Brain Links

Spelling Tips For The Dyslexic Learner


Spelling is difficult for many people, but there is much less research on spelling than there is on reading to tell us just how many people spell poorly or believe they spell poorly. Less is known about spelling competence in the general population than is known about reading achievement because there is no national test for spelling and many states do not test students' spelling skills.

Almost all people with dyslexia, however, struggle with spelling and face serious obstacles in learning to cope with this aspect of their learning disability. The definition of dyslexia notes that individuals with dyslexia have "conspicuous problems" with spelling and writing, in spite of being capable in other areas and having a normal amount of classroom instruction. Many individuals with dyslexia learn to read fairly well, but difficulties with spelling (and handwriting) tend to persist throughout life, requiring instruction, accommodations, task modifications, and understanding from those who teach or work with the individual.

High Yield Strategy

1. Students are provided a set of review items aligned to focus Knowledge and Skills Statements.

2. Teacher sorts questions based on complexity:

 Free Throws (1 point – easiest questions)

 Lay Ups (2 points – medium questions)

 3 Pointers (3 points – complex questions)

3. Teacher organizes students into pairs.

4. Pairs play trashcan basketball:


 Pairs choose a question and cut it out of their test handout.

 Pairs analyze the question, answer question cooperatively, showing the sequence of how they came to a solution/answer.


 Pairs consult the teacher’s "playbook" (answer key) to determine if their answer is correct.

FOLLOW THROUGH: (If you missed – self correct)

 Pairs evaluate their response and explain why the original answer was incorrect on the back of the question: guessed, careless error, stopped too soon, or mixed stuff up

 Pairs explain why the correct answer IS the appropriate response on the back.


 Pairs take turns "shooting" the questions into the appropriate “basket” (3 pointer, 2 pointer, 1 point free throw).

 Students keep shooting until they make it.

Math/Science Connection

App/Technology Idea

App - Spelling City: Vocabulary Spelling City is a fun way to learn spelling and vocabulary words by playing engaging games using any word list. Some fun and engaging activities are Spelling TeachMe, Spelling TestMe, HangMouse, Missing Letter, and Alphabetize.

Myth Buster

Myth: A person with dyslexia can never learn to read or spell.

Fact: This is simply not true. The earlier children who struggle are identified and

provided systematic, intense instruction, the less severe their problems are likely to be

(National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000; Torgesen, 2002).

With adequately intensive instruction, however, even older children with dyslexia can

become accurate, albeit slow readers (Torgesen et al., 2001).

Math/Science Connection Tip

VocabularySpellingCity has compiled comprehensive math and vocabulary lists to make those tricky words, a snap! Math vocabulary words help students understand the foundational principles taught in each math concept. Of course, students need to know the meaning of basic math terms before they can learn how to apply them to math principles. From addition words and elementary math to geometry vocabulary and every type of number word in between (algebra vocabulary and statistics definitions are introduced in almost every grade), students can find a list with all the definitions they need to be successful in math.

So whether you are looking to play games, learn spelling or study definitions, you can do it all with Math Vocabulary right here!

For The Adventurous

How Should Spelling Be Taught?