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Can a student with dyslexia benefit from learning a foreign language?

Jill Abrams Tutoring, Inc.

Learning a foreign language can be both encouraging and beneficial to students by helping the students further understand the subtle differences between the foreign language and English. The question remains if students with dyslexia benefit from learning to study both English and language of choice.

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty in reading and writing; has nothing to do with the child’s ability or intelligence. Due to trouble with both reading and writing, comprehension and spellings branches into the obstacles of being a student with Dyslexia. Despite these troubles, learning a foreign language may be difficult but not impossible. Students with Dyslexia might struggle with learning to recognize the sounds and memorizing them in both English and the foreign language of choice. This may cause the child to lose familiarity from repeated sounds and words in the new foreign language.

However, it is about learning which foreign language focuses on predictability of sounds and root words to help the student learn them easier. A language like Spanish is a perfect beginning to introducing the concept of foreign language to students with Dyslexia; making them feel more comfortable. Being that students often have to take a foreign language in High School, here are some tips to keep in mind before the school year starts. At Jill Abrams Tutoring, Inc. we are here to assist in helping parents make the appropriate decision for their child.

  • Ask about accommodations for the student.

Before the student goes into school, make a note to notify the new foreign language teacher about the student’s dyslexia. The child may feel more encouraged if given more opportunities to study material. Also, if the teacher is willing to help, it can be easier for the student if given connections to sounds and words.

  • Ask about a waiver.

Depending on the district, the parent may request a waiver for the student for foreign language. Rather than placing an extra workload, the child may feel more comfortable taking the required classes instead.

  • Consider American Sign Language (ASL)

American Sign Language (ASL) may be an alternative option for a student with dyslexia. With no written words or letter, ASL is a perfect substitute for a child to learn a new language. Most schools do not have ASL as a language, however, there are many helpful videos on Youtube as well as classes in your local community college.


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