Parenting a child with ADHD, dyslexia, or executive function challenges can be hard and overwhelming. At Wright Academics, we have strategies and techniques that can make a significant difference on your kid’s academic journey. One game-changing strategy that we use (and we’re going to talk about here today) is called “Chunking Information.”
Children with ADHD, dyslexia, or executive function struggles can face difficulties absorbing and retaining information. Long assignments, complex tasks, and overwhelming study materials can leave them feeling lost and discouraged.
In this blog post, we’ll explore what chunking information is and how this technique can make learning and memorizing more manageable and long-lasting for your child.
What is Chunking?
So, what exactly is chunking information? Chunking refers to an age-old strategy for memorizing large bits of information. We have been doing this for years! Phone numbers, credit card numbers, and even initials A-C-E-G, All Cars Eat Gas. When we pass information to each other we often chunk it to make it easier to understand.
Think of it as the art of breaking down large pieces of information into smaller, more manageable “chunks.”Instead of trying to tackle a mountain of information all at once, your child can focus on bite-sized pieces.
Chunking is the process of grouping bits of information together into bite-sized pieces. This makes the learning more manageable, and longer lasting.
Parents can help their students use chunking strategies to help them process, understand, and remember information. As students work on content, and ideas become increasingly more and more complex, remembering the ideas becomes increasingly more difficult. Chunking information assists the brain in holding on to new knowledge and integrating it with what they’ve already learned.
How to implement Chunking? Here’s how to start:
1. Keep paragraphs and passages short. Start a new paragraph when you want to
introduce a new idea.
Short paragraphs help maintain the reader’s focus and make it easier for them to follow the flow of the text.
This approach reduces cognitive load, and students stay engaged and comprehend better the material. It facilitates skimming and scanning, essential skills for quickly finding relevant information.
Long paragraphs can be overwhelming, causing students to lose track of the main points. For those with ADHD, maintaining focus becomes an uphill battle. Dyslexic students might find it challenging to track lines of text smoothly, while those with executive function struggles may struggle to process extensive information.
Blocks of text can appear daunting, while shorter, well-spaced paragraphs invite students to dive in. The visual aspect plays a significant role in maintaining interest.
2. Use titles to introduce new concepts.
Using titles to introduce new concepts creates a roadmap within the content.
Titles are previews of what’s to come. Students can prepare mentally for the content they’re about to read. It’s like getting a sneak peek, and that can significantly enhance comprehension.
3. Use lists and bullet points. Be mindful of how many items or bullet points are on the list.
Lists and bullet points are an effective way to:
● Break down information into bite-sized, easily digestible portions.
For students with ADHD, dyslexia, or executive function challenges:
● Lists and bullet points ensure that key concepts are shown clearly and explicitly.
4. Use tables and columns when possible.
Tables and columns provide a structured format that makes it easy to organize information logically. Each cell or column is a designated space for specific data or concepts.
They break up text monotony, making content visually engaging. This can be especially helpful for dyslexic students who may benefit from the visual structure.
5. Use graphic organizers.
Graphic organizers use visual elements such as shapes, lines, and arrows to create a logical flow. This makes relationships between concepts, facts, and ideas more evident, leading to better comprehension.
They allow a clear presentation of hierarchy, showing which ideas are central and which are supporting. Graphic organizers make it easy to establish connections between related concepts, and this aids in prioritization and understanding.
6. Give instructions in a clear and specific step-by-step format (use visuals if necessary).
Step-by-step instructions break down complex tasks into a series of manageable actions.
This sequential guidance simplifies the process and reduces cognitive load. Visual cues and clear wording make it easier for students to understand and follow instructions.
Consistent use of clear and visual instructions gives familiarity and builds confidence in students. Once students become used to this format, they can use it independently, promoting self-sufficiency and confidence.
7. Visual cues and pictures are helpful in showing ‘how’ the information is chunked.
Abstract concepts, especially those that involve information chunking or organization, can be perplexing for students.
Visual cues and pictures provide a tangible way to represent the process of chunking or organizing information. They bring abstract ideas to life and students can grasp complex concepts more easily when they see a visual representation of how information is grouped or organized.
Some students find it helpful when reading lengthy passages to circle unfamiliar words and use context clues to help define these words. Look up the meaning of unfamiliar words. Underline important people and places. Read aloud. Read multiple times.
Whether your kid is an emerging reader learning phonics, or a college student studying for a big exam, chunking information strategies can assist you in retaining important information.
Ready to put these 7 tips into practice? Try applying them in your child’s study materials or encourage their teachers to do so.
At Wright Academics, we’re dedicated to supporting students with diverse learning needs. If you have questions or need further guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out. Together, we can help and empower every student on their path to success.
Share your experiences and any positive outcomes in the comments below, and let’s keep the conversation going!
Director of Communications & Orton Gillingham Coach