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  • Marcia Hart

The Necessity of Mastering All 300 Abstract Words and Symbols

There are numerous reasons why academia, teachers, and parents have overlooked the importance of the mastery of abstract words, punctuation marks and symbols. Perhaps the most common reason is that these words and symbols are seen and spoken so many times and deemed to be so simple that their importance is taken for granted. Just about all K-5 students can usually speak fluently using these abstract words and recognize the names for punctuation marks.


If you have a 4th grader read the list of the 300 abstract words aloud to you, they can usually recite those words without any noticeable reading disability symptom. So, why do children struggling with dyslexia often exhibit a reading disability symptom when encountering these words and symbols in a sentence? 

There are six factors that compound the complexity of reading disability symptoms:

  1. Dyslexic readers think in an inordinate percentage of three-dimensional thought, which can make reading two-dimensional symbols (words, letters, numbers, punctuation marks) difficult.

  2. Reading disability symptoms occur only when the threshold for confusion has been exceeded. There is a direct relationship between the stability of the “Mind’s Eye” and exceeding that threshold, resulting in confusion. For more information about the Mind’s Eye and stabilizing it on the integrating point that we have labeled the “Bindu” point, please go to: https://www.magicaliam.com/resources.

  3. No consistent one to one, or direct correlation, exists between an abstract word or symbol and the reading disability symptom being displayed.  The norm is the inconsistency of the occurrence of these symptoms.

  4. Reading a concrete word as well as an abstract word, phrase or sentence can result in the threshold for confusion being exceeded when the word(s) are not understood.

  5. Dyslexic readers are constantly thinking in terms of meaning. If the word, phrase, or sentence is not understood, there is the likelihood of displaying a reading disability symptom.

  6. There are also incidences where a word or phrase that a dyslexic reader has just successfully read, or is about to be read, can suddenly trigger confusion, resulting in a reading disability symptom.

In other words, the study of dyslexia and reading disabilities cannot be an exact science! As there is no way of knowing which abstract words an individual child has already subconsciously mastered, and which ones the child still needs to master

Mastery of abstract words and symbols occurs when the child has integrated, and can use the composite of, three-dimensional experiences. This is the input needed that will put all three parts of the word into their mind, seemingly simultaneously. The three parts of a word for mastery are: 

  1. What it looks like 

  2. What it sounds like 

  3. What it means

These six compounding factors (in the list above) can cause enough confusion, within a fraction of a second (subliminal band of thought), that the dyslexic’s intelligence, or Mind’s Eye, looks for a solution. Seeking that solution often causes the aforementioned confusion. The result commonly triggers a “reading disability symptom(s).” 

Simply put, when dyslexic readers are reading aloud to a parent, teacher, tutor, or group, an abstract word or symbol that is met in the first paragraph may be read correctly each time it's encountered. And then, having no rhyme or reason, in the third paragraph, or the next page, or the next day, when the child encounters the same abstract word or symbol, that child may exhibit any of the reading disability symptoms: stumble, hesitate, insert a word, omit a word, skip a word, replace a word, misread a word, skip a line(s), go blank, or daydream.

As an example, the word "the" can be read correctly one minute, one day, or most of the time, and comprehension for that day's lesson might be considered as satisfactory. Then, seemingly out of the blue, the word “the” is skipped altogether, or it is read as the word “one,” or the word “a.” This occurs more commonly than most people are aware of. Tracking the words your child misreads is the only way to notice the inconsistent misreading of particular words. Even then, it is not obvious which of the six compounding factors (or some other issue) are responsible for the sudden occurrence of misread words or symbols. 

This kind of inconsistent reading success is so frustrating for the parent or teacher because they have observed the word "the" being read accurately most of the time. When the child reads the word “the” correctly, whoever is helping the child thinks “ah ha, he's got ‘the’ in his vocabulary now!” Then the next day the reading disability symptom appears once again and progress seems to have been thwarted.

If this inconsistent reading behavior is frustrating for the parent or educator, imagine how frustrating it is for the child. All too often, over a period of time, the instructor’s patience runs thin while the child is either attempting to read the sentence, or is distracted by seeking to do something more enjoyable. The result, of course is not good for either the child or their educator, be it a parent, teacher, or tutor. This frustration, coupled with impatience, by the authority figure translates to a child with dyslexia as “I’ve failed.” Self-shame builds internally and self-esteem plummets. Reading lessons become more stressful and painful, becoming something to be feared and avoided, if possible. The expectation of more failure can become debilitating.

It bears repeating that there is no way to predict which of the 300 abstract words and symbols will become obstacles to reading, nor when they might suddenly cause confusion for the child. The one thing to be sure of is that when a word is misread at any time, it indicates a lack of mastery of that word.  This is why it is absolutely necessary for a child to master all 300 abstract words and symbols in order to learn to read fluidly with comprehension. The Magical I Am™ app, offers a pathway towards that mastery.

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