Foreign Language Learning

Many high schools require students to study at least two years of a foreign language, and colleges may prefer students who have three or four years of language study. Students with dyslexia often encounter difficulties when studying a foreign language. For this reason, many students seek an exemption from foreign language requirements.


Many colleges require their applicants to have taken at least two years of foreign language study in high school. Although it possible that a college would waive the entrance requirement in cases of dyslexia, there is no law requiring that they do so — Section 504 has not been held to require colleges to grant exemptions from foreign language study in such cases. Thus, if your child plans on attending college, it makes sense to at least attempt studying a language.

However, it is a mistake to assume that because your child has dyslexia, he will not be able to do well in a foreign language class. There are many ways in which your child can benefit from study of a foreign language, and your child may do well in an immersion-style classroom, where the emphasis is on developing oral communication skills. Many students find that their reading and spelling in English improves after studying a foreign language such as French or Spanish, as they become more aware of the roots and structure of English words and grammar. Students with dyslexia also sometimes find it easier to read material in a foreign language that is phonetically consistent, such as Spanish. Some students with dyslexia enjoy foreign language study and even go on to major in a foreign language in college.

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