Learning as an ESL or dyslexic student can be difficult in standard American classrooms. Most of these students are highly intelligent, but they may have different learning styles. To help them realize their full potential, teachers must offer accommodations.

Barriers to Learning
For an ESL student, content and instructions may be difficult to understand depending on their levels of vocabulary and grammar. This is especially true in social studies and science, which include many vocabulary terms that are uncommon in conversation.

Dyslexia further complicates this barrier, as it can make large blocks of text feel more overwhelming. It can also make it more difficult for students to translate sounds to letters, which presents an additional barrier to learning to read and write in a foreign language. Many professionals recommend using the Orton Gillingham reading program to help those with dyslexia as it has a proven track record of helping.

Teaching conventions vary from place to place, so students may have learned skills such as math with different methods from those of the teacher. Dyslexic ESL students may have developed learning methods that work for them, but struggle to communicate them to the teacher due to vocabulary limitations or cultural barriers regarding communication with authority figures. ESL students and dyslexic students can also be prone to anxiety and depression if they feel like outsiders.

How Teachers Can Help
•Presenting instructions in bullet point form or shorter paragraphs can make them feel less overwhelming.
•Presenting large blocks of text with the most important information highlighted gives dyslexic ESL students the opportunity to practice reading complex segments while ensuring that they receive the most important information if they struggle.
•Providing a glossary of terms can help with unfamiliar vocabulary. It is especially useful for dyslexic students if they struggle with notetaking.
•Practice and review assignments can be useful for ensuring that students grasp necessary concepts, especially when students need to focus a large portion of their energy on comprehending vocabulary rather than content during the original lesson.

•Permitting or providing alternative learning methods such as interactive or audiovisual can be more effective for dyslexic students. In addition, allowing learning methods that students already know such as alternative formulas for math can make the transition easier for ESL students.
•Initiating a dialogue with students and their parents can help them feel listened to and help the teacher understand the student’s needs. This is especially useful in combating anxiety and depression.

Dyslexic ESL students can face many barriers as they navigate schools. Fortunately, teachers can be flexible, creative, and supportive as they learn to provide the necessary accommodations for their students' success.

Author's Bio: 

Viki Adams is a freelance blogger from Utah. She is a student at Utah Valley University who is majoring in Business Administration. Viki loves to read and write about new subjects and you can connect with her on LinkedIn.