A few months ago we had gentleman come to visit EC from the Lyndhurst Dyslexia Centre. He spent half an hour with EC going over his spells and listening to him read, then at the end he gave Leonora and myself some tips and ideas about what we could do to help both EC and YC with their learning. One technique that he uses with his students is to write the words that a child can read onto a piece of paper that is in the shape of something the child likes, like a football, and have that child put it into their “goal”. This acts as a bank for all the words the child knows, then if they have a day when they are struggling you can tell them to look at their bank and see all the words that they can read. It seems like such a simple thing, but psychologically it so important. It is giving that child the confidence boost they need when they are having an off day, which is vital for all children, but especially for those who are dyslexic or have other learning difficulties.

You will need:

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • A container
  • Laminator – optional

I changed part of this so instead of having hundreds of shapes I made 10 each for YC and EC (which I then laminated). Then when they get a new word we write it onto their shape (EC had bats and YC got flowers) but also onto a list on plain piece of paper that goes with their banks. This way they still get all their words banked, but only the really new ones are on the cut out shapes.

EC's bat word bank.

EC’s bat word bank.

Cut out your shapes. As I said I laminated ours, it makes them last longer and also means I can reuse them.

YC's flower word bank.

YC’s flower word bank.

When your little one gets a new word right add it to their shape and word bank. For EC we do it for his spellings, but for YC we are using it with her sight words at the moment.

When EC correctly spelt one of his words he got to add a bat to his bank.

When EC correctly spelt one of his words he got to add a bat to his bank.

Both EC and YC were so keen to fill up their banks, it actually gave them that extra push that they often lack when doing their homework (although I can’t really blame them for not being enthusiastic about doing it after a whole day of school).

YC adding one of her sight words that she got right to her bank.

YC adding one of her sight words that she got right to her bank.

This technique could help development of:

  • confidence with spelling and reading