In this article, I am going to talk about how to use a simple tape-recorder (with a “record” feature), to re-train your brain to learn to SEQUENCE what you hear and read. Why is that important? Because, although reading is a visual decoding process, it is also an auditory/verbal one as well. And, as anyone who struggles with this disorder will tell you, they often have trouble remembering what they hear.
What we will be doing by using a tape-recorder is reinforcing and improving fluency skills– which in turn will help the reader’s comprehension. In technical terms, it is called a “multi-sensory strategy.”
Get a short article from a newspaper or magazine, or even this post. Or, if you are working with a child, use a sentence or short paragraph from a school or favourite story. Now, slowly read the entire article or paragraph into the tape-recorder. At this point, do not worry about comprehension, just recording each and every word.
Once the recording is finished, put on earphones and listen to what you recorded, carefully following the text with a pencil or your finger. If you start to feel tired, stop and come back to the task later.
Once the recording and listening process is fully completed, then and only then, do you think about main ideas or other technical aspects of the reading. No matter who uses this strategy to improve reading, if the child or adult is dyslexic, be patient, because this will be very difficult to do at first.
The more you practice, the faster you will get and the easier it will get. But, guaranteed, if this is done three times a week for several weeks, both fluency and comprehension will improve dramatically. Why — because the individual’s mind will be learning to process information in both visual and verbal sequences.
Other ways of using this approach:
If a child or teen has to study for a test, take part of what they need to learn and have them tape-record what it is they have to recall. Tell them not to worry about remembering anything. Just say the words and listen back. Then, once they have completed that process, casually ask them if they remember anything.
You will be absolutely amazed at how much they do recall. To those who try this and similar techniques on themselves or with their children, let me assure you that they work.
Eventually, the tape-recorder won’t be necessary.