shutterstock_196318277 (1)What most people don’t know is that dyslexia is a unique way of thinking. It is creative, three-dimensional and fun, and deeply engrained in the right hemisphere of the brain. Research has shown that dyslexic tendencies are the root cause to most learning difficulties beyond reading – including ADD, ADHD, behavioral problems, and problems with math, spelling, handwriting and even clumsiness.

Dyslexics create meaning – by adding to their mental picture – one word at a time as they listen to or read a sentence. They don’t think in sounds, so words that don’t easily lend to pictures produce mental “blanks.” Problems lie in any confusion around a word or concept. Dyslexics struggle most often with 217 common trigger words and the alphabet itself.

The clay-based Symbol Mastery Program is designed to help eradicate these problems. Below is a step-by-step activity from this program. Be sure to work at a pace that the student can handle without getting frustrated. This may mean working on only one letter or one word a day! Take your time and have fun, but don’t do the work for them.

  1. every-300x289Use clay to create both the uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet uniformly. Make sure the students know the names and the order they go in. Ask students to point and say the names aloud. Save until complete.
  2. Pick one word to work on. Write the word on an index card. Look up the meaning in an age-appropriate dictionary.
  3. Discuss the meaning. Add the definition to the back of the index card.
  4. Ask students to create a 3D model that represents the word to them.
  5. Use the clay letters to “write” the word uniformly. Say the word aloud with its meaning.
  6. Create an arrow linking the word to the model.
  7. Ask students to repeat the word and meaning, first pointing to the model and then to the word.
  8. Take a mental picture and play games! Have the student repeat the meaning and spelling with eyes closed. Ask the student to spell the word both forwards and backwards, and to find letters in front, behind or between letters. Remember to end with having the student spell the word correctly!
  9. Take a picture and create a collage of all mastered words.
Tani Toprakci, M.Ed has been a private teacher successfully homeschooling and tutoring students all over the world with dramatic results for over 14 years.  She has specialized in helping students who struggle academically and helping them achieve academic success. She is an educator in every sense of the word and believes the true idea of education is instilling the skills of life-long learners. She has successfully transition struggling students into university as well as back into traditional academic paths through individualized support. For more info go to or call (310)922-3389