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Is there a difference between memorising text and numbers?

(6 Posts)
zass Tue 16-Jun-15 09:53:24

DS1(8) has been screened for dyslexic symptoms and has come out with higher than average visual and auditory learning but very low reading, writing and spelling. School's putting lots in place to support his reading and writing and are very supportive.

We thought he was doing ok in maths but he seems to be having issues with memorising times tables. He can spend time practicing and playing associated games, and by the end of the session he is there, but ask him a day later and it's all gone again. But, he is very able to memorise text and phrases really quickly (can almost recite the whole of an audio CD he's been listening over and over to at bedtime, and had a largish part in his school assembly which he learnt in a week).

So I'm not sure what the issue is, and whether he just needs to practice more until it clicks (ie it's just not as fun as learning text) or whether there is a difference in memory processes which might mean a bit of dyscalculia too...?

Very unknowledgeable about dyscalculia so any advice gratefully received! smile

scarletforya Tue 16-Jun-15 10:05:26

I was exactly the same at school and am still like this now. No problem with language, literacy etc but numbers just won't stick. I don't know any phone numbers except my own. I only remember that number by its visualising shape and sound.

zass Wed 17-Jun-15 10:42:06

Hey thanks scarlet. It just feels a bit of a surprise because up until now he has been feeling really confident in Maths with adding and subtracting, measuring etc, but he hates having to show his workings as he "just does it in his head". Times tables are just becoming a headache for him. School's target is for him to know all of the by the end of this term, but he only really knows his 2's, 5's, 10's and 3's (just about!).

I guess I'll just have to keep trying different ways of helping him learn them.

Does anyone know of any good, free downloads that might help us? TIA

Tissie Wed 17-Jun-15 17:35:57

Text is much easier to memorise because you can put it into context. Narrative is especiaaly easy but factual text can be aided by visual pictures etc. Most text at this age is concrete but learning tables is completely abstract and therefore meaning less.
If he knows 2's he can double up to find answers to 4's; once 3's are learning the same applies to 6's. Don't push to meet school's targets. Set your own with your son and work on getting those off pat. Print off black and white tables charts and highlight the one you are working on. Look for patterns. Make tables part of your every day life, seeting the table how many plates on the table? If set the same way how many would be used over 4 days?
I strongly recommend a software programme called numbershark which can be purchased from Amazon - just type in Numbershark. It is expensive at £69 but if you go on to ebay you might find one for sale from someone who is updating. It provides lots and lots of games type practice with reward activites at the end of each one. It's highly visual and lots of the games are presented in concrete ways. I don't suppose you live anywhere near me - Wells in Somerset - so I coud help out. Dyslexia is very much my field of expertise as a special needs teacher. Dyslexia runs in my family - mother, son, grandson!

zass Wed 17-Jun-15 22:28:00

Wow thank you Tissue. You must be the "go to" person in your family! Sorry to hear so many of your family members have similar difficulties though.

Sadly we're a bit far away or I would be getting in touch. Thank you for your help though, I will follow up on your suggestions, particularly around going at his pace, that's really important and good to hear.

TeenAndTween Thu 18-Jun-15 20:47:48

DD1, age 16, is the same. She can read a drama script over a few times and know it, same with words to songs, but struggles to recall number facts especially under pressure. She has slow processing speed and dyspraxia, identified 6 months ago.

She did get there with times tables in primary as we practiced a lot, but they degraded in secondary. This has caused difficulties in maths regarding spotting common factors and things, but we have learned to live with it.

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