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Daily practice: Won't it get boring?

Some clinicians and parents wonder if practice with Lexercise everyday will "get boring."  

This question really goes way beyond Lexercise to the more general issue of distributed practice.  There is very little question that distributed practice works to build skill and make it automatic, freeing the learner for higher level thought. No musician, athlete, poet or writer ever mastered their craft without regular practice.  The superiority of “spaced” practice over “massed” practice was demonstrated more than 100 years ago, in 1885, when German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus published his seminal work on memory. 

The problem is that most learners are drawn to practicing what they are good at and resist practicing what they are not good at.  Time flies when we are practicing something we are good at, but it can drag when we are practicing a weak skill. That feeling of time dragging is sometimes equated with being "bored."

So, perhaps the first question is: How important is it, anyway, that this set of skills be made automatic?  After all, many high school students pass algebra even though they can not fluently recite all the multiplication facts.  The importance of fluent word-level skills (speech sound isolation and sequencing, letter-sound association, word recognition, etc.) is beyond the scope of this article, but assuming we decide that this set of basic skills is, truly, essential, the decision to use distributed practice is really a no-brainer. For making skills fluent, nothing works as well, as fast or as painlessly as distributed practice.

Lexercise provides distributed practice for a set of reading and spelling skills that have been described as necessary for upper-level literacy.  Lexercise allows the clinician to target the sub-set of skills the child needs and to customize practice so it is not too hard or too difficult, not too long or too short. Clinicians can use the Lex points and reports to motivate resistant learners. With this kind of precision practice, very, very short practice periods (~2-5 minutes a day) can be highly effective for building accuracy and fluency.  Most learners tolerate this kind of  brief, focused and highly customized practice quite willingly and even joyfully.  (OK, OK... so some of my yoga exercises don't feel so totally joyful while I'm doing them, but I do notice more joy when I do them regularly. It's the one-a-week schedule that really hurts!)

Reference:

Caple, C. (1996). The effects of spaced practice and spaced review on recall and retention using computer assisted instruction. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI.

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