Studying in middle school is more complicated for all kids, with different teachers scheduling tests at different times. Plus, the material is harder. These tips can help you make the process less challenging for your child with dyslexia.
1. Figure out how much time he needs to study.
Kids with dyslexia often take more time to study than their peers. Ongoing issues with may slow your child down. If he has trouble with working memory or reading comprehension, he may need more practice and repetition to remember concepts and information.
Talk to your child about how much time he thinks he needs to prepare for the test. Then work together to create a realistic study schedule. If he needs breaks during studying sessions, factor them in. Pushing beyond his limits may only make him frustrated, less productive and more anxious about the test.
2. Bring in visual elements.
Memorizing facts solely by reading them can be hard for kids with dyslexia. Adding a visual element to the study process can help.
Let’s say your child has a unit test on the solar system or the cycle of the oceans. He could make a PowerPoint presentation of the key facts to study from or a slideshow with narration. For a history test, he could create a visual timeline of the main events. Working with visuals can help him connect with the material on a deeper level.
3. Add images to flashcards.
Making flashcards that include images can help your child remember information. And there are many ways he can do it. For instance, he can make digital flashcards using an app. He can also cut and paste images he finds online on index cards, or draw them himself.
Creating the cards is just another way for him to work with the material. The simple act of writing the notes can reinforce the concepts or information. So can the process of looking for images that represent the concepts.
4. Prepare for short-answer tests in advance.
Dyslexia can often impact writing. If that’s the case with your child, short-answer test questions might be hard—and stressful. Have your child ask the teacher what material will be covered on the test. Then, help your child come up with practice questions, and have him practice writing short answers.
Doing that will help reinforce the information. It can also make him more comfortable with the format and more confident in his ability to handle it on test day.
5. Have him read or play notes aloud.
Kids with dyslexia often use multiple senses when they learn to read. That approach can also help when they study. Hearing or speaking information can make it easier to take it in, process it, and remember it.
When your child is studying, have him read aloud relevant sections from the textbook or from the class notes. He might also want to record information and then play it back. He could also ask a parent or a study group member to make the recording of notes if there’s a lot of text.
6. Try software to help organize study notes.
are a great tool to help structure kids’ writing, but they can also help kids with dyslexia put notes into a format that’s easier to read. For instance, your child could use graphic organizing software to create visual notes.
7. Encourage him to join a study group.
Joining or forming a study group, or just studying with a friend, would let your child talk through his notes, figure out if he missed something, and share his ideas. This might be more helpful than studying notes on his own. Plus, the social aspect can make the process more fun and less frustrating. Since kids with dyslexia often need more repetition, however, he’ll probably have to review on his own, too.
8. Remind him to ask about the directions.
Your child may be tempted to skip reading the test directions as a way to avoid another reading task. He may think he already knows what to do, only to find out that the test required something else. Have your child talk to the teacher in advance about what format the test will be in and what the instructions will be.
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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.