Rod and Staff Arithmetic with an Auditory NLVD Learner who Lacks

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Q: My 13.5 daughter has a strong Non-Verbal Learning Disability. She does not process information well visual/spatially. She has a strength in learning auditorily and is very high in verbal comprehension. There is a more than 70 percentile point spread in Verbal Comp and Visual Spatial in testing. She has fine motor delays that make doing a lot of writing difficult.

…our thought for her was to work sideways slightly below her level to help reinforce those facts though we recognize she may never get them…

…looking at Rod & Staff Math samples I see a lot of flash cards and I see a lot of problems per page and I “see” a huge melt down…flash cards just would be banging our heads on the wall… I just can not tell from the samples if it would be usable/functional with out a strongly visual kids so any input anyone has would be great.

A: Yes, you can teach R&S Math with an auditory learner! (No need to use the flash cards.) Teach the lessons aurally.

R&S Arithmetic provides a solid foundation in math facts with step-by-step concept building. Then use any or all of these techniques and supplements:

1. Sing or chant math facts, possibly while bounce-passing a ball with each fact. (This also works on coordination – needed for some students with NVLD!) Obtain music CD’s with math facts or create your own songs. Have her listen & sing these daily until mastered.

2. Create and discuss word problems to accompany number problems. Rather than looking at the book together, maintain eye contact with her as you teach. Make math lessons more conversational than visual. Example, 6 divided by 2: “If you and a friend had a chocolate bar with six squares, how many squares would each of you receive?”

3. Reduce any visually overwhelming pages by covering a portion with a half-size piece of cardstock. Tuck this in the book as a bookmark. Use daily.

4. Set a standard of writing for each page. You may allow her to write directly into the book. As soon as she writes 5 (or 10) correct answers, she may answer all remaining answers orally. [This approach works well for my children not only in math, but also in Latin.]
5. Enjoy her higher level of verbal comprehension by integrating “living math” books into her math program.
Read these books aloud, such as the Sir Cumference series, Mathematicians are People, Too, and others suggested in your Simply Classical book lists. We incorporate these into our Simply Classical R&S Arithmetic lessons.

6. Work on the visual elements. Even as you make accommodations for her auditory strengths, you can give her some successful strategies to work on visual math tasks. For example, create easy-to-complete pages of select math facts with large boxes for answers. Each day, she might complete one page toward earning an incentive.

7. Use Recitations. We include Arithmetic recitations for memory, mastery, and a general fund of knowledge. Select only the Arithmetic portions, if desired. These include rote counting, skip counting, facts about time, money, and measurement (how many seconds in a minute, how many feet in a mile), and more. You can use our recitations, or create your own. This provides aural/oral practice with no visual attention required. Find these under Opening Recitation or Recitation Lesson Plans.

To read the full Q&A in context, continue reading on the Memoria Press Struggling Student Forum.

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