I am dyslexic and I have dysgraphia, but I graduated in English Literature with a 3.4. I’ve talked about majoring in your learning disability before, though it’s been a while. I talked about how learning disabilities are often made out to be an end all be all and discourage people from pushing through them. I also comment on the fact that they are disabilities not differences, because they make it harder to do things and there is no need to sugar coat it. I say that there is no secret and that there isn’t a list of tips that will work for everyone. It’s true, most of pushing through your learning disability is just working through sweat and tears, but I do have some study tips I’ve learned over the years and if you’re facing the same challenges as me you might find them helpful.
- Listen to older literature: Especially Shakespeare, he was made to be listened to. Well, he was made to be watched, but many adaptions do different takes on his work, so if you’re looking to do it for an English class it’s best to listen to an audio book so you just get pure dialog. Audio books are amazing for older works. Old English is harder to comprehend, but it’s easier to understand when you hear it. Audio books also remove all the line breaks from works like the Odyssey and rely only on the periods for pauses, which is how it is meant to be read, even though some brains struggle with reading it that way.
- Google is better than spellcheck: I could scream this one from the rooftops. I feel like spellcheck is sometimes concerned about me I’m such a poor speller. It just shrugs me off because it honestly doesn’t know what I’m trying to say. Take that jumbled mess of letters and put it into Google search. It can normally figure it out. I am strictly talking about the web search, though, Google Docs doesn’t always get it either.
- Read poetry out loud: It can be hard to keep a beat in your head when you’re dyslexic, it can also be hard to keep the words from getting tangled when you say them, but I’ve found that it’s easier to comprehend when you say it out loud. Poetry is all verse and beat based, it’s meant to be lyrical. Line breaks are suggestions in that rhyme, but periods and punctuation is where you pause. Catch the beat by reading it out loud.
- Actively highlight or underline in source materials: This might just seem like a typical study tip but it keeps your mind straight in dense works. It not only helps you find information later on, it helps you un-jumble it. I can read something and know it’s important, but when I underline I make myself read it again with the tip of the pen, it helps me make sure I know exactly what the source material says.
- When editing, read the work sentence by sentence, backwards: Obviously you need to read it through regularly a few times for flow and clarity, but for grammar editing that wonderful flow gets in your way and you skip over your errors as your brain naturally fixes the work so it makes sense. By reading on sentence at a time, starting with the last one and going to the first one, you can get each sentences structure and grammar locked down.