With TCAP, ACTs, SATs, and college entrance exams just around the corner, the next few months may be a time when you consider closing the shutters, barring all the doors, and taking the phone off the hook. No distractions, just study time.
As parents or teachers, we sometimes slowly fall into the belief that the best kind of study is that of sitting down at a desk and tackling it all. One subject at a time. For hours. We wrongly assume that hours and hours of deep reading and reviewing is sticking in our students’ brains, perhaps because that is how we did it when we were in school. But for children with dyslexia, an intense dive into heavy textbooks is certainly not the most conducive way for them to achieve the scores they want. Instead, in this upcoming exam season, try a few of these tips and introduce some movement and creativity into study time.
Have a few designated “study spaces”. When you sit down at one of these study spaces (around the house, at the library, etc.), it will help you get right into study mode! (Some research states that studying in the same place every day increases memory and association, but others suggest that actually it is changing spaces and moving around that help you better make connections and reinforce the information. So we’ve combined the theories!)
Make sure your study space is quiet! This might be common knowledge, but its benefits are research-based. And consider earbuds or noise-cancelling headphones to block any unwanted distractions.
Use color in everything! Highlight the most important parts of the outlines or textbooks you are reading, print key information on colored paper, or do math problems with colored pencils. Our brains recall color, and on a test, you might remember that Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address in 1863.
Chew gum or eat something crunchy! This minor activity boosts brain function and stimulates the senses for better focus and memorization.
Take little breaks. Finish a chunk of studying—read a chapter, write a paragraph, or finish a quiz—and then take a walk or have a snack. Research shows that taking breaks and giving yourself little rewards increases productivity and your ability to focus! It also helps overcome procrastination if you are looking forward to a snack or five minutes of Facebook!
Switch up the subjects. Try not to study the same thing in one study block. Like taking breaks, studying smaller parts of different subjects keeps your brain interested and focused on the task.
Study in a funny voice. There’s not much else to be said about this one except that the proof is in the pudding. Much like using colors to help memorize facts or dates, talking in a silly voice (or shouting) while reading over specific information helps your brain recall it better later.
Break up your assignments. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the subjects you have to study, so try using a calendar to mark not only due dates, but small goals to achieve on the way to finishing an assignment—for example, choose a date to write your introduction to an essay, and then the next day plan to write the first body paragraph, and so on. Also, if a reading assignment is quite long, consider breaking it up into smaller parts and taking breaks in between them—for instance, a 30-page chapter split into three chunks of 10 pages. This ensures you always come back to the reading with a fresh mind.
Get ahead! It is tempting to relax and do nothing on a night off, but instead, look ahead and see what you could get started on. This is a very good habit to get into, and not just for students with dyslexia!
Record yourself reading aloud a written assignment. Adding auditory input with visual input will help you catch mistakes in the writing and locate areas for improvement. It also increases your ability to remember what you have written.
Review again before bed. Studies say that reviewing important details and information right before bed helps your brain store it away as you sleep. Don’t do too much though! Keep it limited to only very key details.
Check and double-check work! This is a must for students with dyslexia. You don’t always catch mistakes the first time (especially with numbers), so always go back and re-check your work to make sure it is your best!
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Tennessee Dyslexia Centers is here for you and can help your struggling reader. We are equipped to work with all ages and have the ability to increase your child's reading skills drastically. Contact our office for a free consultation today! 615-236-6483 | firstname.lastname@example.org