The Little Book of Dyslexia

Both sides of the classroom

By: Joe Beech


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Products specifications
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Size: 174mm x 124mm
Pages : 176
ISBN : 9781781350102
Format: Hardback
Published: March 2013

A book for teachers, carers, parents or anyone involved in special educational needs (SEN), that shares Joe Beech’s story but, more importantly, is full of practical ideas that can be used by students with dyslexia and by teachers teaching children with dyslexia and dyspraxia in the classroom.

The Little Book of Dyslexia references both personal experience and current applied research and findings in order to highlight issues faced by people with dyslexia. It looks at a number of strategies and lesson ideas which can be used both inside and outside the classroom to help students with dyslexia and specific learning difficulties. It also lists various resources which can be used alongside these strategies to create a successful learning environment for those with dyslexia.

The book progresses through the various challenges that are faced at different age ranges, and support needed, starting with the youngest in early years, including some of the early signs you may see with dyslexia, moving up through primary and secondary school and finally onto higher education and university and being a student teacher.

An outstanding guide for students, teachers, special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) and parents.

Picture for author Joe Beech

Joe Beech

Joe Beech was diagnosed with both dyslexia and dyspraxia at age seven. He is now a qualified physics teacher. Joe won an Outstanding Achievement Award given by the British Dyslexia Association in October 2013 for his work.


  1. A readable introduction. The author describes himself as dyslexic, and the style of writing here is somewhat more personal than is seen in the two previous books. The chapters are: Introduction; Dys-lex-ia; The early years; Primary school; Secondary school; Technology; Exams and qualifications; Higher education; Teaching. Moderate UK referencing.
  2. There is much to like about this little book. Joe Beech tracks his own journey of growing up with dyslexia and negotiating the road from early years to teacher training, thus combining the perspectives of the dyslexic learner with those of the newly qualified teacher. He offers an introduction to the nature of dyslexia in the context of education and a range of suggestions that might make educational contexts more "dyslexia-friendly”. One wishes that EVERY dyslexic learner encounters a teacher like Joe.

    The first three chapters offer an accessible introduction to the nature and manifestations of dyslexia and track the impact through the early years. Joe makes sufficient linkage to research to enable the reader to choose to take the initiative to explore further. His use of insights from his own experience, linked with information about dyslexic differences allows him to offer sensible suggestions to parents and teachers. He offers ways of allowing dyslexic learners to understand school experience in retrospect. These chapters were particularly effective.

    Joe then moves on to cover primary and secondary schooling, technology, exams and
    qualifications, HE and teaching in a similar way. He provides many helpful and practical suggestions although why they are appropriate for dyslexic learners, rather than any learner, is not always highlighted, which misses the opportunity to remind busy teachers of the nature of dyslexic differences and how easy it can be to adjust their classrooms and practice. Each chapter is clearly organised into topics with a concluding section headed -˜Teacher Tips' which covers assessment, classroom practice and behaviour containing highly appropriate and often creative practice.
  3. The focus of the UKEdChat Book Reviews currently are on aides which support teachers, leaders, SENCOs, teaching assistants, students, and parents on the diversity of all individuals in schools.

    One group of pupils who have a particular challenge in their education are those labelled as living with dyslexia and, for educators, understanding how these challenges can inhibit learning is essential in ensuring that access to knowledge is crucial. From the perspective of someone who does not live with the challenges of dyslexia, it is difficult to understand these trials, so to read through a book written by a teacher who has been labelled with the circumstance can help to understand life from this angle.

    Joe Beech, the teacher-author of “The Little Book of Dyslexia” (supported by charming illustrations from his Grandma Rose), has concisely shared his experiences of being a child growing up with the challenges of dyslexia and how he suggests that teaching colleagues understand and subtly change their practice to ensure all pupils in their setting are well catered for. The focus within the book looks at Assessment; Classroom practice; and Behaviours, focusing individually on all stages of schooling. Further consideration is given to the implementation and support which technology offers; dealing with assessments and exams; access to higher education; and finishing with tips for fellow dyslexics in considering the teaching profession. The book concludes with a celebration of individuals who have succeeded in life although showing signs of dyslexia, proving how difficulties can be overcome.

    This is an interesting book, in similar vein to lens metaphor of previous reviews, in that it is helpful to see the challenge of dyslexia through the eyes of someone who lives with it each day, which in turn helps teachers appreciate and adapt their teaching to support pupils with similar challenges in their settings.
  4. I read the foreword by Ian Gilbert. I have read books and reports by him and have been lucky enough to hear him speak. I thought he captured the political will at the moment well in his forward.

    When I continued to read what Joe had gone through in his education to get to this point, it showed me how hard he had had to work in all areas of his life to be able to write this book at all. It gave me a real sense of what someone with dyslexia struggles with everyday just to function, let alone work in an area like education which is not really dyslexia friendly either for pupil or teacher.

    Highlighting his differing needs at different ages was very interesting as it showed me how they change at different levels of formal education. It was salutary to understand that he had a huge amount of support from his parents from a very young age. Not all children have parents who are this aware or supportive. The emphasis on using up physical energy and enjoying activities that practice many types of motor skills was interesting. I recently recommended this book to a friend who has a dyslexic six year old , as a guide of what to expect at different stages in education. The practical tips at the end of each chapter were very useful. Some were obvious( a reminder of the obvious is always good) and others were enlightening .

    I have had practical experience of using dragon and can vouch that it is a powerful tool in the arsenal of a teacher working with dyslexic children.

    The use of technology and how Joe has embraced it to help him organise and work through his day was great to read. Many young people have access to this type of technology so using it to help them with their dyslexia seems natural. It is something that will evolve as IT evolves.

    I felt very sad reading this book as it is an ideal of how pupils with dyslexia could and should be treated in education.
  5. A book which will be a great asset for the many individuals and families who have faced key obstacles, lack of awareness and unwillingness by many “professional experts” to address the impact of dyslexia in reducing access to learning, achievement and personal fulfilment. Joe's personal experiences as a learner will give the reader greater insight into the problems faced... “it's a very different challenge from simply giving a child a bit of leeway when it comes to the weekly spelling test”. With the increasing focus upon the teaching of literacy across the curriculum this book is essential reading for teachers at all levels. A really welcome insight and approach to a key area of reducing barriers to access, inclusion and achievement.
  6. The Little Book of Dyslexia is unique, and particularly helpful to teachers, in that it is written by Joe Beech who is dyslexic himself and who is currently engaged in a teacher training course. Thus, throughout the book, Joe is able to help us to see daily classroom life from different perspectives - those of the pupil and of the teacher.

    The author talks us through his primary, secondary and higher education years and through his eyes we are better able to appreciate the academic and psychological frustrations that are endured by students with dyslexia - the often long wait for assessment, feeling different from your peers, struggling with organisation, the lack of engagement in learning which doesn't seem to have much relevance for the 21st century and which is heavily reliant on pencil and paper, and the narrow focus on exam results. It struck me as I was reading this book that many of these issues apply to many pupils in our schools, not only those with dyslexia.

    There is a very useful chapter in the book relating to technology and how various devices, programmes and apps can help pupils and teachers with the planning, researching, organisation, learning and presentation of tasks, assignments and lesson plans.

    Throughout the book Joe makes practical and easily applicable suggestions as to how the education process and the classroom can be adapted to allow dyslexic children to experience success. Again, I felt that this was good, practical advice which would improve the learning and teaching taking place in all classrooms and would encourage teachers to consider implementing some of these changes.

    I will certainly be sharing this book with the learning support team at my school. It is a very readable book written from a very personal perspective and assists us to be more empathetic with children in our own school who may have similar learning difficulties but who are unable to describe these as eloquently as Joe Beech has done in his book. I will also be advising class teachers to read The Little Book of Dyslexia which will, perhaps, help them to identify pupils who may need additional help or different strategies to cope with their learning and which will certainly give them some very practical ideas to adapt their classrooms to meet the needs of all pupils.
  7. There are plenty of books available about dyslexia, and many of them are specifically" aimed at teachers... but this bright and engaging little volume stands out from all the rest, because it is quite possibly the only example of a educators' guide to dyslexia written by someone who is not only a student teacher, but is himself dyslexic. This means he is able to offer the view, as he puts it, from 'both sides of the classroom' explaining with admirable clarity and a good deal of humour what it is like to live with dyslexia, while at the same time appreciating what it means to be a teacher faced with 30 children, each of whom learns slightly differently from everyone else. The advice he shares is invaluable, not least because it translates into a more inclusive way of teaching as a natural consequence, which can only be of benefit for all pupils, not only those with a diagnosed SEN.
  8. Thank you for this little gem. A very interesting read and practical- my SENCO can't wait to get her hands on it!!

  9. I wish this book had been available when I was a young teacher. Joe Beech writes in an easy to follow style to produce a comprehensive guide to dyslexia. The deceptive simplicity of his manner, with a sprinkling of humour, is one of the many strengths. Underlying it all, are powerful messages. This is a very special book having been written by someone who is actually dyslexic. He gives an insight into his experiences both as student and teacher. The book is full of ideas which are practical and worthwhile to implement. So much of what he writes would improve education for all. My only complaint is that I now feel guilty that I should have done better for some of my pupils when I was a teacher. I recommend it without reservation and I believe it should be compulsory reading for everyone with an interest in education. I hope he will write more in the future.

  10. At last, a book about Dyslexia which isn't written on white paper, although the text is very small and could do with being spaced out more in order to demonstrate good Dyslexia practice. This handy little book is one person's account of their experiences of having Dyslexia combined with a range of practical strategies, an overview of the impairments affecting most people with Dyslexia and some simple identification methods. The strategies in this book are simple, useable and effective and do not require expensive resourcing. They are broken into sections; early years, primary, secondary and higher education which allow for a logical progression through the implementation of strategies as the learner progresses. There is also a rather interesting chapter on technology, which again is full of very simple and in most cases does not require expensive ICT equipment which isn't already available in most learning environments. I shall certainly be recommending this book to delegates on our training events.

  11. Any parent of a child diagnosed with dyslexia would find this book excellent in that it is written by someone who really knows how that impacts. I love the human touch in Joe's style of writing. Would I buy this as a parent of a dyslexic person ? Absolutely !

  12. This little book is a delightful read. Written by a trainee PE teacher who was diagnosed at the age of 8 with dyslexia and dyspraxia it is a testament to his perseverance through a sometimes unforgiving education system bent on teaching literacy and numeracy in dyslexia unfriendly ways. Aimed primarily at teachers this book has a wealth of practical information to help both teachers and parents meet the needs of dyslexic children more effectively.

    There is a good balance between the author's own experience, tools of the trade and literature research all adding up to well rounded package addressing the needs of dyslexic pupils and students in education. Explaining how dyslexia is experienced is helpful as it puts the reader in the shoes of dyslexic pupils focussing on issues such as self esteem, organisational skills and managing challenging behaviour and how these impact on learning.

    The book goes on to describe the author's own experiences in the different phases of education. He explains a range of effective approaches that can improve learning opportunities for pupils. Each chapter ends with useful teacher tips. About assessment, classroom practice and behaviour.

    The book has suggestions about useful software to support dyslexic students and ideas for teachers to consider in their classroom practice. The section on exams is particularly useful. The author takes a balanced view about exams versus coursework and suggests a number of strategies to help dyslexic students through these challenging times. Topics such as managing time and money are covered as well as organisational skills. These are essential life skills for all young adults. The last section of the book is specifically aimed at teachers, packed with ideas about how to make classrooms dyslexia friendly.

    This is a gem of a book that will be useful for working with all pupils and students. It is packed with common sense strategies and insights that will make learning fun and productive.
  13. This may be a -˜little book' but it is about a big subject and has great heart and a penetrating mind. It is a very useful book that is as much about the whole issue of learning as it is about dyslexia.

    Joe Beech combines his personal story, a succinct account of the theory and research associated with dyslexia and a significant degree of practical recommendations that cannot fail to be of immense use to everyone who has experience of dyslexia -” as subject, parent or teacher.

    The way Joe tells his own story endears him to his readers and commands human attention to this most human of challenges both to learning in our social and educational systems and to how we should regard a specific group of learners, numbering over two million people in this country alone. He charts his own experience from early childhood through to his expereinces in higher education -” a story of obstacles triumphed over, and how those obstacles could and should be significantly reduced by those who manage learning systems.

    The first five chapters introduce the reader to the subject itself, explaining the potential genetic origins of dyslexia and the questions it raises about the way that we think about learning and some of the many obstacles there are to learning within our social and educational systems. The three chapters dealing with the period of early years through to secondary school help us to get inside the mind of a child experiencing dyslexia and the typical response of the system to such a child. The -˜system' includes teachers and parents in particular for it is the personal response of the adults whom the child encounters who can profoundly influence whether learning for a child experiencing dyslexia becomes a pathway among many possible pathways, or a steep incline with ever-growing obstacles to be cleared in an increasingly isolating climate.

    Joe charts the story with a light touch in which he offers us insights laced with humour and occasional irony as he helps us to understand how this particular challenge to learning can be effectively managed. His inference that we need to know our ACBs (deliberately a little ironic) -” Assessment, Classroom practice and Behaviour -” so that adults, particularly teachers and parents, can help move the learning of children with dyslexia forward and themselves develop a useful and practical level of understanding, has a powerful impact on the reader. He de-mystifies the subject, making it immediately accessible to anyone who wants to understand it and respond to it.

    In spite of the plain and very accessible writing on the subject and its intensely practical nature, this is a book founded on through and rigorous research as the references and end-notes illustrate -” offering a rich field for further reading.

    From the earliest chapter he finds simple ways of explaining and illustrating what the printed environment might look like through dyslexic eyes even with a spell-checker on the computer to hand (or eye).

    One might forgive anyone who has fought their way in life through a -˜disability' for exuding a sense of resentment at how little help is often available from the system and the populace at large. There is no hint of resentment or bitterness in this book, indeed it is laced with bits of humour even a little fun=poking at self. He writes early on 'My favourite mistake however was writing defecate rather than deficit! You have to be able to laugh at yourself, sometimes dyslexia is funny!'

    The illustrations are particularly evocative and somehow create a feeling of empathy towards the person, young or more mature, working out how to manage this distinctive set of challenges.

    One very serious point about this book is that it explores aspects of learning in general. What is written about dyslexia is about all aspects of what we have come to call -˜special needs'; and what we can learn from thinking about meeting special needs applies to the whole potenitally vexed question of how all of us learn. To read this book is to further deepen one's understanding of learning. To understand dyslexia and how to manage it is to grasp more about the management of learning for all children and indeed all adults. That is perhaps the most remarkable thing about this -˜little' yet very big book.

    Or perhaps there is one other thing that is most remarkable. It is that it is an example of amor vincit omnia. Joe's story is one of being loved and of loving -” the key ingredients of how he has come thus far in his life managing challenges that are that bit steeper than those which we normally face. It is clear that this is due in no small part to the love he has experienced especially from his family. Equally he approaches the subject in a loving way -” love for those like him who have engaged with this particular challenge, love of learning, love that he shows through the insights he shares in the book, and the love which has drawn him to a career in education himself -” something he hints that many people find remarkable.

    This is not remarkable in the way one might think. It is not because one might imagine someone with dyslexia ill-equipped to become a teacher but because of the great contribution that someone like Joe can make to the education system. This is what is evident by the time one gets to the end of the story.

    This is a must-read not only for anyone who has met dyslexia -” in their own approach to learning or in a child or childern they know -” it is for anyone who has an interest in learning and how it is best facilitated, whoever the learner might be. If you are interested in learning and being a more effective learner on a personal level, read this book.

  14. Joe Beech is going to be an outstanding teacher. He is currently at the University of Chichester studying to be a PE teacher in secondary school. He is also the author of The Little Book of Dyslexia by Joe Beech, edited by Ian Gilbert. This book is a very welcome addition to the library of books on dyslexia because it offers a personal account allied to a teacher's perspective. Even in these relatively enlightened days, not many people are both dyslexic and a teacher.

    Joe Beech grew up in Kent where the 11 plus was still in operation so while his brother went off to grammar school, he went to a mixed high school. This had some key advantages. The school taught touch typing: 'one of the most valuable skills that I possess. I not only use it on an almost daily basis now but it enables me to produce presentable work which I can instantly change, rearrange and edit as much as needed.'

    While so many books focus on endless spelling and phonics practice, The Little Book of Dyslexia is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the practical uses of technology to support the dyslexic learner. Beech talks about mind mapping, dictaphones, e-readers, smartphones and all the panoply of 'technology in your back pocket'.

    Joe Beech's experiences have informed his approach to his new career. It is worth buying this book for the chapter on teaching alone. There is a wealth of practical tips: Do a lesson plan as a flow chart instead of in the conventional way so you can see exactly where you are and where you are going.

    'The best resource available to you in any classroom is the pupils themselves,' says Joe Beech. 'If you can implement a system in which the pupils cover most of the organisation, half of the work is done for you!' He suggests building on the ideas used in the Apprentice and setting up a system where pupils take on roles as Project Manager, Resource Manager, Team Motivator, the Accountant who is responsible for rewards and the Coach/Mentor who also acts as assessor. Not only does this motivate young people but it also prepares them for the world of work too.

    Joe Beech has produced a very enjoyable read which offers an insight into the best teaching too: 'The best lectures and lessons I have had are the ones that caught me off guard and involved a novel experience which remained in my mind.' I am sure his own lessons will be equally memorable.

  15. The Little Book of Dyslexia is easily accessible, written in an almost informal and "chatty" way which makes the reader want to read on...with the mix of fact and anecdote timely and appropriate. The 'human' element of the book is its strongest selling point - the author knows what it is like to be dyslexic and how it impacts on everyday life and the use of humour (often at the author's expense!) is very apt, especially when describing situations/faux pas that can easily be made.

    The book will appeal to trainee teachers, newly qualified teachers and practitioners across all phases of education. It will also prove to be a practical guide for all parents on how to cope with a child who has dyslexia...this book will provide them with just that, and also some reassurance that a 'diagnosis' of dyslexia is not life inhibiting.

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