The University of Bolton Student Services

Disability Services

Inclusive Teaching Strategies Specific Learning Difficulties




Inclusive teaching strategies: How can I help students with Dyslexia / Specific learning difficulties?

There is a range of literature available on inclusive teaching and learning strategies which can often sound quite abstract and obscure. In practice, inclusive teaching strategies are often common sense, simple adjustments which many tutors would consider general good practice. Examples of this include:

  • Provision of hand-outs and PowerPoints in advance of lectures to aid note taking. 
  •  Being allowed to record lectures if the student wishes.
  • Additional short tutorials to provide additional guidance and clarification on what is expected from set work at the initial stages when requested by the student.
  •  Positive and constructive feedback on literacy issues to aid improvement to personal performance.
  • Tutors should be aware that structuring and organising work and time management may be problematic for this student.
  • The student should not be asked to do read aloud or do a presentation without prior notice, allowing them time to plan and prepare.
  • Write up important references and sources on the board and leave time to copy.

Further information on Dyslexia/ Specific learning Difficulties and inclusion can be found at the following links:

British Dyslexia Association: http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/

Higher Education Academy inclusive Teaching practice: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/search/site/inclusive 

PATOSS (Professional Association of teachers and students with specific learning difficulties. )  https://www.patoss-dyslexia.org/

Accessible Resources Specific Learning Difficulties


Tips for Creating Accessible Resources for students with SpLDs

Key Points: 

  • Use a plain, evenly spaced sans serif font such as Arial and Comic Sans. Font size 12-14 point
  • Use dark coloured text on a light (not white) background.
  • Avoid underlining and italics: these make the text appear to run together. Use bold instead.
  • AVOID TEXT IN BLOCK CAPITALS: this is much harder to read. Use left-justified with ragged right edge.

Readable fonts

  • Use sans serif fonts, such as Arial and Comic Sans, as letters can appear less crowded. Alternatives include Verdana, Tahoma, Century Gothic, Trebuchet, Calibri, Open Sans.
  • Font size should be 12-14 point or equivalent (e.g. 1-1.2em / 16-19 px). Some dyslexic readers may request a larger font.
  • Larger inter-letter / character spacing (sometimes called tracking) improves readability, ideally around 35% of the average letter width. If letter spacing is excessive it can reduce readability.
  • Larger line spacing improves readability and should be proportional to inter-word spacing; 1.5/150% is preferable
  • Avoid underlining and italics as this can make the text appear to run together and cause crowding. Use bold for emphasis.
  • Avoid text in uppercase/capital letters and small caps, which can be less familiar to the reader and harder to read.

Headings and structure

  • Use headings and styles to create consistent structure to help people navigate through your content. In Word, you’ll find these tools in the ‘Home’ tab:
  • For headings, use a font size that is at least 20% larger than the normal text. If further emphasis is required, then use bold.
  • Use formatting tools for text alignment, justification, indents, lists, line and paragraph spacing to support assistive technology users. In Word, you’ll find these tools in the ‘Layout’ tab:
  • Add extra space around headings and between paragraphs.
  • Ensure hyperlinks look different from headings and normal text.


  • Use single colour backgrounds. Avoid background patterns or pictures and distracting surrounds.
  • Use dark coloured text on a light (not white) background.
  • Consider alternatives to white backgrounds for paper, computer and visual aids such as whiteboards. White can appear too dazzling. Use cream or a soft pastel colour. Some dyslexic people will have their own colour preference
  • When printing, use matt paper rather than gloss. Paper should be thick enough to prevent the other side showing through.


  • Left align text, without justification.
  • Avoid multiple columns (as used in newspapers).
  • Lines should not be too long: 60 to 70 characters.
  • Use white space to remove clutter near text and group related content.
  • Break up the text with regular section headings in long documents and include a table of contents.

Writing Style

  • Be concise; avoid using long, dense paragraphs.
  • Use short, simple sentences in a direct style.
  • Use images to support text. Flow charts are ideal for explaining procedures. Pictograms and graphics can help to locate and support information in the text.
  • Consider using bullet points and numbering rather than continuous prose.
  • Give instructions clearly.
  • Avoid double negatives.
  • Avoid abbreviations where possible; always provide the expanded form when first used.
  • Provide a glossary of abbreviations and jargon.

Further information:  https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/advice/employers/creating-a-dyslexia-friendly-workplace/dyslexia-friendly-style-guide