Teaching a Foreign Language to Students with Dyslexia: 5 Tips

For students with dyslexia, learning to read and write in their native language is a struggle. Furthermore, fulfilling foreign language requirements in middle and high school can be quite the challenge. While students with dyslexia may have trouble learning new languages, there are millions of people who are both dyslexic and bilingual!

Here are five techniques that educators can draw from when teaching a foreign language to students with dyslexia!

1. Start with Speaking and Listening

From the start of the foreign language class, emphasize speaking and listening. It is easier for students to pick up a language when they hear it in its entirety, rather than learn random vocabulary words.

2. Focus on Phonology

Focus on teaching the alphabet and the basic phonetics of the language they are trying to learn. Doing so helps these students learn to read and pronounce new words in their novel language.

3. Practice Pronunciation

Download recordings from Forvo.com (a free database of languages) and spend time teaching your student about the individual phonemes.

4. Study Minimal Pairs

Students with dyslexia tend to learn most effectively with a multi-sensory approach. As a result, when teaching your students new words, make sure that they say it, write it, and read it.

5. Surround Your Student with Language

Expose your student to music, television shows, movies, news reports, and books in that language. Additionally, you can label objects in the classroom!