Dyslexia Teaching Strategies: Effective Tips and Methods

Dyslexia Teaching Strategies

Dyslexia affects approximately 20% of the population, and the use of specialized, individualized teaching strategies can help these individuals overcome academic challenges and excel. 

Here, we’ll explore evidence-based teaching strategies and methods tailored to specifically support students with dyslexia. I’ll share effective tips for working with children with dyslexia based on my professional experience as a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist. 

How Does Dyslexia Affect Students?

By definition, students with Dyslexia have trouble reading as a result of difficulties identifying speech sounds and how they relate to letters and words. Individuals with dyslexia process language differently in the brain than others. 

Having dyslexia is associated with the following impacts: 

  • Social and emotional impacts. Children with dyslexia may have anxiety, low self-concept and low self-esteem compared to those without the reading disorder. 
  • Delayed academic progress. Having dyslexia often causes students to struggle to keep up with peers to maintain academic progress within their grade.   
  • Reading comprehension difficulties. Difficulties decoding and poor reading accuracy often cause a student to have comprehension problems. 
  • Executive functioning deficits. Dyslexia is associated with reduced executive functioning skills, such as time management, organization, planning, and initiating tasks.
  • Trouble with spelling and writing. Having dyslexia makes it hard for students to break down words into sounds when spelling them. Students may confuse letters that sound alike or mix up the order of letters. 
  • Speech and language disorders. Delayed speech, pronunciation difficulties, and reduced vocabulary have been linked to dyslexia. 
  • Weaknesses in learning math. An estimated 60% of individuals with dyslexia have difficulty learning math. This is due to their reduced working memory, processing speed, and retrieval of information.      

Teaching Strategies for Students with Dyslexia

To effectively support students with dyslexia, teachers and other professionals can utilize various dyslexia teaching strategies tailored to fit their needs. Here are some practical tips and methods based on my professional experience: 

Use Multisensory Approaches to Teaching

A top teaching strategy for dyslexia is to employ multisensory learning techniques. This approach engages multiple senses in the student to improve their engagement during reading-related tasks, reinforcing learning and memory.

Teachers can incorporate activities involving touch, movement, sight, and sound. One approach with this multisensory methodology is Orton Gillingham. Several reading programs are available that are based on Orton Gillingham principles, such as:

Example: When teaching spelling, I use the Simultaneous Oral Spelling (SOS) method, which follows the Orton Gillingham multisensory approach. I call out a word and the student is asked to repeat the word, then spell the word out with their finger or tap out the sounds in the word. The student then says each letter or sound as they write the word. This helps students build phonological awareness skills through the use of visual, auditory, and motor channels. 

Provide Explicit Instruction

Students with Dyslexia can benefit from the use of Explicit Instruction (EI). When used as a teaching strategy for reading, EI involves providing the student with clear learning objectives and breaking down complex concepts into concrete, sequential steps that teach the critical elements of reading. 

Key elements of explicit instruction are: 

  • Modeling new skills
  • Providing several opportunities for the student to practice
  • Presenting structured opportunities to review skills and engage in continuous practice 

To use this dyslexia teaching method, teachers must have a strong understanding of key reading terms, such as: consonant blend (two or more consonants together, each retaining its sound) and consonant digraph (two consonants together that stand for one sound, such as “ch”). 

When I teach these terms, it allows students with dyslexia to learn the rules of spelling in a concrete, systematic manner that helps them grasp new concepts more effectively.   

Incorporate Structured and Predictable Routines

Providing dyslexic students with clear, predictable routines and structure can help them stay organized and feel prepared, confident, and comforted.

Within the learning environment, teachers can establish a predictable schedule for completing activities. This can help reduce anxiety and allow the student to focus on learning. 

I’ve found success in using a consistent daily schedule that includes designated times for reading, writing, and other activities. These routines provide students with dyslexia a sense of predictability and stability, since they can struggle with anxiety. 

They also improve the students’ initiation of tasks, which due to their executive functioning deficits, is helpful in getting them engaged in learning activities. 

Use Visual Aids and Manipulatives

One of the most effective dyslexia teaching techniques is to use visual aids and manipulatives to help students visualize abstract concepts and make concepts more concrete. These include tools such as:

  • Visual schedules that the teacher reads out loud to prepare the students for the day
  • Calendars depicting what activities or concepts will be taught 
  • Graphic organizers and charts that allow students to organize information into a way that helps them understand (such as writing the sequence of a story to help them remember it) 
  • Concrete materials such as letter tiles, cubes, sound walls, and word walls. 

I use phonics cue cards (also called phonogram cards) that show the sound, images associated with the sound, and a picture of the mouth in the position it appears when making the sound. These help students understand how to articulate a sound and develop their phonological awareness skills to facilitate their reading and spelling abilities.    

Provide Frequent Opportunities for Practice

Providing ample opportunities for students to practice concepts and review learned concepts helps reinforce learning to facilitate mastery. Repetition of concepts is a dyslexia teaching method that helps solidify the neural pathways to improve the automaticity of reading.

Repetition is key when teaching dyslexic learners, because they often experience short and long term memory deficits. During instruction, I frequently repeat and review concepts, and ask students to repeatedly practice applying them. 

Repetition and frequent practice opportunities can benefit students with dyslexia by:

  • Increasing confidence 
  • Strengthening connections in the brain responsible for learning and reading
  • Improving speed 

Create a Collaborative Environment

Among the most effective dyslexia and teaching strategies is to encourage peer support and collaboration. This can foster a sense of belonging, and promote social interaction among students with dyslexia who may be experiencing social and emotional struggles. 

I’ve found that working together with peers, such as within groups, can boost the student’s motivation and confidence when tackling learning activities. 

For example, students with dyslexia can work collaboratively in small groups with classmates to complete cooperative learning activities. This might include playing literacy-based games or engaging in activities such as matching letter tiles to spell a given set of words.  

Integrate Assistive Technology

Assistive technology tools can help students with dyslexia to be able to more effectively access and comprehend written material. 

Tools for dyslexia include: 

  • Text-to-speech software
  • Speech recognition software
  • Specialized fonts such as large print
  • Reading pens

Forbrain, an auditory stimulation headset, is another assistive technology tool that can help students with dyslexia. Forbrain aims to improve the student’s auditory processing, attention, and communication skills by amplifying sounds as the student engages in tasks such as dyslexia interventions. 

I believe it’s important to take advantage of assistive technology tools both to improve students’ performance and to provide them with compensatory tools they can continue to use to overcome difficulties associated with their dyslexia. 

For example, providing a student with dyslexia access to an audiobook allows him or her to listen to the text while attempting to read along. This can help promote independence and improve the student’s comprehension of the text. 

Teach Phonics Systematically 

Teaching phonics through systematic instruction can help students with dyslexia better understand the relationship between sounds and letters. Strengthening these skills can improve the student’s decoding and spelling skills. 

Examples of phonics-based instructional programs are: 

  • SPIRE (Sequential, Phonics, Instruction, Remediation, and Enrichment) 
  • Phonics Pathways
  • Reading Mastery
  • Sound Reading System
  • Hooked on Phonics
  • Lexia Core5

Explicit instruction of phonics (the process of matching letters to sounds) taught in a slow, structured manner helps a student with dyslexia build a strong foundation for reading. The student can then progressively develop more advanced reading and writing skills. 

Using Forbrain to Help Teachers Navigate Students with Dyslexia

Forbrain is an auditory stimulation headset designed to improve auditory processing and communication skills. By incorporating Forbrain into instruction with dyslexic students, teachers may make instruction more effective. 

By wearing Forbrain during instruction, students receive auditory feedback through the use of bone conduction technology. The sound of the student’s own voice is transmitted back to them via the temporal bones. According to Forbrain, this retrains the brain’s auditory feedback loop. 

The auditory feedback that students receive while wearing Forbrain during instruction can also help improve attention, speech clarity, and language processing. Students may be able to more easily understand and retain spoken information and instructions due to Forbrain’s claim to improve the brain’s ability to process auditory information. 

Success Stories: Dyslexia Teaching Strategies with Forbrain 

One of the best ways to understand the potential impact of using Forbrain with students with dyslexia is to read first-hand success stories from others. These testimonials show how Forbrain can be used as an effective teaching strategy for dyslexia when used during instruction. 

Mother of a Girl with Reading Difficulties

Jacquelin reported that her daughter used to read quickly, without any pause and in a monotone voice. She began using Forbrain and expressed, “I have seen tremendous improvement in her reading comprehension and reading rhythm, especially.” Jacquelin states that “now that she has the headset on she can actually hear how she sounds and has made great strides in slowing down and reading.” She also reported improvements in her daughter’s comprehension skills. 

Father of a Boy with Dyslexia

One parent expressed that his 10-year-old son, who has dyslexia, began using Forbrain. He was reportedly able to summarize written text and answer the questions more easily. The parent reported that Forbrain appeared to make his son feel as if someone was reading a book to him when he was wearing the headset.  

Final Words

By using specialized teaching strategies for dyslexia students, teachers can significantly enhance the academic success and overall well-being of the students. 

These individualized strategies include incorporating multisensory learning approaches, utilizing assistive technology, creating a collaborative learning environment, and integrating tools such as Forbrain. Through this, teachers can create an environment where students can thrive when receiving reading instruction.

Educators working with students who have dyslexia should consider implementing the dyslexia teaching strategies reviewed here to facilitate these students reaching their full potential. 


Bazen, L., de Bree, E. H., van den Boer, M., & de Jong, P. F. (2023). Perceived negative consequences of dyslexia: the influence of person and environmental factors. Annals of Dyslexia, 73(2), 214-234. DOI: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11881-022-00274-0

Brosnan, M., Demetre, J., Hamill, S., Robson, K., Shepherd, H., & Cody, G. (2002). Executive functioning in adults and children with developmental dyslexia. Neuropsychologia, 40(12), 2144-2155. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0028-3932(02)00046-5

O’Brien, T. (2020). Understanding the socio-emotional impact of dyslexia in the inclusive classroom. In Dyslexia. IntechOpen. DOI: https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/73587

Amy Yacoub

Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP is a Speech-Language Pathologist. She has over 12 years of experience working with children who have a variety of diagnoses and disorders, including speech and language delays, Childhood Apraxia of Speech, and Autism. She is also an experienced consultant within the field.