Dyslexia doesn’t have anything to do with intelligence. So why do some children with dyslexia find it difficult to memorize the times tables? One reason is that children with dyslexia aren’t always able to hold information in working memory— that part of the brain that lays details out on the kitchen table for quick access.
Marianne Sunderland, a mom and expert on dyslexia writes on her blog, “my kids were a part of the 20-60% of kids with dyslexia who also have dyscalculia! Now alongside teaching struggling readers, I’m teaching kids who struggle with math as well.
Research shows that the most common deficit among all students with dyscalculia, with or without co-occurring dyslexia, is their difficulty in performing working memory tasks.* Read More: How Dyslexia Affects Math Skills
Since it is difficult to hold information in working memory, we must find a way to work around it.
Laura has been teaching fourth grade in an inclusive setting, one where students with disabilities learn alongside their typically developing peers, for five years.
She has learned that many people with dyslexia are visual learners, meaning that they benefit from working with images and graphic organizers, rather than words alone, when internalizing new skills and concepts.” Read More Study.com
What is the Work-Around?—without the basic facts memorized math class will never be fun.
The “work-around” that caters to visual learners comes in the form of stories and pictures to associate the math facts with the answers. These mental images are a proven way for a student to learn the basic math facts when multiplication tables are needed for so many mathematical operations including multiplication, division, fractions, ratios, and algebra. Without these basic facts committed to memory, math class is a bore and next to impossible.
Parent’s Review for Times Tables The Fun Way
“We were pulling our hair out trying to get the math facts to stick in my dyslexic child’s lovely, unique brain. We tried all kinds of drilling techniques, written and oral. No amount of repetition worked. This (times tables the fun way) worked on the first day – and has continued to work. I know I sound like an infomercial, but it is true. We now review several facts, and learn one new one each night before bedtime, and they are sticking! So glad to have found this method! And the idea behind it – that the dyslexic mind has to build a picture and story around facts in order to retain them – has had applications for learning beyond math facts.” PUT link to times book from amazon.
Using Online Times Alive: based on the book Times Tables the Fun Way
Online Times Alive is based on the book Times Tables the Fun Way. The animated stories are an effective and fun way for kids with learning differences to finally be able to memorize the facts when nothing has helped in the past. Online Times Alive teaches all the zeros-nines times tables with stories, songs, quizzes, and games. Keeps track of student progress, too.
Here is a way to learn 3×4. Once the story clicks, the fact sticks!
Math Whiz Who Overcame Road Blocks: Watch this Inspiring Video
I love this video. Math Whiz Who overcame some road blocks. an inspiration to us all. He had a teacher who said he never could do it and he went on to win a scholarship and award.
Are there Advantages to Having Dyslexia?
All this leads to the question, “Does the experience of dyslexia produce heightened awareness in other areas.” The answer is yes, there are many famous and successful pioneers who have excelled in their art, craft, or business taking advantage of their beautiful and unique brain. Dyslexics often are good at seeing the big picture and operating in a visual environment.
Here are just a few celebrities who have used their unique brains to excel:
Anderson Cooper (news journalist)
Whoopi Goldberg (actress)
Jimmy Liautaud (founder Jimmy John’s)
Steven Spielberg (producer)
Henry Winkler (actor and director)
Jamie Oliver (celebrity chef)