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Dyspraxia vs. apraxia of speech
Read and Spell blog
Dyspraxia vs. apraxia of speech

Dyspraxia vs. apraxia of speech

Dyspraxia is a fine and/or gross motor skills difficulty that may also impact on learning. Symptoms range in severity and can make it difficult for a child to dress him or herself, hold a pen or pencil and perform other daily activities. Estimates in the UK suggest that 1 child in every 10 struggles with some form of dyspraxia.

While apraxia is a related neurological condition, it represents a complete loss of motor skills impairing a person in a particular capacity. There are many kinds of apraxia but in the case of apraxia of speech, the muscles of the mouth including the tongue, jaw, cheeks, palate and lips cannot be coordinated to produce intelligible spoken language.

What is child-led learning?
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What is child-led learning?

What is child-led learning?

Child-led learning is a term used to describe education programmes in which children are responsible for deciding what to learn. In some cases, it extends to kids being in control of how long they spend on a particular lesson and the methods and materials used for study. Quite often it is undertaken in a home-school environment or in a private tutoring context.

While this movement typically stands in opposition to a fixed curriculum, some schools offer individual classes or after-hours programmes that take a more child-led approach. There are also situations in which giving a child a greater role in deciding how much and what to learn is more appropriate, such as sessions for kids who struggle with learning difficulties.

Note-taking skills for kids
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Note-taking skills for kids

Note-taking skills for kids

Writing information down facilitates its transfer into long-term memory and provides an opportunity for learners to engage with content on a deeper level, including through review.

Encouraging children with learning difficulties to succeed at school
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Encouraging children with learning difficulties

Encouraging children with learning difficulties

Specific learning difficulties like dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia can make it difficult and sometimes impossible for a child to achieve the same results as his or her peers in a traditional classroom setting. Some children face a constant struggle with reading and writing and many are at risk for developing low self-esteem, particularly when their condition goes undiagnosed and/or untreated.

The thing to remember is that there are alternative learning approaches, strategies, and tools that can help students with learning difficulties achieve their full potential at school. Moreover, a positive attitude and plenty of encouragement from parents and teachers can do wonders when it comes to inspiring these children to stay motivated and persevere.

teaching phonemic awareness
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Teaching phonemic awareness

Teaching phonemic awareness

One of the key skills children must develop before they learn how to read is phonemic awareness— being able to hear and manipulate the sounds that make up words.

Phonemes are the smallest units of sounds that can change meaning -- if you switch the middle vowel sound in hat, everything shifts from definition to part of speech and usage.

A child with phonemic awareness knows that sat is made up of three distinct sounds. They may also realize that sat and bat end in a similar sound and that hat and heart start with the same sound.

It is the recognition that language is made up of these sounds that is so important in reading.

What motivates students to learn
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What motivates students to learn?

What motivates students to learn?

Teachers and parents recognize the power of motivation in enhancing learning outcomes and helping students to achieve their best at school. A motivated student might do his or her homework without being asked to, go above and beyond the requirements of assignments and participate in classroom discussions without being prompted.

More importantly, he or she may be more able to view a poor exam result as a learning opportunity instead of as an academic failure. So what motivates students to learn and how can we encourage them?

How to find a good tutor
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How to find a good tutor

How to find a good tutor

When kids lack confidence in the classroom, are struggling to keep up with their peers, need help preparing for exams or are dealing with a learning difficulty, parents may arrange for them to see a private tutor outside of school.

Tutors provide the extra scaffolding that less able students may require and can also encourage gifted children by introducing them to more advanced topics not covered in a school curriculum. By working one-on-one, tutors are able to go over content at a pace that is right for every child.

They can also assist with school assignments and help enforce good study habits, including setting smart targets which are specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant in a given time period.

Motivating kids to read
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Motivating kids to read

Motivating kids to read

Reading is the key to success in almost every subject across the school curriculum and research has shown that it is the biggest driver of vocabulary acquisition. The more kids read, the more words they learn from context and the more texts they can access.

Understanding how different text types work also helps them improve their critical thinking skills and engage with the ideas presented, in addition to becoming better writers. So, if reading does so many wonderful things, how do you get children to pick up a book and start reading?

Self-confidence vs self-esteem
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Self-confidence vs self-esteem

Self-confidence vs self-esteem

The terms self-confidence and self-esteem are often conflated. Confidence is a measure of faith in one’s own abilities; esteem is about our sense of self. It involves both thoughts and emotions and influences how we perceive others and interact with the world.

When children have healthy self-esteem, they tend to be confident.

Similarly, if a child has a negative self-view, which is often the case for learners with undiagnosed learning difficulties, it can cause them to lack confidence in classroom activities, particularly in tasks that involve reading and writing.

What are learning difficulties?
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What are learning difficulties?

What are learning difficulties?

Learning difficulties, known as learning disabilities in North America, are conditions that impact on an individual’s ability to gain knowledge and skills at the same rate as his or her peers. They may be due to a mental handicap or a cognitive disorder.

Having a learning difficulty does not make someone less intelligent, it just means they learn in a different way that can render traditional classroom activities problematic. That’s why people with learning difficulties often require specific strategy training and customized lessons in order to overcome challenges and make progress in an academic environment.

The importance of motivation for kids
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The importance of motivation for kids

The importance of motivation for kids

Motivation to learn correlates with success at school. That's why many parents and teachers are concerned with helping students become more motivated in the classroom. This may mean using recognition and rewards to encourage behaviour that’s conducive to learning.

However, extrinsic motivators alone don’t always do the trick. Teachers who make lessons interesting to kids and help learners get excited about school can foster a lifelong love of learning and encourage students to overcome obstacles and find success.