show what you know
Benefits of text-to-speech (video)
Impact of the Missouri Text-to-Speech Pilot Program

Students describe the difference that having access to text-to-speech has made to their achievement.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: National Center on Aim (US)

Benefits of text-to-speech
Supporting success in assessments

Discuss with students what support they need to demonstrate their understanding in assessments.

Consider:

  1. possible barriers hidden in the physical environment, for example: unfamiliar layout of room, lighting, temperature

  2. possible barriers hidden in the resources and materials, for example: cluttered presentation, hard-to-read diagrams, unclear layout, hard-copies only

  3. approaches to managing time allocations such as calendar tools and visual timers

  4. approaches to managing anxiety

  5. approaches to maintaining concentration

  6. negotiating breaks

  7. use of digital technologies such as text-to-speech and predictive text

  8. pre-teaching specific assessment/exam skills, such as how to approach multiple choice questions

  9. identify whether SAC application needs to be made for NCEA.

Supporting success in assessments

Resources and downloads

Universal Design for Learning iPad strategies: Text-to-speech

A video introducing text-to-speech to access digital text. Developed by US educator Kit Hard.

MyStudyBar

This is a free floating toolbar for Windows desktops and netbooks that provides a suite of portable open-source applications to support learning.

Free technology toolkit for UDL in all classrooms

A collection of free tools and resources, aligned to Universal Design for Learning approach, that support students in their learning.

Webinar for 9/19/11 support

A group of US high school students describe the positive impact text-to-speech technologies have made to their independence, their confidence as learners, and to their increasing achievement. Video with closed captions.

Technology and Design Offered Equal Opportunities for Success

A short multi-media chapter from the article 2020's Learning Landscape: a Retrospective on Dyslexia. The chapter describes how a UDL approach to supporting literacy has unlocked learning for many students. Authors: Dr David Rose and Ge Vue from CAST.

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