Teaching Tips, Multisensory Learning, Ask the Experts

Dyslexia and Dysgraphia Teaching Strategies


Hi! Do you have any products or strategies I can use for an older child with dyslexia and dysgraphia? I have a fourth grade student with dyslexia and dysgraphia and I am looking for grade-appropriate solutions that aren’t geared too young.


Dyslexia affects one in five students. It is the most common learning disability. These students may struggle with words and using language effectively. Children with dysgraphia have trouble producing written language due to poor motor planning. They may struggle with organizational skills and movements that need to be in an automatic and specific order. As a result, they may write in a mixture of both capitals and lowercase letters. Here are some strategies and tools that can be used with older elementary students with dyslexia and dysgraphia:


Heading in the Right Direction

Children may need a visual to imitate correct formation and can help correct reversals and incorrect letter formation. The foundational skills such as starting at the top and moving left to right can be accomplished simply with a dot in the top left corner of the paper to provide a visual cue. The Gray Block Paper can also provide a visual cue of the starting position for numbers and capitals.


Keep It Moving

Kinesthetic activities can be helpful for children who have difficulty putting pen to paper. Multisensory activities can help! Using the Blackboard with Double Lines and the Wet-Dry-Try activity can help children write correct formation and placement of letters on the line. 


Practice, Practice, Practice

One of the NEW products that can be useful for a child with dysgraphia is Building Writers student workbooks. Building Writers provides extra practice for writing skills development. There is structured practice to build core writing skills with opinion, narrative, and informational writing. You can learn more about Building Writers here


Keep It Short and Sweet

Dyslexia and dysgraphia can make the process of writing difficult, but incorporating multisensory activities and organizational skills can help this process. Provide short periods of handwriting instead of having longer sessions by aiming for 5–10 minutes per day. Make accommodations as needed, but continue to work on writing skill development.


Don’t Forget Keyboarding!

Keyboarding allows students the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas. Keyboarding can sometimes be easier for children with dyslexia and dysgraphia to learn and is often ideal for longer assignments. In this age of technology, we believe it is important for children to both type and write. You can find more information about Keyboarding Without Tears here.


Join our Handwriting Without Tears Lessons in Action Video contest and share with us how you implement strategies of your own! 




Tania Ferrandino's picture
By Tania Ferrandino Tania Ferrandino, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist from Dover, DE. She developed a passion for working with children and ultimately teaching others after attending her first Handwriting Without Tears workshop with Jan Olsen in 2002. She has written a series of grants, taught HWT workshops and made it her mission to help all children achieve handwriting success. She is currently a program specialist and national presenter for Learning Without Tears.
Christina Bretz's picture
By Christina Bretz Christina Bretz, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist from Lexington, KY. She has a passion for helping children with handwriting difficulties. She has experience with school-based therapy, summer camps and creating a tutoring business. She is currently a program specialist and national presenter for Learning Without Tears. When not working on products or professional development, you can find Christina on a soccer field with her husband and three daughters.


By Anita Ward (not verified)

My son was diagnosed with dysphonemic dysgraphia about 20 years ago. Many people do not even know what this is. Thank you for postiing.