George Lucas Educational Foundation

Dealing with Dyslexia

Dealing with Dyslexia

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Hello, I'm a new teacher and I have a student who was recently diagnosed with Dyslexia (as a 10th grader). I'm trying to figure out the best way to approach providing her with modifications and support in the classroom. I already incorporate hands-on activities to help students with their learning, so it isn't a note-heavy class; however, I want to do all I can to ensure her success, as being dyslexic in the math classroom is quite a challenge. If anyone has suggestions or can point me in the right direction, I would appreciate it!

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Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Audio books are great resources for kids who struggle with learning. is a great resource, and many libraries have them as well- the books can be put on an ipod or burned to a CD- however it works best, and that can really speed up both reading time and retention of information.
Math is a really big challenge. What level math are you doing? Algebra can be a challenge, especially if they have handwriting issues and lining up the problems appropriately can be a real issue. They have some new paper out like larger squared- graph paper which can help with the visual perceptual problems.
Does is look more like dyscalula or dyslexia? Can you tell me a bit more about where she seems to be getting stuck, and it will be easier to point you to the most helpful resources :)

Ms. Zack's picture
Ms. Zack
Math Teacher @ a Project Based Learning Charter High School Brighton, MI

Hi Whitney,

Thanks for getting back to me. It seems to be dyslexia, she can handle doing basic calculations just fine, it is more about her being able to read a problem or the directions the right way. She also seems to have issues switching numbers and misreading/misinterpreting figures.

This student is in my 10th grade Geometry course, so being able to understand what they are asking of you, and how it relates to the diagram is really important.

Thanks again!

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Hi Kristen :)
It can be tough with kids with different LD's because the big titles, like Dyslexia or ADHD sometimes gloss over kind of particular processing issues like sequencing steps, or part to whole relationships which may be working memory based, or other things like that. For example, if it looks like her issue is keeping all the pieces of the problem in mind sometimes, maybe she's a kid who things like scrap paper to be able to order the parts or steps in advance can help- something that provides more of a template she can follow and not rely on trying to do too many pieces at once in her head.
Sandra Reif has a great book (there's a teacher's version and a parent's version) The Dyslexia Book of Lists and The Dyslexia Checklist that has some brief sections on Dyslexia and math that might be helpful, and in general when trying to help kids with these issues, and she mentions specifically that many kids with Dyslexia do have these working memory and sequencing problems.

Let me know if you need other resources- happy to help. It's like the LD library of congress here :)

DavisGraham's picture
A husband and father with the Gift of Dyslexia, Bradenton, Florida

Dyslexia the Mysterious Gift of Intelligence:
The key to unlocking the Gift of Dyslexia is to create an environment which enables me or the person with dyslexia the ability to read.

If any one has dyslexia they are living in a technical dream come true world which can equip the 10-20% of those who have the Gift of Dyslexia with text to speech tools such as Balabolka, Readplease, Xmind (note taking tool), Read2Go and which will change the landscape of their future outlook. It is my hope nobody has to go through what I went through in high school, grade and middle school, but the word needs to get out to the public.
Bookshare has changed my life and Bookshare(r) is free for all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities, thanks to an award from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Bookshare has 125,000 digital books and textbooks of which are awaiting access to those who struggle with the printed word.
Today, in this awesome digital and software landscape for a dyslectic I am free to read. Thank you for your inside look into your road of freedom. The journey I have experienced has been similar and can be read at:
Feel free to contact me.

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