Supporting High School Students with Dyslexia

Strategies to Help Students with Dyslexia Succeed in General Education Classes

Chinese woman standing in library reading book
Take A Pix Media / Getty Images

There is a great deal of information on recognizing the signs of dyslexia and ways to help students with dyslexia in the classroom that can be modified to help children in elementary grades as well as students in high school, such as using multisensory approaches to teaching. But students with dyslexia in high school may need some additional supports. The following are some tips and suggestions for working with and supporting high school students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

Provide a syllabus for your class early in the year. This gives both your student and the parents an outline of your course as well as an advance notice on any large projects.

Many times students with dyslexia find it extremely difficult to listen to a lecture and take notes at the same time. They may be focusing on writing the notes and miss important information. There are several ways teachers can help students who find this problematic.

  • Allow students to tape record lessons. Students can listen to the recordings later, at home, where they can stop the recording to write down important points. Many times students with dyslexia find it extremely difficult to listen to a lecture and take notes at the same time. They may be focusing on writing the notes and miss important information.
  • Provide written notes before or after the lecture. This allows students to focus on what you are saying, while still having written information to refer to later.
  • Pair students with another student to share notes. Again, students can focus on what is being said without having to worry about trying to write down important points.

Create checkpoints for large assignments. During the high school years, students are frequently responsible for completing term or research papers. Often, students are given an outline of the project and a due date. Students with dyslexia may have a hard time with time management and organize information. Work with your student in breaking down the project into several smaller steps and create benchmarks for you to review their progress.

Choose books that are available on audio. When assigning a book-length reading assignment, check to be sure the book is available on audio and check with your school or local library to find out if they can have a few copies on hand for students with reading disabilities if your school is not able to purchase copies. Students with dyslexia can benefit from reading the text while listening to the audio.

Have students use Spark Notes to check comprehension and to use as a review for book-length reading assignments. The notes provide a chapter by chapter outline of the book and can also be used to give students an overview before reading.

Always start lessons by summarizing information that was covered in the previous lesson and providing a summary of what will be discussed today. Understanding the big picture helps students with dyslexia better understand and organize the details of the lesson.
Be available before and after school for extra help. Students with dyslexia may feel uncomfortable asking questions aloud, fearing other students will think they are stupid. Let students know what days and times you are available for questions or extra help when they don't understand a lesson.

Provide a list of vocabulary words when beginning a lesson. Whether science, social studies, math or language arts, many lessons have specific words specific to the current topic. Giving students a list before beginning the lesson has been shown to be helpful for students with dyslexia. These sheets can be compiled into a notebook to create a glossary to help students prepare for final exams.

Allow students to take notes on a laptop. Students with dyslexia often have poor handwriting. They may get home and not even be able to understand their own notes. Letting them type their notes may help.

Provide study guides before final exams. Take several days before the exam to review the information included in the test. Give study guides that have all information or have blanks for students to fill in during the review. Because students with dyslexia have trouble organizing information and separating inconsequential information from important information, these study guides give them specific topics to review and study.

Keep open lines of communication. Students with dyslexia may not have the confidence to talk with teachers about their weaknesses. Let students know you are there to be supportive and offer whatever help they may need. Take time to speak with students privately.

Let the student with dyslexia's case manager (special education teacher) know when a test is coming up so he or she can review content with the student.

Give students with dyslexia a chance to shine. Although tests may be difficult, students with dyslexia may be great at creating powerpoint presentations, making 3-D representations or giving an oral report. Ask them what ways they would like to present information and let them show off.


  • "Dyslexia and the High-Schooler," Date Unknown, Betsy Van Dorn, Family Education
  • "Tips for Teaching Secondary School Dyslexic Children," Date Unknown, Author Unknown, Being Dyslexia
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Bailey, Eileen. "Supporting High School Students with Dyslexia." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Bailey, Eileen. (2020, August 27). Supporting High School Students with Dyslexia. Retrieved from Bailey, Eileen. "Supporting High School Students with Dyslexia." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 18, 2021).