Effective Classroom Accommodations for Dyslexia

dyslexia accommodations

Dyslexia Accommodations: Materials

Simplified reading materials play a vital role in addressing the specific learning needs of dyslexic students, making educational content more accessible, understandable, and engaging for them. These materials are an essential component of supporting dyslexic students in the classroom and helping them succeed academically. Examples of ways reading materials can be simplified include:

Clear Formatting

When it comes to dyslexia, not all fonts and formatting styles are created equal. Choosing sans-serif fonts such as Arial, Calibri, or Century Gothic increases readability for students with dyslexia and are preferred to serif fonts such as Times New Roman. Additionally, using larger font sizes (12-14 pt), increased line spacing and monospaced fonts are ways to modify formatting to help dyslexic students. 

Simplified Writing

Simplified writing for dyslexic students can take many forms. Using simplified writing as an accommodation for dyslexia could include modifications such as:

  • Shorter sentences and paragraphs
  • Simplified vocabulary
  • Chunking large blocks of text into smaller blocks

Audio Recordings or Text-to-Speech

Audio recordings allow students to listen to written information while following along with the text. Similarly, text-to-speech tools read the text aloud to the student. This dyslexia accommodation may not always be available, but many textbooks come with audio or online versions that may include read-aloud. 


Highlighting may include modifications such as using bold or underline for key points in written information, using a highlight feature, or providing a glossary of important terms. Highlighting is used in many textbooks, but for some additional materials it may not be readily available. 

Dyslexia Accommodations: Schedule

Managing schedules and time effectively for students with dyslexia is crucial to create a supportive learning environment. By implementing some of these classroom accommodations for dyslexia, teachers are fostering a more supportive work environment for their students. Here are some tips for teachers to consider:

Extended Time

Extended time for assignments is a common accommodation for students with dyslexia. Students with dyslexia may need additional time to read, comprehend, and respond on written assignments or tests. Using extended time as a dyslexia accommodation helps ensure students are able to complete assignments without the additional pressure of a short time limit. 


Students with dyslexia can become fatigued or overwhelmed during extended periods of reading or writing. By dividing assignments or projects into smaller, more manageable tasks, dyslexic students may find it easier to handle smaller portions of work over time.

Prioritize Important Tasks

This one is less of an accommodation and more of a strategy to teach to students with dyslexia. Help students prioritize their assignments and tasks. Teaching them to identify what needs to be done first can be especially useful for time management.

Explicit Instructions

Clearly communicate instructions and expectations for assignments and tasks. Dyslexic students may struggle with processing verbal instructions, so providing written instructions can be helpful. Try to provide instructions using clear, simple language and vocabulary when possible. 

Visual Supports

Visual supports as a dyslexia accommodation can take many forms. Common examples of visual supports include flowcharts, diagrams, or graphic organizers to aid understanding and organization of information. Also, visual time management tools, such as timers or digital calendars, can help students allocate their time effectively. 

Dyslexia Accommodations: Organization

Organizing work for dyslexic students is essential for helping them manage their tasks effectively. Remember that organization strategies need to be personalized to suit each student’s unique needs and preferences. By teaching effective organization techniques and providing ongoing support, teachers can empower dyslexic students to manage their work successfully. Here are some practical tips and strategies to assist dyslexic students in organizing their work:

Keep a Planner

Encourage dyslexic students to use a daily or weekly planner to keep track of assignments, due dates, and important events. Using this, dyslexic students can write down important things they need to do and when they need to be done to help with organization. 

Task Checklist

Teach students to create task checklists. Breaking down assignments into smaller, manageable steps and checking them off as completed can provide a sense of accomplishment and reduce feelings of being overwhelmed.

Prepare in Advance

Encourage students to prepare in advance for upcoming assignments or exams. Getting all the necessary materials together ahead of time, as well as a quiet, organized place to work, can help reduce last-minute stress. 

Color Coding

Implement a color-coding system to mark different subjects. For example, keep all items related to math in a blue section, language arts in green, and science in yellow. This makes it easy to see which things are related and can increase organization skills. 

Prioritize Tasks

Help students understand the difference between urgent and less important tasks. This helps students determine which things they should finish first and which can wait. Prioritizing tasks ensures students don’t run out of time for what really matters. 

Dyslexia Accommodations: Instructions 

When giving instructions to students with dyslexia, there are several classroom accommodations or strategies you can consider. By using these strategies, teachers can make instructions more accessible and easier to understand for dyslexic students, which supports their academic growth. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Breaking down instructions into clear, sequential steps is a great way to accommodate students with dyslexia. This helps dyslexic students process and follow directions more easily. For example, say, “First, read the passage. Then, answer the questions.”

Use Simple Language

When teaching dyslexic students, keep your language clear and straightforward. Avoid complex vocabulary or long sentences. Use words and phrases that are age-appropriate and match the student’s reading level.

Highlight Keywords

Emphasizing key words or phrases by speaking them with more emphasis, writing them on the board, or using bold or underline text is a great strategy to use in the classroom. This helps draw attention to the most important information.

Provide Examples

Offer concrete examples to illustrate the task or concept. Visual aids, demonstrations, or real-life scenarios can make instructions more understandable. For instance, if you’re teaching math, show a step-by-step example of how to solve a similar problem. Or, for a writing assignment, show a previously completed paper covering a different topic. 

Allow for Questions

Encourage dyslexic students to ask questions when they need clarification. Make sure there is time for questions before students begin their assignments, and also keep yourself available for support when assignments are in progress. An open and supportive environment for questions can boost their confidence and understanding.

Dyslexia Accommodations: Assignments 

It’s crucial to offer accommodations to students with dyslexia when assigning tasks because it levels the playing field and makes learning fair for everyone. Accommodations for classroom assignments help dyslexic students participate fully and show what they know. By tailoring assignments to their needs, teachers give these students an equal chance to excel just like their classmates. Some ways to provide accommodations for classroom assignments include:

Grade Content, Not Spelling

When evaluating assignments for students with dyslexia, focus on the content and subject matter, rather than spelling and grammatical errors. Dyslexic students often struggle with these areas and putting the focus on content instead of spelling can help boost their confidence. 

Provide Examples

A great accommodation for dyslexic students is to include clear and concrete examples in the assignment instructions. Demonstrating what is expected can help dyslexic students better understand and complete the task.

Extend Time/Deadlines

Another common assignment accommodation is allowing dyslexic students additional time to complete assignments when needed. Extra time can reduce stress and allow them to focus on the quality of their work rather than rushing through it.

Provide a Separate Room

Background noise can be very distracting to students with dyslexia when they are trying to decode and comprehend written language. When possible, offer a quiet, distraction-free space for students with dyslexia to work on assignments or tests. This can help them concentrate and minimize anxiety. 

Read Aloud

For some subjects, such as math or science, read test questions aloud to students. This is typically done in a small group or one-on-one environment. Read aloud allows students to access the test or assignment equally to their peers and demonstrate their knowledge. 


Schedule regular meetings or check-ins to monitor the progress of dyslexic students on their assignments. Offer guidance, provide feedback, answer questions, and address any difficulties they might be facing.

Dyslexia Accommodations Checklist and Tips

In addition to the strategies and accommodations mentioned above, there are several other ways to support dyslexic students in the school setting. Additional tips and strategies you may want to try could include:

Multimodal Learning

Multimodal learning, or multisensory learning, engages multiple senses in the learning process. This type of learning is beneficial to all students, but is very helpful for students with dyslexia. Multimodal learning incorporates visual aids, tactile materials, auditory materials, and hands-on activities to help students retain information. 

Parent Involvement

Maintaining open communication with parents or caregivers is very important for supporting students with dyslexia. Making parents aware of the accommodations their child receives and ensuring they carryover these supports at home is crucial for student success.

Celebrate Achievements

Recognize and celebrate the accomplishments and progress of dyslexic students, no matter how small. This can be as simple as a quick “you’re doing great!” or “I can see you’re working really hard” when reviewing assignments with students. Or, for others, more concrete things such as extended time for a fun activity might be more meaningful. Positive reinforcement can motivate students to keep pushing forward.

Peer Support

It is very important to foster a supportive classroom environment where peers understand and respect the needs of their dyslexic classmates. This ensures that students with dyslexia feel comfortable asking for support when they need it without fear of judgment. 

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Many students with dyslexia receive support from a myriad of professionals in schools. It is important that everyone on the child’s team, such as teachers, psychologists, speech-language pathologists, counselors, and other specialists work together in their best interest.

Importance of an Inclusive Learning Environment

Providing an inclusive learning environment for dyslexic students is crucial as it ensures that all students have the opportunity to learn and excel, regardless of their learning differences. Inclusion helps boost the self-esteem and confidence of dyslexic students, making them feel valued and capable. It prepares all students for a diverse, real-world future and reduces the stigma surrounding learning differences. By accommodating the unique needs of dyslexic students, inclusive classrooms lead to improved academic performance and foster empathy and understanding among peers, creating a more supportive and enriching educational experience for everyone.

Using Forbrain to Help with Dyslexia

Forbrain is an auditory feedback headset designed to improve speech and language skills, making it a useful tool for individuals with dyslexia. Forbrain can help individuals with dyslexia by aiding auditory processing, improving attention and focus, improving speech production, and building confidence. Forbrain can be incorporated into various educational and therapeutic programs for students with dyslexia. For more information on how Forbrain can be used with dyslexic students, please see this page. 

Final Words

Using effective classroom accommodations for dyslexia is crucial. These accommodations make learning fair for everyone and help dyslexic students fully participate in class. They level the playing field and empower students to succeed. These strategies include materials that suit their needs, flexible schedules, and clear instructions, ensuring an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all. Parents, educators, and healthcare professionals play a vital role in the success of dyslexic students. By using the tips shared in this article, you can make a significant difference in these students’ lives.


Accommodations for students with dyslexia. International Dyslexia Association. (2020b, April 1). https://dyslexiaida.org/accommodations-for-students-with-dyslexia/  

Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia. (n.d.). Accommodations for Dyslexia. https://www.mtsu.edu/dyslexia/documents/publications/accomodation_for_dyslexia.pdf  

Natalie Fitzgerald

Natalie is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA. She earned her Master's degree in speech and hearing sciences at the University of North Carolina. Natalie has worked with children of 1-21 years of age and has experience with a wide variety of speech and language disorders such as articulation and apraxia, fluency, expressive and receptive language, and AAC.