Educational Kinesiology or Brain Gym Movements Increase Literacy Skills in ALL Types of Learners
When something is learned, or anchored into the long term memory, it is there for good. No need to keep reviewing, re-teaching, and practicing the same skill over and over. Most children need a multi-sensory presentation of skills in order to retain info, whether they are kinesthetic, visual, or auditory learners. They learn best when they can move around and engage their small and large muscle groups. This is particularly important when reading because we actually we read with our ears and our eyes, so we need to activate multiple senses.
Employ these great tips:
- Move around a lot and take brain breaks with Brain Gyms
- Use Lazy 8’s and Double Doodles before writing or other seat activities to increase focus
- Take frequent water breaks when studying. The brain is 98% H2O
- Solve problems by physically working through them
- Try new things…present skills in all modalities: visual, auditory—through music, and kinesthetic
We Read with Our Ears and Our Eyes
Jennifer came to me as a second grader, struggling with reading. She not only struggled with decoding (sounding out) words but also with understanding what she read and remembering sight words—all those words that kids just need to memorize of the English language that do not follow phonetic expectations like rough, knife, should, etc.
Jennifer was very frustrated and shut down in school. She put her head down on her desk and would not participate in class. She expressed to her parents and her teachers that she was dumb and hated school. They called me in dismay; the school wanted her tested for learning disabilities and ADD.
She was reading at a kindergarten level and was in the 6th month of 2nd grade. We immediately started a protocol of “switching on her ears and eyes”. We did this with rhythms and movement and melody, for her ear functioned as a kind of double antenna—hearing and processing the sounds of language.
Slow auditory processing, poor sound discrimination, and weak phonological awareness not only affect listening and the voice but also the decoding, or sounding out the sounds of language, into written form. Children, such as Jennifer with decoding difficulties, not only have poor reading comprehension but often need the support of an image or pictures and guess at the words, making up the story. They are simply pretending to be reading the words on the page.
Then, there are the eyes. The visual tracking function of reading is rapid lateral movement of the eyes along the line and from one line to another. The eyes need to pick up letters and transmit them to the brain, which gives them their meaning.
By switching on the ears and eyes with developmental movement aka Brain Gyms and reflex integration, we are able to positively impact the auditory-visual-kinesthetic mechanism at the root of reading and writing. For children, just as Jennifer, the result is a heightened ability to decode words on the page and express herself through reading and writing.
After a 7-week Brain Gym/multi-sensory tutoring program by Integrated Learning Academy, Jennifer tested at second grade level in reading! No more does she feel dumb. Jennifer has the skills to succeed and is ready to tackle anything that comes her way.