April week 2

5 Ways to Improve Dyslexia Working Memory Problems

Any given day you walk into Dyslexia School of Houston, you might see kids jumping on
a trampoline with handles or cooking up alphabet soup in the kitchen. No need to worry,
you’re in the right place!

You see, students with dyslexia are five times more likely to struggle with working
memory than the average learner does. When students retain information through
consistent multisensory activities, the working memory creates word association.

Why is this?…Working memory is the ability to retain information over periods of time.
Learners with dyslexia have a better chance of retaining what they learn when they can
associate the memory to how they learn. This is why multisensory learning techniques
greatly improve working memory for dyslexic students. Sometimes, this looks like
bouncing up and down on a trampoline at DSH while reading and reciting new words.

Along with multisensory activities and consistent routines, children and their working
memory thrive on structure. Structure in their routine, environment and lifestyle is
imperative for improving reading and writing skills.

The average learner only retains about 10% of what they read and 20% of what they
hear. Yet, when the average learner says aloud what they are writing down, they are
more than likely to remember 70% of the information. They are associating the
information with the action taking place and this is a form of word association.

Word association is used to improve the working memory for students with dyslexia by
linking words or phrases to one another without negating the phonological components
that make the word.

Students with dyslexia usually have an excellent long-term memory but may have
difficulty remembering long sequences of information. It’s helpful for them to organize
information linearly and through spaced repetition. This is the practice of spreading out
the length of time in which a memory or phrase is repeated; for example, the longer a
child goes without spelling their name but is able to do so correctly is a form of spaced

In summary, there are at least 5 ways to improve working memory problems for
students with dyslexia, but it’s important to practice the following in congruence with
one another to see positive results in a student’s working memory: multisensory
activities, consistent routines, structure, word association and spaced repetition.

If you’re in the Houston area, we recommend visiting The Health Museum and
experiencing our very own exhibit, Dyslexia Simulations, to understand what reading and
working memory looks like for people with dyslexia. Email info@dyslexiahouston.org for
more information about the upcoming Dyslexia Simulations.

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