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Is Dyslexia to Blame for Low Reading Scores? | Dyslexia Speed Reading

sdyslexia speed reading

Is Dyslexia to Blame for Low Reading Scores? | Dyslexia Speed Reading

 

In American, we stink at reading. It is consistently one of the areas in which our students test lowest in. Despite the fact that we have invested so much time, energy, and money into improving scores. We have implemented all kinds of teaching standards increased pay for teachers with high performing students, and run the gamut of options from kindergarten all the way through high school graduation. Still, we have no real solutions for the lack of ability to read.

 

However, many scientists and researchers claim to have an answer for this problem: Dyslexia. This learning disability, which primarily affects your ability to read, may be showing up in increased numbers in our nation’s schools. We simply haven’t been doing enough dyslexia tests to compensate, these researchers claim. Finding the problems and making efforts to help students struggling with them from an early age may be the best possible way to really help students in making the strides it will take for them to succeed.

 

Dyslexia Speed Reading

 

People with dyslexia can learn how to speed read. Dyslexic students can overcome many problems thru speed reading. Due to their difficulties with reading, many people think that speed reading is far beyond the capabilities of a dyslexic person. This is not true. People who suffer from dyslexia are much smarter and capable than their diagnosis suggests, and they are willing to work hard to overcome it.

 

There is a significant movement in the dyslexic community to overcome their problem and teach other dyslexics about speed reading. If you have dyslexia, you may sign-up for a speed reading course at your local library or park district. If these options aren’t available in your area, then you may want to consider looking into a professional speed reading course that’s open to public. While it is not necessarily the best option especially considering that they will not tailor their program to dyslexic students. It is an option for those who are interested in overcoming problems like transposition, inability to remember what you read, or simply reading so slowly that you can’t make sense of the text.

Posted by James - July 28, 2012 at 2:31 am

Categories: Dyslexia   Tags: , , ,

What is the ACT Test?

ACT Test

 

The ACT Test is the American College Testing examination. It is a standardized collegiate examination that is somewhat similar in nature to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The ACT has been used since 1959. Colleges use the examination results to test the readiness of students to be admitted to college. It isn’t as well-known a test as the SAT but it is widespread. Since 2008 almost all colleges accept the ACT results and use them as a means of judging qualification for merit scholarships.

The ACT test consists of four subjects covered by multiple choice questions which include English, mathematics, science and reading. The essay writing test was added in 2005 but not all schools need or accept this portion of the test. The test is given only during set times of the year and must be scheduled in advance. Test taking is alloted over a 3.5 hour period during which the entire test must be completed.

 

ACT Test

It’s generally recommended that students take the ACT test at least 2 months prior to the application deadline for colleges or scholarships because the results are usually mailed between 3 and 7 weeks after the examination. Many students find it advantageous to take the test during their junior year because most of the course work required for the test has been completed by the end of the junior year, the scores are completed in enough time to send to colleges and students who do poorly will have time to take the test one or two more times to raise their scores.

Most students who have taken the ACT test find that the scores don’t reflect their intelligence but rather their determination to test well and study. A common thread in students who have done well is that they enjoy reading and it doesn’t mean you have to enjoy reading from the age of 2 and you can start at any time. In fact, you can start right now. Get out to the library and pick up two books. Spend 30 minutes each night before bed reading a book. This helps to relax your mind before bed and improves your ability to do well on the test.

 

Subjects

The math section of the examination will be testing information you began learning in 7th grade and building upon year after year of school. Take the practice exams and learn what concepts you are weak on and what you have to study to improve.

The science section is less about your knowledge of biology and chemistry and more about how well you can interpret and extrapolate information from graphs and charts. It’s important to take as many practice tests in science as possible so you have an opportunity to learn the formula the test makers use when preparing the information for the tests. The science portion is also the last one of the examination and will require that you continue to focus through 3 hours of work to achieve this final test.

Before the test get plenty of sleep and eat a good breakfast. Get to the test center early and be relaxed before the test is handed out. You’ll need to check in with a photo ID. Bring a calculator, watch, extra batteries, pencils, erasers and leave your nerves at home.

 

Scoring

The scoring for the ACT is 1 point for every answer you get correct and zero for every question you get wrong or skip. In other words – you aren’t penalized for guessing so you should guess. If you are lucky enough to get a guessed question correct you have the chance of increasing your score. This is definitely different from the way in which the SAT is scored.

Having this knowledge should help you to practice and study, as well as have a better chance of getting the best score possible. Remember that the test is developed in a formulaic pattern. This means that the test this year is much the same as it was for the past 10 years. If you can read and interpret the graphs and charts on the science practice tests then you’ll be fine on the real test. The same is true for the English and Math sections.

You can take the ACT as many times as you would like. And because the colleges will take your best score, and not the last score, you have nothing to lose by taking the test one or two more times.

Posted by James - July 27, 2012 at 9:27 am

Categories: ACT   Tags: , ,

Photographic Memory

Develop Your Photographic Memory

 

Photographic Memory Course

When training yourself to get photographic memory, the first, and most important step is to make sure that your eyes are relaxed.  If you’re working with your eye muscles engaged, then you will have a lot of difficulty using your peripheral vision, effectively taking away sixty percent of your field of vision.    To relax your eyes, hold your head still and move them slowly up and down, then left to right, and try to keep your mind clear.  In about ten seconds or so, you should feel your face and eyes loosen up and be ready for action.

One of the keys to training a photographic memory is to make very effective use of your peripheral vision, and to see the whole picture of things by expanding your field of view.  Taking a wide lens when you look at a diagram allows you to take in the whole thing, and see more of the image.  Instead of focusing on a detail, try to space out your eyes and focus on a single space, but to look out through the edges of your eyes and see the perimeter. This is something that many people trying to get photographic memory struggle with, because it doesn’t seem logical to pick up details without focusing on them, but it does work.

 

The Best Way to Get Photographic Memory

The next trick is entirely mental, and that makes it very hard for some people to do, but it is the essence of how to get photographic memory.  When you are focusing on an image, no matter where you see it, fix it in your mind, and see the whole thing using the power of your peripheral vision.  Then, in order to get it wholly in your visual spectrum of memory, you need to start changing the image in your mind.

Imagine a dial that allows you to turn up the brightness and contrast of the image to a point where every detail on the page becomes defined and visible in detail.

 

Use your TV to get photographic memory

If you have trouble with this at first, don’t worry.  It takes a whole lot of practice to develop photographic memory.  Some people are born with the tools to do this, while others need to work at it.

One of the easiest ways to learn this last step is to play with your television.  Put in a movie with a vibrant, busy setting, preferably a wide-view scene, and pause it.  Then use the menu to scan through and change the brightness and contrast settings while focusing in on the picture with your eyes.  If you have trouble recalling the details now, that’s fine.  All you’re doing here is seeing what this process might look like if you were to do it mentally.

Posted by James - August 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Categories: Memory, Photographic Memory   Tags: , ,

Memory Games That Helps Develop Your Memory

memory games

 

It seems my post on memory techniques for studying prompted few questions about ways to improve your long term memory. Personally, I like a challenge, and I don’t particularly like working on things like this. So, I like to turn to memory games to help memory, particularly for long term memory help.

There are simple card games to help memory you can play. This is a very basic game that I think that almost everyone has played at some point or another.

 

Memory Games – Crosswords Puzzles

Crossword puzzles are a very good way to improve long term memory. Instead of trying to play them in the newspaper everyday, it’s often a much better idea to get a collection of old crossword puzzles. This will not change in difficulty if you buy an “Easy” edition, which is nice since newspaper crosswords are easy on Monday, and then get progressively harder each day. Sunday crosswords are nearly impossible to do.

Crosswords are nice for games to help improve long term memory since they require you to remember old actors or movies, historical situations, figure out roman numerals, vocabulary, common (or uncommon) phrases, and book authors. These are also really good ways for you to improve your analytical abilities.

 

Games to Help Memory – Too Hard?

Sometimes people get upset with crosswords as a game to help memory because they are very difficult. If you do get a book, like I recommend, then you will always have the answers right there for you to check and use in case you get stuck. Filling out a single long clue can often give you the help you need to fill in others. Don’t get mad at them, use them for what they are, and remember that if you’re struggling with them, that’s when they’re helping you the most.

If you need more games to help memory, check out a local game store like Toys R Us or something similar. Any kind of trivia game will suffice, as will a handheld game like Bop It.

Posted by James - July 5, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Categories: Memory   Tags: ,

Ways to Memorize Things

There are four basic techniques to memorize things that I know about. They are both good for different purposes, so you should try to learn each.

 

The Locus Ways to Memorize Things

Memorize Things

The first method is called the Locus Method of memorization, and it’s really good for sequential lists. The basic idea of the locus method is that it plays off of your mind’s ability to remember real-life images more easily than words or bits of knowledge.

The basic methodology is to think about a car trip that you’ve taken about a million times before; one in which you know the area so well that you could conceivably drive it in your sleep. Visualize yourself driving down the road, and think about the landmarks that you always see. You might remember a stop sign, for instance, followed by a mailbox, and then a school on the left hand side, a parked car that always seems to be there, and so forth. People walking down the street might not be a good landmark since they always move around, and they’re not always in the same place.

Memorize ThingsOnce you have this set of landmarks in sequential order, start tying them to the steps in whatever list you have. The first item on the list should be tied to the first landmark you pass, the second should be tied to the second landmark. Make sure you have enough landmarks to get through every item on your list.

Once you’ve done that, imagine some connection between the event and the landmark. It can, and probably should be kind of absurd, since that will help you tie the information together better. For example, using the information I used above, I might remember the following connections between landmarks and things if I were trying to recall the order of events in the discovery of America.

 

The Musical Ways to Memorize Things

The second trick is to put information to song. This is a very phenomenal way to remember small bits of information or formulas. Because, we have an incredible amount of knowledge about music stored away in our brains. If I were to ask you to recall lyrics to any of your favorite songs, you’d pause for a moment, and then be able to start up from almost any point in the song and recite the lyric word for word. There are some fantastic examples of this kind of information available on Youtube, and many songs already made up and ready for your use.

When I tutored a student in math, and he needed to remember a complex formula like the Quadratic Formula. I typed it into Youtube and found literally hundreds of options for catchy tunes like this, this and this. Should you not find anything pre-made for you, don’t despair, you can put the information to any song you’d like. And you don’t need to perform or record it to have memorized it if you use a simple folk song like “Three Blind Mice” or “Yankee Doodle”.

 

The Relative Information Way to Memorize Things

The third trick is good for information that simply needs to be remembered without having to be in any order. First, list the words or bits of information in any order you’d like, and then imagine a relationship between the two things like you did for the locus method I described above. Again, silly and absurd things tend to work really well. If you need to remember a list of foods for instance, you might imagine one kind of food eating the other. You could start with a cucumber, and then imagine a sausage walking by, picking up the cucumber and stuffing it in it’s mouth. Then, a moment later, an onion walks by and eats the sausage (remember, weird tends to work really well, and the more vivid and wild your imagination can get, the better off you’ll be in remembering this kind of information).

To this day, this method is probably my number one favorite. I can remember things that I memorized from my childhood using this method that I haven’t used in years. For example, I haven’t taken a martial arts lesson in over 10 years; but I still remember when I had to memorize pattern names and meanings, and I know that my last pattern was called “Joong Gun” and had 32 moves, and had something to do with Confucianism. The image in my head is a little Chinese man sitting in his house watching TV (tuned to channel 32), and chewing gum (which is close to the pronunciation of the pattern name “Joong Gun”).

 

The Anagram Ways to Memorize Things

The fourth method, and one of the weaker ones, is to remember things in an anagram. Something such as “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” or simply “PEMDAS” helps students to remember the order of operations in math class. Creating this kind of list has been helpful to me from time to time. But, I can specifically remember a whole lot of these little catchy anagrams that I simply cannot relate to any information.

For instance, I know that “All the Animals in Macedonia Really Don’t Like Apples” which I came up with in college for one test, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to be recalling thanks to that. I can remember using “Candy and Popcorn Make Us Real Skinny Boys” for a psychology class, but again, what it is I was supposed to have remembered don’t come immediately to mind. Therefore, I tend to think that this method is very overutilized, and should be used only if you’ve already got a very powerful memory anyways.

 

The Rote Repetition Way to Memorize Things

Say what you will about this methodology, it works. The idea is simply to find a way to do something over and over again; and with concentration and the help of a little muscle memory, you can memorize almost anything. This method is also useful for memorizing lines and short paragraphs, although for longer monologues, it probably isn’t ideal.

This method is very good for learning vocabulary, spelling, and anything that’s related to language in general. For single vocabulary words, writing the complete list time and again is a good way to do it. But, it is probably better for you to break the list into groups of four or five words, and write them down one at a time, and then repeat three times. Use a pen and paper rather than a computer for the writing. As you write, create a visual image in your mind and repeat the definition of each word as you go; (Remember, visual images are the most powerful and easiest to recall). Once you’ve got these four or five words down pat, move on to the next group.

It may be boring, but this is a good method of memorization, and has the advantage of teaching you definitions in all three of your basic learning styles at once if you follow my instruction. Your kinesthetic sense will be stimulated by the act of writing. Your visual sense will find solace in the mental images you create. And, if you sound out the words as you write, then you’re engaging your auditory sense as well.

 

Summary

There are a variety of different ways to memorize things. Select a method of memorization that works for the types of information you plan on memorizing.

No matter what you’re doing though, there are similarities in every method. First and foremost, it helps to add an element of visualization to your practice. That is a common theme in all kinds of memorization; and because it’s completely in your mind, many people simply forget about it completely, and that is a huge mistake. Regardless of how strong your visual element is, all humans have the ability to recall visual elements, real or imaginary. You’ll have a lot of problems trying to get interested in information if you treat it like nothing instead of keeping it active in your mind.

The second element to memorization, and one that is often lost of students alike, is that sleep is important. During sleep, your brain “catches up” with what you’ve done during the day; filing information away and making sense of what you learned, and helping you prepare for the following day. Without enough sleep, you cannot hope to remember anything. No matter how long you work on memorizing things the day previous.

So choose wisely, and practice whatever you do. These different ways to memorize things are all real, and they all work.

Posted by James - July 3, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Categories: Memory   Tags: , ,

Evelyn Wood Speed Reading

Evelyn Wood

Evelyn Wood is considered to be the inventor of speed reading. Before Evelyn Wood speed reading was completely unknown.  In the 1950s, she was one of the first individuals to put her ideas about reading quickly down in writing. In them, she discussed some of the basic reading techniques that we often mention on this site. Including things like using your finger to pace your reading. And, sub-vocalization, though she called it “reading without sounding words” at the time.

 

 

Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Today

In general, the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Courses are given in seminar format. In which you spend three long days being trained in the art of speed reading. The first day is usually spent discovering reasons why you read slowly, and doing some basic testing and reading exercises. The second and third days are spent discussing how texts are organized. Plus, how you can easily pick out which sections you need to read and which you can skip.

 

By the end of the three days, they state that most individuals are reading six times faster than they were at the beginning of the course and with a 5-15% increase in their reading comprehension.  This is not a really amazing claim that is being made by the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading people, which is  a refreshing change from what you typically see in other, over-hyped programs.

 

speed reading evelyn

 

Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Problems

Her course has not evolved all that much over the course of 60 years. Reading tests and materials are often given in pen-and-paper form, timed with stopwatches, and much of the calculations required are done by hand. This makes the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading class a little dated, but still worthwhile.

 

Overall, we found Evelyn Wood Speed Reading to be a pretty good course, but a little behind the times. Today, for instance, we know that reading while dragging a pen across the page is a good technique for reading quickly at first, but can eventually become a crutch that limits you from reading as fast as you can. And, can sometimes cause you to read very poorly when you don’t have one of the instruments in your hand, or you cannot find a way to scroll across the page (as if you were reading a sign or poster).

Posted by James - June 24, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Categories: Evelyn Wood   Tags: , , ,

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