How To Prepare a Dyslexic Child For Secondary School
As summer ends and we slip into Autumn, children across the country are preparing to make the leap from Key stage 2 into Key stage 3, from primary to secondary school. For many this is an exciting time, for others it can be daunting.
If your child has dyslexia, you may be worried about how they will cope. How will they possibly organise themselves? How will they remember which lesson to go to, let alone where the classroom is? How will they remember what their homework task is by the time they return home, never mind if they will remember to hand it in on time?
You should aim to share information with school staff about your child’s specific learning difficulties as soon as possible, ideally before they start school. Form tutors, Heads of Year and the SENCo are all good points of contact as they will be overseeing your child’s education and can support your child on their new adventure.
However, setting up a few simple systems from home may provide the support they need. Here are some things you can encourage your child to do...
1. Pack their own bag
This includes taking responsibility for its contents. This may take a little work on your part for the first few weeks, as you teach them how to check which lessons they have and what equipment needs to be packed each day. Maybe use a checklist or timetable to help. Once the system is established it will free you up and increase your child’s independence. Feel free to check their bag, once they think they have done it, but PLEASE don’t pack their bag for them. Packing their bag might help you feel better because it’s done and you can move onto your next task on the never ending ‘to do’ list, but it doesn’t help them develop independence or the ability to take responsibility.
2. Buy a folder for each subject
Ensure it’s clearly labelled with your child’s name, form and the subject. They can keep their books in this folder and any worksheets too. At the end of a lesson they can pop any spare sheets in the folder, for filing later. The documents will be safe in a folder not screwed in a ball in the bottom of their bag! I would recommend A4 fabric folders, they are more expensive than plastic and cardboard folders, but they are more robust and will last the school year. Amazon have a selection of canvas zip bags.
3. Keep a laminated copy of their timetable
Display this somewhere visible – we use the fridge door. Each night your child can check which lessons they have the next day and pack their bag accordingly. They can also have a laminated copy of the timetable in their pocket or bag as an extra reminder. If they have a locker, they can pop one in there too for easy reference.
4. Note their homework down before leaving lessons
If they run out of time maybe they could take a photo of the instructions to refer to later. Many schools have virtual learning environments where teachers upload homework details, and your child can refer to this later too.
5. Take a photo of any fixtures/event notices that are relevant to them
Many schools post team lists, key events etc on notice boards in school. Through taking a photo they will have the details saved and won’t have to remember them! They can even send a copy to you so you know when and where they need to be and with which kit!
6. Have a study buddy
This will be a reliable friend/peer, who they can call if they get stuck on their homework. Snapchat works well here!