Mnemonic Weekly Tip: # 23          March 2, 2003
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The Problem
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A number of weeks ago, I listed the clues I used with a learner who was confused by the words that are similar to her.  This week I had a student who was confused by the words him, his and her.  The words our and your cause similar confusion.  These reading errors are common for individuals who have a right/left discrimination problem that makes it difficult for them to remember items that are similar. 

The Mnemonic: # 23

   The technique for dealing with these confusables is weighted learning.  This technique involves finding a way to distinguish between the words that are confusing and weighting one word so that the student knows that one; if it is not the known word, then it is the other word.  In the example of his and her given above, a person can think of the i pointing up and think that most males are taller than females.  If the confusing word has an i in it, it is male, his or him rather than the other word that refers to a female.  Her does not have an i. 

The words our and your can also be distinguished by weighted learning.  The person looks for the word that contains you and says to oneself you and your.  If the word does not contain you then it refers to us as in our things. 

     A number of teachers and students have asked to have the Mnemonic Clue of the Week sent to them each week. If you would like to receive this service, send your e-mail address to  
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Richard Cooper