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Use Your Best Mnemonics

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In the mnemonics section I have given you a number of examples of how you can remember the spellings of certain words. This piece looks at a number of other ideas that can also help with reading and spelling.

Kinesiology is the science of motion and has become well known is some countries because of its success with top flight athletes. However, it also has educational applications because of the brain-body connection.

The brain transmits messages both chemically and electrically and blockages occur when the person is stressed. Simply put the brain's wiring becomes fused as it is short circuited by these blockages and so learning problems can develop. Kinesiologists state that one way to overcome these problems is to do physical exercises that defuse the blockages between the left and right side of the brain. Try the following exercise to improve not only your spelling but also your writing, reading and listening:

1. Stand up and by raising your knees alternately, touch each hand to the opposite knee.

2. Do this 10 times when you are stressed.

3. As a variation, do it with your eyes closed

The theory is that the brain operates best when the left and right sides are working in harmony. This exercise can help you become more coordinated and centred making learning easier and natural.

Helpful hints on Spelling

In their book Dynamic Learning, Robert Dilts and Todd A Epstein offer the following hints on helping children who are having difficulty with "problem" words:

a. Picture the word in their favourite colour

b. Make any unclear letter stand out by making it look different to the others in some way (e.g. size or colour)

c. Break the word into three letter groups and build the word three letters at a time

d. Put the letters on a familiar background like a favourite object or movie scene

e. If it is a long word, make the letters small so that the whole word can be seen.

f. Trace the letters in the air with your finger and picture in your mind the letters that you are writing.


Mirror Writing Problems

Some children have difficulties with letters like "b" and "d" because of the similarity of their shape. In the book "Teach Your Child to Read" by Peter Young and Colin Tyre, the authors recommend "Back Writing". Place a large piece of paper on a wall at about your child's shoulder height. Give them a thick pen or crayon and stand them at arms length from the paper. Then with your child facing the paper, write the first letter on their back, tell them what it is and describe how you are drawing it. Then ask your child to draw the letter. This has the best results if you do only one letter at a time.

Source "The Learning Revolution" by Gordon Dryden and Dr Jeannette Vos

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