(N.b. Look at the main page (How do Teachers Support Dyslexic Students at School for broader information on teacher support.)
Schools usually have their own literacy intervention programmes and resources. But sometimes, being a little bit creative with literacy lessons or follow up by making your own word and sentence cards and using them in game format can save money, be quicker to arrange and help those dyslexic students who are struggling the most, or who have become reluctant to participate, to gain confidence and make progress. Making your own cards and turning them into your own games is very flexible, quick and easy, and motivating, because it brings more fun.
Many schools will have expert dyslexia tutors on their staff, or support staff who have lots of experience at making or using resources. They might not need this page. But if in your school you are short of funds to buy resources, these ideas could be helpful and could spark many more ideas. The games suggested are intended as reinforcement activities to secure knowledge on whatever phonic lesson you are trying to deliver. They are not intended as the phonic lesson in itself.
1) Word Cards and Sentence Cards – how to use them.
An important principle when teaching phonics or spelling rules, is always include an opportunity to apply the new rule in full sentences. This could be reading sentences or writing words within a sentence. Most of these games work best for reading.
Word cards should only be used for phonic rules being taught and already taught, and they should be taught in the right order, to ensure the student is always a able to succeed.
Having said that, all that is required is for word/sentence cards to be cut and written or typed and printed and for them to be incorporated into a game.
1) Snap and Pairs: i) for rhyming words; ii) for the exact same word (say when you are learning words with the same prefix but different core and are practising noticing different parts of words); iii) for opposites (say with opposing suffixes).
2) Bingo – two or more sheets with target words on them and cards with those same words, drawn from a pile. First to complete their sheet wins. Students have to say the words, or use the word in a sentence when they take their turn.
3) Board games – a card with the target word or sentence has to be read out each turn.
(If spelling is required, the support teacher can read out the target word and the student spells it, each go. If something different from phonic rules is the focus, revision cards with a question on the front and answer on the back can be used instead of word or sentence cards)
4) Dice games: you can buy cheap foam dice and put initial letters or consonant blends on one of the dice, and the rime (the ending bit of the word) on another dice, and when the two dice are thrown, you can try to make a word.
5) Jigsaws These are simply a motivational element. Whatever work the student is set, if they would otherwise struggle with motivation, the support teacher could create simple jigsaws and give the student a piece each time they complete one of their targets. It might sound too good to be true but even the most reluctant learners can be motivated by this, if the jigsaw relates to a strong interest. It can work up to year 6 or even year 7).
All you need to do, is be sure of the student’s interest and collect colour magazine pictures of this. It could be football, cars, Volkswagen Beetles, maps. Laminate the picture and cut it into six, eight, nine, ten or twelve sections,depending on the age of student and shape of picture. Then pile them up and they take a piece each time they complete something. With car enthusiasts, students can try to guess which make or model after only a few pieces.