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Effective Learning Strategies for Students with Dyslexia in HE

Compiled by Graduating Students with Dyslexia from Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln

Access one-to-one specialist support:

‘The biggest help at BG was the tuition available either by booking 1:1 sessions or emailing your assignments for proof reading before submission.’

‘Once you’ve found the support, use it. If you can make 1:1 sessions then their support is invaluable, it’s thanks to them that my academic achievements have flourished.’

Acceptance and metacognition: ‘Don’t be ashamed of being dyslexic, it just means that you see the world differently. This can actually be an advantage as it allows you to see solutions that other people don’t.’

‘It’s important that you find out the way that you learn and stick to it. The worst thing is to copy another student (at worst, a non-dyslexic student) as this will just confuse you. I found using colour schemes for essay writing helpful e.g. one colour paper for notes on one point, another for the next, then matching background colours on the computer when I was actually writing the essay.’

‘Try out different learning strategies such as visual, auditory and kinaesthetic to see what works best for you (that’s right, the stuff you learn in education lectures really works!).’

Organization and time management: ‘Organization is the key. Although dyslexic students are notorious for being disorganized, try your best to stay on top of things. Get a wall planner and mark on the dates when your assignments need to be in and when you need to get them proof read by.’ ‘When you think that you can’t do something, take a break, get some fresh air, and then tackle it from a new angle. Sometimes talking about your work with others really helps too.’ ‘NEVER leave your assignments to be proof read by your 1:1 tutor at the eleventh hour! Plan well ahead and book appointments in plenty of time for when you know that you’ll need them.’

‘Go thrrough your a assignment feedba ack with your 1:1 tutor. Togeth her, you can identify are eas that yo ou need to w work on so that you do on’t keep ma aking the sam me mistake es.’ ‘Make an early starrt on your ments and don’t stress assignm yoursellf out. The m more stressed d you are, the e harder it w will be.’

Reading strategies: ‘The biggest challenge is the reading side of your course. I find it incredibly hard to read from a book and there are lots of them to read for every essay. Use the ICT equipment you have available to scan the relevant chapters into the computer and then change the font and the background colour until it’s easier for you to read. If you don’t have access to a scanner, then invest in some coloured overlays.’

Essay structuring and planning: ‘To improve your marks you simply have to PEAL your paragraphs. Point, Example, Analyse, Link – make a point, give an example/ provide some evidence (maybe a quote) to support the notion, analyse the evidence, then conclude the point and link to the next paragraph.’ ‘Always make a plan before you start an assignment – by doing this you will be able to structure your work, and believe me, structuring is the key.‘ ‘Make sure that you really understand the assignment brief – ask questions on even the simplest things if you’re unsure; your tutors are there to help. Remember that if you don’t understand, chances are others are asking the same questions in their head. So, be brave and ask questions!’

‘Make an initial outline plan of what you want to argue in your assignment and then expand that into bullet points – each bullet point then becomes a paragraph to write.’

Re-drafting and proof reading: ‘Always read and re-read out loud everything that you write; a lot of mistakes can be found and rectified this way.’ ‘Re-drafting is the most boring thing to do, but it is probably the most essential. When you get better at re-drafting you can take out irrelevant chunks of your work to make it more concise and make it sound better.’ ‘LESS IS MORE! If you can shorten a sentence down to 10 words rather than 15, then do so. This way your writing will be clear and to the point.’ ‘By re-drafting and proof reading your assignment you can ensure that you’re being analytical – this is such an important academic skill to learn if you want to get good marks. If you don’t understand

critical analysis already – then ask for advice immediately.’ ‘When you’re writing your first draft – just keep typing to get your idea out, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make a great deal of sense yet!’ ‘Always work with a doodle pad by your side so that you can note down any additional ideas as they come to you.’ ‘Take a good long break before rereading your work (preferably 24 hours) or else you’ll just read what you think you wrote, rather than what you actually wrote.’ ‘Even though your 1:1 tutor is the expert, don’t be scared to ask other people to read your essays (e.g. your mum, dad or trusted friend) just to iron out any silly mistakes.’

Contact Details For Learning Advice email:

For Dyslexia Support email:


Effective Learning Strategies for Students with Dyslexia  

A short guide to learning for students with Dyslexia - written by students with Dyslexia!

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