Has your child tried to use his notes in his exercise book to revise for a test? Has he opened his book with complete bewilderment as he’s met with notes he just can’t read or that are incomplete?
Children are regularly asked to copy information from the board. For the dyslexic child, the result is often poor notes, scrappily written with chunks missed out and the date and title long gone – sometimes the notes can be completely incomprehensible. And that’s disastrous when it comes to revising for exams…
Why is copying from the board so difficult for children with dyslexia?
Children with dyslexia often have serious difficulties copying words accurately, whether it’s from the board or from a textbook. The shift in focus from the board to their exercise book can make them lose their place. This may mean they miss out letters, words or even complete lines of text.
Copying from the board may also be a very time-consuming process for a child with dyslexia. Often they can’t copy word by word. Instead, children with short term (or working) memory difficulties often resort to copying one letter at a time, resulting in incomplete notes when he runs out of time. And when it comes to understanding, the whole task is probably so arduous, your child has no idea what he may be copying.
This means copying from the board may be a complete waste of time and effort for the dyslexic child.
Of course, it’s true that note-taking is a valuable skill to learn, But the fact is, your dyslexic child may find it to be too great a demand on visual and cognitive processing and short term memory.
What can your child’s teacher do to reduce copying from the board?
If your child is has had difficulties revising because of shoddy note, you may be able to suggest some ideas to help him:
- Give a printed copy of the main points at the beginning of the lesson, with plenty of space for extra details to be added.
- Email copies of PowerPoint presentations.
- Allocate a “note-taking buddy” who can help by giving photocopied notes.
- At the end of the lesson, summarise the lesson on the whiteboard – get the students to contribute. Take a quick photo of the notes and then print them out to be stuck in exercise books.
- Create a topic display board and get the students to add the main points of each lesson to the display. It could take the form of text, diagrams or photos.
- Continually check your student’s exercise books and help them to “fill in the gaps.”
So check out your child’s exercise books. Are they clear enough for him to revise for his next test? I bet you’ve got something to say!