How can I support my child?
When learning to read, children first have to link the shape of the word on the page with the sound it makes. Then, when it comes to writing, they have to recreate that shape back onto paper.
For children with dyslexia, decoding these patterns and making these links can often be very difficult. As a result, they frequently fail to develop the automatic flow of writing which will help them to express themselves clearly and easily in writing.
- The key to learning is practice, practice, practice!
- Keep to short timed sessions so your child is able to maintain concentration without becoming bored or uncomfortable
- Make sure your child is sitting comfortably when they write, with their feet firmly on the floor. If it's helpful, try using a slanted writing surface
- Help your child to learn to grip the pen/pencil properly using the tripod grip. This allows the fingers and wrist to move freely without putting pressure on the hand
- Help your child strengthen the muscles in their hand by using play dough or performing hand exercises
- It's recommended that children learn to write using continuous cursive handwriting so they don't have to learn how to form letters twice when they need to write more quickly later on.
- When a dyslexic child is learning to write it's important to be aware that a co-occurring condition such as Developmental Co-ordination Disorder or dyspraxia may also be present. For more information visit www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk. There are ergonomic products available which can help pupils who find holding a pen or pencil uncomfortable
- For some pupils with dyslexia and/or dyspraxia the difficulties associated with handwriting can mean that the only way that they can achieve the speed of writing needed for success in the education system is to use a computer. If this is the case then learning to touch type will be beneficial.
The British Dyslexia Association has created a series of videos for teachers called Teaching for Neurodiversity which cover a range of topics such as spelling, writing and homework. You may find them helpful to support learning at home.
Sound Check booklet: This booklet was created as part of the Department for Education funded project 'Sound Check'. Its aim is to help parents and carers to support their child with reading, writing and spelling.
National Handwriting Association
The National Handwriting Association is a charity which aims to promote good practice in the teaching of handwriting and to support those who work with children with handwriting difficulties.