For some people, spelling is very difficult. As an adult, they are capable of correct spelling though spell checkers or automatic spelling correction as they type on their computers. This is not permitted in many elementary schools where spelling tests are given weekly. For some, spelling tests become weekly torture and humiliation.
In working with children with learning problems, we came across a technique that really is not a neuro-developmental exercise per say, but it has been effective in helping many children avoid the humiliation of a failed spelling test. The procedure involves the use of a rebounder.
A rebounder looks like a miniature trampoline. It can fit in a small area and has springs like a trampoline but is much smaller. The bounce is not as high as a trampoline, but it is effective for our purposes. Rebounders are used in neuro-development to help children develop improved processing skills (e.g., reduce right and left confusion). This exercise uses the rebounder to learn spelling words much quicker than the traditional rote memory techniques.
All that is needed in this exercise is a rebounder. Some parents have substituted other things for the rebounder. A couch cushion or a mattress make adequate substitutes for rebounders. A regular trampoline is also an adequate substituted for a rebounder.
Even thought this exercise appears to be time consuming, we have found that it saves muvh time than the traditional method. As your child gets good at this technique, they will only have to use it for words that they find difficult to spell.
Step by Step Instructions: Rebounder Exercise
1. Have the participant stand on the rebounder and get a rhythm of bouncing going. The participant does not have to jump high. This will cause fatigue. A gentle up and down movement is all that is needed. Some participants prefer their shoes to be off.
2. The participant takes a spelling word and tries to call out a letter for each bounce. This is practiced to the point that the participant can call out a letter to each bounce without skipping a beat or getting out of rhythm. At the end of this step, the participant must call out a letter to each bounce and not look at the word.
3. The participant is next asked to spell the word backwards with each letter being called out in rhythm to the bounce. This is done repeatedly until the participant can spell the word backwards without missing a beat. Mastery is achieved when this can happen without looking at the spelling word.
4. Without looking at the word, the participant spells it out forward, each letter is called out to the bounce of the rhythm.
5. The student gets off the rebounder and writes down the spelling word. If the word is spelled correctly, the participant can move on to the next word. If it spelled incorrectly, the person returns to the rebounder and completes steps 2 through 5 again.
6. The participant is finished when she/he can spell all spelling words accurately and in any order.
Time: 20 to 45 minutes depending on the skills of the participant.
Recommended Frequency: whenever spelling words need to be learned.
Materials Needed: A rebounder and a list of spelling words to memorize.
Pretest Assessment: participant takes much time learning their spelling words.
Mastery: the child can correctly spell any word presented in any order of their spelling list. We recommend quizzing the participant often at first and then less often as they become more independent in using this exercise.
Additional comments: Children with very weak memory may need to practice memory exercises before they can benefit from this exercise.
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