Today I want to share a tip that can have a huge impact on the process of teaching Red Words using the arm-tap method. I am always thrilled to see teachers using this method with their students because it is tremendously successful for many students-particularly our dyslexic learners. However, there is one little detail that is often overlooked in the routine.
The arm-tap method is a cornerstone Orton Gillingham technique for instruction with red words (or you may refer to them as sight words). However, DID YOU KNOW that hand dominance matters for this technique???
Take, for example, the awesome young ladies in my video at the end of this post...
One of my students is right-handed. She begins at the shoulder and taps DOWN the arm to spell the word.
The other student is is left-handed. She begins at the wrist and taps UP the arm to spell the word.
Why? We always tap with our dominant hand. So, pretend you have written the word along your "free" (non-tapping arm)...
For a right-handed person, the word would begin at the shoulder and would be written down the arm (left-to-right).
However, for the left-handed person, the word would be written from the wrist along the arm to the shoulder.
Can you see the difference? This means that if you have left-handed students tap the word DOWN their arms, then they're actually working backwards, against the left-to-right progression!
I encourage you to take the time to explain this to your students, and make sure they are using their dominant hand correctly. It will not be hard for them to understand, and typically my left-handed students find that it feels more "natural" for them when they do this technique correctly, with hand dominance in mind.
Watch the video below to see it in action!
* Video shared with parent permission and joy!