LANGUAGES WITHOUT LIMITS
This page is introduced and overseen by Dr Margaret Crombie, formerly Support for Learning Manager and Quality Improvement Officer for Highland Council, Scotland; now Educational Consultant specialising in Dyslexia, and Associate Lecturer for the Open University.
My research into foreign language learning in schools took place mainly in the early nineties when modern foreign language learning was becoming compulsory for all children in the first four years of secondary school. At that time I was teaching dyslexic children full time, and parents were frequently asking me if their children should not be taken out of language learning. Statements such as, “Well, if they can't learn to read and write in their own language, how will they ever cope with learning French, German or whatever?” I did not know the answer to this question and sought to find it. All searches in the UK were negative and it appeared that very few of the recommendations that were being made in Scotland had any research foundation.
Further investigation led me to two researchers in the United States - Le Ganschow and Richard Sparks, and Le was good enough to send me some details of the work which they had done on the other side of the Atlantic. This was a start, but as their research did not relate directly to school learning, I decided that this should be the topic for my Masters degree which I was about to embark upon. Findings were very revealing and contrary to advice which was being given that speaking and listening should pose no problems for dyslexic pupils, I found that those areas did pose considerable difficulties for most dyslexic youngsters. Further information on my research is published in Dyslexia Journal 1996.
However, this did not convince me that dyslexic pupils should not study another language. It did however make it all the more important that the right methods of teaching were in place, and since then I have spent considerable time and effort in identifying the approaches and strategies that are most likely to meet with success. I continue to maintain an interest in this area of learning.
Dr Crombie's findings are summarised in this article
Some tips to help support dyslexic learners
Dr Crombie's contribution to the EU report: SEN in Europe: The teaching and learning of languages: Insights and innovation
Supporting students with dyslexia in secondary schools
Multilingualism, Literacy and Dyslexia
Dyslexia - Successful Inclusion in the Secondary School
Dyslexia and Foreign Language Learning
The Routledge Companion to Dyslexia
Dyslexia in Different Languages
Inclusive Language Education and Digital Technology
Dyslexia and foreign language learning: What's the problem? Margaret Crombie (2010)
The French website Phonétique provides lots of practice in linking sounds and spelling. It may be of interest to dyslexic students of French and their teachers: http://phonetique.free.fr
Patterns and Procedures: focus on phonics and grammar by Heather Rendall. Heather maintains that current practice often leaves learners with no option but to stuggle with the foreign language in ways similar to the difficulties that dyslexic students experience in learning and using English. She offers practical advice on how to present and practise new vocabulary and grammar in the early stages so that that learners become competent and self-sufficient and above all literate in their new language. May stil be available from Amazon.
See Lynn Erler's article on Near-beginner learners of French are reading at a disability level in the ALL Journal 'Francophonie' (No. 30, Autumn 2004, pp9-15). Reproduced here with permission.
Here is another extract from 'Francophonie', this time from Llewelin Siddon's article Practical reflections on the sound/spelling link. The complete article was published in 'Francophonie', Spring 2001, No 23, pages 10-14. Extracts reproduced here with permission.
SOME SOFTWARE THAT MAY BE USEFUL FOR DYSLEXIC LEARNERS
[Links last checked 7.10.13, unless otherwise indicated.]
Davis Dyslexia Association International
International Dyslexia Association
British Dyslexia Association
Modern Foreign Languages and Dyslexia: A survivors' guide to Languages and the National Curriculum
Link to Hull University's website where potential students with dyslexia can find advice on studying Modern Languages:
Dyslexia and language learning
Technology and Dyslexia by Ian Smythe
SOAS Symposium on Language Learning and Dyslexia
Dyslexia and foreign language learning
Curriculum for Excellence: supporting learners with dyslexia
Dyslexia and Additional Academic Language Learning