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Dyslexia and Visual Learning Strategies

By Janelle Martel

Many students who have dyslexia learn by seeing. Read on to learn some strategies that can work for the visual learner who is affected by dyslexia. Visual learning strategies suggested here will work well for your entire classroom.

The Challenges Faced

Students with dyslexia have many challenges that they face every day in the classroom. They have trouble reading, writing, completing math problems, and distinguishing right from left. These are just a few examples of their common struggles. Chances are that they are also visual learners; they learn information by seeing it. There are visual learning strategies that you can use with students affected by dyslexia in order to help them be more successful in the classroom.

Visual Learning Strategies

Using pictures to explain information is a great strategy. The dyslexic student will not be required to do any reading, which they have difficulty with; they just have to look at pictures. This can be done in a variety of subject areas. For example, if presenting the order of operations, instead of using the words, show the dyslexic student pictures for the operations. Pictures can be replaced for many words; it just takes a little preparation on the teacher's part. You could also have the student create their own picture to help them remember something.

Visual learners love color. For the students with dyslexia, give them copies of your notes and a highlighter and tell them to highlight the important information. This takes the stress away of the hard task of actually copying notes and lets them focus on what is really important. In math class, you can have them highlight the operations each a different color. Dyslexic students often get the operations confused because they may have difficulty remembering which symbol means what. For example, they can highlight the addition problems in yellow and the subtraction problems in blue.

Another great strategy to use with dyslexic, visual learners is to allow them to use a personal whiteboard. This can be used for many different subjects. Not only do the colored markers help them, but it gets them away from using pencil and paper, which can be difficult for them.

Graphic organizers are another great strategy. They provide a great visual representation of information. There are a variety of free graphic organizers on the Internet, so you don’t have to create them yourself. Many textbooks also come with graphic organizers. Take the time to utilize them because they can really help students with dyslexia.

Take advantage of presentation software as well. With all the advances in technology, you can make fun and exciting presentations for the students. Your students will greatly benefit because of all the colors and videos that can be added.

The last strategy that can work for the dyslexic, visual learner is using flashcards. The student can create the cards so they are meaningful to them. They can be colorful as well.

As you are creating your lesson plans, think of how you can make the students “see” the information. For students with dyslexia, the traditional note-taking and reading out of a textbook can be very daunting. As teachers, we need to step out of our comfort zone and do what is best for the students. It may take a little more preparation, but the effect of these visual learning strategies on the students will be great.