Over the years I've encountered countless programmes for supporting dyslexics and dyscalculics. Here are a few that work well.
Reading & Vocabulary
It’s not everyone’s cup-of-tea due to its repetitive nature and the small size of the booklet, but it is still one of the most highly effective programmes out there. The reason it works: SLOOM teaching.
SLOOM stands for:
Little & Often
Click here to read more about SLOOM, and be sure to check out my in-depth article in the May/June edition of SEN Magazine.
If you’ve ever attended one of my trainings you will have heard me incessantly talking about repeated reading, a FREE evidence-based intervention for improving reading fluency and comprehension. It’s been around since the 1980s and costs nothing. There’s no reason not to do it, so click here to read more about how to use it!
Lightning Cards (incremental rehearsal)
Another one of my “go-to” strategies that works for phonics, sight words and vocabulary words, is incremental rehearsal (I call it Lightning Cards because kids like the name better). It has also been shown to improve comprehension! You’ll have to Google “incremental rehearsal” to find the evidence and videos on how to use it. Or you can click here for my step-by-step guide.
It’s so easy a caveman could do it!
InPrint3 (by Widgit Software)
If InPrint3 is anything like it’s predecessors, it will be one of the best programmes for scaffolding vocabulary, reading, and general language development. Hopefully InPrint3 has some of the kinks ironed out, but even if it doesn't, it will still be a valuable programme for supporting any of your dyslexic pupils.
Ping Pong Reading
This is an acquisition-stage intervention that can improve word reading recognition skills. It’s a 4-step process that involves:
A student reading on his/her own for 2-minutes, correcting any errors immediately then moving on
Reading alternating words with the child starting
Reading alternating words with you starting
A student reading on his/her own for another 2-minutes, seeing if they’ve made an improvement in the speed with which they read the portion of text that originally took them 2-minutes.
Click here for a step-by-step guide!
CBM is a method for monitoring small, specific steps. It uses regular, timed assessment of your existing curriculum to demonstrate if a student is making improvements as a result of your teaching. Once you've established a baseline you can set out your interventions. Here's how.
One tool that I use in both primary and secondary schools is the Writing Scoresheet. You can make your own or use mine as a template to guide your teaching of specific areas of writing. Here's my version.
Plus 1 and The Power of 2
There are a number of programmes out there, but if you are looking for a quick-win and have the capacity to work 1:1 with a child in school or at home, check out the booklets Plus 1 and Power of 2 books from 123 Learning. I’ve seen them used in a few schools and they are great for developing kids’ confidence in number skills. 123 Learning make another book called Perform with Time, though I’ve never come across it. Find out more by visiting the 123 Learning website.
Base-10 blocks (aka Dienes Blocks)
If there is one maths resource I would recommend to schools it would be these little, timeless plastic blocks. They’re affordable, versatile and can be used for teaching addition, subtraction, multiplication and division- though you may have to search for some videos on how to best utilise these! To support visual discrepancy, buy sets where the ones, tens and hundreds are different colours and have the notches in them for each ‘one’. Find them here on Amazon.
Confidence & Self-assurance
StrengthsExplorer is an online test for 10-14 year-olds that helps young people unlock their potential. Each child who takes the assessment receives a report highlighting their talents and how to best utilise these. The website description says it "Empowers Kids to Succeed in Home and at School". At under £10, I think it's worth finding out!
There are books based from the same publisher that I also think are worth reading, including Strengths Based Parenting and Teach With Your Strengths.