HomedyslexiaCreative Vocabulary Building

This morning, I found an interesting article about how vital a large vocabulary is, and how reading isn’t necessarily the only way to pick more words up.

Books and DVDs may
both broaden the
vocabulary well.

The article has lots of great suggestions about how to help kids nurture vocabulary, like acting out the word meaning, or making flash cards, but two concepts really stood out for me.

Learning Styles
When looking at the topics from a broader perspective, they’re all about conveying information in ways that cater to different learning styles.

Acting out word meanings would be best for kids with tactile learning styles, while drawing out what the word by hand or using flash cars helps those with strong visual tendencies.

I also like the idea of someone reading aloud while the student follows along in the book. The article acknowledges the value of audio books, but there’s a lot of value in having a flesh and blood person there to ask questions of. I know from experience how much it helps to have someone assist with pronunciation alone.

The author writes about how valuable context is in learning anything for dyslexic people. I think this probably holds true to most folks, but when it comes down to it, unless there’s a broader pattern to follow, picking up individual nuggets of information is exceedingly difficult.

Contractions are a good example. When a student first learns that you’re is short for you are, they’re is short for they are and it’ll is short for it will, telling them “That’s just the way it is” does a poor job of reinforcing the information. Instead, it’s more helpful to give them the context of writing ease. It’s easier to write “it’s” instead of “it is”, because you cut out a character.

Knowing that also helps in word usage, too. The way I learned how to differentiate between your and you’re is to read the sentence twice. If it makes no sense to say “you are” in it, then it’s probably wrong. The possessive versus contraction concept didn’t sink in until later. That reading aloud trick got me through the period of time I needed to get a deeper understanding of how those words worked, while still using them correctly.

While everyone learns differently, it’s important to realize that there are some specialized methods that work in teaching someone with dyslexia how to broaden their vocabularies.

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