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Has anybody tried mind mapping to help their children?

(19 Posts)
loubers Sun 20-Jul-08 22:23:25

My son is 8 yrs and is having School Action help at school. The SENCO has said he is struggling with remembering things like his spellings and I know he struggles with concentration and organising himself. A good friend has suggested mind maps, please could anybody tell me if they had any success with these?

bramblebooks Sun 20-Jul-08 22:48:45

are the spellings appropriate?

mind mapping might help with creating links between topic areas of stuff but it's maybe not the best thing for spellings. Ask the senco about precision teaching. Your son will need regular short bursts of practice on targeted, related spellings. Ie, road, toad, foam. etc!

Get hold of a copy of 'wordshark' computer programme, it's expensive, but good. Get the senco to assess him to see at what stage of letters and sounds he is - ie, does he know his initial blends or is he stuck on the ones in the middle? Get her to assess what he knows, so that you know where to start, then work steadily on learning a few each half term. Keep readily daily - again, little and often. Talk about the story. Sound through the new words and 'chunk
them up using 'robot arms' to separate the sections of words. If need be, talk to a good member of the ks1 staff about breaking up words into phonic parts.


bramblebooks Sun 20-Jul-08 22:50:21

btw, mentioned ks1 as they are often more clued up about teaching phonics than some ks2 staff, who tend to focus on spelling rules.

cocolepew Sun 20-Jul-08 23:08:00

I don't know what mind maps are, but i work in a S School and we do Brain Gym, it's exercises designed to 'wake up' both sides of the brain. My DD doesn't have LD but has problems with balance. spatial awareness etc. She does 4 of these exercises every morning when she wakes up. I think they have helped her.

cocolepew Sun 20-Jul-08 23:10:59

Oh, and both my DDs do Primary movement in their school, which is similar to B Gym. Our local University have been doing a study with their school for the last few years. All the teachers reported better concentration, memory, able to sit still for longer. through all the school.

bramblebooks Mon 21-Jul-08 09:16:47

I'd second that, coco (glad to see double posting is sorted!).

Bink Mon 21-Jul-08 09:46:21

Yes, we do lots of mind maps. We do them mostly for things like "recounts" (not sure if they're called this in all schools) - those little "news" books that all reception children seem to do, where they do a few sentences about what they did at the weekend, etc.

My son (9) so utterly struggled with those (and still does) - not as regards handwriting or spelling, but the very most basic bit of remembering what it was he did do, and putting the fragments he does remember into some kind of order - that he, and his teachers, and everyone, were completely stymied as how to get him to write a single word. Mind maps are the ideal solution, as he can just do an indiscrimatate data dump, and then he has the jigsaw all there clearly in front of him to put together.

His problems with that sort of thing are really extreme, so if yours is at all similar then yes I really recommend mind maps. We've used them a bit for other things - "how to get ready for school" and "how to choose appropriate behaviour" & so on - but they work best, for us, as a solution to that terror in the face of memory chaos.

cocolepew Mon 21-Jul-08 09:46:34

Thank you! grin

Bink Mon 21-Jul-08 09:47:24

That word in the middle is meant to be "indiscriminate", by the way!

cornsilk Mon 21-Jul-08 09:58:29

Specialist teachers do memory training activities to help to improve short term memory skills. Is there one in your child's school?
You could play pelmanism games with him (pairs) to help him. You can also buy a memory training programme for your PC - I've seen one called Mastering Memory which is good.
Try to use most of his senses when he's learning his spellings. Get some wooden or magnetic letters and make him look at, touch and say each letter in the word. Mnemonics are good for tricky spelling patterns chn find hard (remembering a rhyme for the spelling) e.g. 'ould' Oh You Lovely Duck.

AbbeyA Mon 21-Jul-08 10:14:41

I would recommend 'Mind Mapping for Kids' by Tony Buzan. It costs £12.99 but I got hold of mine cheaper.I am a great fan of mind mapping-also great for revision when older.

loubers Mon 21-Jul-08 16:40:45

Many thanks for all your comments, he gets his spellings right in his weekly tests but can't spelling them when he writes then in sentences. He does get his phonics mixed sometimes and switches between sounds and letter names. I shall have a look for the Wordshark and the mind maps. The maps would be useful for getting ready in the morning as that is a daily nightmare. They don't do Braingym at this school but they did at his first school and I thought it was a fantastic idea. Perhaps I could recommend it!

LIZS Mon 21-Jul-08 16:42:52

Just got ds the book AbbeyA recommends - £4 from Book People. They have done a little at school.

AbbeyA Mon 21-Jul-08 16:49:13

At £4 I would definitely get it! A lot of schools use it-it is great for a child who has ideas but isn't good at the mechanics of writing.It is a fun way to organise thoughts and easy to understand.

Whizzz Mon 21-Jul-08 16:55:23

Was just going to recommend Tony Buzan! I use mind maps a lot with the secondary kids I support. Good for getting main ideas down so that you can use them later, see how to link them etc.
Maybe try and get a book that teaches spelling rules too - the magic 'e' lengthening vowels etc

AbbeyA Mon 21-Jul-08 17:02:06

I should talk to the school about brain gym, loubers. I know one where the whole school do it together at the end of assembly and it is great. It is also easy to do with just a class.

JudgeNutmeg Mon 21-Jul-08 17:02:58

I use Inspiration8 software to mindmap my essays. It is used in a lot of dyslexia support units as it incorporates many image linked ways of grouping data and organising work. They have younger versions too available for a months free trial at

allytjd Mon 21-Jul-08 17:12:33

I have used mind maps to help plan school projects with my 9 yerar old as he finds organising his work v. difficult. He was very resistant (it seemed like extra work to him) but I think it does help, don't think it would work for spelling though and i think it has to be used for quite a while to really sink in especially with kids with poor memories.

Yorky Mon 21-Jul-08 17:31:04

DH is dyslexc but wasn't diagnosed until uni. He swears by mindmapping. I don't know what comoputer support programmes he uses but will ask when he gets in. He has recently been having tutoring paid for by work and has been told to use script not printing so he can remember the SHAPE of the word, not just a sequence of letters. Will get him to share similar tips later

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