By Kathy Kuhl
If you’ve heard me speak on teaching math to kids with learning challenges, you know I recommend strategies developed by Marilyn Zecher of the Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Training Center. Some of my best ideas grew out of projects I created while taking her classes. Here’s a rare chance to hear from her yourself, without paying tuition.
Watch at least the first ten minutes ASAP
This video was supposed to be taken down. So please at least watch the first ten minutes after the introduction for a taste of the approach, as soon as possible.
Here’s a chance to get a few highlights of the multisensory math approach and practical tips from her yourself. This presentation quickly introduces basic concepts and techniques. Think of it as a highlights reel from the 30-hour course.
What is Multisensory Math?
- It’s not a curriculum. It’s a way to teach that can be used with any curriculum.
- It takes the Multisensory Structured Language (MSL) approach that Sam Orton and Anna Gillingham developed to teach dyslexics how to read (also called an Orton-Gillingham approach) and applied it to the teaching of basic math concepts. So it shares some strategies with MSL.
First tips from this video
“From the research from the fMRI studies (Functional MRI brain scan studies) we found out that the human brain, even preverbal infants, can recognized up to 4 items without counting. Anything over 4 has to be in a pattern” or else we have to count.
If more than four items are not in a pattern, “your brain wants to make a pattern, or you have to count.”
(That’s why teaching our kids to recognize dice patterns, tally marks, and other common patterns is so powerful. Marilyn explains how to use these patterns to teach math facts and build numeracy, or a sense of number, so our kids can make progress in math.)
“Counting is inefficient.” So Marilyn recommends strategies to teach math facts, rather than methods that replace addition with counting.
She also explains why flash cards are torture for some kids.
And that’s all just in the first eleven minutes of this 78-minute video.
Courses with Marilyn Zecher
I’ve taken both Multisensory Math I and II, a total of 60 hours of instruction with Marilyn. I was a good math teacher before, but this work transformed how I teach all kids math. I think it should be required for teacher certification. I wish every homeschooler whose child struggles with math would take at least Multisensory Math I. (It’s offered online.)
I receive no benefit for telling you about these resources. I just don’t want you to miss them if you know anyone who struggles with math.
If it’s no longer available (it was still up as of September 2019, so I’m hopeful it will remain), you can see shorter videos of Marilyn in action here on Youtube at these links. But these are much shorter and don’t explain as thoroughly:
- Teaching fractions
- Math tracking (based on phoneme tracking exercise), a tool to help you from teaching basic numeracy to algebra
Getting the training
You can learn more about taking these courses online or in person here. ASDEC is very homeschool-friendly, and would be delighted to train more homeschooling parents.
Marilyn’s website has a few videos, but she focuses on writing and teaching, not on updating this website.
For those living in the Washington DC area, ASDEC summer math camps and other summer kids programs can help your child make great strides.