Friday, 30 November 2012

play to learn

I am starting to suspect X to be dyslexic.  I am not sure yet, but many things are leading me to this.  One of them being his dislike of anything related to language art: this is so very hard for him.  He hates to write, and he has such a hard time with it.  He hates to read, and it does seem so burdensome to read even just a few line (but he loves read alouds, when I do it of course!), he hates spelling, and I see him reversing his letters.  Writing something is so hard for him,;putting a word from his mind to a piece of paper requires all of his attention, his will and some.

He is so confused by verbal explanations, letters, words, numbers.  But let him experiment, observe, try, see and he gets it at light speed.  He has a mathematical mind that beat mine any day!

I have always agreed with the idea that language arts can be learned through everyday life activities.  But I cannot imagine him soaking up language through reading books: he does not want to read.  I cannot think of having him use writing as a tool for other purpose knowing he'll catch up spelling and composition at the same time: he refuses to write, even the smallest word.

So I have been trying many things to help him improve in the language art area, things that are different, things that might be appealing to him; many failed, but one things really does work.


I had this idea after finding a probe game at a yard sale this autumn.  I liked this idea, thought that it would easily customizable and knew X would love the idea of the trapdoors.

And it worked!

He has been asking for it daily for a while now.

Playing this game allows us to touch many component of reading and spelling:

  • Spelling the word right before hiding it behind the door 
  • ...thus using a dictionary if necessary
  • learning to guess words without seeing them entirely, which is a very beneficial reading skill for faster learning. 
  • learning new words, and thus add to general vocabulary
  • in his case, having to write a word in his best possible handwriting so that it is understandable for the other players.
This is not the only game we have been playing.  I'll be adding to this as time goes by.


  1. My daughter is 6 years old and has many of the same symptoms that you are describing. I thought for a while too that she may have some learning difficulties, but I couldnt understand how she could do so well on her own and learn so fast if she had a disability! What we found out is that she has convergence insufficency. What that means is that she has a vision problem. Eye naturally move togeter to read, but with Bunny, they dont and it causes her to see blurry, double, and to have really bad headaches. So while she can read, and knows all her sounds, she HATES it because it is so hard for her to see. Knowing this has helped me help her and she is doing so much better. Maybe your son has something like this since it often misdiagnosed as dyslexia. It affects 30% of all kids. I hope that it is something simple and easy. It sounds like you are doing a great job! He seems like such a great kid! I am new to your blog and I hope that you dont mind my rambling on about our issues! Best of luck with your teaching! Happy Schooling!

  2. Oh...sorry about the spelling mistakes! I forgot to corect it before I sent it! :)