THE CoolerRuler:

Boost Your Learning Power

September 2008's Articles

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Now I have a blog!

This is something new for me. Thanks to my wonderful website designer James, I now have a blog and with it comes the opportunity to talk to you all about dyslexia, The CoolerRuler, education today and anything else that takes your fancy. I would be delighted to hear from anyone out there - if you have a question about helping a dyslexic child with literacy, numeracy or study skills just ask.

We have added the original ten Bruce Boosters (teaching tips garnered from many years working as Special Needs teacher) and I will write more when inspiration strikes. In the meantime, watch this space!

Story Scraps

So many people have trouble starting a story. They are faced with a big sheet of blank paper and it's terrifying. So here's a tip to make it less frightening.

Take some A4 scrap paper which has only been used on one side. Tear it in half, in half again and in half again. Now you have 8 little pieces of scruffy paper. Not scary at all. Think what you'd like to write about - can't think of anything? Look around you; if you can see a tree, you might like to write about a tree that comes to life. If you can see a table, you might think of someone hiding under the table to shelter from a bomb in a war. Draw a tree/table on your first piece of paper.

Imagine a character in your story and give them a name - any name; you can always change it later. Write that name on one of the pieces of paper - now keep asking yourself questions about the character. Name, age, boy/girl, brothers/sisters, where they live. Write or draw the answers on the same sheet.

Every time you think of something you might add to this story, get it down on another piece of paper, a new piece for every new event/character. You can throw away anything you change your mind about later, so put down everything that you think of for now. Tear up more paper if you need more scraps.

When you have as many ideas as you can think of, spread out all the scraps and put them in order, so that the story makes sense. Now get some A4 paper and glue the pieces (in order) on to as many sheets as you need.

Hey presto - you've written a story. All you have to do is to copy it out.

Easy Steps To Neater Handwriting

Most of the pupils I have taught over the years have had rotten handwriting. Lots of them (especially the boys) really don't care about it much, but there's a good reason for making your work look neat.

I've said before that teachers are human, and they are. After a long, hard day at school they return home, but work isn't over for them. Many of them have to cook, clean, do washing and look after their kids before they even get to that pile of homework that they have to mark.

They reach for the first book - yours - and it's REALLY scruffy and difficult to read. Even if you've put in a lot of effort, your poor, tired teacher is going to find it hard to give you a good grade. So give your teacher a break and improve your writing. Take something that you have written (about five or six lines) and a ruler and pencil:

  • Rule a line along each of the upright letters you have written (l,t,h,d etc.) and extend the line beyond the top and bottom of the letter. To make your writing look good, all these lines should be parallel. It doesn't matter whether they lean forward or are upright (try not to let them slope backwards) but they should all go in the same direction.
  • Place the ruler along the top of letters like e,c,m,v etc. All these letters should come to the same level. Note that capital 'P' stands on the line, but the round bit of little 'p' sits on the line and the legs hang down.
  • If you have to cross something out, don't scribble - do it with a single horizontal line. The mistake is clearly crossed out when you read the line, but it doesn't stick out when you first look at the page.