Conditions like dyslexia shouldn’t be seen as a barrier to your kids getting the most out of school and learning to write. Indeed, writers like AA Gill and business people like Richard Branson and Jamie Oliver are dyslexic, as is Mark, the Co-Founder of Love Writing Co. This shows that it needn’t hold kids back. While dyslexia can make it harder for kids to learn to write, there are things you can do to make it easier too. Here are five approaches to consider:
1. Colour helps
Learning to read and write can be a difficult process, particularly if your child suffers from dyslexia. If you use books that look boring or contain page after page of the same lined paper, distraction and boredom will almost inevitably kick in.
Teaching them to write using colourful pencils and booklets with fun pictures and patterns is likely to make the whole experience far more entertaining. If you can turn the process of writing from seeming like a boring, pointless thing into something they actively enjoying doing themselves, they will find the process of learning to write less of a pain.
So, choose colourful pencils, exciting books and colourful imagery which are designed to engage.
2. Offer support and praise
There’s a long and sad tradition of adults and teachers misunderstanding dyslexic children – characterising them as ‘slow’. Never mind the fact that dyslexia doesn’t actually relate to the child’s general intelligence, these characterisations also hurt the child’s self-esteem, and can affect them well into adulthood.
Try to be as supportive as possible with a dyslexic child – offer them warm praise when they learn something new, and offer understanding when they feel frustrated or seem not to ‘get’ something that others find simple.
3. Use a high-quality pencil
The last thing you want to happen as your child is about to fully write the letter ‘B’ for the first time after weeks of practice is for their pencil’s graphite to break. Soft graphite is key to a durable pencil which is easy for your children to learn to write with. They need tools that they know will work as soon as they are pulled out of their pencil cases and will still work when dropped or come into contact with liquid.
The pencil should also be easy to hold and control and move smoothly across the page, just like our Love Writing Co. Pencils!
Knowing that thee right pencil is there whenever they need to write will hugely encourage a child to write more and more. If they can’t find a pencil when they can find the words, those words won’t get written down.
4. Use writing books that are full of shapes and pictures
Learning to write becomes far easier if children can write out the shapes of the letters that they are thinking about on the page. Colourful books which celebrate each stage of your child’s writing development as they learn how to form full sentences will make the process considerably easier for everyone.
5. Break the process down
Breaking the process of learning to write down into steps will make it far easier for your kids to learn. These steps can take a fairly long amount of time to complete. But, by remaining patient and congratulating your kids as they complete each stage of the process, you will transform learning to write into a fun, encouraging experience for them.
Learning difficulties make learning harder but not impossible. Awareness, patience, understanding, and flexibility of approach as well as some imagination, are required to help dyslexic children learn to write. The steps above detail just a few of the ways in which you can make this process easier for those children. For more information about managing dyslexia please consult the British Dyslexia Association’s excellent website.