Dyslexia behind the scenes: why choose Latin for GCSE?
Updated: Jun 20
What if there was a Modern Foreign Language that was easier to learn for dyslexics? And imagine if it could also improve results in English and STEM?
I have taught Spanish, German, Latin and French to children with specific learning difficulties, and, if there is one thing I have learnt, it is this: there are plenty of advantages in choosing Latin.
With the right support, students can achieve mind-blowing results in Latin and beyond. Here is how:
1. Latin is a rather transparent language!
The Latin alphabet is very straightforward. You will learn pretty much a sound for every letter. This will help you with sight-reading and mastering Phonics understanding. It will also be a great way to work on your spelling, both in English and in Latin.
2. You can say a lot with very few words in Latin
There is a manageable vocabulary list, and you may be at a significant advantage if you are already working on overlearning words. Also, when writing in Latin, you will be given very clear guidelines on how to compose your text. And you will not believe it, but word order will not be a very important element of your mark at all!
3. There is no oral exam
As opposed to modern languages, Latin is only examined in written form. Of course, in class you will use multisensory approaches to learn, but when pencil comes to paper you will have time to read the questions carefully and at your own rhythm. This will be especially true if you receive extra time for your
4. Latin is taught very methodically
No guessing game in the Latin classroom: your teacher will take you step by step to understand the building blocks of the language, and how they relate to each other. You will scrutinise all endings and understand all irregularities, so that there will be no surprises or obscure texts. You will even have a grammar section in your exam to show off all your newly acquired analytic skills!
Your Latin teacher will work closely with your special needs support to make sure that you stay on track and that you can transfer your learning from one language to another.
Click here if you want to learn more about the benefits of learning about the structure of language explicitly.
5. Learning Latin will improve your English reading and comprehension
In your Latin class you will learn words which are the foundation of scientific and literary vocabulary. This means that when you start learning long technical terms in your other subjects, you will have a strong foundation built in your Latin class.
Are you saying that learning Latin is really easy and I will get a top grade?
Not exactly. First, you will need to check with your reading interventionist or SEN coordinator to see if it is suitable. Latin has many advantages, but you will want to consider how you will deal with the more complex aspects of learning it, for example the very long sentences that you will find.
If Latin is for you, and you are ready to let your mind go wild with mythology and history along the way, you will still have to put in work and effort. However, the way Latin for GCSE is taught makes it more readily accessible for dyslexic students. Most importantly, all your time and dedication will show up neatly not only in your Latin exam but also when you are in the English or Science class!
Not sure what you can achieve with dyslexia? Click on the quote boxes above or watch this inspirational video below: