Saturday, August 31, 2013

Can SQ3R Help Students with ADHD?

As many of our readers may already know, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) can begin in childhood and continue into adulthood. ADHD and ADD symptoms, such as impulsiveness, inattentiveness and hyperactivity (with ADHD) can cause problems at home, school, work or in relationships.

As we begin the new school year, we wanted to offer information this week that would be helpful throughout the school year to challenged students, especially to those with ADHD. That is why we have written this article about SQ3R, a method of study that has helped many students in all age groups to read and study more effectively and successfully. This method can be especially beneficial to those students in middle school through high school and college. However, can this method called SQ3R help students with ADHD?

Before we answer that question, it will be helpful to understand just what SQ3R is. SQ3R helps a student build a framework to understand a reading assignment and prepare for a test or other assessment. It is a FREE reading and study strategy formed from its letters: Survey! Question! Read! Recite! Review!

1. SURVEY the chapter BEFORE you read it:
• Look at the title, headings, and subheadings.
• Look at captions under pictures, charts, graphs or maps.
• Look at review questions or teacher-made study guides.
• Pay attention to introductory and concluding paragraphs.
• Look at the summary of the section.

2. QUESTION WHILE you are doing the survey:
• Turn the title, headings, and/or subheadings of the section into questions.
• Read questions at the end of the chapters or after each subheading.
• Ask yourself, "What did my instructor say about this chapter or subject
when it was assigned?"
• Ask yourself, "What do I already know about this subject?"
Note: If it is helpful to you, write out these questions for consideration.
This variation is called SQW3R.

3. As you READ:
• Look for answers to the questions you first raised.
• Answer questions at the beginning or end of chapters or study guides.
• Re-read captions under pictures, graphs, etc.
• Note all the underlined, italicized, bold printed words or phrases.
• Study any graphics (photos, diagrams, etc.)
• Reduce your reading speed for difficult passages.
• Stop and re-read parts which are not clear.
• Read only a section at a time AND recite after each section.

4. RECITE AFTER you read a section:
• Orally ask yourself questions about what you have just read, or summarize, in your own words, what you read
• Take notes from the text but write the information in your own words.
• Underline or highlight important points you've just read.
• Reciting: The more senses you use the more likely you are to remember what you read.
For example: “Triple strength” learning: Seeing, saying, hearing
“Quadruple strength” learning: Seeing, saying, hearing and writing!

5. REVIEW---This is an ongoing process

(Source: Study Guides and Strategies---SQ3R Reading Method

The steps involved in the SQ3R method make it an ideal tool to use when attention and memory may be issues for a student. For this reason and others, the SQ3R method may be particularly helpful to students challenged with ADHD because it promotes better understanding and retention of what is read and learned. However, to follow each of these steps, it will take time and patience, two things with which those with ADHD are already challenged. Support from others could go a long way in implementing this method. Parents and teachers as well as tutors and ADD coaches would be doing students a great service by introducing them to this SQ3R method of reading and study as well as providing ongoing support.

Additional SQ3R Resources

Strategic Reading Resource Center---Strategy Toolbox: Combinations---SQ3R
There are several strategies related to questioning. The following sources on this page provide some background on questioning, including the SQ3R Method.

Studying More Effectively
SQ3R helps you think about what you want to get from a document, study it in an appropriate level of detail, and remember information well.
More information at:

Other Related Resources

ADHD: What Is It? (Slideshow)
This online presentation from WebMD defines and describes ADHD, a condition that the National Institute of Mental Health estimates 3% to 5% of U.S. children may have. However, some experts believe the figure could be as high as 10%. Learn more by viewing the presentation via this link.

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Is Your Child Working TOO Hard Just to Read?

Tips & Tools to Help Struggling Readers

Is FOCUSING a struggle for your child or students when they attempt to read? Or is COMPREHENSION more of a problem? Could the root of the issue actually be memory and RETENTION?

Teachers are well aware that from Kindergarten to second grade, children LEARN to READ. However, beginning in third grade, children READ to LEARN. There is a significant difference between the learning objectives for these two stages of a child’s academic development. When children have LEARNED or mastered the skills to READ, they begin to APPLY those reading skills to all other learning. Unfortunately, if a child has not yet mastered the ability to read, all other learning can be quite challenging or even significantly delayed.

As a result, the third grade is very often the time when student reading issues begin to be noticed. If you are a teacher, you may already have some concerns about a few students struggling to read even though it is very early in the new school year. As the parent of a challenged reader, you may have noticed that attempting to read a story or do homework are almost painful for your child---AND you! You may see that your child appears to be working TOO hard just to READ.

What can be done to begin to help a struggling child or student with these focusing and reading challenges? We have gathered a few tips here involving "color" that we think will give you a place to start. We hope they will help your child or students to enjoy much more reading SUCCESS!

Colorful Tips & Tools for Struggling Readers

1. Reading Focus Cards---These customizable tools combine all the features of many other traditional reading tools and more. The Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759) isolate 1 to 2 lines of text on a page (depending on font size) AND block out more surrounding text than any other tool available. In addition, these tools allow the reader to change white page backgrounds with a chosen colored filter (included in each package). Because of these features, the Reading Focus Cards can be especially helpful for:

-Convergence insufficiency
-Low vision
-Stroke recovery or TBI issues
-Other conditions that impact reading success.

The inexpensive Reading Focus Cards can also be used with e-readers like Kindles, Nooks, etc. (Model #001-Shorter) and e-tablets like iPads, Android tablets, etc. (Model #002-Longer) to promote even more focus and concentration. For more information about these unique reading tools, visit

2. Colored Paper---When reading printed media such as worksheets and other documents, consider requesting that they be copied on colored paper instead of the traditional white paper. Your local school or office supply store will usually be able to provide a ream of several colors to try in one package. Try a DIFFERENT color of paper each week until the BEST color for reading is determined. This color will promote more FOCUS and EYE COMFORT than the other colors. As a result, not only will the individual reader experience more focus, but better comprehension and retention will also be possible.

3. Colored Overlays---Try placing a colored yet transparent plastic sheet over a page of text to be read. These transparent but colored plastic sheets can be purchased at some office or art supply stores. Consider trying a variety of different colored sheets, one color at a time with a resting interval between each color’s trial. There is a good possibility that one particular sheet color may provide more focus and eye comfort for the reader than other colored sheets. Experiment with pastel colors as well as bright ones. Introducing the best or most helpful color can positively impact the appearance of the printed text for a reader with symptoms of dyslexia or other reading challenges. With the use of the most appropriate color, an individual reader may report that the letters “stopped moving”, “waving out” or “shadowing” on the page of text.

These three tips employ color to change white backgrounds on pages of text. A white background can cause what is often called visual stress for some readers. This can be especially troublesome when the text on the page is black. The contrast between the text and the background can be too stark. As a result, such readers often struggle with focusing, which also affects attention and comprehension. These visually-stressed readers can also experience fatigue much sooner, and their retention is often significantly impacted.

If you try the strategies described above here, and the reading problems persist, consider visiting (or suggesting a visit to) a developmental optometrist. This medical professional can test, evaluate, diagnose and treat children, teens and adults with vision-related reading challenges. Please keep in mind that an individual of any age can have 20/20 vision (determined by a traditional optometrist or optician) and yet still have a vision-related reading challenge. To locate such a developmental optometrist in your area, please visit the website of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) at


Press Release - Patented ADHD Reading Tools Can Help ALL Kinds of Readers

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Math Apps & MORE for Challenged Learners!

Teachers are more than a little busy right now getting their classrooms ready for that first day of the new term. Parents are organizing their to-do lists preparing their children for a great academic year. Students are anticipating that first day with a new teacher. Challenged learners may actually be a bit anxious about the approaching weeks. However, everyone is getting in gear for the new school year!

Whether you’re a parent or a teacher, you are most likely interested in helpful apps and ready-to-use resources to help learners of all kinds and of all ages. We thought as a follow up to last week’s article entitled Math Made Easier for Challenged Learners, we would provide you with a list of direct links to all types of math apps, worksheets and other activities that would also be helpful for struggling learners. These can be used before or during the approaching fall term.

Please let us know if you are aware of other apps, downloadable worksheets or printable math activities of this kind. We will be more than glad to add them to the list below.

Have a great school year, everyone!

Helpful Math Apps

Math Apps for Children with Special Needs---from Dr. Gary James
Summaries and direct links to math apps for all kinds of learners

Math Apps and Learning Tools for Kids (Apps listed for ages 2-14 years)
Learning and practicing math is always more fun when it’s part of a game. We like these apps and other related learning tools for how they use creative methods to teach kids math concepts.

Apps for Special Needs (Math)
Download a complete list of Apps for Special Needs (PDF). Direct links provided to iTunes App Store for each app. When accessing the apps through this link, your will be helping to raise funds for special needs each time you purchase.

Helpful Math Worksheets & Printables

FREE Printable Math Grids and Other Math Helpers-from Do2Learn
These grids are easy to print and help to keep numbers in the correct column when adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. You can write the problem in colored pencil or ink and have the child use a regular pencil. Dot-to-dot number worksheets, a printable multiplication table and number lines are also available via this link.

FREE Math Worksheets-from K5 Learning
Printable worksheets for each grade level from K-6 are available via this site.

FREE Math Printables for Special Needs-from SENTeacher
Many excellent math printables are available here for all kinds of learners.

Helpful Math Activities & Other RelatedResources for Special Needs

Math for the Fun of It!-from
Here you will find a variety of enjoyable activities to assist you in teaching your child a few basic math concepts.

Math activities for special needs children
Here you will find e-books available online that include math activities and related resources for children with special needs.

Make Math More Fun for Your Special Needs Students with These Card Games!-from BrightHub Education
by Anne Vize
Most teachers in special education like to have a grab bag of ready-to-go activities they can pull out at a moment’s notice. These card games and activities work well with high school learners with low numeracy skills. Kids love playing with cards, and they provide age-appropriate learning skills.

Reading Focus Card (Model #001) can be used in many math applications, too.(Photo at right)

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Math Made Easier for Challenged Learners

Effective Math Resources ALL in One Place!

In our most recent articles, we have been offering tips and resources to help make the Back-to-School “journey” just a little bit easier. However, those offerings have been related to literacy and study skills. This week, we wanted to provide some effective yet easy-to-access resources for sharpening those math skills that may have become dormant over the summer break.

Over the past several weeks, we have been working on what we think is a great list of math links for parents and teachers of challenged learners to provide just this kind of assistance. In addition, we have categorized the resources according to learning style and level of technology. We hope you will find what we have here for you to be just the kind of math resources you need to help your child or your students get back into the math groove!

A. Math Resources for Visual Learners (Spatial) – For these learners, visual information (e.g. printed words, maps, charts, environmental cues) are needed for ease of learning.

Visualizing Multiplication
This is a great tool for those children who are struggling with multiplication facts.

FREE Montessori Math Videos
YouTube has become a wonderful resource for parents and teachers searching for information on Montessori education. The math videos via this link can provide very helpful instruction.

B. Math Resources for Auditory Learners (Linguistic) – For these learners, spoken language is a preferred way of taking in and responding to information.

Auditory: Math Resources
A list of 9 resources to help teach math concepts via auditory methods

Math and Skip Counting (Prices vary)
Here is a variety of math CDs from which to choose.

C. Math Resources for Kinesthetic Learners (Physical/Tactile) – For these learners, engaging in hands-on activity and getting feedback from physical sensations are important and helpful in facilitating learning and in demonstrating mastery of skills.

Turning Non-Traditional Games into Learning Fun
Take regular games that students are already familiar with and give them an educational “twist.” What’s the result? Math learning becomes FUN learning!

Lego Math Game {Greater Than or Less Than}
Adding Lego to math learning can be much more fun for children. This activity is also quick and simple to put together – always a plus!

Lego Math That Kids Love!
More math activities involving Legos

D. Math Resources for Social Learners

How to Teach Math as a Social Activity
A master math teacher in Anchorage, Alaska, establishes a cooperative-learning environment in an upper-elementary classroom.

Cooperative Learning Techniques
by Gisele Glosser
Cooperative learning should not be used haphazardly. However, when used with a plan, it can offer many educational benefits. Most of all, it is just plain fun. Recommendations for implementation are provided in this article.

Instructional Strategies
The strategies in provided in this article support active student participation in math lessons and allow teachers to assess the developing proficiency levels of all students in the class by walking around to monitor student responses.

E. Tech Resources for Math (Apps, etc.)

Math Apps (for Apple devices)
By Sandra Fleming (Aug 8, 2013)
Reviews of and links to the BEST math apps for Back-to-School 2013

10 Outstanding Android Math Apps (2013)
For Android fans, here is a list of some great MATH apps to share with their students and kids. Includes basic math levels to algebra.

Other Related Resources

Learning Styles vs. Learning Disabilities – from the National Center for Learning Disabilities
Individuals respond to and use different types of information and approaches when engaged in learning. In addition, no one uses only one approach to learning all the time. This article presents basic information about learning styles and learning disabilities.

Hear It, See It, Feel It – 24 Math Strategies for Your Auditory, Visual or Tactile Learner
Posted by Caroline Mukisa

30 of the Best Educational Tools for Auditory, Visual, and Kinesthetic Learners
A great list of technological tools for ALL kinds of learners

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

BEST Study Tips for ADHD, Dyslexia & Other Challenges

As this year's back-to-school season gets underway, parents and their children are busy shopping for school supplies and other needed materials to help start the school year in the best way possible. If you are one of those families juggling school supply lists AND a budget that just won’t budge, we have something to offer here that will help contribute to your child’s success in school this year but won’t add a penny to your back-to-school bills.

This week, we have a list of study tips for you or your child that should certainly help start this year of study on the right foot. We hope you will consider adopting the study strategies listed here to enable your child to have a more successful school year for 2013-’14. Have a GREAT year!

BEST Study Environment

1. Study Space: Establish a quiet and structured space for daily study.

2. Desk & Chair: Locate or re-purpose a sturdy desk or table for your study space. It is an added bonus if this piece of furniture can provide a file or supply drawer. In addition, find a supportive but comfortable chair to meet your needs.

3. Bookshelf: Next to the desk (or table) and chair, set up a small shelf for your school text books so that they will be within reach.

4. Temperature & Lighting: Be sure that the temperature of the space where you plan to study is comfortable and adjustable for your varying needs. For some students, lower lighting and/or temperature may be more helpful than bright light and warmer temperatures.

BEST Study Strategies & Tools

1. Read Summary Questions FIRST: At the end of a section or unit of content, there is sometimes a set of questions that will emphasize the most important points of that section. Before you begin the actual reading of the section, read these questions FIRST. They will help direct and focus your thinking while you read that particular section.

2. Highlight Key Words and Phrases: Using a highlighting marker in your favorite color, mark important ideas in the text that you read. Be careful to limit this highlighting to ONLY those words that are important. Key words, main ideas and topic sentences are important. Highlighting every line of a paragraph will be self-defeating and not provide any study benefits to you.

3. Use Reading Focus Cards: To help you focus, concentrate and retain more information more easily, consider using study tools such as the Reading Focus Cards(Patent 7,565,759). These teacher-created and customizable reading tools isolate 1 or 2 lines of printed text and block out more surrounding text than other tools available. They can be especially helpful for children, teens and adults with ADHD, dyslexia and other issues that impact reading success. A choice of 3 colored filters (recommended by developmental optometrists) is included with the tools.

4. Make and Use Flashcards: Create sets of flashcards from 3” X 5” index cards (place each set in small box or on a large binder ring to flip for study of facts, dates, terms, new vocabulary or other important content). If writing these out seems like a daunting task, the flashcards can be computer-generated, saved and printed for your use instead.

5. Short Breaks: Take short breaks as needed during your study session, but remember that these should be just breaks, not distractions that lead to other activities.

Other Important Tips

Eat & Sleep: Getting the right amount of sleep and maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging when one is a committed student. Be sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep on school nights and eat plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits and lean protein to help you be at your best each day. Remember to drink plenty of water rather than soft drinks throughout each day of the week.

Exercise: Be sure to include physical activity that promotes good muscle tone and aerobic benefits each day. This will help you feel ready to study and learn.

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of: Brennan Innovators, LLC: