Tutoring Tips For Math

Date: July 1, 2014 Author: Jill Categories: Dyslexia, The Reading Tutor

Tutoring Tips for Math Dyslexic Students - The Reading Tutoring - Wellington - West Palm Beach

Students from all backgrounds would agree that math is entirely its own language, which may pose to be problematic for students with dyslexia.  It is often falsely assumed that all dyslexic students’ strengths lie in mathematical ability, because uncommon to see dyslexic students’ struggle with subjects such as algebra and geometry. In early stages, math can be dyslexic student’s strongest skill, but as the student advances to high level math the students grades may begin to decline. The math that often contains the most complexity typically occurs with sequencing, problems requiring multiple steps, word problems, algebra, and geometry.

A large step towards learning basic math skills is comprehending the terms present different problems and equations. Mathematical terms (add, plus, sum, subtract, difference, total, etc.) need to first be understood by the student before the student can put them into context. It is essential to provide an overview of the problem type, the purpose, and the overall process before segmenting the problem into pieces for dyslexic students.

For instance, long division is a multi-step process that is often difficult for dyslexic students to follow. When teaching long division to a student with dyslexia, you might consider engaging the student in a discussion about what exactly it is and how it is used. Be sure to demonstrate how multiplication counts in groups while division subtracts in groups. Explain subtraction similarly, by using objects and introducing brackets so the student understands what position each represents. Finally, practice problems can be completed together so the student understands the process as a whole.

Once the student understands the process of solving math problems, some  supplemental aids may include:

  • Turn lined paper vertically using lines paper on its side can help dyslexic students appropriately align numbers in appropriate columns for addition, subtraction, long division, and multiplication
  • Graph paper can also enable the student to spatially position numbers and thus complete problems more successfully.
  • Hierarchical worksheets can be used to arrange the questions from easiest to hardest. Early success on the worksheet will keep students motivated to work towards the more difficult questions
  • Use color purposefully. Write certain numbers in one color, decimals in another, and equation symbols in a third. These visual cues will enable the student to better comprehend and process the material.
  • Verbalize Problems: encourage students to talk their way through the steps of a math problem. Working the problem through aloud can help a student slow down and process each step individually.
  • Notecards to write keywords, terms, definitions, and equations for student’s reference. Additionally, just as notecards memorize key terms and formulas.
  • Use other aids like number lines, a counter, and/or calculator can be used to help students with more difficult equations once they understand the basic operations of mathematics.

Remember, many students with dyslexia learn best from visualization and active engagement. It is essential  to utilize objects to visualize equations. Additionally, activities and games can be incorporated to spark the student’s interest and incite fun. If you find it difficult to make up your own math games, activities are just a click away; a couple websites that provide many different ideas are: Hands on Math and Cut the Knot. Or if you prefer traditional books to the internet, you can look at Yes You Can! Help Your Kid Succeed in Math Even if You Think You Can’t or The Gift of Learning; both offer ideas and unique methods of teaching math that work for students with dyslexia.