Teaching Students with LD and ADHD

Dyslexic Student and Memorizing his Multiplication Facts

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Joined: Feb 12, 2009
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Posted Feb 12, 2009 at 11:50:03 PM
Subject: Dyslexic Student and Memorizing his Multiplication Facts


I am a homeschooling mother to a very smart 9yo boy who is probably dyslexic. I have not had him tested, but have built his "school" to fit his needs.

I'm having trouble finding the information I need. We've run into a snag now that we're to the multiplication tables. He's had some math problems, on and off. He confuses 20 and 12, 5 and 7, and he often confuses the tens and ones places. There are other things too, but I'm writing this tonight because of one problem. I want to figure out how to help him to memorize his multiplications facts!

We've been working on them for 4 months or so now. When he didn't automatically pick them up, we started focusing on them, even laying aside his math book for a while. We got up through the 6's and 7's pretty well, and he was remembering all of them "okay" up until that point. Then the next day it was like he forgot everything. We started over, but he hasn't "picked up" any of what he suddenly lost.

He's not discouraged, and I'm not discouraged, but I am looking for ways to help him out here!!

Here's the problem: He will learn something, and forget it. Learn it, forget it. Learn it, forget it. Learn it... forget it. When he finally remembers it, and we move on, he forgets it again.

Currently we're aiming at practicing 2x a day. He works on learning the facts by dribbling his basketball while he says them. We do oral drill and written drill. We play multiplication games. And we're going on in his Math book again, since he understands the CONCEPT just fine and we've run out of time to focus solely on his multiplication facts.

It is like his brain (unwillingly on his part) disengages. Like a clutch going on a car, it's just not able to retain these facts!

Help! Any ideas, resources, webpages on teaching multiplication to children who have trouble with it, etc will be greatly appreciated!


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Joined Jul 11, 2005
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Posted:Feb 13, 2009 9:47:30 AM

Have you tried music? That can sometimes be easier to remember than just straight memorization.

Good luck!

scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

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Joined Jun 12, 2003
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Does your son remember stories that are read to him, or visual pictures enough to describe the picture back to you? If so, try Math Facts the Fun Way by City Creek Press - www.citycreek.com. They teach tricks for the 2's, 5's, 10's, and 9's, then have stories, songs, and pictures for the rest. The posters are pretty cool - they hang in my classroom all year.

You could also try www.rockthestandards.com - they have a math CD that includes skip counting songs; you can download it to an iPod or mp3 player as well.

Try making up rhyming couplets for one fact at a time. For 3x8=24, one of my students did "3x8 is 24; don't forget to shut the door." The fact that it was snowing fairly heavily at the time helped! She drew a basic picture to go with it; if your son enjoys art he can realy elaborate the picture to include the numbers. You can hang these around where you do most of your schoolwork so they are easily seen every day.

I use the on-line drill at www.mathusee.com almost daily with different students. I'jve found that a combination of on-line drill, flashcards, worksheets, and the "fun" stuff works, but only if you're willing to stay with it for a long time.

For games, try www.multiplication.com - they have lots of games you can play for free on the computer. Most of the games allow you to choose only one fact to focus on, say the 4's, or a range of facts, 0-5, for example.

I've also tried www.thatquiz.com for more drill and www.aplusmath.com for flashcards. Timez Attack can be purchased at www.bigbrainz.com - they have a free basic version and a $40 "full" version - it looks like a video game. I've known a lot of families who use it.

I do make my students learn their facts as best as they can, but we also begin with skip counts - they learn those first then we connect them to the facts. It usually takes only 2-3 sessions before they can say the skip counts. For one girl I had her write them out and post them by her bed so she could say them every night before going to sleep and every morning when she woke up.

I hope these ideas help!


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Paul The Tutor
Joined Sep 16, 2008
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This is an older post, but thought I would chip in just in case. One thing that you can try is to give your son access to a calculator while you are doing arithmetic drills. This may seem counterintuative, but if you are working on information storage, you might not want to waste energy on recall. Using the calculator will stimulate another mode of input into the memory too.

Hope this helps!

Paul Osborne, Ed.M. www.paulthetutor.com

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