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How Creating Imagery Can Help Dyslexic Students Who Struggle with Shakespeare

KQED News Mind/Shift – Holly Korbey

“After 20 years as a professional actress with prestigious companies like the Royal Shakespeare Company, Whitfield went back to earn a Ph.D. in voice and acting, the focus of her work centering on how to help dyslexic actors read, understand and perform Shakespearean text with less difficulty — not to mention the fear and anxiety she said often accompanies dyslexics’ expectations that they will be forced to read aloud in front of their peers. Whitfield said that imagery is often the key that unlocks the door of understanding and memory, and her research supports the idea. People with dyslexia often feel disassociated from the words and their meanings, and attaching imagery to the words makes them more concrete and three-dimensional, as well as easier to remember. Using a technique Whitfield calls “visual storyboarding,” she often asks her students to draw or find images that help prop up their understanding. Often, the images aren’t literal — they can be colors to suggest an emotion, for example — but sometimes they are.”(more)

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