Questions & Support

Need help?  For parents, teachers, homeschoolers — or students working independently.  If you have questions, problems, or need suggestions or tips for Davis Symbol Mastery, please post here.

  7 comments for “Questions

  1. Barb
    July 26, 2017 at 2:40 am

    For symbol mastery, is it necessary to have the letters flat on the table when writing the word to go with the picture? If a student has the letters standing up is that a concern? What about shape and size of letters — what if they are not uniform height or not properly formed? If the student is satisfied, do you still question them and push them to see those errors?

    • July 26, 2017 at 4:50 am

      It’s generally best if the letters are flat on the table, because that is how the student will ordinarily see letters on a page. So while the model is 3D, the goal is to also have the student develop the skill to recognize words when spelled with 2D letters printed on a page.

      You should have already completed Alphabet Mastery before moving on to Symbol Mastery with words. If the letters are correctly formed, even if not of uniform size, and the student is satisfied, then I think it is usually fine to move on. But if there are consistent problems with a particular letter or the letter is inaccurate (such as if the letter is reversed or clearly incorrect, then it my be a sign of an unresolved trigger. In that case you would probably want to guide the student toward discovering their own error, and/or do detriggering of the particular letter if necessary.

  2. Jon
    June 2, 2017 at 9:00 am

    If a student models a word, should they be able to easily and immediately recall a detailed memory of the image if asked to recall it weeks, months or years later, or is the memory supposed to be unconscious?

    • June 2, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Great question! Because our goal is mastery, the memory should be both automatic and subconscious. Our goal is to supply a picture-thinker with the ability to think with words like “in” or “about”. But the only thing needed for that is the concept the word conveys – not necessarily the specific image.

      For example, a person might model the word “in” showing people “in” a house — as is shown at

      But later that person hears or reads the phrase, “toys in a box”. A picture thinker needs to retain the idea of something being “in”, but a mental image of a house is not important. So rather than consciously recalling the clay model that was created, it would be best if the person automatically creates a new mental picture to fit the sentence — this time with toys and a box, rather than people and a house.

      So even though we are using clay images to provide an example of the word, only word meaning is important.

      It would not be appropriate to try to test a student by later asking them to describe their model or recite the word’s definition. Instead, our goal is simply to eliminate confusion. If the student later seems to be triggering on a word or having difficulty with understanding a passage containing that word, it is possible that the word would need to be revisited and remodeled; or it may be that a secondary or alternative definition of that word needs to be remodeled.

      But very often picture thinking is very fast and happens on a subconscious level. So there really would be no purpose in testing the person’s memory of the model.

      • Jon
        June 6, 2017 at 3:44 pm

        Thanks for that answer! It definitely makes sense, especially once you consider multiple definitions often exist.

        – J

  3. Tattie
    April 27, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Would this also work with learning cursive handwriting? Maybe after the print alphabet is learned well?

    • April 27, 2017 at 2:14 am

      You certainly could try using clay modeling for cursive, especially if a person is having difficulty recognizing and forming cursive letters.

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