Right Brain Exercises for Children

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The human brain is divided into two hemispheres. The left, or analytical, brain is devoted primarily to managing logical cognition in a sequential, cause-and-effect manner. The right side, however, processes ideas through association to produce more intuitive conclusions. Western civilization is constructed in a way that encourages left-brain thinking, causing the decline of our more creative abilities. Faizel Mohidin, head writer at MindMapTutor.com, contends that "innovation and creativity are often punished instead of rewarded.” However, you can keep your children's imaginative side alive by practicing exercises designed for right-brain development.

Spelling

Most top spellers use visualization to recall the arrangement of letters in a word. An essay, published by the Frisco Independent School District, states that "strong spellers tend to break words into chunks, think about small words in big words, and visualize whether or not the word looks right." Obtain a pack of index cards and write a word on each one. Use different colors to highlight any letters that usually cause your child difficulty when spelling. Have him focus on each word for a while, with instructions to take a mental "photograph" of how it looks. Afterward, quiz him on the material by asking that he put the words down on paper by visualizing them as he writes. When your child is finished with each word, encourage him to look at it and notice whether or not he "feels" anything is out of place. Over time, he will develop the ability to come to the correct conclusions intuitively.

Reading

To help your child develop better reading comprehension, have him create a mental "movie" of whatever the words describe. This visualization should be a fluid, ongoing representation that moves right along with what she is reading. This enlists the imaginative side of her brain into the process, firmly grounding it into her mind. World memory championship competitor Mark Channon contends that "we all have excellent visual memories, especially when there is a strong association, we remember the images therefore we remember the information." Whenever your child needs to recall information from the story, suggest that she start at any point and then simply "rewind" or "fast-forward" the sequence of events until she reaches the appropriate moment in the film.

Math

Help your child learn to add and subtract quickly at home with this right-brain method of study. Again, obtain a deck of index cards. Write a simple, two-number additive equation on each card. However, illustrate each number in a series of dots, totaling the number they represent. This helps your child visually combine the numbers by counting according to the dots displayed. At first, he may need to touch each dot with the end of his pencil while counting. Encourage him, though, to take a mental snapshot of how each number looks when adding to develop his mechanism of visual recall.

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