Wednesday, 16 April 2014

N is for Nessy, Numbers and Nursery Rhymes

This is my second post of the day in order to catch up with the Challenge and be back on track for Thursday.

Nessy is a program aimed at children with dyslexia that I wrote briefly about in my D is for Dyslexia post earlier in the A to Z Challenge.  Due to my limited funding, I only have one copy bought two years ago but my dream would be to have enough copies for all 15 of our ICT suite computers plus another couple of laptops (I’d like the laptops to be SEN only if I’m spending imaginary money!!)  As it is the start of a new fiscal year I will be requesting another 5 copies (we’ll see how it goes) and then it might be possible to have a Nessy group scheduled for 6 children set up for the next half term this summer!  Yipee!!
Nessy basically is a computer programme that helps build children’s learning through understanding and repetition of the main rules of spelling by playing lots of computer games and the reward of collecting food to grow your own little Nessy from egg to beast.  I hasten to add that this type of program helps all types of children (not just those with dyslexia) come to terms with the vagaries of English spelling – how I wish it had been around in my day!

I am not saying this will automatically make children with dyslexia be able to read and spell in line with their peers but I do think this programme gives those children a better understanding and embedding over time of strategies that will help them make sense of the English language.  It certainly gives them a sense of immediate achievement when they play the games and has helped a number of children (particularly boys) overcome their dislike/fear of literacy.

If you are interested please check out their UK website –
I know they are also available in the U.S. now and have a youtube channel

N is also for numbers which is where a lot of children experience problems lower down the school and are brought to my attention as having a possible special educational need.  Understanding number is a huge area and if children have missed out on those precious nursery rhymes and songs which help their rhythm and repetition of counting both forwards and backwards e.g. 1,2,3,4,5, once I caught a fish alive, Five little ducks went swimming one day, One man and his dog, There were ten in the bed etc they are already at a huge disadvantage.  Part of my special needs groups for maths lessons are to do with learning such songs (and you would surely be shocked by how many 6 and 7 year olds do not know them!!)  Putting the names of numbers to amounts is the next large step and confident and exact counting (one to one correspondence) takes time to build up – it also requires the presence of an adult to ensure they are doing this correctly!  Next the writing of numbers is another whole skill in itself for young children and many will continue to write numbers back to front before this skill becomes secure.  I wish I had a pound for each child that is referred to me with the teacher’s question “does this mean they’re dyslexic?”  Practice, practice, practice is a whole lot of what is needed and meaningful learning to ensure children understand that number has a place in their everyday lives – building up the sequence of numbers on a clock face, price labels, house numbers, how many pencils are there and is there enough for everyone?

If you have a clever tip to share on making numbers easier for young children to understand and use please let me know.  Also share your number nursery rhymes and songs and we could maybe build up a bank of them to share later on in the A to Z Challenge.

TpT resource is N is for Number Bonds (or Addends):

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