I attended the Schoolhouse Expo Tuesday and was blessed to hear speaker Dianne Craft. I learned a lot from her hour session but not enough, so I decided to visit her website where she has tons and tons of information on right brain learning. I also emailed her with a few questions and in her response she sent me several other documents.
As I was combing thru all of the info this morning, I came across an interesting strategy for teaching spelling to children who have difficulty writing. My son, Josiah doesn’t have trouble writing but he does have trouble with short term memory and the strategy they use is similar to the one we’ve learned with Barton. Only Dianne takes it a step further.
Let me explain. With Barton we have sight words and we write them on an index card in black all except the ‘tricky’ letter. The tricky letter (any letter not making it’s normal sound) is written in red. Josiah stares at the card for a while, then tries to picture it on the wall, then he writes it really big on the table using two fingers. After that he is to write it from memory on paper. This works okay but it does take several sessions for him to actually memorize it and remember it. We only do three at a time. The past two weeks he’s been trying to learn want and what but he continually mixes the two up. I tried to help him remember by telling him funny sayings using What hat and Want ant but this didn’t work.
What Dianne does is add pictures to the card, because right brain learners tend to have photographic memories. She said they will get the image in their mind and be able to look up and recall the word well enough to spell it forwards or backwards. Kind of like the spelling bee kids. So I decided to give it a shot. I added ants to Want and a couple hats to What. And to my surprise, it worked! AND he could spell them backwards. BUT, he’s still struggling with keeping these two apart at times.
So I asked him if he could spell his first name backwards. He did it without hesitation. I asked him to spell his last name backwards. No problem. He had a little hesitation but not much. So I took a shot in the dark and pulled a word out of my head AMERICA, and wrote it on an index card like this: America I also added a picture of the American flag. I gave him the card (I didn’t tell him I would ask him to spell it backwards) and he looked at it 30-45 seconds and said he was ready. He spelled it forwards beautifully. I asked him to spell it backwards and to my surprise he spelled it PerFectlY!! I was in utter shock! I called my husband and while on the phone I asked him to do it again and he hadn’t forgotten it…he could still do it. Now I can not spell it backwards without looking at it so I had to have my index card to check him each time. The amazing thing about this is, he doesn’t spell it forwards or backwards by sounding it out, like we would because he can’t sound it out. He just memorized it. But not with his short term memory, because he doesn’t have much…remember he couldn’t keep want and what apart. It’s his photographic memory that helps him.
The following video was taken on the fly, without a warning and it was 24 hrs after seeing the card:
All of this after staring at the card less than a minute. Now that’s impressive!