Challenging spelling words
Read and Spell blog
Challenging spelling words

Challenging spelling words

While most words are relatively easy to learn, every individual will encounter challenging spelling words that they frequently misspell. Making spelling mistakes is frustrating for students and can lead to low self-esteem for learners who may be labelled as lazy and penalized by losing points on written work.

For adults, having poor spelling skills can cause them to miss out on career opportunities and lose face in front of friends and family. It’s important to understand that spelling skills have nothing to do with intelligence and that there are plenty of strategies that can help. If spelling becomes a persistent problem, there may also be an undiagnosed learning difficulty to blame.

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.

Left-handed and dyslexic
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Left-handed and dyslexic

Left-handed and dyslexic

It is sometimes said that certain mood disorders and learning difficulties are more common in people who favour their left hand. Researchers have not yet found a genetic link between dyslexia and handedness and individuals with dyslexia, a learning difficulty that impacts on reading, writing and spelling abilities, are split 50:50 between right and lefthandedness.

However, there are fewer lefthanded people in the world. In fact, the difference is 90:10. This means that dyslexia may be more commonly found in lefthanded people but the relationship is not necessarily causal. There is also the question of whether or not it is more common in boys than girls.

Some evidence suggests dyslexia is just as prevalent in girls as boys but not as well recognized, while other studies (Quinn & Wagner 2015) have found reading difficulties occur more often in male individuals.

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.

Dyslexia and foreign language learning
Read and Spell blog
Dyslexia and foreign language learning

Dyslexia and foreign language learning

For kids with dyslexia, learning to read and write in their mother tongue can be quite a challenge. When it comes time to learn modern foreign languages at school, many feel the ordeal of mastering literacy skills all over again is not worth the time and effort.

Depending on the country and school system, it may be possible for students with dyslexia to be released from the foreign language learning requirement. But there may also be some added benefits for dyslexic students who decide to pursue study of languages outside of English.

How successful they are depends on the individual student, the approach taken, and to some degree, the language students choose to learn.

Improving writing skills for kids
Read and Spell blog
Improve writing skills for kids

Improve writing skills for kids

Writing is an activity with many moving parts. A child must bring together vocabulary, grammar and mental processing, and then rely on the physical aspect of handwriting or typing out the words.

That’s why it requires ample practice and extensive exposure to language for kids to develop strong writing skills.

And because young learners can’t just sit down and write the perfect draft, they need to learn the art of revision too.

Different types of dyslexia
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Different types of dyslexia

Different types of dyslexia

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that among other things, can impact on an individual’s ability to break words down into their component phonemes, a crucial skill involved in reading, writing and spelling. People with dyslexia may be highly intelligent and creative individuals but still struggle with basic literacy skills.

With the right help, these challenges can be overcome, but because no two dyslexic students present the same set of symptoms, it is sometimes difficult for educators to identify the most effective teaching solutions.

That’s one of the reasons why researchers have attempted to group commonly observed forms into different categories, to make finding treatment easier and ensure dyslexic children of all types don’t fall behind their peers.

Handwriting difficulties
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Handwriting difficulties

Handwriting difficulties

When we write, we want the language we produce to be recognizable to others. Our handwriting should be legible so that it doesn't hinder the reader’s comprehension and our text must conform to established norms when it comes to punctuation, formatting and spelling.

But putting words down on paper is not as straightforward as it may seem. In fact, there’s a complex process of orthographic encoding that we rely on to help us form the letters in words and use them correctly.

If the mechanics involved in writing cause cognitive or physical strain, as is the case with most common handwriting problems, this can impact on our thought process and reduce the complexity of our writing. It also results in feelings of frustration and low self-esteem.

For a child with dysgraphia, a condition that results in poor handwriting, producing written language is a struggle that can drastically affect performance at school and get in the way of a child expressing him or herself in writing.

How to build self-confidence in students
Read and Spell blog
How to build self-confidence in students

How to build self-confidence in students

It’s tragically common to find that students who have specific learning difficulties, motor skills difficulties, and physical impairments experience a lack of confidence in the classroom. This is particularly the case when learning differences go unrecognized.

The resulting situation is quite serious for children and young-adults. It colors their lives and can have significant implications for success at school, both in the present, and in the future.

Fortunately, parents and teachers can make a difference by fostering a positive self-image, encouraging independence, and helping students who are struggling get the right support and classroom accommodations.

Teaching students with dyslexia
Read and Spell blog
Teaching students with dyslexia

Teaching students with dyslexia

Specific Learning Difficulties affect a significant percentage of the population – and dyslexia alone can affect up to 10% of us – 4% severely so. Teachers who aren’t trained to recognise the signs of specific learning difficulties can unintentionally hammer away at a student’s self-esteem.

If he’s good with words and he’s not performing academically, and if he can’t spell today what he spelled correctly yesterday, he must be being uncooperative, mustn’t he? The educational struggles of children with a learning difference can be compounded if their teachers have not had training in how to respond.

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