Causes of Reading Difficulty

Short-Term Memory Weakness

Limited short-term memory capacity can make decoding very challenging. One tell-tale sign is blending difficulty with longer words, or difficulty following 3-step instructions.

Memory fuels the learn-to-read process

It’s absolutely key. When you sound out a word, you have to hold those sounds in your short term memory before blending them. Then you need to hold that word in your memory while you match it to its meaning. Then you hold a series of words in your head to form a sentence.

It can get complex if you have a below-average working memory capacity, and cause the reading process to break down.

Fixing weak memory

Once you learn how to read, the reading process becomes an automatic skill. You can’t stop your brain from automatically reading a word you see! That means the process has slotted into the “procedural” memory, and out of the “declarative” working memory.

But in the meantime, you need to find a way to reduce the load on the working memory if low capacity is a problem for learners. Practicing in the right way can massively help, with lots of verbal help. Using a highly supported process like trainertext visual phonics takes a bulk of the cognitive load out of the equation. It is a slower process than for a child with average memory capacity. But you can see breakthrough, and it’s always worth it.

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