Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dyslexia: Supporting vocabulary and language skills

Children with literacy difficulties often have associated word retrieval difficulties, which present as a weakness in finding/retrieving words from memory and then saying the word.

As a consequence, children may misname words and stumble while talking, as they try to retrieve a word. This therefore affects their sentence organisation and clarity.

Improving word retrieval skills will help to develop sentence organisation and, therefore, expressive language skills.

This will also help to encourage confidence in communication, and language skills will, as a result, be addressed and developed alongside classroom literacy skills. There are several strategies that can be used to support word retrieval skills:
  • teaching children vocabulary within word groups, such as transport, animals and clothing. These word groups can be divided further into their individual subdivisions for older children in KS 2 and upwards. For example, land transport, sea animals and winter clothing
  • describing vocabulary to help a child learn all the different features and parts of a word. Think of this as making a map of a word. When a child recalls one part of their selected word map, it may help them to recall the connecting parts of the map. When practising descriptions, it is helpful for the child to follow a given structure; for example: 1) name the group/category, 2) where you see it, 3) what it does, 4) what you use it for, 5) the size, 6) the colour and 7) the initial sound of the word. This structure can be adapted as necessary
  • helping children visualise words as an aid to focusing on a vocabulary topic. This process accesses and uses visual memory as a primary source of recall. You can support this visualisation for vocabulary naming as follows: “I’m at the supermarket; I see some oranges. What do you see next to the oranges?”
  • using a kinaesthetic approach to learning (employing lots of gesture and movement when talking about words). This can be particularly useful as movement helps to support memory. For example, if you are playing a describing game, you can use gesture or movement to discuss how you use an object, the size of an object and its shape. Often when a child cannot immediately recall a word, acting out the word triggers their verbal memory of that word.
It is essential to mix up strategies so therapy remains fresh and interesting. It is also important for a child to have a variety of different strategies to rely on.

Read more at SEN magazine

No comments:

Post a Comment