Memory Strategies for the Dyslexic Brain

 

Using strategies intrinsically mean slowing down when you do something. It’s a process of deceleration to you can exercise quality control. –Dr. Mel Levine, author of All kinds of learning, All kinds of Minds

 

In my almost 10 years in Dyslexia Therapy has there ever been a student come to me in a nicely wrapped, perfectly square box with a bow on top. That is not to say that I don’t consider each one of them as a gift. It is just a beautiful fact of life how we are all uniquely designed, with unique strengths & weaknesses.

Dyslexics face not only the struggle of Dyslexia, but sometimes ADHD, memory issues, and Executive Function weaknesses, too. (if you would like to know more about EF, click here.) Memory is part of executive function. ADHD is an effector of executive functions. ADHD affects a student’s ability to focus, which in turn can make it difficult to hold on to information in the short &/or long term memory systems. Struggles with one or more of the above mentioned can limit your child from performing to his/her potential.

Curriculum designed for Dyslexia Therapy incorporates strategies to re-train the dyslexic brain to ‘think’ differently about spelling and reading. So, what if a student struggles with holding on to the information? Can they be successful? Yes. I say this from experience because most of my dyslexic students struggle to varying degrees with memory issues & I have witnessed great success with my students year after year. If there is an ADHD issue, more success is gained when focus and attention has been addressed. Note: *this post is only about working, short & long term memory issues. I’m not considering processing deficits below a score of 80 – that is another subject for another post*

 

Strategy use forms a critical part of our learning experience. Strategies help us organize information into patterns and encourage purposeful learning. Our brains are selective. Brains tend to remember information that forms a memorable pattern…Memory is a highly complex process involving multiple components working simultaneously…everything begins as a sensory input from our environment.

–LDonline :: Making it Stick: Memorable Strategies to Enhance Learning

 Memory figure

Information “grabbed,” or made meaningful, moves on to short-term memory. Our brains are programmed to pay attention to the unusual – something different. Incorporating novelty such as humor, movement, or music, into strategies help information attract our attention. The use of strategies plays a very critical role in structuring input memorable format.

Here is a short video example of spelling strategies taught through the Texas Scottish Rite, Take Flight Curriculum:

These same systematic strategies can be used to practice weekly spelling words with your child.  Try using sand in cookie trays, gel in a well sealed baggie or shaving cream for a fun, multi-sensory finger writing activity for spelling words after un-blending sounds.  Un-blending the sounds in each word is key to successful spelling of unknown words.  When a dyslexic child can order the sounds before attempting to write the letters, s/he will be more successful writing the letters in order and experience spelling successes more often.

Thank you for stopping by today~

31 Days

~sherri

3 Comments

  1. Wow, there is SO much about dyslexia I did not know!

  2. Thank you so much! I’m glad you are finding this helpful. Thank you, too, for all you are doing to help kiddos with reading!! Appreciate you stopping by today!!
    ~sherri

  3. Love that you are dedicating your writing to such an important topic. I am an English Teacher/Reading Specialist and I will definitely be using it as a resource. Thanks!

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