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Great Ways to Improve Study Habits When Dyslexia Slows You Down

written by: Anne Vize • edited by: Kellie Hayden • updated: 1/14/2013

Dyslexia can be a challenge at school, especially when it comes to studying for tests and learning things like word lists, spelling tests and grammar and punctuation rules. But with some smart strategies mastered, you'll be well on your way to acing your next big test!

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    Does Dyslexia Get in the Way of Your Study?

    Sometimes dyslexia can be a bit of a drag when it comes to learning things at school. It can be especially hard when you need to:

    • Do a reading task within a certain time frame.
    • Read something for the first time or out loud.
    • Memorize long lists of spelling words.
    • Spell words when you are writing an essay, prose or poem, or some other class writing task.
    • Remember how words are spelled from one lesson to the next.
    • Keep many pieces of information in your head at one time.

    Does this sound familiar? Some of it might, and some might not, because dyslexia can be a little different for everyone. But if some of these things are a problem for you, then try out these neat tips that show you how to improve your study habits when you have dyslexia.

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    Improve Your Reading Speed

    It is easy to simply avoid reading altogether when you have dyslexia, but this is not really a great plan as reading is a major part of life and learning.

    Read Material Several Times Over:

    Instead, try to read over things a few times without other distractions around you. Avoid trying to read something and keeping it in your head the first time. Instead, go for reading short amounts, then go back and repeat your reading. Although this takes longer, it also helps you become more fluent and, importantly, faster at your reading retention. And you will find as your reading speed increases, so too will your understanding of what you have read.

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    We All Love a Good List!

    Lists of all kinds are great as they help get us organized. If you have dyslexia, you need to be careful that making a list does not become the whole task though! Make a short list of three to five main points that are all about the same topic--like this:

    Work for tonight:

    1. Read over my English essay.
    2. Highlight any words that may be spelled incorrectly.
    3. Check these spelling words using Word Web or Tiny Spell and correct them.
    4. Put the essay in a bag for school tomorrow.
    5. Put a post-it note on top of the bag to help remember it is in there.
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    Use Your Senses

    Sometimes trying to learn things using your sight (vision) and hearing (auditory skills) just doesn't work so well when you have dyslexia. It is important as you get older to work out the ways that do work for you. You might find it helps to:

    • Visualize how a word looks in your head.
    • Count off letters in a word on your fingers so you know you have included all the letters you need for a word.
    • Remember silly rhymes for words that are hard to spell.
    • Break tasks down into smaller parts.
    • Use technology tools such as Ginger or Tiny Spell to check words that you don't know very well.
    • Change tasks around a bit when you can so that you hand in a piece of artwork with a small amount of writing on it instead of a full essay about a topic. This is just one way that you can show you have learned the content of a lesson without having to do a lot of writing.
    • Ask your teacher about ways a task or test can be changed to suit your learning needs and learning issues. You may be able to have a note taker, get more time for a test, have someone read the test questions out for you, or give a verbal report rather than a written one.
    • Practice reading books that are right for your age or reading level for you so you can build your skills and feel good about learning at the same time.

    For most people, there are ways we learn easily and there are ways of learning that are more challenging. This is true if you have dyslexia as well. It is important to figure out what works for you as you work to learn how to improve study habits and learning at school. After all, you are your own best asset!