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Their peers often know how much students with dyslexia dread reading aloud in front of others, and hopefully teachers do, too. If not, many experts in dyslexia advise educators across the curriculum to avoid putting these students on the spot and, moreover, to give them opportunities to rehearse if they accept the challenge or volunteer to read in front of a partner or group. Sample some of the advice:  (opens in a new window) (opens in a new window)

To reduce fear and anxiety:

  • Never force them to participate in a spelling bee
  • Never force them to read out loud in class Never have them write on the board
  • Don’t pass papers down the row
  • Don’t allow other students to grade papers or tests
  • Never call on them unless they volunteer
  • Make sure your classroom is a safe place to make mistakes   

(Source: General Accommodations Handout (opens in a new window))

Avoid asking a student with dyslexia to read aloud in front of the class. However, if you really need to get the student to read, discreetly let them know the previous day what section they will be asked to read so they can prepare it.”

Dyslexia Association of Ireland

Do not ask your student with dyslexia to read aloud in front of peers. This can be quite embarrassing and being put ‘on-the-spot’ will only exacerbate his difficulty with the text. But, should he volunteer, by all means, let him read!”

DyslexiaHelp at the University of Michigan

Do not require the student to read aloud, unless he or she volunteers or had the opportunity to practice.”

Kelli Sandman-Hurley (article in Edutopia’s “Dyslexia in The General Education Classroom”)

Cool tool

Don’t miss a chance to add literacy strategies that support reading aloud, book talks, and related academic activities. Here is a cool tool for reading and speaking that can reduce everyone’s anxiety — whether or not a reader is dyslexic —  when a student is expected to pronounce an author’s name correctly. Log onto’s Audio Name Pronunciation guide (opens in a new window) (opens in a new window):

  • Learn the correct pronunciation for author’s names 
  • Discover historical and cultural information about authors’ names from each author
  • Hear 2,000 recordings by authors and illustrators with more added weekly.

How do you pronounce dePaola and Sciezka?

Number 2,000 added to the Guide was author/illustrator Tomie dePaola (opens in a new window) (opens in a new window). Also hear author and reading advocate Jon Scieszka (opens in a new window) (opens in a new window) pronounce and discuss his name. 

“Hearing book creators introduce themselves offers unique insight into their personality and background,” according to a July 21 press release from the Children’s Book Council. “Through the Author Name Pronunciation Guide, students can hear 2015 Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander (opens in a new window) (opens in a new window) rhyme his name with salami (and pastrami); learn what the R and L stand for in Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine’s name (opens in a new window) (opens in a new window); and be confident in pronouncing authors whose legacy lives on in their books, like Maya Angelou (opens in a new window) (opens in a new window) and Elie Weisel (opens in a new window) (opens in a new window).” Once you build confidence, take the Challenge Quiz! (opens in a new window) (opens in a new window) (PDF)

Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials(opens in a new window) (opens in a new window) for sharing this blog with our Reading Rockets audience.

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