Parent Guide to developing areas identified in a Dyslexia Screening

At Horsmonden Primary Academy we screen for the probability of dyslexia, this screening does not provide a diagnosis.

What is Dyslexia?

  • The word ‘dyslexia’ comes from the Greek and means ‘difficulty with words’.
  • It is a lifelong, usually genetic, inherited condition and affects around 10% of the population.
  • Dyslexia occurs in people of all races, backgrounds and abilities, and varies from person to person: no two people will have the same set of strengths and weaknesses.
  • Dyslexia occurs independently of intelligence.
  • Dyslexia is really about information processing: dyslexic people may have difficulty processing and remembering information they see and hear. This can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills.
  • Dyslexia is one of a family of Specific Learning Difficulties. It often co-occurs with related conditions, such as dyspraxia, dyscalculia and attention deficit disorder.
  • On the plus side, dyslexic people often have strong visual, creative and problem solving skills and are prominent among entrepreneurs, inventors, architects, engineers and in the arts and entertainment world. Many famous and successful people are dyslexic.

How do we monitor Dyslexic Traits?

  • Foundation Year – Children are assessed for speech and language difficulties.  Any identified children follow a programme of support through speech link / language link resources.  Children start learning their phonics and children displaying difficulties are monitored.
  • KS1 – Phonic assessments highlight difficulties and children are placed into appropriate Phonic groups.  An auditory/visual memory intervention or Reading Recovery may be introduced in Year 2 along with an assessment by the SENCO.  Quality First Teaching is adopted across the school to ensure a dyslexia friendly environment.
  • KS2 – If difficulties persist a PHaB2 (Phonological Assessment Battery) is carried out by the SENCO.  This does not give a diagnosis of dyslexia but screens for a probability.  Interventions include Lifeboat Dyslexia programme, Reading Recovery and Quality First Teaching.

What can you do at home?

  • Regularly read to your child to keep your child interested in reading.
  • Listen to audio stories to keep your child interested in stories.  If possible have a reading book with the same text to follow.
  • Phonic Games – I Hear with my Little Ear by Liz Baldwin.
  • Learn to touch type free on BBC Bitesize – http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z3c6tfr  This will prove very useful when completing work on the computer.

Phonological processing can be developed by a variety of methods. For example:

  • Rhyming and alliteration—suitable techniques range from simple rhyming songs and games to more structured activities involving making books with rhyming or alliterative themes, playing rhyming snap or ‘odd-one-out’ games with pictures and objects; using plastic letters to discover and create rhyming word families
  • Deletion of the first sound (e.g. ‘near–ear’) or of the last sound (e.g. ‘party–part’), or of whole syllables (e.g. saying ‘alligator’ without the ‘all’)
  • Elision of the middle sound (e.g. snail–sail) or syllable (‘alligator’ without the ‘ga’).
  • Correspondence— e.g. tapping out the number of syllables in a word.

Auditory sequential memory training activities include:

  • I went to the supermarket — Say to the child sentences of increasing length and complexity and the child has to repeat these back verbatim (e.g. “I went to the supermarket and bought three tins of beans, one loaf of bread, a carton of milk, a packet of sweets, two bars of chocolate….” etc.)
  • Find the changed (or missing) word— Say sequence of words to the child (e.g. dog, cat, fish, monkey, spider) and then repeat it changing one (or missing one out altogether), either slightly or more obviously (e.g. dog, cat, fox, monkey, spider) and the child has to identify the change.
  • What’s their job?— Say to the child a list of name-occupation associations (e.g. “Mr Pearce the painter, Mrs Jolly the grocer, Miss Fish the hairdresser, Mr Brown the electrician”) and then asks for recall of one (e.g. “Who was the grocer?” or “What is Mr Brown’s job?”). Occupational stereotypes can be avoided if desired.
  • Word repetition— Say sequences of unrelated words to the child (e.g. hat, mouse, box, cup, ladder, tree, biscuit, car, fork, carpet) and the child has to repeat them in the correct order. The length of the list can be gradually extended. If the words are semantically related it is more difficult, and if they are phonologically related (e.g. fish, film, fog, fun, phone, finger) it is more difficult still.
  • Phoneme repetition— as word repetition, but with phonemes (“oo, v, s, er, d”). Note that phonologically similar lists will be much more difficult (e.g. “p, b, k, d, t”)
  • Letter name repetition —as word repetition, but with letter names.
  • Digit repetition—as word repetition, but with digits. About one per second is maximum difficult for short sequences. Slightly faster or slower rates are both easier for ordinary individuals to remember, but dyslexics tend to find a slower sequence harder (because their rehearsal processes in working memory are deficient).

Developing visual memory

The following are suggested training activities for children with poor visual memory or poor visual-verbal integration memory:

  • Find the missing part —create pictures of everyday things with parts of the pictures missing (e.g. doll with one arm, table with only three legs) and ask the child to identify what is missing. To do this the child has to recall visual images of the relevant objects.
  • What’s wrong here— use pictures of everyday things with parts of the pictures wrong (e.g. house with the door halfway up the wall; person with feet pointing backwards instead of forwards) and ask the child to identify what is wrong. To do this the child has to recall visual images of the relevant objects.
  • Kim’s game —an array of familiar objects on a tray (or picture of an array of objects). The child scans this for two minutes (or whatever time period is appropriate) and then has to remember as many as possible.
  • Symbols —show child a sequence of symbols, letters or shapes of increasing length, and then jumble them up and the child has to rearrange them in the correct order.
  • Who lives here? —Make a set of pictures of people (these may be cut from magazines) and a set of houses of different colours, or different appearance in some way. The people are matched with the houses, and then jumbled up. The child has to rearrange them in the correct relationship. If the people are given names then the task relies more on visual-verbal integration.
  • Pelmanism— remembering matching pairs of cards from a set, when cards are individually turned over and then turned back. The child has to remember where the other one of the pair is, and if both are located these are removed from the set, and so on.
  • Card games —e.g. Snap, Happy Families.

Precision Teaching – Helps processing speed.


  • Say 5 high frequency words as fast as possible, then repeat faster and faster.
  • Say a times table as fast as possible, then repeat faster and faster.

Links to

SEND home learning resource pack available for free at:

tWINKL – SEND Home Learning Resource Pack

(pick and choose what to use from this assortment of tasks:  handwriting/scissor use skills/alphabet games/play dough fine motor activities/listening games)