(N.b. Look at the main page “Supporting Dyslexic Students at Home” for broader information to help parents.)
Schools provide recommendations for education websites to support learning. They use their own choice of intervention programmes and literature to support students with dyslexia during the day and know what would fit best with what your child is exposed to in class.
Therefore, it is always a good idea to ask the SENCo or support teacher at your child’s school for advice on what you could use at home to reinforce what they are doing at school. This is especially true for phonics programmes at primary school. It would not be a good idea to set off on an independent phonic programme at home which is different from that being followed at school.
However, you might find the following resources for slightly older children useful to support your child’s reading, spelling and writing at home, once you have spoken to teachers to determine the areas with which your child is struggling.
1) READING: Reasoning & Reading, Level 1, Joanne Carlisle, Educators Publishing Service, 2000, available online. Most helpful during KS3, when the curriculum may not still be covering some of these skills but your child needs a catch up. This book has photocopiable worksheets on word meanings (classification of words, similes, types of word); sentence meaning, paragraph meaning and reasoning skills. It helps students work our the main point of a sentence, cause and effect, generalisations and relationships between words. These are things that can be confusing for dyslexic students with slow processing or weak short term memory. It helps if they can be taken back to basics of how sentences are formed and the effect on meaning. They can realise it is simpler than hey had feared.
2) SPELLING. The Spell of Words, Elsie. T Rak, Educators Publishing Service, 1979, available online. If you can still get hold of this book, it is helpful for secondary school students who struggle with spelling rules. It is organised by rule, with practice worksheets for each one, so the student can refer directly to the page on the rule they are currently having trouble with, to iron out the issue. Dyslexic students may have missed input of spelling rules first time round. They may need more repetitions when practising than others to secure their knowledge when learning a rule. This book addresses that need. It is very clear and not overwhelming.
Alternatively, Rescuing Spelling, Melvyn Ramadan, Southgate Publishers (date unknown), addresses spelling issues from the perspective of the meaning of words. It explains what prefixes and suffixes and core parts of words mean, and how that helps you spell them. This book is more helpful for older students, especially those who understand a lot about how they are learning.
3) WRITING: Writing Skills, Book A, Diana Hanbury King, Educators Publishing Service, 2003. This book is extremely useful for students who remain confused about how to construct sentences and paragraphs when they have left primary school, even into Key Stage 4. Dyslexic children struggling with phonics may have been focusing so much on how to spell, that they missed input from teachers earlier in education about the building blocks of writing. In the absence of secure knowledge about writing skills, dyslexic students can try to keep sentences simple, to avoid errors, which prevents them expressing their ideas effectively. And they can forget to include the supporting evidence for any statements they make which would help them achieve higher grades. This book, again with easy photocopiable sheets for practice, starts back at the beginning explaining noun, verb, adjective, pronoun and article, then leads into different kinds of sentence depending on their purpose, before explaining the most simple way to start building paragraphs which include more interesting supporting information.
4) PLANNING: Introducing Children to Mindmapping, Eva Hoffman, Learn to Learn, 2010, for younger children. And The MindMap Book, Tony Buzan, BBC Active, 2009. Tony Buzan was the originator of the MindMap concept. Eva Hoffman has published a book making the concept assessable to younger children. MindMapping is a visual way to organise ideas, to plan writing, to plan projects or to secure and build on learning. Tony Buzan offers an online version via www. TonyBuzan.com