Common Accommodations for Students With Dyslexia

A Checklist of Classroom Accommodations

School-age boy reading
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When a student with dyslexia is eligible for accommodations in the classroom through an IEP or Section 504, those accommodations need to be individualized to fit the unique needs of the student. Accommodations are discussed at the annual IEP meeting, during which the educational team determines the accommodations that will help support student success.

Accommodations for Students With Dyslexia

 Although students with dyslexia will have different needs, there are some accommodations which are commonly found to be helpful for students with dyslexia.

Reading Accommodations

  • Provide books on tape, CDs, or on an electronic reader or textbook that a child can listen to especially for content areas.  
  • Create opportunities for oral reading on a one-on-one basis and only ask the student to read aloud in class if he feels comfortable doing so and volunteers to read
  • Provide outlines, summaries of chapters, vocabulary words and preview questions before reading
  • Allow students to use a highlighter to mark important parts of the text
  • Used shared reading or reading buddies
  • Allow the student to discuss, one-on-one, material after reading with a classroom aide, a partner student or the teacher
  • Provide a set of books/textbooks for student to keep at home
  • Reduce spelling tests
  • Give spelling tests orally
  • Don't take off points for spelling errors on written work
  • Reduce spelling words

Writing Accommodations

  • Allow student to dictate work to a parent or aide
  • Provide speech-to-text software
  • Offer alternative projects instead of written reports
  • Photocopy another child's notes or designate a note-taker who will share notes at the end of class
  • Minimize the amount of copying from the board
  • Allow student to use a keyboard to take notes
  • Let student respond to questions orally rather than writing each answer
  • Reduce written work

Testing Accommodations

  • Allow student to take tests orally
  • Allow for extra time
  • Review directions to test orally
  • Provide alternatives to testing, such as projects, oral or video presentations
  • Read test questions to student and write down answers as the student speaks the answer
  • Allow tests to be taken outside of the classroom, in a quiet area with minimal distractions
  • Have students state answers into a tape recorder

Homework Accommodations

  • Reduce homework, especially assignments requiring reading
  • Allow student to dictate answers to homework to a parent, sibling or tutor
  • Allow typewritten homework
  • Use worksheets with minimal writing
  • Limit time spent on homework
  • Do not take off points for homework handed in late

Giving Instructions or Directions

  • Break large tasks into steps
  • Give directions in small steps
  • Read written directions or instructions to the student
  • Provide alternatives to writing assignments, use an online calendar, provide student with a written list of assignments each morning, have a buddy student write assignments, email list of assignments to student or parent
  • Give examples or model behavior when giving instructions
  • Make eye-contact with student when giving directions

Technology Accommodations

  • Provide computers that have speech recognition software
  • Allow the use of electronic spell-checkers
  • Provide software that enlarges images on a computer screen
  • Provide student with a computer to complete class work
  • Allow students to tape record lessons

Classroom Accommodations

Often students with dyslexia also have "co-morbid" challenges, especially ADHD or ADD which will add to these students' challenges and often leave them with negative self-concept and low self-confidence.  Be sure to have some of these accommodations, either formally (in the IEP) or informally, as part of your classroom routines, to support both student success and student self-esteem. 

  • Write schedules on board
  • Write classroom rules on board
  • Write homework assignments on the board in the morning and leave up throughout the day
  • Have student sit near the teacher
  • Use color-coding to organize desk, classroom and student's books
  • Use multi-sensory activities to further understanding of topics
  • Use a positive reinforcement program with rewards and consequences
  • Create private signals for a student to indicate high frustration or for teacher to bring a child back on track
  • Increase communication with parents, using daily or weekly emails or phone calls and increase meetings with parents
  • Assign classroom jobs that will help to increase self-esteem
  • Work with student to create achievable goals

This list is not comprehensive since just as each student with dyslexia is different, their needs will be different. Some students may only require minimal accommodations while others may require more intense interventions and assistance. Use this list as a guideline to help you think about what needs the student, or students, in your classroom have. When attending IEP or Section 504 meetings, you can use this list as a checklist; sharing with the educational team what you feel would best help the student.

References:

Accommodations in the Classroom, 2011, Staff Writer, University of Michigan: Institute for Human Adjustment

Dyslexia, Date Unknown, Staff Writer, Region 10 Education Service Center

Learning Disabilities, 2004, Staff Writer, University of Washington, The Faculty Room