Dyslexia help for children in schools is highly variable. The average dyslexic child does not qualify for specialist help under the Special Educational Needs Act 2001 as they sit within the mild-moderate range of the dyslexia spectrum. They struggle to learn to read and write at the same pace as a non-dyslexic child. This impacts on their confidence and school experience. With low self-esteem dyslexic children are vulnerable to feeling disenfranchised from their school and community.
At The Dyslexia Teaching Centre we teach dyslexic children both at our Centre in Kensington and in their primary schools. The outreach programme, called the London Dyslexia Initiative, currently sends specialist tutors into five London primary schools, working with 32 children who are struggling with their literacy.
The London Dyslexia Initiative offers consistent targeted help to dyslexic children. Our aim is to work with the schools to give them the literacy skills needed to cope in their secondary schools. While we do of course monitor their gains in reading comprehension, we are also delighted to see their self-confidence and happiness grow. Some of the children we teach come to us feeling very negative about themselves. Some show this by their tricky behaviour in class or at home, and indeed, in a few cases, with us too. It gives us all great pleasure to see these children blossom as their reading and confidence takes off.
These are some comments from some of the schools involved in the London Dyslexia Initiative programme:
“It’s not just about The Dyslexia Teaching Centre undertaking specialist teaching tuition with our children, it’ s about building relationships and communication with parents, staff and pupils so that everyone knows what is expected to enable children to make accelerated progress. Staff from The Dyslexia Teaching Centre are very personable, approachable and flexible which ensures that all children have the greatest chance to improve.”
Sharon Plummeridge – SENDCo
Sammy, Year 4: “Bingo word games are fun and they help me with my reading and spelling”
Sammy’s teacher: “His confidence continues to grow and the borough has agreed to assess him [for a statutory statement].”
(Sammy is not the boy’s real name)
“Having teachers from The Dyslexia Teaching Centre is invaluable. The children enjoy the sessions thoroughly and are incredibly motivated to improve their literacy skills. The 1:1 teaching style allows children to feel listened to. They understand that the teaching is supporting them with the specific skills they have struggled with in the past and it is fantastic to watch them grow in confidence as a result of this personalised tutoring.”
May’s mother: “We are very happy as May is reading and writing better. She likes to read now.”
May’s teacher: “Strategies have been put in place to help May learn and apply her key words.”
May herself: “It’s fun working with my tutor. I like playing “Word Shark” and “Trugs”. When I read, it’s better. I like learning the words on cards.”
(May is not the girl’s real name)
SendCo: “This intervention has been highly effective. These pupils (four in Year 6) have closed the gap with their peers and in some cases have exceeded their peers nationally. As a result they will join secondary school with the skills they need to access the growing demands of the curriculum.”
Deputy Head: “The changes I have seen in their confidence levels are incredible. The children are now do-ers, active and engaged in their learning.”
Ricky’s mother: “I’ve seen a great improvement in my son. Since he has been having this support he’s gained in confidence and the words he can now spell amaze me. I always used to sit with him to get his homework done but now he just gets on with it on his own!”
(Ricky is not the boy’s real name)
Dina’s teacher: “Her confidence level went right up. She learnt how to break downnew words rather than skipping over them. It also affected her ability in maths. She seemed happier, smiling more and talking to adults around the school – improved friendships. Her handwriting also became clearer.”
(Dina is not the girl’s real name)
As well as the London Dyslexia Initiative’s work in primary schools, we tutor children at our Centre in Kensington free of charge or for a low fee. The mother of one of these children says: “Your kind donations have helped my daughter to erase her fears of everyday school life, that was a dark hole. She can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Another mother commented: “It’s been absolutely fantastic what the DTC have done for us, dedicating their time and specialist skills to help not only strengthen my child’s weaknesses but more importantly build his confidence and belief he can succeed.”
“For the past six years, a number of Key Stage Two pupils with specific difficulties in Literacy have benefited from weekly targeted interventions provided by The Dyslexia Teaching Centre. The specialist teaching that the pupils receive has had a positive impact in developing their skills in reading, writing and spelling and boosting their self-esteem as learners. The Dyslexia Teaching Centre’s contribution to [our] School’s provision has been invaluable.”
We have a dedicated team of four volunteers working with some of the children we teach. These volunteers go in to the schools between our lessons to read with the children and consolidate the work we have done. As importantly, our volunteers build sound relationships with the children, giving them one-to-one attention, a chance to chat to an adult and a feeling that they are special. We are always on the look out for more volunteers so do get in touch if you are interested in being part of the London Dyslexia Initiative.