May 13, 2009

Long division and dyslexia

Photo by laura.bell

I have a dyslexic 9 year old and I wish to find out if your program can benefit him. I have tried Math-U-See and it became too boring or frustrating for him. I have tried various other programs in hope of not overwhelming him. He has completed the delta Math U See level but I feel needs more work on long division. He simply gets very frustrated with it, as the length of time and knowing where to place number due to dyslexia. Is your curriculum a spiral curriculum? Any suggestions would help.
One of my books from the Blue Series goes through long division in several small steps: Math Mammoth Division 2

I would suggest that for a dyslexic child, have him do ALL the problems on a squared paper (grid paper). That will help him place the numbers right. Not all the problems in my division book are done with the grid... but for your son, it may be necessary to always use such paper.



Secondly, when you teach on board or on paper, at each step COLOR the whole column of ones, or tens, or hundreds (whichever you are working at). I have not done such exactly like what I explain now in my book, I'm just telling you to try that: color the column you're looking at, at each step.

This will help him focus on the specific place value, such as hundreds, and help him place the digit in the quotient in the hundreds column, write the product, and calculate the difference in that column.

Apart from those tips, it might also help if you check whether he understands the REMAINDER concept outside long division. For example,

16 / 5 = ??

42 / 10 = ??

He must be able to do those well in order to some day understand why long division works. HOWEVER, it's possible for children to learn the motions of long division without understanding why it works. So, definitely do not discontinue long division just because he doesn't grasp why it works. That understanding may come later on.

My curriculum does not use a "short" spiral like Saxon/Abeka/Horizons. It is more mastery based. However, different concepts are reviewed and studied usually on 2 or 3 neighboring grade levels, and I also use problems about new concepts that also use previous concepts so they cannot be forgotten. For example, once they learn about writing addition and subtraction from the same picture, then that is used to learn fact families, which is also used later on with x.

Hope this helps.
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