Some Ideas about Teaching
Revision and Dyslexia
(this was posted in response to a teacher who was at her wit's end about how to help one of her pupils - who was dyslexic - revise.)
She - or, really, the SENCO
- has to explain to you the nature of the dyslexia. 'Dyslexia' is a
cover-all term for a range of specific learning difficulties (SpLD), and
before you can give sensible advice on revision, you need to know the
Does she have difficulty
decoding new words on the page that she doesn't sight-know? Does her
spelling evidence phonological problems such as missing out syllables/
choosing clearly wrong letters when trying to spell phonetically a word she
doesn't know? Did she have glue ear as a child? There are tests the SENCO
can do to check out a problem with phonology. For a quick 'thumb-guide',
give her 30 seconds and ask her to list all the words she can think of that
start with the sound 'b'; then give her another 30 seconds to think of all
the words that rhyme with 'whip' - if the total for the two together is less
than 20, it is a sign if dysphonetic dyslexia.
Does she have a poor
on-sight reading vocabulary? When she is reading, does she have to re-decode
new words every time she meets them, even though she did so a little way
before on the page? Does she 'lose her place' when reading? Does she get
confused by visual information on, say, a crowded map? If so, she is
If this is the case, tell
her to split up her revision into small, manageable chunks, write them onto
postcards, and then - by any means she can find, rehearse, rehearse,
rehearse. She has to get the information from temporary working memory into
long-term memory, and this can only be done by frequent repetition until it
becomes 'part of her'. If she is like this (and most dyslexics are) there is
no use in cram-revising the night before. She has indeed to 'start early',
and embed the information systematically over the long-term.
Ask her to tell you the
months of the year. If she does have a difficulty here, she will find it
very difficult to learn lists of causes, or the narrative of a crisis etc.
There is no use 'starting early' here, because even their long-term memory
finds it hard to appropriate sequences. The best answer is association - get
her to decide her best learning strategy (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic)
and then, depending on that, to associate the list to be learned with
another sequence that can be/ has been learned (e.g. the colours of the
rainbow/ days of the week/ a sequence of rooms in the house etc).
Posted on: Jan 22 2004, 08:12 PM
To cite this page, use: CLARE, JOHN D. (2004/2006), 'Revision and Dyslexia', at Greenfield History Site (http://www.johndclare.net/Teaching/SNDyslexicRevision.htm).