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Spelling and grammar


Teaching Dyslexic Children

How do you distinguish whether a child is dyslexic? It is important to recognise markers which are common to successful identification. Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading, writing and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed. It occurs across the range of intellectual abilities.

What to look for in reading

  • Confuses letters that look similar
  • Confuses letter order
  • Confuses short words for example ‘no’ for ‘on’
  • Has difficulty keeping on the right line
  • May add odd letters at the end of words or insert or omit words in text
  • Has difficulty learning to read high frequency words
  • Has difficulty sounding out and blending words
  • Reading may be slow and laboured
  • Reading may lack expression and comprehension

What to look for in writing

  • Reverses letters which look similar for example b/d p/q n/u t/f
  • Confuses letter order – tried for tired
  • Produces phonetic or bizarre spellings which are not age/ability appropriate
  • Same word spelt differently in the same piece of work
  • Poor standard of writing compared with oral ability
  • Tends to be messy / lots of crossing out
  • Same word spelt differently in the same piece of work
  • Poor standard of writing compared with oral ability
  • Tends to be messy / lots of crossing out

These difficulties can also manifested in mathematics, such as times tables recollection and sequencing and so on.


Nessy Learning UK: provides excellent games which are entertaining and deal with specific sounds to support dyslexic children who struggle to access the regular curriculum

Teaching the Dyslexic Child: A Video demonstrating how multisensory learning can support dyslexic children in the classroom

Further Reading

‘Dyslexia and Literacy, Theory and Practice’ Editors Reid G & Wearmouth J (2002) Chichester Wiley,

‘100+ Ideas for Supporting Children with Dyslexia’ Reid G (2011) London Continuum

‘The Dyslexia Pocketbook’ Bennett J (2006) Teachers Alresford Pocketbooks

‘How to Detect and Manage Dyslexia: A Reference and Resource Manual’ Ott P (1997) Portsmouth Heinemann

‘Dyslexia: A parents' guide to dyslexia, dyspraxia and other learning difficulties’ Muter V and Likierman H, London Vermilion

‘Addressing Difficulties in Literacy Development’ Editors: Reid G, Soler J and Wearmouth J (2002) London Routledge Falmer

‘Teaching Literacy to Learners with Dyslexia: A Multi-sensory Approach’ Kelly K & Phillips S (2011) London Sage

The Dyscalculia Toolkit: Supporting Learning Difficulties in Maths Bird R (2007) London Sage

English grammar, punctuation and spelling test

In July 2012, in response to Lord Bew’s independent review of Key Stage 2 assessment, the Government announced that a new statutory English grammar, punctuation and spelling test (hereafter known as ‘the test’) for all children in Year 6.

The test will only include questions that assess elements of the current National Curriculum in English. The domain will include items that measure:

  • sentence grammar (through identification and grammatical accuracy)
  • punctuation (through identification and grammatical accuracy)
  • vocabulary (through grammatical accuracy)
  • spelling

The main purposes of the statutory assessment are to:

  • Ascertain what pupils have achieved in relation to the attainment targets outlined in the National Curriculum.
  • Hold schools accountable for the attainment and progress made by their pupils and groups of pupils.
  • Inform parents and secondary schools about the performance of individual pupils.
  • Enable benchmarking between schools, as well as monitor performance locally and nationally.

Grammar resources

Pie Corbett (2004) Jumpstart! Games and activities for ages 7 to 14. David Fulton Publishers: Provides a collection of exciting, multisensory games that are particularly useful as warm-up or starter activities.

Kate Petty and Jennie Maizels (1996) The Great Grammar Book. Bodley Head Publishing: An enjoyable introductory book for working with grammar in reception or key stage one.

Sam Taplin and Ruth Russell (2010) Grammar and Punctuation Activity Cards. Usborne Publishing: Fifty wipe clean activity cards with answers covering all aspects of grammar and punctuation.

Jane Chisholm (1997) Improve Your English. Usborne Publishing: Puzzles and quizzes alongside clear explanations of the spelling and grammar rules.

Grammar for writing: Interactive texts and resources for use alongside the Grammar for Writing teaching units.