HS #248 Photographic Memory: Your Child’s Greatest Resource with Dianne Craft
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Dianne Craft, President of Child diagnostics, Inc., is considered the leader in Alternative Teaching Strategies by several teaching universities. She has a master’s degree in special education and has over 25 years’ experience teaching bright children who have to work too hard to learn. In her quest to learn more about learning disabilities and their causes, Dianne became a Certified Natural Health Professional to better understand how an upset biochemistry can impact a student’s learning. As a nutritionist, Dianne also specializes in natural treatments for kids with sensory processing dysfunction and focus/attention issues.
She has developed the successful “Three-Pronged Approach” to reducing and eliminating learning disabilities: Brain Integration Therapy, Right Brain “Healing” Teaching Strategies, and Targeted Nutritional Interventions. Parents across the country have seen their children overcome learning struggles using these tools. Dianne has since created remedial programs for reading, writing, spelling and math, which incorporate her powerful midline therapy. Hundreds of teachers and homeschool families are using her alternative teaching strategies to successfully remediate their students. Dianne teaches educators, psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and parents these life-changing concepts directly to so that they can also work with their students and children.
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Hi. I'm Dianne Craft, special education teacher. For years, I worked with smart, hardworking kids who had to work too hard to learn. I helped them get in touch with the smart part of themselves. How? By using strategies that they'd never thought of before.
Now the title of this very first podcast in this series of practical teaching solutions is Photographic Memory, your child's greatest resource.
How many times do we hear, "He's a genius"? Why? Because he can take a picture of a whole page and just remember it. He's just a genius. And we think that they're born with a photographic memory and that's just the gift that they have. And many times, that's the case. But everyone has a chance to use their photographic memory, but because we found out it's easily trained. It's so much fun to use a photographic memory for learning, and you get immediate success.
It's what I used when I worked with my bright, hardworking kids who had to work too hard to learn, in my resource room in the public school. And as we found out, we can change the way they learn, how they store material, and it makes learning so much easier, it goes into warp speed. And you can do this at home. It's the best gift you can give to your struggling learner because you're not just saying they're smart. But there are evidences showing that they can't spell like anybody else. They don't know the math facts like everybody else. The evidence shows they're not smart. But you're saying, but you're so smart.
But if they're very smart, they're smart enough to learn that they can't do it. But we change the evidence so that they can learn things in a flash by using the other side of their brain. Where is the photographic memory located, and how can we access it? And how can we make learning easy and a snap? Well, the photographic memory is located in the right brain hemisphere. Let's take a look at the brain. You'll find in this podcast that we have handouts available to you. And in the handouts, you will be able to see every...all the slides that I'm speaking from.
So we're gonna look at little bit at...you can download this...a little bit at the brain. The left and right brain. You know a lot about it and we're not gonna study much about it right now, but just enough to know that we can use both sides of our brain much more easily than we ever have before. Curriculum is wonderful, but it tends to lean toward the left side of the brain. And if that's the way your child learns, and if they are a strong auditory learner, all the rules and things that are working for them so well. But if not, that's new plan B.
So, let's just look at...we have our left brain and our right brain. If you'll look at the picture, on your download, the midline is connected by a bundle of nerves they call the corpus callosum. The corpus callosum, as you see, is white, because it's made of white matter. In fact, the brain is made of fat. Sixty percent of the brain is fat. And you thought it was all in your hips. But that type of fat though is the type that we get in, it's called essential fatty acid. We get it two places. Mother's milk is rich in it when they're babies, and then later on, fish and fish oil is rich in DHA.
As we go through these podcasts of various solutions for learning at home, we're gonna also talk about brain fats later on in one of our podcasts. And we'll get in great detail about that because it's very fascinating. And we find that boys have a three times higher need for ??? acid or fish oil than girls. Which explains why we have about three times more of our boys who work a little harder to learn than we want them to have to learn.
So, we know that the left brain is auditory hemisphere. Right brain's the more visual hemisphere. Visual is where the photographic memory is housed. The left brain loves details. Loves rules. And the right brain just likes the whole picture. If you know that you have a child who's using their photographic memory well...if they're sitting in the back seat, maybe they're three or four years old. And you're driving and they say, Mommy, turn there, turn there! You are, of course, looking for the street name, because that would be more of a left-brain approach to it. And they say, no, the red building, remember, the red building! That's where you turn!
They are always having their camera on. Think of the top of their head as the camcorder. Their camera is always on. But we tend to teach to the recorder, the voice recorder. We give instructions auditorily. Worksheets, as they read the words, they're all auditory in their head. And sometimes that transfers over to the long-term memory, which is the right brain, and it holds on just fine. But it's when it doesn't, we don't want to do just louder multiple repetitions, saying it over and over. No, let's show them how to do the very thing that they're doing. Use their camcorder for learning as well as for life.
So, we know the typical learners who love school without any complaint, because they like workbooks and worksheets, they are more data-driven. They just like the facts, Ma'am. Those are...tend to be more left-brain dominant kids. They like workbooks. They like diagraming. They like phonics rules. But our right brain is like the meaning driven instead of data-driven, or facts or rules that you can think of as data. They are more driven towards meaning.
So, we're gonna see all the way through as we develop their photographic memory. We're gonna, today, show how to develop their photographic memory just for spelling words in their head. But later, you'll find, you can do it for math facts. They can do it for history lessons. They can do it for credit card numbers and social security numbers. We can put anything in our photographic memory and see it forwards and backwards. How? No, not by saying it over and over. That would be more of a left-brain group. Not by writing it over and over. Because many of our kids have a little dysgraphia. Writing isn't their learning gate. So, writing it over and over, that doesn't get it. But meaning driven. Meaning...in other words, we gotta attach it to some meaningful thing in life. If we attach an emotion to that meaning, it will hold on so much better. And we're gonna look at how to do that. You're going to like doing this with your kids because you'll see a lot more smiles on their face.
So, the right brain is like discussion and projects and interaction and they're not...they love music. Right-brainers love music when they're learning and when they're doing their homework or doing anything because that keeps the right brain busy so they can concentrate. Left brain learns things new, concentrates on it, it's supposed to cross over that corpus callosum, go into their right brain, which is their long-term memory.
So, we're gonna look at how we can get math and phonics and spelling...all those subjects into their long term memory without taking any more time teaching the subject in any more prep time for you too. You'll love this method. That's generally how the brain works.
Now, let's say, well, okay, now we know that about the brain. How can we, very practically, use this for our child and help them feel smart right away? I love to teach spelling to my kids right away. When I had a consultation practice for fifteen years, I had people fly to Denver from all over the country and I would show their family, and I videotaped them, for how to use their photographic memory for spelling. And I would take the hardest word in, let's say they can't even spell, like some kids couldn't even spell their name. We would take, like, Lamborghini or psychology and we would put that in the jazz that we're gonna talk about and we would put so many memory hooks on it they would spell it forwards and backwards. They would leave here, leave the library area, feeling so smart. That's the key. Get them to feel smart, number one, so they trust you, that you know what you're doing. And they're gonna follow you with these methods, even though they're more unusual. They're not the typical workbook or phonics. Even though we love those. No problem. But that just isn't working for us. We're gonna get what works for us.
So, when we look at spelling let's think about this. How would we teach spelling? We teach spelling, normally, with phonics, don't we? We say, we need the rules, and then, we have them write it, many times each. So, for my students that I saw in the resource room, I saw kids, many of them are what we call twice exceptional. A lot of my sixth, seventh, eighth graders, they played basketball, they were a hundred and twenty or a hundred and thirty IQ, so they were exceptionally bright. They were gifted. But, they were spelling like a first or second grader.
Some was S-U-M. Was was W-U-Z. Because they were going by phonics, by sound. And that's fine, if the word can be sounded out like cat and bat. But, no, many, many of these words are what we call sight words or words they say you just have to memorize. But, we don't give them a tactic or a strategy to how to memorize that. How to put a memory hook on there. So, what we call this whole way of teaching, healing teaching. Because it's gonna heal their little self-esteem, whether they're big, fifteen years old, or whether a six-year-old I'm working with. They are not feeling smart if they can't take picture of their words or can't sound it out. So, what we do is we do healing teaching by putting memory hooks on everything right away. Teach it. Put a memory hook on it. Leave it. And it will go into that long-term memory and you don't have to do it over and over.
So, the phonics rules want...one teacher wants that I can get any dyslexic to spell easily. I said, really, cause we're always looking for answer for that. She said all they have to do is memorize eighty rules. And I thought, well, that wouldn't be my population because three rules is too much for us. So, we don't do the rules. If they hold on, we do. But if they don't, we just bypass them. And what about writing? We'll have them write the spelling word five times each. And then by the fifth time, it's not even spelled the first time the way it...well, the way it is supposed to be done the first time.
So, most of my students had an undiagnosed, untreated dysgraphia, which means they have a little two by four between their head and their hand. So in other words, when they wanted to write a word, they actually were using battery energy to write that word versus the writing being automatic so they could think about the spelling word. And it came out as looking like they were... in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings they would say, well this is sloppy. They're lazy. They're unmotivated. We found that when we gave them a strong midline and interim lies that directionality using just a little fifteen-minute a day midline exercise, we could transfer all the eye-hand coordination that's required for writing and typing and basketball and everything, into their right automatic hemisphere. So, then, later on, they could write and think about what they were writing and actually gain from that. Right now, my kids, by writing them, using a workbook, putting a...I would color the offending utensil in their hand, which is writing it, writing the words in a workbook. That didn't go into their long-term memory.
So, then they say, well just write it more times. Or erase it cause it's sloppy. Not realizing that we have to correct that mode of learning before we put it in. But can we wait that long for them to learn how to spell? No. And we don't have to. Because we have a superior method of spelling and that is by taking pictures of words just like spelling bee winners do. So, let's...this is the most enjoyable part of the consultation that I would ever have, when you're...I had a young man who came from a few states away, and he was six foot four and fourteen. Just a wonderful young man. His mother had tried various programs for him. He was very dyslexic. She had...he could not even spell his last name. It was a long last name. But, he was bright. His IQ was above average. But even spelling his last name was difficult for him.
And so, she had had him in a program where they made clay letters and all that. That didn't work. She had him in a tile program where they sound things out with tiles. That didn't work. He wasn't even writing the alphabet correctly. He left out the letter F every time. So, I said, okay. Alright, Daniel, I'm gonna show you your last name. And I wrote it. And we made every letter that he got wrong, which was many of them, into either a ski accident or a motorcycle went too fast. We added some emotion, embedded right on that letter.
And he could not only read that forwards and backwards, he was so thrilled, he learned eleven sight words just by using this same method. So we recorded that. The mom went home, and now she knew how to teach him. That was the avenue that we needed.
So, it's just the most delightful part of my consultation practice for many years, was just first thing, right off the bat, showing them, say well, what word do you think you could never spell? And they'd say, Lamborghini. And I have to look it up and I said, oh, there's an H in there. But the H was a tailpipe of a Lamborghini. When we put the emotion or the picture directly on there, transfers over to the right brain, is a visual photographic memory, long-term hemisphere. So, instead of saying it over and over, which is left brain. Instead of writing it over and over, we are going to take a picture of it with an emotion and story, and the better the emotion, the better the story, sometimes for the boys it's a more gruesome... the more exciting they are. It just holds. They can't forget it. It stays there forever.
You probably have often seen in a newspaper, a picture of a child who's the winner of the spelling bee contest for the year. And I have on this slide, and you'll see in your handouts, it says, there's a boy looking straight up, it says District Sixty Spelling Bee Participant picked at the contest. And this says, where is he looking for his words? What have we observed? They call it metacognition. Metacognition is thinking about your thinking. When I work with these wonderful kids, whether they're six years old or all the way up to fifteen, I show them how their brain works and we think about their thinking. And so, we say, well, let's observe that. He's looking up. What is he doing?
Well, now with all the wonderful brain scannings we have, we find that the physiological movement of the eyes up, when we're looking up, that actually lights up or accesses the right brain hemisphere. So, they're looking up and they're visualizing the word. And that is one of the ways, certainly, the spelling bee winners come up with all sorts of rules, but some things, they just take picture of. So, when I had these bright, hardworking kids, that had to work too hard to learn, in my classroom, my goal was to make a two-year growth in reading every year, and a three-year growth in spelling. Whether they were my sixth, seventh, eighth graders, or they were my second through fifth graders. We always...this was always the goal. And this is what we did. And it didn't take any more time in the day at all because we didn't do the workbooks and worksheets. We got the words from the workbooks and worksheets, but then we played with words, and we showed them how to stick them in our long term memory with a memory hook that was fun and zany and always stayed.
We called this right brain spelling. Right brain spelling bypasses the auditory because my kids all had an auditory processing...either a glitch, which means they had to work harder, but they weren't behind, or a dysfunction, which means they had to work harder, but they tested about a year behind. Or a true auditory dyslexia where sounds scrambled for them, where they had to work even harder yet, but they were two years behind. I needed to bypass that. For a while, I would heal... my game was to heal it using midline brain integration exercises and we could. But that took months. And meanwhile, I needed to get them spelling right away. So, we bypassed the auditory processing by not having rules or sounds, but by totally doing it as a picture.
And then, we bypassed the writing glitch, because many of these kids had a writing dysgraphia, is really what it's called. Dyslexia, you know, has the word lexicon or lexia in it, which is words are reading. Dysgraphia has the graph in it which is writing. So these guys, when they would write, it was not connecting with their brain. The writing wasn't a learning tool for them. So we...the workbooks and worksheets and word searches and all of that wasn't helping us, because the hand was not helping the brain in this case. Normally it does. But in this case, it doesn't.
So what we needed to do is just totally do a paradigm shift as a teacher. Kids would shift into this in a second. They loved it when we would play with these words on the overhead projector and put all sorts of zany pictures and stories that they came up with directly on the letter. It has to always be superimposed. Always have to be embedded in the letter because the brain takes a picture of chunks. It takes a picture of chunks, or he sees it that way, stores it that way, and retrieves it that way. With a picture and the data, which would be their right brain picture and the left brain letter all in the same unit. And we'll look at that as we go on.
So, as we revisit our brain, what are we doing? Now this time let's think of the left brain as plan A. Plan A, if that's working for you, don't change it for your child. You're just doing fine. So, plan A, they love to learn their words in black and white. They can just look at it, they say it to themselves, they'll write it a few times, and they get it. They like things that are structures, they like patterns, like all the shun words or all the ah words together. They learn in that way. They love the phonics rules. The doubling rules and the sounds. And that goes into their memory. They love the rules that auditory learning workbooks, worksheets, works fine for them.
It didn't for my population. If when I got them into my resource room, if I had used the very same workbooks and worksheets, that they were failing at in the regular classroom, I would not be doing them a good service at all. Because if that had worked, they wouldn't be mine. They wouldn't need to have a little bit of training in how to use their brain because everything was just...the curriculum was made for them. So, we bring them over, and we show them how to eventually take curriculum and make it their own. But first, we have to show them how to use their brain.
So, we do plan B. If plan A, plan B always does. We call this the universal learning system. Remember, everything is pictures. If fact, we know that a picture is worth what? A thousand words. We have many more megabytes in our right brain. Let's go ahead and how our kids how to use it. It's a lifelong skill that my college kids tell me they use all the time. So, we're gonna think of right brain as Hollywood. How would Hollywood teach a spelling word? They wouldn't just put a black and white word on there and have you write it, no! They would put velcro on it, ways to remember how to spell that word. Like license. You know, so what we did with license, we put the L-I in black and the C is a great big huge C with tongue coming out of it. You wouldn't ever wanna lick a license plate because it sounds like lick. License is the number word, it seems to me, most misspelled.
If you look on a huge garage door, as everywhere, license, why somebody isn't just taking a picture of it. It doesn't follow any rules. There's not any really particularly rule. Maybe the C followed by E, I, or Y might be a rule that would apply, but there's too many rules for our kids to remember. So we're asking them to stretch themselves beyond what they can...their energy can handle with their battery. So what we do is we make it easier. So, we're gonna put color and picture and weird and humor, all...and emotion...all of those are great pieces of Velcro. Use it yourself when you're trying to remember your social security number, which I'm sure you do, or as you get various credit card numbers. I always know my credit card numbers because I make little stories about each one. Either they're getting married and an elder one married a younger one, or it's a price of a nice purse that I can see in my head. Make pictures on them and you get all of your cards memorized to the good or to the bad. I'd like that a lot.
But what we're gonna do is we're gonna teach them how to do this visually. We're gonna use color and humor and we're gonna get this into the long term memory. We're gonna go directly to the long term memory so they feel smart right away. Well, the key, is in embedding. If you learn nothing more from this little podcast, but embedding, you will have learned everything you need to know. What we mean by that is we're gonna place the left-brain data...data is numbers, letters, facts...and we're gonna place it directly on...superimposing a picture on there that gives an emotion. Or a story that's the memory hook.
That's what we call healing teaching. We teach the same content that everybody else has, the same grade level, but we put memory hooks on everything we teach. So by the time we leave it, we teach it, we put a memory hook on it, it's done. It's in that long term memory. We have easily eighty to ninety percent retrieval when we do this. So, just we take the time and it doesn't cost anything. It's just a marker, your imagination, and you'll say, but I don't know, I'm not creative. But you have those right-brainers in front of you and they will help you create easily.
So, we're gonna put the picture and the data in a unit, that's called embedding or superimposing. This is gonna be for easy storage and retrieval of material. Now, were all the students that came into my resource room, were they all right-brainers? No, not necessarily at all. But the left-brain way of teaching, the writing, the sounding out, the auditory, really accidentally was getting at all of their weaknesses. All the areas where they were having glitches are learning blocks. So, I would like to get to get at the learning blocks with the brain integration therapy, took twenty minutes a day to make connections, but meanwhile, I needed to show them how to use their strong part of their brain right now. And that, for them, was their visual brain.
So we use the photographic or right brain method for all kids. Because it's a universal line of it. Plan A, is to write it to over and over and more phonics, more spelling rules. Or we give them auditory rules like this, we'll say, it's Wed-nes-day, honey. Wed-nes-day. See how that makes so much sense to you as an auditory learner. Well, yeah, you know Wed-nes-day. They don't. They don't know Wed-nes-day. They don't say it like that's a sound.
So what we do instead, we're gonna take the W-E-D and then the N-E-S, we're gonna make very tall and we're gonna make, all sorts of different letters, but not just color. Sometimes people think that right-brain learning is just color. No, color isn't a strong enough hook. A picture...picture is good also. Picture with color. But story or emotion is great. You're gonna find as we make these words that bodily fluids are the most wonderful glue of Velcro that we could use, especially since we're working mainly with boys. And they love those kinds of gross things. And so, when we have little broken legs on a letter, because he was skiing and came down the...those are the things that they remember. Oh yeah, that's...oh, I remember how to spell that. That's the broken leg one. Oh, I remember that, that's...we give them...it's like climbing a climbing wall. And we are giving them many grippers, so that they can go this gripper to that gripper and they can look smart and fast, just like everybody else that, in their head, they seem to have those grippers. We don't care whether they have them in their head, how we have to see them, we're getting there just as fast, and just as well.
So auditory clues, like Wed-nes-day, are helpful for you. But not necessarily helpful for this group of kids. So, plan B, we're gonna bypass that. So, what I got my kids in school, first of all, I had to get them to trust me, because, especially if they were my fifteen-year-old basketball players, and they were in my class because they were spelling was W-U-Z, I had to show them why. So I always taught them on them on the brain, and why we were not going to use sounds, and how we were going to jazz these up. And we started having fun with it. So, we're gonna strengthen their photographic memory because, if I can stretch their photographic memory for long spelling words, I have now trained their photographic memory and they tell me that when they look at a page in they're reading it, and they have a test on it, they can see the page in their head. And that's exactly what I'm training them for. I'm using spelling as my entry vehicle in order to train their photographic memory. That can be applied to absolutely everything in life. You're giving them a memory and a confidence in their brain and their learning ability and their memory that they wouldn't have if we hadn't ever taken the time to do this. It's fun. They trust you. You can do it over and over. And it's just a great way to teach.
I followed the method that the spelling bee winners used, which is taking pictures. My twice exceptionals love it, and I had whole groups that weren't twice exceptional. They were just average IQ like I was, and they were...but they had a struggle. And how could we get them out of the hole? How could we make them feel, in one afternoon, feel smart? And this is how you can do it.
So, now, let's look at how we can apply this to our everyday spelling words. I call it playing with words. So, now, this is what I would do in my classroom. I would say to them, first of all, write comb. So, I would say, you know, if you comb your hair, you guys have a comb there, tell me, how would you spell comb? And they would all write C-O-M-E. And of course, they'd look at it and say, no, no, that's come. And say, and then they'd write just C-O-M. Oh, but that looks wrong. And so, I put on the board, on the overhead projector, which is what we had then, I would write in black and white, comb, C-O-M-B. But on the B I would make the little tines of the comb. So the tall line of the B would be the comb on one side, facing the M. And they looked, they said, oh, that's so easy. So the next time, when I said, okay, how can you write comb, they immediately saw the B in their head.
Now, how would we have typically taught that before? Before, we would have said, remember, comb, com-bah. Remember, honey, it's com-bah. For you, who has strong auditory, aw, it's a nice clue. So, like Wed-nes-day, it's a nice clue for you. It dribbles out of their left foot. That's the conclusion I've come to. When I say things auditorially, assuming that they have auditory catches in their brain, the way I do, that it's gonna hold. No, it looks like it just goes directly out, I say, their left toe, somehow. So if I'm saying it with my mouth, but I am not having anything in my hand, like a magic marker, anything when you say it and you make a picture of it, or you write it, you get much more hook in. And that's what I realized. Everything was dribbling out.
So, all these kids were being taught by very well-intentioned teachers...very well-intentioned parents, they themselves were desiring to learn. But it was slipping out, so we put velcro in there. And so, they love that. So, now we had eyes, let's say eyes was the next word. So, on my...and you'll see this in your handout...on my overhead, I would put a little hair on top, two eyeballs, a face, a smile, and ears. But inside the eyeballs, I put an E in one eyeball, a Y was the nose, the next E was in the eyeball, and the S, I put an earring hanging out of his ear. And the kids loved it. They never got it wrong again. Oh, now they saw the nose and the eyeball and the face.
Then we had the word orange, we just played with words. And what you're gonna see is you as left-brainers...mom's who are teaching, teachers, you're gonna say, well how do we standardize this? Is every eye and eyeball? Is every B a comb? No, it's random. And that's what is the big paradigm shift as a left-brain teacher and mom would have to really respect the fact that you are needing to make that paradigm shift. These are not rules. Every word is a universe unto its own. Whatever happens to appeal to the child or appeal to the teacher at the time that makes that word hook. There are a hundred different memory hooks you could put on any one of these words. This is just one that came up in the lesson that we had. And that is the lack of the rules is the only thing that you're going have to accommodate in your head. But once you see them getting this right away, and my kids say, I love spelling now, I'm so good at it. You never go back to the old way because then you get the moans and the groans and they don't look smart, and you don't feel successful.
The next word we had was orange. I would think of this as we would go, I didn't do any prep work. I put this, I said orange, okay, what are we gonna do. Well, it's always good to see a little word in a big word. So, I see the word ran. Oh, okay so, we'll take ran and we'll put that in red. G-E is in black, everyone seemed to get the G-E just fine. And the orange, the O, we made as a pumpkin with feet running. The O ran. It was enough to make it hold. That's all I needed. Not just to make it hold for the spelling test. This is what I found over the years. Many times kids could memorize things for a spelling test, but later on, they couldn't, of course, apply it in their writing cause it hadn't really gone over into the long term memory. But I found, with this, they did.
The next word we had, was sure. Now, my boys spelled it S-H-U-R, which is exactly how it should be spelled if it's phonetic. But it isn't phonetic. So we played with it. And that time, there were the advertisements for a deodorant that was Sure. I don't know if you remember that. They put the arm up, Sure, unsure, Sure, unsure, for the deodorant, was it working or not? So, they loved that. So, the S they got, and the E they got, so what they get with the letters they get, we just leave them black with our magic marker. But the U, we had a deodorant can. We drew a deodorant can inside the U, tall, we made it taller than the U. And we added spraying. And the R was the armpit. So we put the R up and we sprayed in the armpit. So it was S, deodorant can, armpit, E. They never got that wrong again.
This is what I found so interesting later on, I would, like, let them write their paragraphs. I would see "sure" SHUR, crossed out. And SURE put in, because it didn't look right anymore. Because a visual is connected to the visceral, which is our gut. So it didn't look right to them because it didn't feel right. It's so simple that kids love it. Parents will look at it and say, oh, this is too much work. Or, but no it's not. Doesn't take any more time than a workbook or worksheet. It's just the fact that you're doing it together. And you're having fun playing with it. Later on, of course, and in college, kids tell me they do this for their anatomy and physiology papers and spelling words that are hard. They just jazz it up and leave it on the wall, always in front of their camera, knowing they're camcorder is always working.
It's so simple, kids love it, we get them in touch with the smart part of themselves, and we have introduced them to the world of photographic memory. With this, with this spelling program, we use no workbooks. No writing. No rules. At least, for that first year. The next one we're gonna look at is the word build. Build, B-U-I-L-D. Well, they can hear the B, they hear the L, and they hear the D, but what is that U all about? So, what we just did with the U is then we put a roof on it. With some windows and a door. And out of the I, a hammer was flying, and it was putting, hammering the nails in there. Easy to remember.
The next word we had was busy. So, we said, okay, always find the, if you can, a little word in a big word. Busy has the bus in it. So, we had a little school bus there, and we put bus, B-U-S, in black and white, and on the orange bus, and the Y is the front fender. That really appealed to the kids. They remembered that so well.
Then we had the word worry. So, we had the O doesn't worry, you could say all the different R sounds and that, but it's too many rules. So with the O we just put a sad face, where it's his eyes are closed and his mouth is sad, and the two R's, we have nervous, because they were nervous and worrying, so we had them shaking.
In December was our next word. Now, in December, we can hear the D-E and the B-E-R, so everybody got that right, so we put those in black and white. But what did they not hear in December? And we could say that's the rule. C followed by E-I-L-Y, but, remember, that's not gonna hold for them. So, for the December, we put the C, we put a wonderful Christmas tree right over the C. So easy to remember.
Saturday is another one my boys always seemed to get wrong, and girls did too. So, because Saturday, they heard the Sat, they heard the day, but the "ur" could be ER, IR, or UR, right? There's no rule for that. So we just made a picture. Saturday, we made the...Saturday sat around all day, bored, bored, bored. So we made the A kind of a glum chum. And they said, so he decided he was gonna go swimming and he went diving into the pool, and in the U, we create little waves, and we have a little stick figure diving into the U. So, he went swimming on Saturday.
On Monday, my boys actually, sixth, seventh, eighth-grade boys, spelled Monday, M-U-N-D-A-Y. You know they had learned that since first grade through workbooks and worksheets and every writing a paper. It didn't hold. There was no Velcro. So, we put Velcro on it and finally got Monday settled for them. So, Monday, we just, we put...they got the M and N and D-A-Y fine, so we just put that in black and white. But this time, on the O, we said, okay, here's a young boy who put smoke bombs in everybody's driveway every Monday, so early, nobody could catch him. So we made the O a smoke bomb with a little fire coming out. And no one could catch him. No matter how early they got up, nobody knew. But every Monday morning, everybody's driveway filled up with smoke bombs.
So those are the ways you can do that. Tuesday, I think we made our E a cactus. Thursday, we made the UR, we made the U a flowerpot with flowers coming out. Now, I learned something about that. My girls remembered that pretty well. My boys never got Thursday right. So, we had to go back and we had to do something like, coming down the ski ramp and a guy broke his leg and etc. We had to add a lot more emotion, a little bit of violence, to that. A little bit of irreverence. We had to go back and redo that. If it's not holding, it's because our Velcro wasn't strong enough, because we know Velcro always works.
So, you know, friend, he was a friend to the end, those are the things that you can do for June. We got by with just a cloud over the E, J-U-N and a cloud over the E. Now, that's a pretty mild hook. To my surprise, it held. If it holds, I don't revisit it. I will know how it holds is if in a subsequent writing, it is changed. If not, then I say, hey, you know what? We need to come up with a better story for this. July, we found a really nice story. J-U was black and white and the L was a roman candle. And the Y was all the fireworks coming out of it. August, what we did is the two U's, we had the two U's be a little fishing pond, we put little bitty stick figures on there, with their fishing poles, and then both guys were fishing in the ponds and we were gonna see who got the most fish from that.
So, this is what we have found, we can just really make our words work. At first, at the beginning of the year, I made everything in cards. We held the cards and we'd say it's like a regular piece of paper and you could get three pieces out of that and would be a card. Bigger than an index card. We don't use index cards. We don't use really light colored pencils. Everything is bold and brash and big and a little blood and a little guts and a little bit of green stuff coming out of the nose. All of those bodily fluids hold on so well, it takes no battery energy to pick up that word and the picture at all.
Then, as the months went on, I found that we could do this and streamline it. So, after a while, we could streamline it. Especially if I'm doing midline exercises during the year I guess I have... the more I get them to cross the midline, the more I can make connections for them. So by the end of the year, of course, they can take pictures of words black and white. We're not gonna have to do this forever. After a while, they can just look at it and take a picture, black and white, and you will see that there year growth in your spelling.
So, by the time we've gotten several months into this, probably around Christmas, I would just write on the overhead, then, a list of words, and I said, okay, with accident...I write the word accident. Okay, now what are we gonna do to remember how to spell that? And as we discussed it, we came up with the fact that the two C's looked like the wheels of a car and we just drew a little car above the C's. It hit the I, and it got a dent. Then we did wreck. W-R-E-C-K, and I said, how are we gonna remember wreck. So, they did this. They put the R-E-C, they drew an ambulance around that and the W, they put lucky loo's on every one of the little pieces as they were flying.
The next one was famous. Now, with famous, you hear the F-A-M and the U-S. What you don't hear is the O. So what they did is they had the O was a huge mouth of a famous singer, and they put his eyes and nose above that, and then they put this epiglottis hanging down. The famous singer would sing with his mouth so wide open you could see the epiglottis go back and forth.
This particular method of spelling is really helpful for homophones and homonyms. For example, the two meanings of meet. Meat and meet. So, the first one they had with M-E-E-T, out of the E, arms came and they shook hands. And the M-E-A-T, we had the EA a mouth around it. They were eating. It's meat. We're gonna eat meat. And then we had some blood. Oh, that was so good. Boys like that so much. The blood coming out of the word meat because it was a little bit rare.
One time, I worked with a young man who was nineteen. And they had been in the military and they had done a lot of traveling around, and he had dyslexia. And he had managed, without treatment, he had managed to get himself, by making himself read and memorizing words and working so very very hard. He had gotten to be about an eighth-grade reading level, which was just fantastic. However, nobody showed him how to dig himself out of this spelling hole for that. So, I had him...his name was Josh...I said, could you just write "My name is Josh"? I like to write. I just wanted to see where we were with the spelling. He wrote my "MI", name "NAM", is "IS", Josh "JOSH". ??? Now there was LIK, to RIT period. And I thought, oh, bless his heart, so everything he ever did, he would avoid writing.
So, I began to show him this method. Oh, it's so thrilling, so satisfying, to show a child or teenager or an adult how to use their photographic memory. So, if you are going to teach, you would, first, do a pretest. When we did a pretest on Monday, no matter how I was teaching, Monday was always a pretest day and I would give, you know, maybe ten or twenty words until I got maybe ten words I wanted to use for the week. Or if they were younger, five words I wanted to use for a week. Or fifteen words that they got wrong. So we would harvest the words that we were gonna work on. We used our twelve hundred most commonly used words, so that the ones they needed the most they were gonna get, versus any artificial ones.
So, we would give them a pretest and would look like this. And if you have your handouts, you'll be able to see this. This, let's say...and this came from a child's testing...people. You spell people, P-E-P-L-E. So we said, oh, great, you're so close. There's just one letter missing. So, we put in the O, that he didn't have and that was a, the world. So we put the globe. So many people in the whole world. Then in many, he spelled many M-E-N-Y, exactly how it should be spelled. So, all we did, we let the M in black and white, the N and Y, but the A, we just drew a climbing gym like you would out and that they have in the playgrounds, with many kids crawling up it. There's so many kids on that climbing gym, there was not room enough for an M.
The next word was enough. In the pretest, this child wrote E-N-U-F. Again, the way it sounds, so we found a little word in a big word and we had NO and UG highlighted in enough. The next word was MY, like when Josh's got wrong, was MI. I love to teach my, because I can get a nonreader, can't even spell their own name, by the end of the session, we can not only spell, but we can read my back, my hat, my cat, something like that. So, what we do is, we write the MY. So first I put an M and then the Y great big and I said, oh, and I put two stick figures sliding down each side of the slide. And they're arguing "my slide, my slide, my slide, no my slide!" And then with the mother we put the M inside the mother, we put her eyes looking over at them, saying, "boys, boys!" Just too loud, you're...whole park can hear you. Don't holler like that. My slide! They get that all the time. They can read it in black and white after that because it stays in their head. They can write it. It's a wonderful step for them to go from not knowing that to reading and writing.
Well, we even do that if they don't know all of their letters. Because we wanna get them feeling smart right away. So, these are the things that you can do. So, we're, if you would want to use this method for spelling, you can use parts of it. You can use it entirely as your, wherever your child's needs are. So, I use the most commonly used word list. We have the twelve hundred words that we can either email you or you can go anywhere on the website and get the twelve hundred most commonly used words. And just get, you know, five at a time or ten at a time, or however many you need.
I also got the words from their own misspellings. So, whenever they wrote anything for me, I never would circle those words, because that didn't do any good. That just made them feel dumb. I would harvest those words. So, I would take the words and I would make a list and next week, we made cards on them. Or we did our overhead projectors with them. So gather those just don't point them out that they got them wrong. Again, I'm just talking my group. This is not a philosophy for teaching for everybody. This is from my group of students. My population of kids who are bright, hardworking kids who had to work too hard to learn.
So, if they're just starting to read, we made a whole series of books for kids with dyslexia or grades pre-primer through third grade. where we put in the sight words that were all embedded like this already. Some of them are just starting to read. I would use those sight words as their spelling words, and then of course, we're going to use the phonics, the bat, at, cat, that type of things, to help them sound out words, so they can become more independent. So we teach sight words separately from phonics. But either way, we're gonna get them to spell. How many words a week? Well, if they're just starting out, I might start out with three. If I can get them to go no more, I'll do five. Then you increase. Depends on where they are. A good reader can do fifteen to twenty a week and only has to jazz up one letter or two letters.
Or you can just use these for what we call ??? words. Along with the phonics-based speller if you want to. You can use it in any way you want. So, the procedure is easy. And this is what I did in my classes. This is what I teach and I have taught for the last fifteen years, graduate-level classes, to teachers for continuing education. So that they can learn strategies. We do in-services at schools. We do homeschool conventions. We, it's just so fun to teach this everywhere. And as you get good at it, you'll be able to share this with other people so that, remember, it's...looks like right now we're talking about spelling and we love... use it for spelling. But that's our vehicle to train the photographic memory with our intention that they're gonna be able to memorize so many more things by using that fabulous photographic memory.
So, for my kids, I would give them...on Monday, we did a pretest and then we started jazzing up the cards. That was our spelling lesson. It was still the same amount of time as if they had written and we'd done the rules and they'd done the word searches and all that. Same amount of time, just that we did this and played with it together. So, I first made the card, putting the known letters in black magic marker. If I let them make the whole card by themselves, they would make a storyline about every single letter and get all caught up in the art of it, and the fun of the drawing, and we wouldn't get any spelling done. So the letters that they correctly, I would put on a magic marker on a pretty big card, in black and white. Then, we talked about how we're gonna jazz up the letters that they didn't get. So the missing letters, we used color, picture, letter...but not just color. Just color is not enough of a hook. So we're gonna use...jazz it up. Put...and remember, use emotion. That is how Hollywood gets the words in our head is through emotion. So, don't be afraid of adding that. The kids themselves will add it. So important.
Then, I hold the words up high. Why? Because we found that the physiological movement of the eyes up causes the right brain to light up and to be engaged. When I put it up high, they take a picture and this is what I did in my resource room. The child looks up at the word, takes a picture of it, I had them then look at a blank wall, and tell me, what's the color? What's the letters? What are the pictures? Always ask them that because if we just have them say the letters, they're just saying it to themselves in their head. And this auditory and it's not gonna hold. So, they have to tell me the picture. The color. The story that went with it. And, then we had them spell it forwards and backwards. Why do we do backwards? It's because it's a picture. It's a picture. They spelled it as HAPPY or YPPAH, it's a picture they should be able to see.
So, that's why we encourage them to see it backwards, because that's how we're encouraging them to take a picture versus them just saying it under their breath. Because that'll only last a short time. Every day, we repeated looking up, telling the picture, looking at the blank wall, saying it forwards and backwards, five days in a row. That's how we studied a spelling. No workbooks. No worksheets. No rules. But we looked at the picture, made it in our head, forwards and backwards. On Friday we had the test.
So, this is energy. We call it energy sparing learning. It's not energy sparing teaching, because you're involved in it. You can't give them a spelling book and have them go in the corner and work on it like you can with other kids or other settings. But, it's so much fun to work together. Sometimes, parents say, but I'm not creative. That's right, but your child is. Your student sitting in front of you is. So, you can use this for sight words. Maybe you only wanna use it for sight words. And then you use your phonetic speller for the rules that they can handle. Are you sequential spelling? But most words that they misspell are sight words, and remember, that this is the learn...the universal learning gate.
One mom, Theresa, said, I started using your spelling technique with my daughter and it's been wonderful. I cried when she said, can I spell the next one, cause I can see the picture. Things have gotten so much easier for her. She loves the phonics cards too. We do the same thing with the phonics. We embed the picture that gives that sound. AU is on the picture of a saw, directly on the saw, by the handle. So when they see au in a word, they see, aw. So we do this with everything and we do accelerate learning so remarkably. When we add these incredibly right brain teaching hooks that God showed up about.
Now, some of you are really good on the computer and you're gonna wanna make these spelling words on the computer. But, by drawing, just take the time to make a messy drawing, messy holds for these guys. And don't let the child jazz up every single letter. It's too many megabytes. Only the letters they can't hear. And this some of the little things that I came up with. Don't think they know it after one day. Oh, they can do it forwards and backwards, they know it. No, five days a week. We give their camera exposure five days a week, whether they seem to know it or not. We're gonna get that in there.
Sometimes parents will say it's too hard to do that this way. Because of course, it is easier when they're more independent. But in reality, it's too hard to have the child fail when a foolproof method is available, and you'll find you get addicted to success. You get addicted to smiles. You just can't go back to the old way. But, in reality, later on, they're gonna be able to do this with black and white words. You're not gonna be able to always need this. So, what spelling program to use? I use the twelve hundred most commonly used word list. If you want to get that you can just email us at [email protected], or you can go to our website. Or they have it everywhere else on the web too. And their own misspelled words. Use the right brain method each day taking pictures of the words and they do a test at the end of the year, at the end of the week.
Katy's a homeschooling parent of, she's the eight-year-old, she said, I really like spelling and math this year cause I'm so good at them. Later on, in one of our podcast, we're gonna show how to use photographic memory for math for your kids who have never really remembered all their math facts. I can't remember the processes of algebra. What do we do with algebra? What's the order of operations? Yep, they tell us PEMDAS, but I can't remember if that's PANDAS or PENDES. We take a picture of it. We're gonna make a silly story out of everything. And you're gonna remember processes, the division of fractions, all the things we're gonna teach, but we're gonna put a memory hook on it, and that's in the upcoming broadcast, podcast that we're gonna have.
So, we call these right-brain teaching strategies ESL: Energy Sparing Learning. We are sparing their battery energy by getting involved in showing them how to use their brain. It's not EST. It's not Energy Sparing Teaching, because it's not something that you can give that to them and they do on their own, but is worth probably every single golden minute that you use. Who needs these right brain teaching strategies anyway? Well, kids with auditory processing problems. They can't remember after we use too much battery energy to remember what you said, what they heard in their head, and what they wrote. Who else does? Kids who are reading and spelling difficulties. Pull them out of the hole, show them how to use their right brain, and they can begin to soar and they feel smart. Who else needs right brain teaching strategies? Kids who have writing problems or dysgraphia. Yes, we're gonna use the midline writing exercise to get rid of the dysgraphia, but that takes months to get rid of. Meanwhile, let's show them how to take a picture of the information they need to learn without using the typing or the eye-hand right now. Who else needs right brain teaching strategies? Kids with underdeveloped memory strategies. We often say these are the ones who have to remember. I teach this too, to many teachers through college classes, graduate-level classes, and I get papers from them. They write me the most awesome stories and how they use these, and they say, I'm just so thrilled to never have to say to a child again, you'll just have to memorize this. No, no, I give them hooks, how they can put hooks on it. It's not just memorizing and "oh well." It's easy.
Who else needs right brain strategies? Basically, it's having difficulty with any other curriculum. This shows them how to put memory hooks onto what they're learning, so they can learn it once and for all and not have to continually review it. So, we have these free daily lesson plans for struggling reader, struggling writing, struggling speller. We have that all at diannecraft.org. D-I-A-N-N-E-C-R-A-F-T dot org. Go on that website and download any article we have on there. We have all sorts of articles on how we can make learning easier for kids.
This has been my great pleasure. I'm Dianne Craft. Please visit my website, diannecraft, with two n's, dot org, and find out all the ways that you can make learning easier for your child. I look forward to our next podcast. Thank you.
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