• Lancaster University

Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching

Learn more about dyslexia, and gain practical teaching tools and insights to help dyslexic students learn foreign languages.

87,492 enrolled on this course

A dyslexic student struggles to read a book
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Discover teaching strategies to help dyslexic students learn a foreign language

Dyslexia affects 10-15% of the population. Dyslexic students are often either exempted from the study of additional languages or they underperform in foreign language classes.

On this course, you’ll discover the most up-to-date dyslexia definition, and how it affects a student’s ability to learn languages. You’ll explore the latest strategies for teaching dyslexic students and have access to a host of dyslexia teaching resources.

The materials and tasks in the course are designed to also be applicable to a variety of language learning contexts, including teaching English as a foreign language.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds Most of us learned how to read easily and without needing any explicit teaching. But why is it that only a much smaller proportion of people become experts in reading even after several years of instruction? One of the reasons for difficulties in learning how to read is an underlying difference called dyslexia. Although dyslexia by definition means reading difficulty, it doesn’t only affect reading but also other areas of academic performance. One of these areas is the learning of additional languages. Finally, the Wargal turned away. Does it happen that dyslexic difficulties are masked or compensated for in one’s first language literacy skills?

Skip to 1 minute and 7 seconds Yes, and this is why the responsibility of foreign language teachers is high, because the real nature of this learning difference might only become apparent when one is trying to learn another language. Approximately 10% of people have dyslexic type learning differences, which means that in a class of 10 students we are likely to have at least one student who is dyslexic. Yet teacher education in general and language teacher education in particular rarely prepares educators for working with dyslexic students. This course aims to fill this gap and will equip language teachers with the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical tools to meet the needs of dyslexic language learners in foreign language classrooms.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds The course might also be useful to dyslexic language learners and their parents with some background in linguistics and education to help them understand the learning processes and the ways in which they can become successful learners. In this course, we are trying to find the answers to the question, what is dyslexia? How does it affect the learning of additional languages? How can we fully include dyslexic students in a foreign language classroom? And what tasks and techniques are useful to facilitate their learning? The materials and tasks in the course are designed to be applicable for various age groups of dyslexic students and for a variety of language teaching contexts and are based on the award-winning materials of the DysTEFL Project.

Skip to 2 minutes and 54 seconds Please join us for this four-week course so that you can help dyslexic students to become successful users of another language.


  • Week 1

    What is dyslexia?

    • Welcome

      Welcome to this course about dyslexia and foreign language teaching

    • Getting started

      An introduction to dyslexia. What is it, and how does it affect people?

    • Dyslexia and specific learning differences

      A more in depth look at how specific learning differences affect learning

    • Test your knowledge

      Take a short quiz to find out what you have learned

    • Discussion

      Join the discussion and share your views with other learners

    • Summing up

      We recap what we have learned, and look ahead to next week

    • Extra resources

      Optional resources that you may find of interest

  • Week 2

    Dyslexia and learning an additional language

    • Introduction

      We learn about the difficulties encountered by dyslexic learners in language classrooms

    • Dyslexia and additional languages

      How dyslexia affects those learning additional languages

    • Making adjustments

      Accommodating dyslexic students in the language classroom

    • Multisensory structured learning

      We look at a different approach to teaching languages

    • Test your knowledge

      Take a short quiz to find out what you have learned

    • Summing up and Extra Resources

      We recap what we have learned, and look ahead to next week and provide some optional resources that you may find of interest

  • Week 3

    Teaching vocabulary and grammar to students with dyslexia

    • Introduction

      We will continue to look at techniques and methods recommended for teaching words and grammatical constructions

    • Vocabulary and grammar

      We look at vocabulary and grammar teaching in relation to listening, reading, speaking and writing

    • Put your knowledge into practice

      How would you teach and practice words/grammatical constructions to dyslexic learners? Try this peer-reviewed task.

    • Summing up and Extra Resources

      We recap what we have learned, and look ahead to next week and provide some optional resources that you may find of interest

  • Week 4

    Developing phonological and orthographic awareness and reading skills

    • Introduction

      We look at the importance of phonological and orthographic awareness and knowledge of sound-letter relationships for successful reading and spelling and developing reading comprehension skills

    • Phonological and orthographic awareness

      We look at how to develop the phonological and orthographic awareness of students with dyslexia

    • Developing reading skills

      We look at ways to help students with dyslexia develop their reading skills

    • Summing up

      We recap what we have learned, and look ahead to the future

    • Farewell

      We say "farewell" and think about what's next?

    • Extra resources

      Optional resources that you may find of interest

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate an understanding of dyslexia and other learning difficulties and their effects on learning additional languages
  • Assess the needs of students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties when learning another language
  • Evaluate resources used in teaching languages to students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties
  • Design language teaching tasks for students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties
  • Apply inclusive language teaching practices in their contexts

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for professional language teachers, secondary school teachers, undergraduates, postgraduates and anyone with an interest in dyslexia and language learning.

It offers you practical tools, as well as theoretical insights, to best accommodate and meet the needs of students with dyslexia.

Who will you learn with?

has been working as an English language teacher, teacher trainer and researcher to promote the full inclusion of dyslexic students in foreign and second language classrooms.

Anne Margaret is an English language teacher and a dyslexia assessor. She founded ELT well to bring together these two fields of education and offer training and advice to professionals on both sides.

Who developed the course?

Lancaster University

Lancaster University is a collegiate university, with a global reputation as a centre for research, scholarship and teaching with an emphasis on employability.

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