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Showing posts from 2019

How to Easily Teach Struggling Students to Follow Directions

Learning to follow both aural and written directions is a crucial skill for students to master. It is the foundation of learning and difficulties in this area can impact a student’s ability to focus, follow a sequence of steps, take notes, answer questions as well as show their knowledge on written assignments and even tests.

What Causes Difficulties in Following Directions?
Even if a student appears to be listening, it doesn’t mean that they will actually follow directions.  Once a student hears the information, the brain needs to make sense of the sounds, and weaknesses in attention, auditory processing, visual processing, reasoning, executive functioning, and language processing can block one's understanding.  So if students do not understand lessons, we can't expect them to provide the needed response.

So What can be Done about This?
The best solution is to exercise and strengthen the core cognitive skills. Students need to learn and practice the subtleties of linguistic…

How to Strengthen Working Memory: Fun Free Activities

A strong working memory is now reported to be the cornerstone to academic success. It is a mental notepad where we post both visual and auditory information until we need to use it in short-term memory.  Strengthening one's working memory can have a profound effect on a students' learning capacity, and there are activities that can help exercise this core cognitive skill.

How Can I Learn to Strengthen Working Memory?

Providing fun and engaging activities that require working memory such as Red Light, Green Light can help. However, ready-made activities that were designed specifically to exercise working memory can save time and focus an intervention plan.  My Working Memory & Hemisphere Integration Bundle Digital Download was created based on the newest research. Come download some FREE SAMPLE ACTIVITIES.  If you would like to learn about all my multisensory tools that develop working memory, CLICK HERE.

What are People Say about my Working Memory & Hemisphere Integrati…

12 Free Ways to Strengthen Visual Tracking

Tracking is the ability for one's eyes to move smoothly across the page from one word to another as well as from line of text to another. For some learners, however, this is a challenging task. Instead, their eyes jump back and forth and struggle to stay on a single line of text. This can result in problems such as word omissions, reversals, eye fatigue, losing one's place while reading and most importantly it can undermine reading comprehension.
Can Tracking be Improved?
Yes, one can improve tracking by strengthening eye muscles and getting ones eyes and brain to work together. There are three types pf eye movements that need to be addressed:
Fixations: The ability to hold one's eyes steady without moving off a target.Saccades: The ability to jump to new targets that randomly disappear and reappear in a different location.Pursuits: The ability to follow a moving target with one's eyes.12 Free Ways to Improve Tracking:
Use color overlays. Colored overlays are clear pl…

A Monstrous Sale for My Audience

Over the years I have gained a large tribe of loyal followers. In an effort to show my appreciation, I've created a monstrous sale event. Until August 15th 2019, all my courses at Learning Specialist Courses are 50% off.  In addition, at Good Sensory Learning, my newest product The 12 Ways of Learning: A Parent's Guide to Using The Eclectic Teaching Approach and my newest updated product The Eclectic Teaching Approach are both 50% off! Simply use Coupon code AUG50 at checkout at both Good Sensory Learning and Learning Specialist Courses.

I hope you have the opportunity to take advantage of these ridiculous savings!  Reach out any time.
Cheers, Erica
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.
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How to Make Color Overlays for Struggling Readers: FREE DIY

Many struggling readers have difficulties tracking text across and down the page. Their eyes get lost in a maze of words and keeping their place takes up most of their attention - leaving little stamina for decoding and comprehension. Did you know that there is a simple and fun fix for this problem?  You can make your own color overlays!
What are Color Overlays?
Colored overlays are plastic sheets that allow students to change the background color of the text.  This can make the stark contrast of black text on white paper less intense, and many kids enjoy the colors.  Most importantly, by placing the line of text that is being read at the bottom of the plastic lens, it can be a wonderful way for students to keep their place while reading. 

Would You Like to Create Your Own Color Overlays?
You can make your own overlays by using transparent, colored report covers, dividers, or overhead projector film.  They can be used as whole sheets, but I prefer to cut strips so that it can help with…

The 12 Ways of Learning - A New Approach to Empower Students

I think we all agree that no two people have the same strengths and weaknesses. But because we cannot observe the inner workings of the brain, it’s easy to assume that what helps us learn, will help everyone. In fact, some teachers and parents may insist on certain approaches. So should parents and teachers step out of their own preferred ways of learning and accommodate the unique needs of others?  How can this possibly be done?
What are the 12 Ways of Learning?
I have been working with children and adults as an educational therapist for over twenty years, and I can promise you that everyone has their own unique ways of processing information. The 12 ways of learning offers a dozen diverse methods that can be used to help learners encode information. When exposed to these distinct approaches, learners develop learning preferences that are also influenced by their cognitive strengths and weaknesses.  The image below offers a quick summary:

So instead of thinking about fixed or limited…

How are Knowledge and Comprehension Different?

Although some may think that knowledge and comprehension are interchangeable, in fact, they are distinct and work together in a sequence.  First we must comprehend information, and then it is stored as knowledge.  When we access knowledge from long-term memory, it is comprehended again when that information is used to understand something new. But what exactly is knowledge and comprehension?

Knowledge Vs. Comprehension:
Knowledge is the stored, conscious, and accessible information/memories in the brain. Knowledge is not stored in just one part of the brain, but is widely distributed throughout the cortex. Research suggests that there are 4 types of knowledge:
Factual knowledge are facts stored in long term memory.Conceptual knowledge the awareness of concepts stored in long-term memory.Procedural knowledge is the knowledge exercised in the performance of a task or the necessary steps to complete a task. Metacognition is the awareness of one’s own cognition.Comprehension is the cognitiv…

Free Executive Functioning Screener from Good Sensory Learning

Executive Functioning (EF) is a new hot topic in education that has sparked a lot of research and media attention. Executive functioning, or what I like to call the conductor of the brain, is the process of the mind making sense of what we see, hear, touch, taste and experience. Executive functioning also allows us to focus our attention, think about new information, regulate our emotions, and make connections to what we already know. So how can we identify students that have weaknesses with EF weaknesses?

You Can Now Access a Free Executive Functioning Screener The new Good Sensory Executive Functioning Screener is a free, 20 question assessment that can help parents, teachers, and professionals quick uncover the likelihood of executive functioning challenges. Individual items also shed light on specific difficulties that require attention.

How Was This Screener Designed?
The Good Sensory Learning Executive Functioning Screener is based on my comprehensive, doctoral training, an exte…

Reasons Some Struggling Students Should Stop Taking Notes

For some students the act of writing notes can help to encode classroom lessons, but for others it can present an obstacle that prevents them from learning the content in the moment.What Types of Students Should Avoid Taking Notes?
There are those students that are auditory learners, and they often do best when they can listen to the content without the distraction of taking notes. If these auditory learners also have dysgraphia or dyslexia (weaknesses in fine motor dexterity, language processing, and memory), they should be able to receive note-taking accommodations such as a copy of the teacher's or another student's notes. The research suggests that those with dyslexia and dysgraphia often find it difficult to reproduce words accurately when taking notes.  According to the British Dyslexia Association, taking notes is ineffective for these learners and "creates serious difficulties." In addition, Dr. Kirkby, with The Language and Literacy Group at Bournemouth U…

8 Successful Ways to Help Students Complete Homework

After a long day of school, many kids are cognitively spent and they have little patience and energy to pull out their assignment pad and slog through more academic work.  Often, what should take little time, drags out into hours and hours and families are often desperate for manageable solutions.
What Can We Do to Make Homework a Manageable Task?
Stop calling it homework!  Just the name can trigger pouty moods and cantankerous behaviors.  Find another word to use such as assignments or activities. Use a timer to help some students stay on track.  I usually set the timer for both completing assignments and taking breaks.  If students have a competitive nature, you can also use a timer to see how fast they can complete a few problems, and then see if they can beat their time.  This often creates a motivating game that can help them to maintain attention on the task at hand.Create a structured routine.  Make an afternoon and early evening schedule that includes blocks of time for assignm…

Why the New MPower Games Transform Struggling Learners

I am so excited to announce my newest publication, MPower: Cognitive Remedial Card Games! MPower offers a selection of multisensory games that improve memory and the processing of information for enhanced learning of core academics, such as reading and math. This publication is ideal for developing early literacy skills, teaching new ways to encode knowledge, and helping struggling learners find joy in the learning process. MPower is a powerful and fun remedial tool that can be used by therapists, teachers and even parents to achieve sharpened cognition and enriched learning for their students or clientele.