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Supporting Dyslexic Students in Learning English as a Foreign Language

Learning a foreign language like English can be challenging for any student, but for those with dyslexia, these challenges can be significantly magnified. Dyslexia affects the way individuals process language, making reading, spelling, and writing particularly difficult. However, with the right strategies and support, dyslexic students can successfully learn English and thrive in their language studies. Here are some effective methods to help dyslexic students in their English lessons.

Helping students in the classroom

1. Multi-Sensory Teaching Approaches

Multi-sensory teaching involves using visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile pathways simultaneously to enhance memory and learning. This method is particularly effective for dyslexic students. Here are some strategies:

  • Visual: Use images, charts, and color-coded materials to highlight different aspects of language. For example, different colors can be used to mark nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other parts of speech.
  • Auditory: Incorporate listening activities where students can hear the correct pronunciation and intonation of words and sentences. Use repetition and encourage students to read aloud.
  • Kinesthetic-Tactile: Engage students in activities that involve movement, such as writing letters in sand, using magnetic letters, or tracing words with their fingers.

2. Structured Literacy Instruction

Structured literacy instruction is an evidence-based approach that is highly effective for dyslexic learners. It involves explicit teaching of language structures, including phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. Key components include:

  • Phonological Awareness: Teach students to recognize and manipulate sounds in words. This can be done through rhyming games, syllable counting, and segmenting words into individual sounds.
  • Decoding and Encoding: Focus on teaching phonics, the relationship between sounds and their corresponding letters or letter patterns. Practice both decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling) skills.

3. Assistive Technology

Technology can be a powerful ally for dyslexic students. Various tools and software can assist with reading, writing, and organization:

  • Text-to-Speech (TTS): Allows students to hear written text read aloud, which can aid in comprehension and reduce the strain of reading.
  • Speech-to-Text (STT): Enables students to dictate their ideas and have them transcribed into written text, bypassing the difficulties of writing.
  • Reading Apps and Software: Programs like Dyslexia Font, which alters text to make it easier to read, or learning platforms that provide interactive and engaging content.

4. Tailored Assessments and Accommodations

Standard assessments can be particularly daunting for dyslexic students. Consider providing accommodations such as extended time, oral assessments, or allowing the use of assistive technology during tests. Tailoring assessments to measure understanding rather than rote memorization can also help dyslexic students demonstrate their true capabilities.

5. Positive Reinforcement and Patience

Building a supportive and encouraging learning environment is crucial. Dyslexic students often struggle with self-esteem and confidence due to their difficulties with language. Celebrate their progress, no matter how small, and provide regular positive feedback. Be patient and flexible, understanding that progress might be slower but is still meaningful.

6. Parent and Peer Support

Involve parents in the learning process by providing them with resources and strategies to support their child’s learning at home. Encourage a collaborative approach where parents, teachers, and peers work together to create a supportive network. Peer support can also be beneficial; pairing dyslexic students with understanding and patient classmates can foster a sense of community and mutual aid.

7. Professional Development for Teachers

Ensure that teachers at your academy are trained in recognizing and addressing the needs of dyslexic students. Professional development programs can equip teachers with the latest research, strategies, and tools to effectively support these learners.


Supporting dyslexic students in learning English as a foreign language requires a multi-faceted approach that combines multi-sensory teaching, structured literacy instruction, assistive technology, tailored assessments, positive reinforcement, and collaborative support from parents and peers. By implementing these strategies, educators can help dyslexic students overcome their challenges and achieve success in their language learning journey.

By fostering an inclusive and supportive learning environment, your English academy can ensure that every student, regardless of their learning differences, has the opportunity to excel.

At English House Academy in Málaga,  you can expect lots of support from our dedicated teachers – contact us!

Brett Ordonez Yates
Brett Ordonez Yates
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