Your dyslexic child is struggling to learn to spell? These dyslexia spelling worksheets make learning to spell structured and multisensory.
One of the first clues that my daughter was dyslexic was her spelling.
It was the spring of first grade when distance learning started for the global pandemic. I noticed she couldn’t even spell the word “pet.”
She would refuse to write and cry. I made the classic parenting mistake of thinking, “she just needs to persist a bit longer.”
Within a week, it dawned on me that she had a learning disability and we needed to get a learning evaluation.
What I didn’t expect was a dyslexia diagnosis. She could read but not spell. It turns out that trouble with spelling is a huge indicator of dyslexia.
So I created these dyslexia spelling worksheets for my daughter and they’ll help your child too.
Free Dyslexia Spelling Worksheet
You can grab the free dyslexia spelling worksheet right here. It’s a sample of a larger set of dyslexia spelling worksheets. It’s gift for email subscribers so it will be sent straight to your inbox.
But it’s important for you to have an understanding of how dyslexia impacts spelling. So read on to learn more about dyslexia and spelling.
Dyslexia and Spelling
Most people believe dyslexia is just a problem with reading. But that’s not true. It can impact spelling.
At its core, dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexics have trouble isolating and recognizing individual sounds in language.
Reading and spelling are reciprocal. In reading, a child has to match sounds to a written word. This is called decoding, or phonics.
In spelling, a child has to break apart a word without any visual clues. They have to segment the individual sounds they hear in the word. Then they need to choose the correct sound-spelling pattern.
Can dyslexia affect spelling and not reading?
Dyslexics have trouble with reading but many learn how to cope with it. Spelling is tricker.
So, yes dyslexia can have a larger impact on spelling than reading for some people. This is because spelling is more complex than reading.
Reading requires recognition of the sound-spelling patterns whereas spelling requires production. English has 250 typical sound-spelling patterns.
Spelling requires a child to isolate and produce the sounds in a word, decide on how they are going to spell those sounds, and then write the letters for those spellings.
Your child likely gets less time on spelling instruction than they do on reading instruction at school. Reading is woven into lessons throughout the school day. So less time spent on learning spelling patterns means it will be more challenging.
How can I help a dyslexic child with spelling?
The great news is you can help your dyslexic child with spelling. It is one of the many ways you can help your child with dyslexia at home.
The approach to teaching spelling to your dyslexic child is actually pretty straightforward once you learn what to do.
Develop phonemic awareness
Your child needs to be able to hear each individual sound in words in order to spell them. So phonemic awareness is the first place to start.
Phonemic awareness includes these important skills:
- identifying sounds
- isolating sounds
- segment sounds
- manipulating sounds (adding, deleting, or substituting sounds)
Read more about phonemic awareness skills and how to build them at home.
One of the trickiest parts of dyslexia is the difficulty of breaking words into individual sounds. This is called segmenting words.
So before you put a pencil in your child’s hands, practice segmenting words. I use plastic counters with my daughter but you can use any manipulative – even Legos.
Start with simple CVC words like pot:
- Adult: “Can you say pot?”
- Child: “Pot.”
- Adult: “Let’s count out the sounds in pot with these counters. What’s the first sound?”
- Child: “/P/”
- Adult: “Great let’s point a counter here for /p/. Whats the next sound you hear?”
- Child: “/O/.”
- Adult: “Good. Let’s put another counter here for /o/. What’s the last sound in pot?”
- Child: “/T/.”
- Adult: “Great, now we have three counters here for pot. Can you touch them and say each sound?”
- Child: “/p/ /o/ /t/”
You might think – “what does this have to do with spelling?” A lot!
If your child can not break apart the words, they will not be able to spell the sounds. This is what I first noticed with my daughter prior to her dyslexia diagnosis.
If a teacher segmented a word for her, she could spell it. But she couldn’t do this on her own.
Connect sounds to letters
Once you feel like your child can segment or break apart a word into individual sounds, you can teach your child how to connect the sounds to letters.
You can use a process called phoneme-grapheme mapping. It’s been shown to help students learn to how to read and spell more efficiently than memorizing.
Simply, phoneme-grapheme just means connecting sounds (phonemes) to letters (graphemes). To do phoneme-grapheme mapping you:
- Say the word
- Have your child repeat it.
- Tap the sounds on your fingers to count sounds.
- Make that same number of boxes for each sound on a paper or whiteboard.
- Map the letter or letters that spell each sound in the boxes.
- Spell the word below.
You can just use a simple whiteboard to do this or grab the Word Mapping Activity in my shop or on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Dyslexia Spelling Worksheet
Now you’re really looking for dyslexia spelling worksheets so grab this free sample if you didn’t already.
It is a word mapping worksheet. I made these for my own dyslexic daughter and my dyslexic tutor students because I could find any other systematic, multisensory spelling worksheets.
It connects spelling letters to tapping sounds. Instead of using plastic counters like I explained above, your child will tap the dots on the worksheet to break apart the words.
So it’s a structured way to connect phonemic awareness to writing the letters that spell the sounds. These dyslexia spelling worksheets are also multisensory because your child will:
- Say the word (auditory)
- Tap the sounds (kinesthetic)
- Read the word (visual)
Using Dyslexia Spelling Worksheets
These are the five steps for using these dyslexia spelling worksheets:
- Say the word
- Tap the sounds
- Map the letters
- Spell the word
- Read it
Say the word
It’s really important that you do these worksheets with your child. They need to hear you say the word and they need to say it back.
This is one of the two critical multisensory parts to these dyslexia spelling worksheets.
Tap the sounds
Your child will tap the sounds on each of the black dots. There is the correct number of dots for the number of sounds in the words.
This is an important scaffold, or stepping stone, for your dyslexic child. They don’t need to guess the right number of sounds – they just need to identify them.
Map the sounds
In the boxes, the child will map out the letter or letters that spell each sound. There is the correct number of boxes per sounds. So your child will quickly learn that sometimes they need more than one letter to spell a sound.
Spell the word
On the lines, your child will spell (or write) the word. The boxes for word mapping separate the letters and it’s important the your child sees the letters together to spell the whole word.
Read the word
This last step is important for two reasons. One, mapping it this way helps store the word in the orthographic memory. This means the area of the brain that stores sound-spellings will remember it better.
Second, when your child reads it, they will likely spot if they made a spelling mistake. My daughter and dyslexic students ususally catch their spelling mistakes when they reread what they wrote aloud.
Dyslexia Spelling Worksheet Skills
These are the phonics skills includes on the dyslexia spelling worksheets:
- CVC words like cub
- CVCe words like cube
- Digraph words like ship
- Blends words like plant
- Bossy R or R-Controlled words like cards
- Vowel Team and Diphthong words like soil
These spelling worksheets build on each other. So the CVCe words will not include any digraphs or consonant blends.
Answer Keys for Dyslexia Spelling Worksheets
So you’re not a teacher. You can still help your dyslexic child with spelling.
Each worksheet comes with an answer key. It shows you exactly how to map each word – and helps you if you get stuck identifying the pictures!
Grab these dyslexia spelling worksheets for your child. You can be confident that you have a multisensory, systematic, and explicit way to work on spelling at home.