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A very enjoyable part of being the Outreach Teacher in the Dyslexia Support Service is to help young people develop study skills. So many learners with dyslexia (and many others too) have difficulty identifying key words and concepts. I offer sessions on finding and using information, principally using Mind Mapping, playing to visual strengths.

Finding and using information:

  • Learning to make notes under given headings
  • Using these to understand information, explore ideas and problems
  • Develop thinking
  • Retain and recall information. (CfE)

Children learn to put ideas – however far-fetched – on to paper or screen prior to organising them coherently. They learn that being messy is fine, poor spelling is immaterial, using images and colour is a good strategy to aid recall. They learn to symbolise ideas and concepts by creating graphic organizers and then expanding topics into writing. This powerful combination encourages learning in multiple modes. As a result, learners are more able to gain and retain a better understanding of concepts and demonstrate knowledge.

Every school in Scotland was given licences for the software Kidspiration and Inspiration in June 2004 through Learning and Teaching Scotland, paid for by the then Executive. Unfortunately, it seems that few teachers are aware of this resource and I have taken it as a mission to spread the word.

 The Mind Maps here – created on paper rather than on computer – are responses to a presentation about dyslexia (what-is-dyskids3) after a 6 week block by the 8 pupils in the upper school at Humbie Primary.dscf0100 Thanks to Beth, Orla, Anna, Kym, Jordan, Dani, John and Iola.

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