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Top Tips

a ‘dyslexia-friendly’ learning environment Dyslexia Action’s Dyslexia and Literacy Specialist Hannah MacLellan suggests her top tips for helping learners with dyslexia access training

Dyslexia Action is the UK’s largest dyslexia charity and provides a wide range of resources and services for adults and children with dyslexia and literacy difficulties.

Written material Q Where possible, print handouts on pastel-coloured paper rather than white. Q Use fonts such as Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, a minimum font size of 12/14, double line spacing and always leave a line between paragraphs. Q Putting headings and important points in bold or colour makes them easier to scan and lower case is easier to read than CAPITAL LETTERS. Q Present written information as concisely as possible, using bullet points, flow charts, diagrams or images wherever possible. Q ‘Chunked’ numbers are easier to copy and remember. For example, write 7235120 as 72 35 120.

Presenting & giving instructions Q Provide clear overview and objectives at the beginning of a session and don’t forget to summarise the main points at the end. Q Give clear, step-by-step instructions. As a general rule, give no more than three pieces of information at one time, repeating the instructions as necessary. Q Using ‘signalling’ language can help clarify instructions, for example ‘first, secondly, finally’. Q Avoid acronyms whenever possible. Q If necessary, provide a glossary or keep a list of frequently used terminology somewhere visible.

give clear, step-by-step instructions

Working strategies Q Sensitively encourage learners who find literacy a challenge to sit near the front of the room within easy view of the trainer and the board/powerpoint. Research indicates that approximately 10% of the population has dyslexia to some degree (5% severely). Q Avoid asking people to copy information from the board. Q Encourage various ways of recording information as you train. For example, bullet points, spider diagrams, mind maps, summary of key points. Q Carry a few coloured reading rulers for participants who find words ‘jump around’ and encourage the use of highlighters to pin point key information. Q Allow additional time for participants to process information – whether a reading, writing or verbal response task.

Published by UNISON – the public service union UNISON centre, 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY Visit our website ACT 246 May 2015


Q Everyone’s needs are different so make sure you discuss with the learner what works for them.

UNISON Top Tips – Dyslexia  

A 'dyslexia-friendly' learning environment

UNISON Top Tips – Dyslexia  

A 'dyslexia-friendly' learning environment