Creating a Dyslexia-Friendly Learning Environment

dyslexia resources May 05, 2021

Hi, friends! This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and today, I want to show my appreciation by having a sale on my teaching resources. In my teacher shop, I have dyslexia resources, printable letter tiles, blending boards, intervention resources, and more. Visit my resource shop to save today on tools to effectively support students with dyslexia. Click here to see the sale. I also have a free download that will add additional support in your classroom. Keep reading for how to access it. 

Though Teacher Appreciation Week comes once a year, it doesn't mean that they don't deserve appreciation all year long. Teachers work incredibly hard at creating welcoming environments for their students. We spend countless hours preparing the learning environment so that our students feel that they belong. Classrooms set the stage for learning. Students with learning differences should feel seen, understood, and represented in their learning environments.

A dyslexia-friendly learning environment builds connections with struggling students and opens the door to conversations surrounding learning differences. Dr. James P. Comer, from the Yale Child Study Center, believes that "No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship". As educators, the relationships that we seek with our students are built on empathy, understanding, supporting their success, and helping them understand how they learn as an individual. 

Building Empathy and Understanding About Dyslexia as an Educator

Dyslexia falls under the umbrella of Specific Learning Disability and is the most common learning difference under this umbrella. All teachers have or have had a dyslexic learner as a student. Learners with dyslexia also have a higher risk of suicide than the general population. Some psychologists refer to this statistic as the anxiety cascade. For dyslexic learners, this may be where a trigger leads to a fear response. Some examples of these triggers for these students are reading aloud, timed testing, writing assignments, and feeling judged. This then leads to stress, worry, and anxiety which can cause memory and attention disruptions, physical responses, and eventually feelings of hopelessness. By having a deeper knowledge of dyslexia, both academically and emotionally, we can guide students to better understand their unique and amazing brains. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Believe that dyslexia is real. 
  • Educate yourself on dyslexia. If dyslexia is new to you, or if you have been on the journey for some time, continue to learn about dyslexia. Learning about the academic and social-emotional impact is important. 
  • Create equity-based classrooms. This environment supports every student to ensure that they have access to all resources that address academic and emotional impacts. This support is needed for these students to succeed. 

Using Books to Create an Empathetic Classroom Environment

One way that we can bring empathy and understanding of dyslexia into the learning environment is with books. By carefully selecting books, we can provide opportunities for students to see themselves in the pages of the books. This then leads to open discussions among students and teachers and can encourage empathy and understanding among peers. 

Students with dyslexia, when feeling supported, will know what value they bring to their world. It helps them to understand that dyslexia does not define them and that there's no ceiling to what dreams they can achieve. 

For additional support, I am sharing a free download this week listing books that focus on dyslexia, overcoming obstacles, and encouraging social-emotional learning. 

Benefits of Dyslexia Books for Students

 There are many ways that I have found that books on this subject mater have benefitted students. Both picture and chapter books highlighting dyslexia and growth mindset have provided opportunities to discuss differences and ways to overcome challenges. These types of books allow students to connect with a character that they can relate to and begin to build empathetic reasoning. 

Books that highlight different learning experiences also creates the possibility to remove existing or lingering stigmas of dyslexia that may exist. The more that students see themselves in books, the less alone they will feel. Highlighting those authors with dyslexia can also be powerful for these learners. These authors include: Agatha Christie, Day Pikey, Henry Winkler, and Patricia Polacco.

Books provide engaging ways for teachers to share learning differences with their students to honor the various ways that people learn. They also support social-emotional learning and provide prompts for discussions. Books that discuss overcoming challenges also provide opportunities to develop a growth mindset. All the books in my handout this week are powerful for spring boarding discussions and mini-lessons showing how we can all overcome challenges. Click here to download your book list.

I hope this post has provided you more ways to support your learners with dyslexia. Don't forget to browse my resources that will also help you with your students' success. Click here to visit my resource shop. The sale ends tonight!

Have a wonderful week! Don't forget to show appreciation to all of your teacher friends!


The Dyslexia Classroom


Helland, S. S., Roysamb, E., Brandlistuen, R. E., Melby-Lervag, M., & Gustavson, K. (2020). A common family factor underlying language difficulties and internalizing problems: Findings from a population-based sibling study. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 53(5), 399-409.

Horbach, J., Mayer, A., Scharke, W., Heim, S., & Gunther, T. (2020). Development of behavior problems in children with and without specific learning disorders in reading and spelling from kindergarten to fifth grade. Scientific Studies of Reading, 24(1), 57-71.





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