So, your student has just been diagnosed with dyslexia… what happens next? Firstly, the educational psychologist will have made several recommendations in their report, one of which will almost certainly be to involve a specialist dyslexia tutor. If you are looking for a specialist tutor, get in touch with the Prospero Tutoring team and let us know how we can help.
Let’s look at 5 of the many benefits an experienced dyslexia tutor can provide for students.
1. Personally tailored lessons
In the first instance, nothing beats working one-to-one with a child. The entire lesson – the content, the level, the teaching method and the pace – is geared towards the individual. The dyslexia tutor will take into account each child’s strengths and weaknesses, their learning style, their interests, their current level and specific problem areas. These factors will dictate their whole approach.
Every lesson for every child is personalised as no two students will present in the same way.
2. Boost confidence and self-esteem
It is important to note that working with a specialist tutor is not a quick fix. However, the first and almost immediate improvement that parents notice is an increase in their child’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
As previously noted, children with dyslexia typically have debilitatingly low levels of self-belief. A dyslexia tutor will pitch their lessons in such a way that approximately 75% of the content is not too demanding whilst 25% is more challenging.
What does this achieve? It makes the student feel comfortable and proves to them that they are capable. If structured correctly, it also provides a base upon which they can build on what they do know to help with what they do not. This growth in confidence and self-esteem is not to be underplayed. It is at the very root of learning. If a student feels good about themself, they will not be so self-critical when faced with something they find difficult.
3. Provide a fun and safe learning environment
The relationship between dyslexia tutor and student is also a vital piece of the successful learning puzzle. A good specialist dyslexia tutor will create a fun working environment, in which students feel understood, listened to and safe. This in turn will inspire these children to develop a thirst and joy for learning, resilience in the face of obstacles and a deep understanding of their dyslexia such that they will feel empowered rather than diminished by it. In that one-to-one relationship, students do not have to feel self-conscious in front of their peers for not putting their hand up, for being picked on, for asking the teacher for help or for telling the teacher they have not understood something.
4. Increase independence and responsibility
A further critical benefit of working with a specialist tutor is that students will be taught to take control of their own learning – a process also known as ‘metacognition’. Whole class teachers sadly do not always have the time to delve deep into each of their student’s personal learning styles. Specialist tutors do! A specialist teacher will teach their students to become aware of how they learn; what strategies work best for them; they will be shown different learning styles so that if one approach does not work, they can try another. This is hugely enabling, especially as students move into secondary school and become increasingly responsible for their own learning. They become independent learners, able to rely on their own knowledge and experience – a skill that is crucial for life way beyond school.
5. Appropriate pace and level
Whole class teachers are often under pressure to get through the curriculum quickly and children, as a result, are increasingly faced with strict time constraints in lessons. Pacily moving through topics can be challenging for students with dyslexia who, as a consequence, fall further behind. The beauty of one-to-one teaching is that it is the student – not the tutor – who sets the pace. There is simply no point in moving on to a new or more complex topic if the student has not yet mastered the current one. A specialist tutor will design every lesson so that it incrementally builds on the previous lesson, with constant repetition and reinforcement to ensure that their students are ready to proceed to the next level.
6. Suitable multi-sensory and diverse activities
Specialist tutors have diverse styles and methods of working but most parents will notice how liberating it is for their kids to see that learning is not just what they experience in the classroom. Specialist tutors do not have to limit their materials and methods to those used in school. Kids are exposed to a much broader range of materials – comics, blogs, magazines, online games, board games, card games, songs, animation films, puzzles, pictures, treasure hunts etc.
If a student has a particular hobby or passion, the tutor can provide material and activities accordingly so that lessons are instantly appealing. As far as strategies and teaching methods are concerned, a student who is musically minded can sing their spellings; a student who loves drawing can create illustrations to help them visually; a physically intelligent student may need to jump up and down on a trampoline to help them learn their multiplication tables. Whatever works, works! Lessons indeed need to be multi-sensory for dyslexic students and so specialist tutors will create activities that engage all the senses, helping their students to see, feel, touch, move and hear what they are learning. A specialist tutor has the freedom to incorporate whatever works into their lessons, ultimately benefitting their students.
Thank you for reading this blog exploring the benefits of using a specialist dyslexia tutor. If you are interested in a teaching position within SEND education we welcome you to reach out to the team or browse our latest vacancies. Contact SEN@prosperoteaching.com to let us know how we can help with your SEND staffing needs.
Additionally, if you are a mentor or tutor with an interest in supporting students with their learning at university, get in touch with the Prospero Student Support Services team.