Do not rush through these few preliminary lessons. These are some of the most difficult things for a dyslexic child to learn. I am continuing my post on a daily basis but you can stop and teach your student or child at his own pace.
These lessons will be here for a long time to come and they will continue to be free of charge. As such do not rush to keep up with my posts.
c) Once he has covered what I posted yesterday, you can begin with the months. Point to a calendar and show him February or whatever month it is. Ask him every day what month it is and once he gets it tell him that next month is March. Give other examples of 'next'. Last month was January. There are 12 months in a year. Which month comes after March? Which month comes before April and so on? The first month of the year is January and the last month is December. Merdeka Day is in August. Christmas is in December and so on. Within a month he will be able to say all the months in a year. I call all these 'nonsense words' and they are not easy for a dyslexic child to learn. But believe me they will learn all these and more soon enough. Take this opportunity to teach him to understand the words ‘before’ and ‘after’. Dyslexic kids have problem with learning abstract words like these.
The following mnemonic may be of help in remembering the months of the year. As it is a 12 word sentence and difficult to form a proper sentence I have split the year in half – January to June and July to December.
January to June – Johnny finds mummy always making jelly.
July to December - Jason D.
d) Time - Same as the above. Do this during travelling time and other non studying time. “Now is dinner time, we have dinner every day at 7p.m.You wake up at 7a.m.We have to be in school by 8 a.m”. As you can see, many things can be taught at non studying time. He will find it difficult to sit and study for more than an hour so use the studying time for things that you can't teach while driving.( Parents who have tutors for their children should do this part of the teaching thereby giving more time to the tutor to teach their children to read.) Explain to the child that ‘a.m.’ is for time before 12 noon and ‘p.m.’ for time after 12 noon.
Before you start to teach your child to read time he should of course have learnt to count to at least the number 60. The number 60 is for the 60 minutes in an hour. Teach him that there are two number systems on the clock. The short hand is for the hour (one to twelve) and the long hand for the minutes (one to 60). I use an old clock with the outer face (covering) removed and my students can move the hands of the clock.
Start off by teaching him with the long hand on twelve and the short hand on one and say it is one o’clock. Move the short hand to two and say that it shows two o’clock. Continue until 12 o’clock. Do just this and now ask him to show you the time with the long hand at 12. Let him grasp this completely.
Once he has grasped that teach him that there are 60 minutes in an hour. Show him the five dots between 12 and 1 and count them and say that from the number 12 to the number one is 5 minutes. Teach him that number two is for 10 minutes – show him why it is 10 minutes- and so on. Take your time with this part. There is no reason to rush.
Once he has understood that you can move the long hand to 6 and the short hand to half way between one and two and say that it shows one thirty and so on till you come to 12.30. Once you think he has got it ask him the time by moving the short hand between different numbers while leaving the long hand at 6.
Do the same thing with one fifteen, two fifteen and so on. At this point you may try mixing up the time with the long hand on 12, 6 and 3.
After the above you can start teaching him one 0’ five, one ten and so on till you reach one fifty five.
Notice I have not as yet used the word ‘past’ or ‘ to’. This is another difficult concept and best left out for a while.
When the child has grasped the above you can then introduce the ‘past’ and ‘to’ concept. It is 5 minutes past one, 10 minutes past one and so on. Followed by, 5 minutes to one, ten minutes to one etc.
The above looks like a very detailed description of something that is simple. Yes, it is simple for you and I but not to a dyslexic child. Most of my students had a very difficult time learning how to tell time. It took me more than a week to teach most of them to tell time.
e) Directions-This is another rather difficult concept for the dyslexic child to grasp. Tell him he writes with his right hand (if he is not left handed that is).The other hand is his left hand. You can make the letter "L" with your left thumb and your pointer finger. “At the traffic light mummy is going to turn left/right or go straight. Can you see what is behind us? What is in front of us?” Make up all these as you go along. What is between the two trees? Who is standing between the two houses etc? Just keep talking about all these on a daily basis and believe me he will learn all these in no time at all. One of my readers who is a dyslexic has written and said that even now as an adult he still has a problem with ‘left’ and ‘right’. Do not take this lightly as some of these things that we take for granted is very confusing for the dyslexic children.
To ensure that he understands better, in addition to saying verbally and in written form it is best to demonstrate it. Ask him to follow you by saying things like, “OK let us walk straight ahead, stop, turn right, turn left, walk backwards and anything else you can think of. He will remember it better when he actually walks following your instructions and following your actions.
f) Colour – This is not a problem with dyslexic kids as they can see colour but it can be taught during non studying time. What is the colour of the car in front of us? What colour is your shirt? What is your favourite colour, and so on.
G) Money and counting – This should be taught only when he can count to hundred comfortably. Show him all the different denomination of coins and notes. Using real notes and coins will be the best way to teach this.
Two 5 cents equals 10 cents. Show him the 2 five cents and let him see how that amounts to ten cents.
10 ten cents amounts to one Ringgit (dollar).
5 twenty cents make one Ringgit.
2 fifty cents make one Ringgit.
Once he has grasped that, you can mix up the coins and show that one fifty cents coin + 2 twenty cents coin and 1 ten cents coin makes one Ringgit.
Once he is comfortable with this show him the notes and do the same thing as you did with coins. This again will take quite a while for him to completely grasp counting money.
I also play ‘shop’ with my student. I ask him to be a shopkeeper and I act as the customer buying things from him. I use real money so that he can understand better this part of my tuition.
I also play ‘money changer’ with him. I give him one Ringgit and ask him for change in 10 cents, twenty cents and fifty cents.
You will be able to make up many more varied examples as you go along. Just let your imagination go wild. You would have taught some of the most difficult things for a dyslexic child without even sitting down to teach – without using his studying time.
See you tomorrow.