Writing lessons for dyslexic people need to clearly illustrate some fundamental principles. Firstly you need to emphasise how writing is different from speech. Then they need to be taught the rules for building sentences. This will give them a strong understanding of how the writing process works.
Principle based learning:
Some people learn by repetition, while others prefer to learn the underlying principles. A lot of dyslexic people show some degree of short term memory problems. This generally means they have greater difficulty learning by repetition.
This is why it’s essential to teach dyslexic people in terms of the fundamental principles. Dyslexic people want to understand the rules. This gives them a clearer picture and helps them to build confidence.
The principles of writing:
What are the fundamental principles of writing? Firstly it’s
important illustrate how writing is different from speech.
Writing vs. speech:
If I was telling someone about my day, I may say:
“In the morning I went to the shops to get some fruit and some veg for the dinner and some oven cleaner and then I went over to B and Q to get some wallpaper and paint. The car park was rammed and this one old lady started shouting at me and beeping her horn because I was blocking her in etc.”
This is perfectly acceptable in speech, albeit a bit rambled. However this is not good writing.
We break writing down into small units of thought to make it easier to mentally digest.
Subject and verb:
In your writing lessons you must stress the importance of sentence construction. The most important principle is that every sentence must have a subject and a verb.
Dyslexic people will gain confidence from learning this key rule of writing. If you do not tell them that every sentence needs to have a subject and a verb they will not know what a correct sentence is. How long it should be? And where it should stop?
Try starting with examples of very simple sentences, and build on the complexities as you go.
I am walking to the football ground.
I am walking to the football ground on a Sunday afternoon.
I am walking to the football ground on a Sunday afternoon with my dad.
You can show them that even when sentences become longer and
more complex they always have to obey the fundamental rule of
subject and verb. This will give them a confident foundation to develop their writing skills. It also shows them where to put full stops.
Build on the solid foundations:
Once your students understand that every sentence needs to have a subject and a verb you can use this strong foundation to start to introduce more complex ideas. The next step maybe to teach them about the clauses within sentences.
The point is that once dyslexic people know the basic rules they have a platform on which to build on. Click here for more writing strategies.
Teaching dyslexic people the underlying principles is key to their understanding. Primarily, dyslexic friendly writing lessons should show them that every sentence is a unit of information. As this is the basis for good, clear writing.