:: for teachers ::

A partner you can lean on. An expert you can turn to.

The IDA-Upper Midwest provides teachers with valuable information, proven strategies and robust resources for understanding dyslexia and helping students overcome their learning disability.

We’ll help you comply with new legislation, and implement structured literacy to not only benefit students with dyslexia—but every child in your classroom.

Teacher helping student

Recognizing Signs & Symptoms

It is crucial to be able to recognize the signs of symptoms of dyslexia. The earlier a child is evaluated, the sooner he or she can obtain the appropriate instruction and accommodations he or she needs to succeed in school. 

Classroom Strategies, Tips & Tools

Teaching students with dyslexia across settings is challenging. Both general education and special education teachers seek accommodations that foster the learning and management of a class of heterogeneous learners. It is important to identify accommodations that are reasonable to ask of teachers in all classroom settings.
  • Clarify or simplify written directions.
  • Present a small amount of work.
  • Block out extraneous stimuli.
  • Highlight essential information.
  • Provide adequate space on a page/worksheet to write answers.
  • Use assistive technology.
  • Use explicit teaching procedures.
  • Provide a copy of lesson notes.
  • Use step-by-step instruction.
  • Use mnemonic instruction.
  • Change response mode.
  • Encourage use of assignment books or calendars.
  • Have students turn lined paper vertically for math.
  • Design hierarchical worksheets.
  • Display work samples.
  • Use flexible work times.

More more information, download IDA’s “Dyslexia in The Classroom.”

Effective Reading Instruction

Structured Literacy

Structured Literacy instruction is an evidence-based, multi-sensory approach that integrates listening, speaking, reading, and writing. It involves a explicit, systematic and cumulative plan, making the instruction “structured.”

Screening, Evaluation & Diagnosis

Early identification and intervention with students who show the warning signs of dyslexia are critically important for better outcomes later on. Researchers have identified the specific skill weaknesses that predict later reading difficulties, making early testing, identification, and remediation possible. Successful identification can happen as early as 5.5 years old but it is never to late to properly identify dyslexia characteristics.

:: free resources ::

Effective Reading Instruction

Dyslexia in the Classroom cover
Dyslexia in the Classroom
  • Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia
  • Classroom Strategies, Tips, and Tools
  • Components of Effective Reading Instruction
  • Screening, Evaluation and Diagnosis
  • And much more!
Structured Literacy Brief
  • Principles of Structured Literacy
  • Basics of Effective Instruction
  • Additional Considerations for Subgroups of Poor Readers
  • Comparisons with Other Literacy Practices
  • And much more!
Knowledge & Practice Standards
  • Standards for Informed Practice
  • Phonological and Phonemic Awareness
  • Automatic, Fluent Reading of Text
  • Vocabulary
  • Listening and Reading Comprehension
  • And much more!
Shelly Bayer

Shelly Bayer, PhD

Dr. Shelly Bayer is the Assistant Director for the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at South Dakota State University where she works with faculty and graduate teaching assistants to create a culture of teaching excellence by promoting evidence-based strategies and encouraging professional and personal growth mindsets. Shelly earned her B.A. in English Education from South Dakota State University, her Masters of Education in Literacy (Certified Reading Specialist) from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas, and her doctorate in Education Administration – Adult & Higher Education through the University of South Dakota. Prior to her current employment, Shelly taught in public schools in Brookings, SD and Las Vegas, NV. Her educational background combined with her son’s identification as a dyslexic learner inspired her to work to create environments and systems that embrace the strengths of every learner and value each learner’s contributions to the process. Shelly joined the IDA-UMB Board of Directors in April 2018. She was elected as President in July 2021.