Brain Gym by Paul E. Dennison and Gail E. Dennison This book was recommended to us by a friend, who had great success with both of her children using the exercises in it. I had to have it sent via ILL, and was rather surprised when I got it. It’s a small paperback only 48 pages long with amateurish drawings. The theory behind it is both simple and not much talked about: problems with reading, math, concentration, etc., can be helped by physical exercises, particularly ones that require crossing the body’s midline. For what we were looking at, drawing sideways figure eights in the air, first with just one hand and then with both held together. I think the theory is that problems like these can be caused by lack of communication between the two hemispheres of the brain, and doing physical integration can prime the pump, as it were, making the academic exercises easier. If you or someone you’re helping has difficulty, you can just flip to the appropriate page, where the exercise is drawn out with text descriptions of how to do it and what it should accomplish. I’m not sure we’ve remembered to do this quite as often as we ought, but it has seemed helpful when we do. In order to up the interest quotient, my brilliant husband had the idea of having our son do the exercises holding a foam sword, rather than just tracing the pattern in the air with his hands. It worked. For those more interested in the theory (which, come to think of it, would probably be me), there’s also a teacher’s guide, which has more detailed notes on everything.
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