Wednesday, February 15, 2017

18 Tips to Support Dyslexics & Other Challenged Readers

Reading and learning do not come easily for every student. Parents and teachers often look for specific strategies and resources to assist struggling readers and learners, especially for the many with dyslexia, ADHD, autism, and/or other issues that can impact reading success.

Making using of such strategies or accommodations allows for more fairness in the classroom where other, more typical readers and learners at the same grade level may be present. These are supports that can actually help "level the playing field" for many children, teens and adults who would not otherwise receive the support needed to be successful readers and learners.

In addition, such supportive accommodations should be implemented for as long as they are needed by the individuals. Here is a printable list that you might consider to help and support the challenged reader(s) or learner(s) in your family or in your classroom:

1. Request or allow course and book content to be available via audiotape, CD, or DVD.

2. Use a portable, hand-held spell checker (such as the Franklin Spelling Ace) for unknown words.

3. Use graph paper or the Reading Focus Cards for math to promote accurate placeholder work.

4. Use interactive computer reading programs that require only a limited number of tasks at a time.

5. Underline or highlight important key words in a set of directions BEFORE beginning an assignment.

6. Fold a worksheet so that only a small amount of text, information, or problems is visible at one time. Using individualized tools can help with this as well.

7. Allow for standing at a desk/table or moving to optional work areas with less distraction.

8. Allow for the experience of a variety of sensory learning techniques such as those from the use of a computer, e-tablet, mp3 player, tape recorder, projector, and/or manipulatives. The more senses you appeal to and employ in the learning process, the more success the student will experience.

9. Use word processors or computers to complete written work, especially when writing is a struggle.

10. Allow for kneeling or standing at a desk (if needed), as long as it does not cause problems or distractions for others.

11. Allow for access to a copy of prepared notes, especially after a teaching session or discussion.

12. Arrange for a second set of textbooks at home so that materials are always at hand when needed.

13. Use very low-volume music (instrumental) or environmental sounds (seashore or other nature sounds) while doing independent work.

14. Allow for student to work cooperatively at times with others as part of a "buddy" system of support.

15. Use colored paper for all printed materials including worksheets, outlines, notes, etc. Experiment with pastels as well as bright shades. One particular color may produce the best results for an individual.

16. Use colored overlays or the low-tech Reading Focus Cards for focus and reading challenges with physical book pages, worksheets and other documents. These inexpensive reading aids can diminish or eliminate the visual “stress” or discomfort some readers/learners experience with the white backgrounds of most text pages. These same tools can also be used with Kindles, Nooks, and other e-readers (Model #001-Shorter) as well as iPads and other e-tablets (Model #002-Longer), too.

17. Make use of websites such as,, or other free sites for help with specific math, science or other content challenges.

18. For reading online or offline digital media, use the Reading Focus Cards desktop app with Macs and Windows PCs to provide more focus and fluency, better tracking, increased comprehension and improved retention for unfocused or overwhelmed readers.

For more information about assistive technologies for challenged readers, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image source: Brennan Innovators, LLC at


  1. Thank you for this information. I have been working with my son and khan academy is great. I've also been using with success. Although it's slow, he's doing better. :)

  2. Dear Amanda PES,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to provide your good input here. We're pleased to hear you agree that Khan Academy is a great learning resource, as mentioned in this article.

    We also appreciate your mention here of, another excellent website with FREE materials and curriculum for K-12. We were not aware of this option and have added it to #17 in the list for the above article.

    Today, we learned something from you, and that is always a very good thing. Thanks again for providing this helpful information for us AND for our readers---excellent!

    Hope you'll re-visit our blog often, as we look forward to your future comments as well.

    Happy Reading!

    Joan M. Brennan
    Brennan Innovators, LLC