Literacy Support

Literacy Support

Children and Young People with Specific Learning Difficulties can have difficulties with some or all aspects of literacy. Not all difficulties with literacy are dyslexic difficulties and Yes @ Areté Learning Trust recommends a structured approach to observations and assessments to identify the key reasons behind a literacy difficulty.

The Rose Review (2009) gave the definition of dyslexia as a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.

  • Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed
  • Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities
  • Dyslexia is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points

Resources we like:

Dyslexia Friendly Schools Good Practice Guide

A History of Dyslexia

Made By Dyslexia

BLOG by Suzanne Murray. Dyslexia: Finding the Elephant in the Classroom

Dyslexia Scotland

The Driver Youth Trust has created a Drive for Literacy (DfL) toolkit which is built on the Graduated Approach and starts with Quality First Teaching. It aims to build teacher capability and school capacity to identify and support learners who struggle with reading, writing, speaking and listening,

It is built around the three principles:

  1. Equal access, where all children are able to learn despite their difficulties.
  2. Understanding what literacy difficulties are and seeing merit in addressing their impact on educational outcomes for children and young people.
  3. Good teaching practice that benefits those with literacy difficulties.

What Works for Children and Young People with Literacy Difficulties Greg Brooks University of Sheffield

This book addresses the following questions:

  • What intervention schemes are there which have been used in the UK in an attempt to boost the reading, spelling or overall writing attainment of lower-achieving pupils between the ages of 5 and 18, and have been quantitatively evaluated here?
  • What are those schemes like, and how effective are they?

IDL Literacy

Yes @ Areté Learning Trust is able to host training on this programme. Please get in touch for further details.



Read Oxford

A reading research group based at the University of Oxford.

SQ4R Method

SQ4R stands for survey, question, read, recite, relate, and review. These six steps can help you learn and remember what you read more effectively.

ECHO Reading

Echo reading is a rereading strategy designed to help students develop expressive, fluent reading as well as used for print knowledge. In echo reading, the teacher reads a short segment of text, sometimes a sentence or short paragraph, and the student echo it back. "Echo reading works best for short segments of text as particularly well-suited for beginning readers" (Jennings, Caldwell, and Lerner, 2014). Since the strategy can be used to develop both print knowledge as well as fluency there are different techniques within the strategy to be used to differentiate between the two literacy development areas.  It is important that in this strategy that teacher make sure to use pointing when reading so students can gain the letter to print concept. 

Effect of Prior Knowledge on Good and Poor Readers' Memory of Text

For Reading, Knowledge Matters More Than Strategies, Some Experts Say

Closing the Word Gap - Actvities for the Classroom

The Ultimate Guide to Phonological Awareness


Visual Perception Difficulties

Visual perception is our ability to process and organize visual information from the environment. ... A child with visual perceptual problems may be diagnosed with a visual processing disorder. He/she may be able to easily read an eye chart (acuity) but have difficulty organizing and making sense of visual information.Visual perception is our ability to organise and process visual information. Visual Perception Diffiuclties can impact on a students reading, writing and maths skills.

Visual Perception Observed Difficulties
Visual Discrimination

Match colours and shapes

Identify odd one out

Copy sequences

Visual Memory

Remembering letter/number shapes

Remembering visual sequences

Retaining visual information

Proprioception (Body awareness)

Understanding of directional and positional information

Dificulties with body awareness

Poor directional sense


Visual Tracking

Copying shapes and patterns

space letters correctly

Recording work

Placing writing correctly on the page

Visual Form Constancy

Recognise letters in different fonts

recognising the same shape in different contexts

Visual Figure Ground

Focus on a task

Read/copy without losing their place

Throwing and catching


Visual Closure Completing an almost finished outline of a familiar object or shape.


Yes @ Areté Learning Trust is able to provide advice on strategies and resources which can support students with Visual Perception Difficulties and the assessment of specific difficutlies.


People with Mearles-Irlen Syndrome (visual stress) may or may not also have other specific learning difficulties.

Signs that a student may have some visual stress difficulties include:

  • Rubbing eyes, staring (to hold words), excessive blinking, sore or watery eyes
  • Tiredness and poor attention span
  • Looking away from the page, or moving and changing position frequently
  • Poor comprehension of text
  • Losing place or missing out words/ lines when reading
  • Reading slowly without expression or meaning

Students with visual stress may experience one or all of the following:

  • Blurring of print
  • Movement of print
  • Pattern through text
  • Colours
  • Visual discomfort, nausea and headaches

Advice for Specialist Assessors from SASC

Yes @ Areté Learning Trust offer a screening service for Visual Stress difficulties. The diagnostic assessment which costs £10 will be carried out by Inese Yeardley who qualified as an Orthoptist in 1970 from the Manchester School of Orthoptics and became a clinical tutor in 1996. She has worked in Yorkshire, Lancashire and  Kent and retired from Durham and Darlington NHS Trust in 2008 after working there for 26 years. From 2004 Inese has worked at Cooper an Leatherbarrow seeing children and adults with reading problems, visual stress and Dyslexia.

To book an appointment please email 

International Institute of Colorimtery

The IIoC is creating worldwide recognition and support for sufferers of visual stress. It is a not for profit organization that exists to promote the awareness of visual stress. Visual Stress is acknowledged by the British government as a component in the failure of some children to access literacy skills. They have supported information on the use of overlays to all schools throughout the UK. The lloC supports and sponsors the strong lobby group who liaise regularly with government ministers to seek extended funding for the Precision Tinted Lenses for children.


In the classroom a  range of resources can be used to support students with visual stress.

1. Reading Rulers

2. Tinted Handwriting Exercise Books

3. Tinted Exercise Books A4

4. Tinted Exercise Books 9 x 7

5. Coloured Page Overlays

For a comprehensive review of assistive technology we recommend the BDA Technologies website

Yes @ Areté Learning Trust can provide training and support with the following assistive technology

Text to Speech

Yes @ Areté Learning Trust have worked closely with Text Help to start to develop the effective use of the Read and Write software throughout Richmond School.




Yes @ Areté Learning Trust have compiled an overview of APPs for use at school and home.

ISSUU - Latest issue of SEND Magazine. An essential part of your teaching toolkit.

SEN Magazine - Enabling technology for dyslexic learners


The RNIB Bookshare UK education collection enables learners with print disabilities, including those with dyslexia and who are blind or partially sighted, to read the same collection, at the same time as their peers, giving them the same educational opportunities.

All books are “accessible,” which means you can read our books many different ways:

  • Listen to books with high quality text-to-speech voices
  • Hear and see highlighted words on screen
  • Read with digital braille or enlarged fonts
  • Create physical braille or large print
  • Read directly from your Internet browser