Special Needs Students

Right brain teaching strategies involve using “visual Velcro” to easily memorize material. For example, if learning math facts through oral repetition, games, or writing them isn’t working, then by making little stories (not rhymes because these are auditory) with emotion, and adding picture and color to the math fact, the child finds that it is easy to recall. This is using an easy, inexpensive learning strategy that totally transforms how a child remembers something as important as math facts. This type of teaching applies to all areas of curriculum. When a child says, “I can’t remember,” then it is time to use right brain teaching strategies to make the memory process so much easier. Let’s explore some of these troublesome learning areas:


  • Train a child’s photographic memory capability while teaching spelling words at the same time!
  • Teach the word retrieval technique that spelling bee winners use!
  • Avoid using the “writing gate” for learning spelling words, since this technique is inefficient for a right-brained child.
  • Place color and picture with humor on the letter or letters in a word that are silent, or hard to remember. Have the child take a picture of the word using his internal camera.
  • Resources
  • Teaching Your Right Brain Child video by Dianne Craft
  • Right Brain Child in a Left Brain World by Jeffrey Freed
  • Vocabulary
  • Have students draw cartoons to aid in memorizing vocabulary words.
  • Make a drawing of the meaning of the word. Then superimpose the vocabulary word, or science term directly on the picture. The brain receives it in a “chunk,” and then retrieves it in a “chunk.”
  • Use pre-made vocabulary cartoons by home school dad Sam Burchers for regular weekly vocabulary enrichment lessons that are easy to remember.
  • Resources
  • Elementary and high school editions of Vocabulary Cartoons by Sam Burchers, available at www.vocabularycartoons.com.
  • Teaching Your Right Brain Child video by Dianne Craft


• Teach the problem and answer as a whole rather than in parts. Make a story and picture for each hard math fact. Keep these on the wall for child to take a mental picture of it for a week. Teach only five hard math facts a week using this picture method.

• Use Hollywood techniques employing stories, emotion and pictures to help struggling math students.

• Put math processes such as fraction rules, division steps, decimal rules and algebra steps into long-term memory storage. Keep these pictures of the processes, called templates, on the wall for easy retrieval. They won’t be needed for long.


• Right brain multiplication cards, available at www.diannecraft.org.

• Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World: Unlocking the Potential of Your ADD Child by Jeffrey Freed.


• Use color and pictures to make phonics easy. Every day read lists of long words with the decoding unit in color. If you have a child who is a word-guesser, you will see great results with this technique.

• Train the brain to store the sound and picture as a unit for easier retrieval of letter sound by placing the letter directly on the picture that gives that sound.


• Right Brain Phonics Reading Practice Book by Dianne Craft

• Right brain phonics cards by Dianne Craft

• Lindamood Phonemic Awareness Program (http://www.lindamoodbell.com/404.html)

Sight Words

• Beginning readers who have an auditory processing problem that causes them to struggle to learn the names of sight words learn them easily when a picture of the word’s meaning is superimposed on the letters of the word.

• Teach both the reading and spelling of sight words using picture directly on the word.


• Sight word cards (36 words) by Dianne Craft.

• Your own homemade cards made by you or your child.

Reading Comprehension

• Train your children to change words into pictures when listening and reading.

• Teach them how to make a movie in their head as they read to dramatically increase their reading comprehension and memory.


• Teaching Your Right Brain Child video by Dianne Craft.

• Teach Both Sides of the Brain by Tony Buzan.

• Lindamood Bell’s Verbalization/Visualization program.


• Model for your children how to see their whole paper, or paragraph, before they write it.

• Model pre-writing by using webbing (right brain) versus outlining (left brain).

• Show them how to write only one or two words to remind them of the whole thought.

• When grading the papers, give points for every positive thing on the paper. Ignore the errors initially, addressing them later when students prepare to write their next paper.

• Don’t correct spelling errors on the paper. Instead, put the misspelled words into the next spelling list for the student to learn.

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