Classroom Strategies for Dyslexia

Modifying Tests and Homework Assignments Help LD Students

Children with dyslexia have problems in reading and spelling. Making some changes to normal classroom activities can help these students succeed.Dyslexia is a learning disability that impacts the ability to read and spell. It also can affect short-term verbal memory. Many children with dyslexia have problems with organization and language processing. They may have trouble following directions or instructions. Many children with dyslexia have trouble in school and may fall behind their peers, especially in reading.

Children with dyslexia, however, can succeed in school and in life. Early intervention is the best approach toward improving skills, however, children at all ages can improve skills when given the opportunity and proper learning tools. Students with dyslexia learn best through multisensory and structured methods of teaching.

Symptoms of dyslexia may be different in children, however, there are a number of common classroom accommodations that can be incorporated in a regular classroom to help students succeed:


Most classroom tests are written assessments that must be completed within an allotted amount of time. This can be difficult for a student with dyslexia. Some adaptations to test-taking:

  • Reading test questions to the student and writing down the answers
  • Allowing students to tape-record answers rather than having to write them
  • Provide extra time to complete the test
  • Let students complete tests during free periods
  • Limit the words given on weekly spelling tests
  • Allow reading or phonics tutors to give spelling tests based on their teaching, rather than those being taught in the “regular” classroom
  • Grade tests and assignments on content without taking off points for misspelled words or sloppy handwriting
  • Provide vocabulary lists for tests
  • Modify tests to be fill in the blank or matching rather than multiple-choice or essay tests
  • Provide a review sheet and review for tests the day before


Reading is impacted by dyslexia. Children often miss words, have trouble sounding out words or reverse sounds while reading. Some ways reading teachers can help students with dyslexia:

  • Never ask a student with dyslexia to read aloud in class unless they volunteer
  • If reading aloud is imperative, allow the student to complete this at home, by tape-recording his reading
  • Provide the student with the information to be read aloud beforehand so he can practice and be familiar with the passage or story


Teachers often determine homework assignments based on an estimate of how long students will take to complete the work. This estimate is based on a “normal” student and special needs students are often asked to complete the same homework. This may take them double or triple the time to complete the assignment.

Teachers can implement some changes in students with dyslexia such as:

  • Provide students and parents with a maximum of how long homework should take to complete. Students should stop when they have reached the time limit, no matter whether they have finished or not.
  • Limit the amount of homework by allowing students to answer every other or every third question. Make sure the chosen questions will show an understanding of concepts.
  • Allow students to dictate answers to a parent and have the parents write down the answers (verbatim).
  • Allow students to tape-record answers and hand in the recording rather than a written assignment.

In addition to these accommodations, teachers should be willing to listen to their students. Often, they have developed strategies to compensate for their weaknesses and can help the teacher in understanding how they learn.


  • What is Dyslexia, Parent Information Center, Buffalo, WY.
  • Helping Young Children with Learning Disabilities at Home, Doris J. Johnson, LDOnline, 2000.
  • What is Dyslexia, Roger P. Harrie and Carol Weller, Kidsource, 1984.