Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Dyslexics often have problems with working memory and this can make learning difficult. Working memory is the part of the memory we use when we are told a phone number and keep it in our heads before writing it down . It is our capacity to store and manipulate information for brief periods of time.Working memory can be auditory and visual.

What can be done?
You can try to improve poor working memory by using various games to develop memory skills Here are some examples of games you could try with your child.

Auditory memory

I went to the shops and bought….”
This is a classic memory game where each person adds a new item to the list in alphabetical order.
For example, : “I went to the shops and I bought an apple”. 2nd person: “I went to the shops and I bought an apple and a bike”. First person: “I went to the shops and I bought an apple, a bike and a coat”. Etc etc…
Dyslexic students may have more trouble remembering which letter comes next rather than the object.

I went on my holidays - and in my suitcase I packed..........."
The child lists an object and the next person has to repeat the previous names and then add his or her own, and so on. You can either go through the alphabet - or objects at random - and you can add adjectives to each object as well.

The digit span game (remembering numbers forwards & backwards.)
Get your child to listen carefully as you say some numbers. Start with two digit numbers and build up slowly.
Eg 786 839/ 4578 9345 / 23451 59431
When you have finished, ask your child to say them.
Digits should be given at the rate of one per second.
Also you can ask your child to repeat some numbers backwards eg 56 98

You could also try this with nonsense words with the same amount of syllables eg za-me, pe-sa,

Instruction game
The purpose of this game is to increase your child's ability to remember instructions that are given to him/her.If you.play this game often it can help to improve your child's short term memory .
The game's object is to see how many commands the child can successfully complete. Start off with say 3 commands – “ bring me your maths book , second, put your t-shirt in the laundry basket, bring me a glass of water
If the child is able to do all commands give him/her lots of praise.
Next, give the child four commands.
Keep playing the game until the child forgets one of the commands.
When the child forgets one of the commands, finish playing the game for that day.Keep a record of the number of commands completed successfully. Next time the goal will be for the child to improve on their score.
Play the game for short periods in order to keep the game fun. You can add incentives to get the children to enjoy playing it. For example, you could say that if they managed to carry out a certain no of instructions, they could get some kind of treat .

Visual Memory
"Kim's Game" where you look at a tray of objects for a minute and then see what you can remember. Increase the number of items to make it harder.

Other ideas include showing a sequence of items and then mix them in with a number of others before asking the child to select the ones they saw and arrange them in the order they were originally shown in.

Another idea is to cut a colour picture out of a magazine,, and ask the child to look at it closely for one minute. Then remove it and ask them questions about the picture.

Make two sets of identical flash cards to make a concentration/memory game. They could be pictures or words etc . Variations : You could use letters of the alphabet eg capital and lower case letters. Fractions – visual representation and written form of fractions. etc

Have your child lay the cards on a table in rows, in a face down position.
Your child turns over a card, then they flip over a second card.
If the two cards are the same, they’ve found a match.They can set aside their pair and go again. However, if the two cards are not a match, your child turns them face down again.
Repeat this process until all of the cards have been matched.
This game can be played with more than one person.

Simple Simon says…. “Touch your toes” .. can be used with visual or auditory instructions.
The child or children must do what “Simon” tells them to do when asked with a phrase beginning with "Simon says". If Simon says "Simon says jump", the player or players must jump (players that do not jump are out).
However, if Simon says simply "jump", without first saying "Simon says", players do not jump; those that do jump are out.

For lots of good memory game ideas - go to Neuroscience for Kids . If you type in "Neuroscience for kids " in google you will find this site.

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