How to Help Dyslexic Children Learn to Spell

by A. Elizabeth Freeman

Many children struggle to learn how to spell words properly. Trouble with spelling can be compounded by dyslexia, a learning disorder that stems from the brain's inability to process symbols such as letters properly, according to MedlinePlus. Dyslexic children need a different technique and method than other students to learn to recognize words and spell them properly. Patience is key when teaching a dyslexic child to spell, as it may take a few years to bring a child up to grade level, according to Bright Solutions for Dyslexia.

Items you will need

  • Tray
  • Salt
  • Clay
  • Spell checker
Step 1

Determine what type of learning style your child has. This will help you decide which methods will work best. Some children are auditory learners, according to a brochure "Helping Your Dyslexic Child Learn to Spell," from Straffordshire County Council. Auditory learners may struggle with writing, but they do well talking and spelling words aloud. Your child may be a kinesthetic learner if he likes to tackle projects with his hands or processes information better if he is moving or doing something.

Step 2

Sing the spelling of the word with your child if he is an auditory learner. For instance, make up a song that includes the spellings of all his vocabulary words for the week. Sing the song over and over so that he gets the spellings down.

Step 3

Use physical objects, such as a pile of salt, to help your kinesthetic learner to spell. Have her trace the letters of the word into the salt so that she gets a feel for the word and its spelling. You may also want to try forming the letters of the words with clay.

Step 4

Try a multi-sensory approach to spelling, such as the Orton-Gillingham method, which was developed in the 1930s. The method first teaches students to recognize the phonemes, or sounds, of the English language, and then how to recognize the written version of those sounds. You can combine an auditory style of learning, such as singing the letters of a word, with a kinesthetic style, such as tracing the letters in salt using this method.

Step 5

Let the child use a spell checker on a word processor after he has written a paper or as he is working through his homework. Some dyslexic students know the words are spelled wrong, but are unsure of how to fix them, so a spell checker can help the child learn correct spelling, according to the Dyslexia Parents Resource.

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, A. Elizabeth Freeman has been writing professionally since 2007, when she started writing theater reviews for OffOffOnline.com and Theater Talk's New Theater Corps blog. Since then, she has written for Phillyist, TheNest, ModernMom and "Rhode Island Home and Design" magazine, among others. Freeman has an Master of Fine Arts in dramaturgy/theater criticism from CUNY/Brooklyn College.