Helping Your Child At Home

mother_reading_with_son1How can you help your child at home?

Remember that your child is likely to be tired when s/he gets home from school and will need time to relax before starting any additional activities!

Parents can help by:

  • reading to/with them as often as possible with the child looking at the words;
  • playing memory games;
  • helping them to organise themselves, for example by using lists;
  • finding things which they can do well and providing plenty of praise and reassurance;
  • encouraging them to display timetables in prominent places at home;
  • reminding them to record equipment for school [sports kit, library book, instrument, calculator, cooking ingredients] in a weekly planner;
  • displaying a daily checklist on bedroom wall using pictures and symbols to help them to remember;
  • helping them to colour code timetable to correspond, for example, with colours of subject exercise books;
  • encouraging them to pack school bag the night before to avoid stress;
  • asking them to empty school bag after school daily to discourage from carrying everything to school every day [bad for posture and increases tiredness];

Good communication between home and school is very important to help your child meet deadlines and understand/remember what needs to be done, e.g. regularly checking homework diaries.



Be prepared for the fact that as your child becomes older, s/he will see reading as a lower priority than finishing off the larger amounts of homework that they will receive. GIVE LOTS OF PRAISE!

  • Assist with the reading of textbooks, worksheets etc, when requested;
  • Assist in the learning of key words for the current unit of work [or ask for these in advance of new topics];
  • Encourage the reading of a variety of materials – comics, magazines, car/bike
    manuals, etc.

Most of all, regardless of the age of the child, aim to make reading a fun and enjoyable experience!


  • Encourage the use of a simple dictionary [make sure your child knows the alphabet];
  • Encourage the use of a Spellmaster if s/he has access to one;
  • Encourage the use of a key word list – place this in a pocket at the front or back of the exercise book concerned;
  • Encourage him/her to look through their work and try to identify words that are spelled incorrectly or s/he is not sure about;
  • Test your child on difficult words if s/he will accept this. Remember s/he must always write the words down. A Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check spelling sheet is useful for practising spellings;
    • Look through newspapers and magazines highlighting spelling list words.

Ways to learn your spellings!

  • Read – Read the word. If you are not sure, ask someone to read it for you;
  • Read again slowly – clap it and say it in ‘bits’ [syllables] if it is a long word;
  • Study – Look for smaller words or groups of letters that you know. Make up silly sentences to help you remember, e.g. cut ‘Alf’ in ‘half’;
  • Highlight – Underline or highlight the part of the word that you find hard;
  • Cover – Ask yourself if you can still see it in your mind’s eye, if not, look again;
  • Write – Say the word slowly and remember the cues;
  • Check – If you are not sure, go back and study it again;
    • Try writing it again with your eyes closed!


Mnemonics is a fun way of remembering those tricky words. For example:

  • because = big elephants can always understand small elephants
    • said = Sally Ann is dancing


  • Encourage your child to have a well-stocked pencil case – sharp pencils, rubber, pencil sharpener, highlighters, ruler, etc. Your child’s handwriting may look better by using a fibre tipped pen with blue ink, or by using a pencil/pen grip;


  • Encourage your child to continue with the good writing habits formed at primary school – joined writing, correct writing position.

In addition to the problems they have with reading, writing and spelling, dyslexic children may not be able to remember instructions, or organise themselves or their ideas in a piece of written work. This often means that they begin to think they are no good at school work. Self-esteem depends on a sense of personal competence. The more your child can do for his/herself, the higher their self-esteem. Encourage this by giving genuine praise for good effort and achievement.

Getting Ideas and Planning Written Work

All children have individual ways of learning. None of these suggestions will suit everyone. The important thing is to try them and see which is successful for your child.

mind_maps_2Brainstorming and Mind Mapping

  • Brainstorming means thinking of as many ideas as you can about the subject and writing them down as single words or phrases. Once a brainstorm has been done, you can then link these ideas together with lines or arrows. Highlighter pens can be used to colour code the ideas into meaningful paragraphs.
    • Mind-mapping is taking the main ideas as lines from a central subject and then showing other points arising from these as branches from these lines. It is a way of organising information in a graphic, pictorial way which can be effective for the dyslexic learner’s more visual style of processing information. A useful technique for structuring written work and exam answers.


There are a wide variety of resources which parents can consider using to help dyslexic children at home. Some of these include:


There is a list of suggested titles here, which includes a section for parents; information on related specific learning difficulties which frequently co-occur with dyslexia; difficulties with maths dyscalculia; study skills for techniques to improve learning and writing. There are also recommended titles to read to young children to explain dyslexia.

phonics_1Phonics – essential skill for children in acquiring literacy skills

Learning to discriminate the individual sounds which make up language and to recognise the individual letters and blends of letters which relate to these sounds is an essential first step in learning to read.

For more information about phonics:

Video Clips for Parents

    • dysTalk – a series of short videos featuring talks on various dyslexia-topics by leading experts.

Literacy Programmes

There are a number of programmes specifically developed to help the dyslexic learner with reading and spelling, including:

  • Beat Dyslexia – a recently updated multisensory dyslexia programme.

computer_4Programs Using A Computer


  • Nessy – Reading and Spelling.

Writing Composition


    • Numbershark software – using games to reinforce learning.


    • Kidspiration (for younger children), and Inspirations (for older children).
      A visual way to explore and understand words, numbers and concepts.

Games To Support Reading

There are numerous games available to support reading, spelling and memory. These include:

    • Trugs [Teach Reading Using Games];
    • SWAP/FIX – Reading;
    • Stile Dyslexia – The new edition of Stile Dyslexia is recommended by Dyslexia Action and offers a specially structured self-checking programme to take pupils through the rules of spelling and grammar using a phonic approach;
    • Magnetic Reading Arc and other alphabet resources

Free Resource Websites

Free IT resources and games are available from:

tuition_1Private Tuition

To supplement what the school is able to provide, you may also wish to arrange private tuition with a specialist dyslexia tutor.

Please see further information here.

If you live in the Lincoln area and are considering private tuition, Dyslexia Lincs offers a comprehensive service delivered by fully trained specialist teachers. Please visit the website or email for further information.