Learning Language by Testing Memory

As a specialist in speech and language, I am constantly examining the question, “How does one learn and remember language?”

An article by John Jensen, Ph.D., in the 24 January 2011 edition of Education News suggests that testing is perhaps the most critical element in learning. By testing, Dr. Jensen doesn’t mean just written exams, but the constant test of simple recall. As he says, “…the act of retrieving information sinks it into memory.”

Jensen’s discussion does not address the specialized learning needs of dyslexic children, but we know that their needs are not being addressed in the typical public school classroom. Children in any group have vastly different learning levels. A child with dyslexia may rank among the most intelligent in his or her class group, but also among the least effective readers because of the “wiring” of the brain’s language center.

Classroom teachers undertake projects that will benefit the most children. Without professional intervention, the exceptions—the children with language-literacy disorders—fall further and further behind. The encouragement that a skilled teacher provides, what Jensen calls “helps, hints, or hand-holding,” may benefit some children, but not the dyslexic learner.

The answer for such children seems to be a practice that is intensive, brief, and customized with words and sounds structured for the child’s processing level. It is precisely that kind of short, frequent, highly structured, accurate, and intense practice that is provided by Lexercise’s in-clinic and online practice tools.

If you suspect that your child might be dyslexic, you may wish to try the free online Lexercise Screener. To find a qualified professional in your area or if you have questions about dyslexia or language-learning disorders contact us at 1-919-747-4557 or email info@lexercise.com.

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Sandie Barrie Blackley, MA/CCC

MA/CCC - Cofounder and CKO

Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.