Long division and dyslexia

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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.

I would also suggest you read my article How to teach long division.

Hope this helps.


Liz Ditz said…
(a) I wonder if this is purely a dyslexia problem or if problems with handwriting mastery come in here.

(b) if the child has a great deal of difficulty with rapid automatic naming (fact recall) you might allow a visual prompt such as the times table to be used.

Handwriting suggestions:

1. If the child has difficulty with writing numbers in a small space, provide gridded paper that suits the child's number-writing efficiency.

I have constructed gridded paper up to 1/2 inches square -- it what works for the child at first (taste of success)-- can work over time at reducing the size of numbers the child can produced with automaticity2. Opportunity to practice writing numbers without cognitive burden of doing the math = math facts practice sheets using dotted (or shaded) letters.

I've made up math facts practice sheets for addition & subtraction to 20s and multiplication and division to 12. The child practices writing the numbers comprising the fact while reciting aloud.

Most of the kids I've worked with are fine using dotted numbers but I had one child who would go jerkily from dot to dot, so I redid the sheets for him in a light grey shade in solid numbers.

You don't leave the kid alone to practice -- you are watching for grip & letter formation & reinforcing reciting the fact (ie, you and the child may say together "2 times 6 equals 12").

(I use fonts from http://educationalfontware.com/)

Eventually as the child acquires automaticity in both number formation and math facts you can reduce the size of the letters to be traced and the amount of support.

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