Studying can be extra challenging for grade-schoolers with dyslexia. But grade school is when they need to build strong study skills and habits before the stakes get higher in middle school. These tips can help make the process easier.
1. Find out what the test format is.
Different types of tests may require different degrees of reading and writing. Knowing in advance whether the test will be multiple choice, fill in the blank, or short answer can help your child know how to approach studying. (It can also reduce test anxiety.) Having that information can also give you a better idea of how to help.
2. Build in extra study time.
If your child struggles with , it can really slow down studying. Trouble with working memory can also create hurdles for kids with dyslexia. Your child may need lots of repetition, over time, to make information stick.
Carve out more time for studying than you might think necessary. If your child has a vocabulary quiz on Friday, for instance, it’s a good idea to start working with those words on Monday rather than waiting until Wednesday.
3. Create a study schedule that fits your child’s pace.
If dyslexia is slowing your child down, slow down the entire studying process. Reviewing the material in small batches, rather than in one long stretch, can help relieve frustration and anxiety. So can taking breaks between study sessions.
Create a study schedule that your child feels comfortable with. Some kids can successfully work on five vocabulary words at a time, for instance. If they can keep going, that’s great. But they’ll know they don’t have to do more than they can reasonably handle at each study session.
4. Ask for study materials well in advance.
Your child’s teacher may already have notes on the information that will be covered on the test, or an actual study guide. There may also be notes on the material the students read.
Ask if you can get a copy of the notes in advance of the quiz, and with enough time to start the studying process early. Even if the teacher gave out study material in class, ask for a second copy for home. The first one may not have made it into your child’s backpack!
5. Help make flashcards.
Using flashcards is a quick way for kids to test themselves. It can also make it easier for them to access the information (instead of having to read from the text). But it’s not just reviewing the cards that helps. The act of making them is beneficial, too, especially if they include a picture.
Connecting a visual element to words can boost memory. Google images can be a great source for artwork — and the process of searching provides even more reinforcement.
6. Take over some of the reading yourself.
Any chance your child gets to read can help boost skills. But the point of studying isn’t to work on reading. It’s to help kids learn the material so they can show what they know.
If reading is so difficult or stressful that it gets in the way of learning, you can do some of the reading. That way, your child can focus on content and concepts rather than on decoding. Plus, many kids with dyslexia have an easier time taking in and remembering information when they hear it.
7. Help your child understand and follow test directions.
The teacher may write directions for the quiz on the board or on the test itself. But that’s just one more thing kids have to read. They may ignore it or race through it, and then do the wrong thing on the test.
Help your child understand that the directions can be the most important thing to read. If kids skip that part, all their studying may not pay off. Talk to the teacher or team about giving your child the test instructions in advance so you can go over them together. You can also ask that the directions be read to your child.
About the author
About the author
Kate Kelly has been writing and editing for more than 20 years, with a focus on parenting.
Elizabeth Babbin, EdD is an instructional specialist at Lower Macungie Middle School in Macungie, Pennsylvania.