The Study Skills Toolkit for Students with Dyslexia


Monica Gribben

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Education at SAGE

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    In memory of my Dad, Tommy – with gratitude for the values he taught me, the laughter he gave me and the love he left me. And with deepest gratitude to my Mum, May for always being there and whose many sacrifices and generous spirit taught me the true value of giving.

    About the Author

    While living in Stavanger, Monica Gribben pursued her interest in dyslexia at Norway's Centre for Reading Research, setting her on a path where she would continue to be intrigued about the effects of dyslexia on individuals.

    A graduate of The University of Edinburgh, Monica's background in languages and education helped her to explore the linguistic, diagnostic and psycho-educational processes of dyslexia. Specialising in support systems for students with dyslexia, she examined the support provision in Scottish and Norwegian universities. Intent on connecting theoretical with practical, Monica developed a study skills teaching programme suited to the learning needs of students with dyslexia, and from this the Toolkit was born.

    Alongside her role as Dyslexia Adviser at Edinburgh Napier University, Monica established Dyslexia-Plus ( which offers support to the wider community – individuals and corporate companies alike.


    As with any project, there's you and then there are those who support you to make sure the job gets done!

    Heartfelt appreciation goes to my editor, Jude Bowen for believing in my project and giving me this wonderful opportunity to give something back to the student population that has enriched my working life. Thanks also to the assistant editors who've guided and supported me at different points in this project – Amy Jarrold, Alex Molineux and Miriam Davey, and to the production team, marketing team and other staff members at SAGE who've supported my work each in their own way.

    To my mentors who first introduced me to the world of dyslexia and who taught me well – Arne Løkken (Norway), the late Professor George Thomson, and Joe McDermott. With thanks to my family, friends, colleagues and the many students who've taught me the true meaning of dyslexia and afforded me the opportunity to say – I love my work.

    Getting the job done has meant drawing on the wisdom and talents of others I knew would keep me right and tell me as it is. I am deeply indebted to my friend and colleague, Fran McColm and my nephew, Jonathan Stevenson for helping me unpack my ideas, and for their invaluable and honest comments.

    Then there's the creativity of ‘min gamle kalosje’ Sr Christine Jensenius for her contribution to my front cover idea, my colleague, Richard Firth for my Running Clock image and Jonathan for my Dissertation Diamond, Note Nugget, On and Off switches and W.Cube-It images. I am also grateful to the colleagues who provided assignment questions for use in my work – William Goodall, Lisa Watson and Richard Firth, and Dr Mike Sanderson.

    Finally, there's the technology advice and support for my non-technology brain – thanks to my colleague, Colin Gray and my friend, Dr Panos Vlachopolous for explanations of podcast and vodcast software. Thank you also to my friend, Bruce Darby for his guidance and support on my use of technology to ensure I did indeed ‘get it right’.

    How to Use This Toolkit

    Don't like reading a book from cover to cover? Then this Toolkit is ideal for you.

    Just dip in and out of the different chapters as and when you need them. Mix and match the tools – if one specific tool works for you then stick with it. It's all about you, your learning style and what works for you during your learning process.

    A word of caution though about writing style and referencing when using the Toolkit. You'll see in Chapter 7 that I'm advising you not to use contractions of words when writing an academic assignment, and, of course, you'll see I'm using them myself throughout the Toolkit. Why? Well, it's part of my writing style so that my explanation of academic tasks and your understanding of them will feel less stuffy, and more accessible and manageable.

    Different universities, courses and tutors use different referencing styles, even different versions of the Harvard system, so always check with your tutor the style they'd prefer you to use.

    You can also go to the Companion Website for this book http://www.sagepub/gribben to access downloadable resources, all the activities from the toolkit plus a podcast for each chapter and to watch a video about the toolkit from the author.

    So you're a student, you have dyslexia, you do things differently, and with that, you contribute to the world of education in an invaluably different way. So believe in your ability and enjoy!

    If you would like a more accessible version of this book, SAGE would be very happy to provide you with a Word or PDF version of the text. Please email to make your request.

    Companion Website

    Video from Monica Gribben

    Chapter 1 Podcast

    Chapter 2 Podcast

    Chapter 3 Podcast

    Chapter 4 Podcast

    Chapter 5 Podcast

    Chapter 6 Podcast

    Chapter 7 Podcast

    Chapter 8 Podcast

    Chapter 9 Podcast

    Chapter 10 Podcast

    Chapter 11 Podcast

    Chapter 12 Podcast


    • Appendix 1: Activity 1.3 Answers
    • Appendix 2: Activity 1.4 Answers
    • Appendix 3: Activity 3.3 Answers
    • Appendix 4: Key Asking Words Dictionary – Version 1
    • Appendix 4: Key Asking Words Dictionary – Version 2
    • Appendix 5: Activity 7.4 Answers
    • Appendix 6: Sample Dissertation Layout
    • Appendix 7: Technology in Your Toolkits
    • Appendix 7: Table 7.1 The 10-Step assignment checklist
  • References

    Baddeley, A.D. and Hitch, G.J. (1974) Working memory. In G.H.Bower (ed.) The Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Advances in Research and Theory. London: Academic Press Ltd, pp. 47–90.
    Bird, R. (2009) Overcoming Difficulties with Number. London: Sage Publications.
    Burns, T. and Sinfield, S. (2008) Essential Study Skills: The Complete Guide to Success at University,
    2nd edition
    : London: Sage Publications.
    Field. A. (2009) Discovering Statistics Using SPSS,
    3rd edition
    . London: Sage Publications.
    Fowler, P. (2000). Cited in Morgan, E. and Klein, C. (2000) The Dyslexic Adult in a non-dyslexic World. London: Whurr Publishers, p. 204.
    Gathercole, S.E. and Alloway, T.P. (2008) Working Memory and Learning. London: Sage Publications.
    Gilroy, D.E. and Miles, T.R. (1996) Dyslexia at College,
    2nd edition.
    London: Routledge.
    Høien-Tengesdal, I. and Tønnessen, F.E. (2011) The relationship between phonological skills and word decoding. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 52, pp. 93–103.
    Judge, B., Jones, P. and McCreery, E. (2009) Critical Thinking Skills for Education Students. Exeter: Learning Matters.
    Leeds Metropolitan University: Skills for Learning (2009) Quote, Unquote: A guide to Harvard referencing [Internet]. Leeds: Leeds Metropolitan University. Available from: [Accessed 1 March 2011].
    McNeil, F. (2008) Learning with the Brain in Mind. London: Sage Publications.
    Menter, I. et al. (2010) A Guide to Practitioner Research in Education. London: Sage Publications.
    Pavey, B., Meehan, M. and Waugh, A. (2010) Dyslexia-friendly Further and Higher Education. London: Sage Publications.
    Perry, A. (2003) The Little Book of Procrastination: How to Stop Putting Things Off. Suffolk: Worth Publishing.
    Ridley, D. (2008) The Literature Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students. London: Sage Publications.
    Sambell, K., Gibson, M. and Miller, S. (2010) Studying Childhood and Early Childhood,
    2nd edition.
    London: Sage Publications.
    Thomas, G. (2009) How to do Your Research Project: A Guide for Students in Education and Applied Social Sciences. London: Sage Publications.
    Vlachopoulos, P. and Cowan, J. (2010) Choices of approaches in e-moderation: conclusions from a grounded theory study. Active Learning in Higher Education, 11(3), pp. 1–13.
    Vlachopoulos, P. (2009) Designing flexible programmes: the role of virtual classrooms in enhancing online learning. Virtual paper presented at the Flexible Delivery Symposium, University of Aberdeen, 19–20 May.

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