Reading Help for ADHD Students: Memory Strategies

Students with attention deficit (ADHD) commonly complain to their parents, “I’ve read the whole page, but I don’t remember a thing. I’ve got to start all over again.” Difficulty remembering what is read is often caused by executive function deficits—the inability to hold key information in working memory.

That’s why many parents of children with ADHD assign their child no more than one or two tasks at a time. In the classroom, students who can’t remember more than two or three facts after reading a page need to take notes or highlight key information.

The following strategies will provide reading help for ADHD students and allow your child comprehend more of what is on the page.

Solutions: in the Classroom

  • Use pre-reading strategies. The following three tips will focus the student on the topic and increase the likelihood of his remembering the information by connecting it to past experiences.

1) Relate the new topic-global warming, say-to past knowledge, such as recent schoolwork or world events.

2) Ask questions about the topic: “What would you do if our weather was hotter and our local lake dried up?”

3) Ask the student to divide a piece of paper in half, creating a chart. On one side of the chart, have him write “What do I know?” and on the other side, “What did I learn?” Before the student starts reading, ask him to write down everything he knows about global warming. Complete the other half with facts he learned from the assigned reading.

  • Teach book structure. Identify components of the material to be read and their relevance: the introductory paragraph, the chapter summary, bold print, headings. Stating the obvious—”The bold words are very important. These are the ones I want you to remember”—is helpful to students with ADHD.
  • Encourage active reading. When students with ADHD are overwhelmed by lengthy reading assignments, they tend to skim the text – and can’t remember what they’ve read. Activities that…

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