Let me give you a simple example.
For instance, we could be reading a new word – “houseboat”. The visual impression of the picture we see on paper gets into the short-time memory, and the working memory is immediately put to work.
We have previously learned what the words “house” and “boat” sound like. We pick that up from the long-time memory and use the knowledge to read the word “houseboat.”
As a dyslexic person, there is nothing different with the different memory functions – neither the working memory, compared with people that do not have dyslexia.
However, the working memory is under pressure for people with dyslexia because we cannot recall any knowledge about the sounds of the letters in the long-term memory. We have to go and find each word. And remember both how they look and how they are pronounced.
And if we haven’t seen the word before, there is no help from our long-term memory.
It does not allow for a lot of space in the working memory to understand the meaning of the text and pair it with other types of knowledge we have stored in the long-term memory.
Some research shows that people with dyslexia are often challenged with their working memory when it is about reading and spelling.
Other research shows that dyslexic people do not have problems with the working memory when it is about visual information, such as pictures.
Remember that this article is based on scientific papers, but the dyslexic brain is still being researched so new knowledge may occur in the future.
Nevertheless, a basic understanding of how the brain and memory functions is a foundation for your child to realise that nothing is wrong. Your child’s brain is just functioning differently than other children that do not have dyslexia, and it is possible to compensate for it through different areas in the brain.
Furthermore, IT tools such as recital can relieve the brain when it is reading, so it does not have to use all its energy on remembering both each word and its sound. Instead, your child can focus on understanding the meaning of the text.