Studying with #Dyslexia – Book Review

This is an excellent little book.  I came across it in my college library.  It’s written by Janet Godwin and comes in a pocket format but the beauty of this book is in the way the information is laid out.  It struck me immediately that this was a dyslexic friendly publication.  I spotted the contents page and was browsing it and then I turned the page and found the contents arranged as a mind-map, not dissimilar from the ones I create to organise my studies.   It was this that spurred me to borrow the book but I’ve now decided to buy it because even if I never study again I can still see this as being useful in the future.

It starts out with a basic point; that each person needs to find a way to work that suits them. Far too often we are taught to behave in the same way and work to standardised formats.  There are no rules and so it’s important that a dyslexic student finds their own way and helps their teachers to understand what works for them.  The second noticeable bit of really great advice is that we all have different attention spans.  For dyslexic people there is a limit to how much information we can process in one sitting which adds to this difference.  It might be an hour or two but it could equally be 10 minutes.  The important thing is to stop when we get distracted and have a break.

I read this at a really important time in my research.  I have hours of interviews recorded and I need to transcribe what the respondents have said and then code those words and start to group the codes together so that I can see the emerging patterns in the data.  I was finding it very slow going; having to listen to every word in a sentence and then write it down won’t sound time consuming for most people but imagine doing it but knowing that you keep missing words and putting things in the wrong order.  I realised that doing this in short bursts would be much more productive than sitting doing it for hours on end.  I then realised that my speech recognition software was also beneficial.  I was resisting using it because I wanted to get immersed in the data but one of the joys of dyslexia is taking a slower route but seeing more along the way.  In this instance I realised that listening on headphones to the interviews and then repeating everything the respondents have said is the perfect way to get immersed in the data.  I know these interviews very well now.  I understand in depth and detail what my respondents are telling me.

So this book has helped me save time and organise my research better than I could have done.  It is set out into chapters on making notes in lectures, revising for exams, reading effectively, writing well etc and it has hints and tips described in prose and pictures / diagrams / tables.  It is by far the best book I’ve found on the subject.  If you’re heading to university, already there or know a student with dyslexia that this might help, this book could come in handy.


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