My approach

Trust, Confidence and Fun

I believe that trust, confidence and fun are the key elements of a successful lesson.

I offer individually tailored lessons to address the needs of each child, not a course from a book.

I believe strongly that a trusting and fun relationship between teacher and student, where the pupil is not afraid to make mistakes, is key to the pupil making progress. I also think language games reinforce learning in a relaxed but constructive way. I try to incorporate fun and trust in every lesson.

Every pupil has different strengths and weaknesses so I offer different options suited to children with SpLD and let them choose the way they learn best.

Exam preparation

I have helped many of my students prepare for their GCSEs and A Levels.

  • Exam technique: Part of getting ‘pass’ results at GCSE is about knowing what the examiner is looking for and addressing the question accurately. I have taught GCSE English language skills and helped pupils gain insight into how writers use language devices to achieve their purpose, and then use these skills themselves to improve their own writing.
  • Note-taking and revision exercises: Processing information at speed can be difficult for dyslexic pupils. So much effort is put into decoding text that meaning is often left behind. I help close this gap by first familiarising students with unknown or difficult vocabulary, then re-reading and summarising what they have read, either orally or on a word map. This can double as a note-taking or revision exercise.

Strategies and skills

All people with dyslexic difficulties struggle with the way spoken sounds (phonemes) are represented in written letters (graphemes), so I teach the following strategies and skills:

  • Phonological awareness: to sensitise children to the sound structure of written and read words e.g. hearing and writing the n in munch. Learning chunks is easier than learning individual sounds.
  • Rime families: spelling in word families encourages awareness of rhyme patterns and analogy in most words e.g. the ick in stick and brick.
  • High frequency words: facility with these words is essential for reading with speed and ease. I use writing techniques, games (often with movable letters) and tactics such as the child competing against her or himself to facilitate recognition of these words.
  • Syllable analysis: breaking words down into their largest chunks of sound (syllables) strengthens awareness of how words are built up from sounds and facilitates decoding.
  • Planning: I encourage planning of written tasks by whatever method the pupil feels most comfortable with. This is often by mind-mapping. However, in the end I go with what the child feels works best for her/him.
  • Writing skills: I encourage reluctant writers to structure sentences (orally first) so that their meaning is clear, to use more adventurous vocabulary (with spelling help if necessary) and to check each sentence so that it says what they want it to mean.
  • Recycling: recycling previously learnt material is essential to prevent forgetting. School students have busy lives, and a teacher cannot assume that what is taught once will be remembered in a few weeks’ time!
  • Expressing ideas/information in writing: I am not a fan of cutting and pasting, but often see secondary students do this for homework tasks. This way of completing homework does not require any understanding of the text, or ability to compose a sentence. Many dyslexic students experience difficulty putting ideas into words. I help them develop strategies to deal with this difficulty.