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Screening for Dyslexia (about dyslexia and red cars)

Author: admin

Category: Dyslexia Awareness

If I asked you how many red cars you have seen on your way to work, school, university, or the gym today, would you be able to respond with the exact number? I guess you wouldn´t, because – like anyone else – I imagine you weren’t particularly looking for them.

But if, before you left the house, I had told you that for every red car you spotted on your way, I would give you 50 Euros, would you have seen them? I think you would have. And you would have done it because I had instructed you to do so. You knew exactly what to look for, and I even incentivized you to do it.

This same principle applies to dyslexia and the importance of screening for dyslexia.

You can’t see it if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Rainny day London red car

Therefore, it is crucial for ELT teachers and any other language teachers to learn about dyslexia and be able to recognize it in their students.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects between 10 and 15% of the population. The main issues with dyslexia are related to reading and writing. It’s like when our brains play a little hide-and-seek with letters.

For the vast majority of students with dyslexia, learning English, as their own or another foreign language, is extremely frustrating. It doesn’t mean they aren’t smart enough; it just means they need a different way to learn and process information.

The Importance of Early Screening for Dyslexia
Early screening refers to the process of identifying students with dyslexia as soon as possible. The aim is to identify signs of dyslexia as soon as they become evident or as soon as they become your student.

This process is super important for the following reasons:

Starting the Support Journey: When we know about our students’ dyslexia early, we can start providing the right kind of support straight away. It’s like having a toolkit with tools that make reading and learning English easier.

Finding Strengths: Did you know that many people with dyslexia have amazing strengths? They might be fantastic artists, creative storytellers, or great problem-solvers. Early screening helps us discover these strengths, use them in our ELT language classes, and celebrate them!

Boosting Confidence: Imagine if you were playing a game, and you didn’t know the rules. That might be how it feels for someone with dyslexia when they’re trying to read and learn languages.
Early screening helps us understand the rules and boost their confidence so they can play the language-learning game like pros!

How Does Dyslexia Screening Work?

Simple Tests: Screening for dyslexia is like a set of fun and simple games that could be easily integrated into the English classroom. Teachers might ask questions, listen to students reading, or do some writing activities. It’s nothing stressful – just a way to understand how the students´ brains work.

Look for discrepancies: Students with dyslexia find it difficult to read and write. Therefore, written assignments in the English or ESL classroom are usually of lower quality than that of their classmates. If we find, though, that the same student is capable of providing wonderful and well-structured work, with vocabulary that they don’t use in their writings, in spoken assignments, this could be a sign of dyslexia.

Observing Strengths: During screening, we also look at all the amazing things our students can do. It’s not just about reading and writing; it’s about seeing their unique super skills, like solving puzzles or remembering things in a super cool way.

Teamwork with Parents and Teachers: Screening is a team effort. Parents, teachers, and specialists work together to understand each student’s strengths and challenges. It’s all about making sure everyone has the right tools to succeed.
Ask about family history: Dyslexia is a genetic condition. If your student has possible dyslexia, their brother or sister likely has it too. Or maybe a parent, uncle, aunt, or grandparent. Asking the family for other members who face similar learning differences can be very helpful and enlightening.

Benefits of Early Screening for Dyslexia

Tailored Learning Plans: Students with dyslexia might need a special learning plan. Early screening for dyslexia helps create these plans, making sure everyone gets the support they need and reaches their full potential in learning English.
Super Tools for Success: Knowing about dyslexia early means having access to better tools. These tools, like audiobooks, speech-to-text apps, and personalized reading and language learning strategies, make their learning journey way more fun and exciting!

Building a Supportive Community: Early screening for dyslexia helps create a supportive community where everyone cheers for each other. It’s like having a team of students that encourages and celebrates every victory, big or small.

I´m a Teacher, Where to Start?

As a language teacher, it’s not our job to run a full dyslexia diagnosis on our students. Nevertheless, we can help our students by screening for dyslexia and adjusting our strategies to make their learning journey amazing and fun, as well as highly effective.

We can do this by:

Understanding what dyslexia is: understanding dyslexia, how the dyslexic brain works, and the effects of dyslexia on society.

Knowing how dyslexia affects language learning: the effect that dyslexia has on students who want to learn a different language.

Understanding what it feels like to have dyslexia: experiencing what it feels like to have a dyslexic brain and understanding its impact on language learning.

Learning to recognize and screen for dyslexia: having the right tools and recognizing “red flags” in your ESL classroom

Adapting your classes: having a series of tools and games to make your classes more fun and dyslexia-friendly.

And you can acquire all these skills in just 6 hours with my Dyslexia Awareness Training!

With this live online training, we will provide you with the knowledge and the tools that have already helped hundreds of dyslexic students of all ages become proficient in English.

You will learn how to recognize dyslexia in your classroom and how to use teaching strategies that boost the language learning of not only your dyslexic students but also of all your other students as well.

Check our upcoming course dates here

Or get in touch with us if you need specific training for you and your colleagues: CONTACT US HERE

With only 6 hours of training, you can become that teacher who makes a difference in the life of a student with dyslexia!


  1. Shaywitz, S. E., & Shaywitz, B. A. (2003). Dyslexia (specific reading disability). Biological psychiatry, 54(1), 25-33.
  2. Fletcher, J. M., Lyon, G. R., Fuchs, L. S., & Barnes, M. A. (2007). Learning disabilities: From identification to intervention. Guilford Press.
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2018). Policy statement: Learning disabilities, dyslexia, and vision. Pediatrics, 142(6), e20183061.

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