I came across this really interesting blog post recently written by Nancy Hall on The Yale Center For Dyslexia & Creatvity.
Tips from Dyslexic Students for Dyslexic Students
by Nancy Hall
Nobody can fully appreciate what it’s like to be a student with dyslexia in the way that another student with dyslexia can. Tutors, teachers and parents have their advice, but here are some strategies from the real experts—kids with papers due, tests next week, and a project due on Friday. How do they do it when they are struggling readers themselves?
Abbie, 14, says her best homework strategy is a simple one. "Nothing high-tech here,” she laughs. “The most important tool for me is a big wall calendar I can write on so I know how much time I have to do what was needed. I mean, because I’m dyslexic, I get extra time to spend on tests, right? I finally realized that I should also use all the time available to me to work on regular homework assignments, too. One thing I do is to mark not just the date when something has to be finished, but the date when I need to start on it, and break the project down into smaller steps in between.”
For dyslexics who read more slowly and who sometimes can’t even read their own handwriting, allowing enough time to do homework is a must.
Here are some tips:
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Here are some tips:
- Break a big project up into smaller, less intimidating pieces. Have a three page paper due in a month? Let a parent or a teacher help you to set dates for working on little tasks related to the paper, like picking a topic, doing research, and writing a first draft.
- Do what’s due first. If you’re faced with a long list of short assignments, it’s easy just to grab them and do them in random order, but that’s not the most beneficial. Take a minute to prioritze your work, not only by what’s due, but by what you need more or less time with. Study tonight for the French test you have tomorrow, not the vocabulary test that’s coming up next week.
- Don’t fall into the “no homework tonight” trap. Calendar clear for tonight? Look ahead to see what’s coming up (an earth science quiz at the end of the week or a math worksheet due Thursday?) and use this free time to make a start on the work that’s due later.
- Outline a task before you start. For a science project on plant growth, what materials will you need to gather? How many days will you have to allow for the beans to sprout? How long will it take you to write up your results? Think it through in your head and figure out what steps you’ll have to take so you know what you’ll need—and how much time to allow—to get it done.
Thirteen-year-old Eli, for instance, has a friend who studies by making a Power Point presentation on her computer of the material she’ll be tested on. She listens to it several times and takes notes. “And if I did this on a Mac, I could even use the computer’s voice feature to read the material to me. I’m already doing this to read material along with me while I study,” Eli says. Eli also composes written work on his computer to save time, improve accuracy, and add interest to his written assignments when he’s typing them up. “I use the voice-recognition program Dragon to dictate what I want to say,” he explains. “It’s faster and my papers are neater, but best of all I’ve found I probably add over 50% more detail when I’m doing it this way. It lets me be a lot more creative.” It also allows him to capture crucial details that he might gloss over if he were doing it by handwriting the points on index cards and then arduously transferring them to the computer.
Here are some other high-tech tips from Eli and other kids:
With special thanks to Yale Centre For Dyslexia and Creativity and Nancy Hall.