Instruction

Once we complete our Assessment Process, we can create a customized plan of action for your student.  

While most children begin school with the ability to learn successfully, others struggle and need individual attention. Our focus is different from that of school intervention and subject-driven tutoring.

There are key processes necessary for effective reading, spelling, comprehension and written expression. We focus on these processes, not content. Our targeted, one-to-one instruction develops these key processes. The instruction is systematic, multi-sensory, and explicit. Our teaching methods are research-validated and integrated with the best practices in the field of reading. Each child has a customized plan of action that is designed to close the academic gap in the shortest amount of time possible.

We create a joyful environment that supports, empowers and nurtures each child with their learning. The sessions are highly interactive, fast-paced and fun! This approach enables a child to achieve a level of success that truly reflects their effort and intelligence. And more importantly, this boosts a child’s confidence and helps them discover the joy of reading and learning!

Built from the Research

Implemented so it is fun to learn!

Our instruction is developed for each student based on the guidelines of Scientifically Based Reading Research.

Reading and Spelling

Reading is a complex process. However, the reason is simple – reading is not a ‘natural’ process. Our brains are hard-wired for spoken language, not print. Scientific research has found that reading does not just happen. Explicit instruction is needed to create the brain circuitry needed to read. There are many parts to this reading circuit, and they all have to fully develop and become connected for the child to read well.

 

The foundation of the reading process begins with phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize the individual sounds or “phonemes” of spoken words. More specifically, it is the ability to identify, blend and segment these sounds. Reading, at first, is not about letters – it’s about sounds!

 

The next critical step is phonics. This is the process of attaching sounds to letter symbols. This ability to link letters with their corresponding sounds allows someone to read unfamiliar words. We think of this as word analysis.

 

Symbol imagery is also necessary to give a child a more fluid way of connecting sounds to print. Symbol imagery is the ability to “picture” or see words in the mind’s eye. A child images letters and words in their mind, manipulating sounds and letters to build automaticity. With symbol imagery in place, one can improve the ability to connect with the sequences of letters, which is necessary to develop sight word recognition. This, in turn, allows for rapid processing (fluency) and quick self-correction.

 

Strong phonemic awareness and symbol imagery also improve spelling ability. Good spellers are able to identify and pull apart the individual sounds in a spoken word and then match those individual sounds to letter symbols (phonics). Visual memory and knowledge of word patterns are also important.

 

When all of these areas are stabilized and integrated, a child can leverage context and vocabulary to further develop fluency.  All of this leads to the ultimate goal of reading – comprehension.

Comprehension

Comprehension is essential to academic learning in all subject areas and to lifelong learning as well.

 

While some children need help with the mechanics of reading, others are fluent readers but have difficulty with comprehension. A child may get the literal meaning of what they are reading, but struggle with deeper understanding. They may be able to memorize the information to answer basic questions or to pass a test, but not fully understand the concepts. A few facts or parts can be grasped or memorized, but the whole — the main idea or principle content — is not fully understood.  Consequently, interpretation or “reading between the lines” is also out of reach. In addition, comprehension difficulties may not show up until the middle school years, when students are expected to comprehend abstract concepts.

 

Children’s books, by and large, are designed to aid comprehension by representing words with illustrations. As reading levels become increasingly difficult, there are fewer and fewer illustrations. It is assumed that readers are creating their own pictures, but this is not always true. Effective language comprehension requires well-developed concept imagery, background knowledge, vocabulary and memory. Deficits or inefficiencies in any of these areas may lead to difficulty processing, retaining, or expressing information.

 

Our instruction focuses on conceptualizing language – beyond the ink on the page to what the words really mean when put together. This includes developing and refining dual coding — the ability to link words and pictures in the mind — so a child can make mental “movies” as they read or listen to language. Typically, those students who do not make accurate “movies” do not appropriately comprehend the whole of what they read or hear. Beginning with single words, the method continues through sentences, paragraphs, and whole texts. When concept imagery is more accurate, reading and listening comprehension become more effective. This, in turn, leads to higher level skills such as inferences, predictions, evaluations and conclusions. In essence, a child begins to learn at a much deeper level.

Written Expression

Written expression is as important to academic success as is reading and comprehension. Short answer responses, essays, book reports, and other papers are often the end product a teacher or professor uses to assess a student’s learning. Written composition varies in form and production according to its purpose and audience. However, for this to be done effectively and efficiently, one must be able to clearly convey a main idea and offer development of that idea in an organized format with appropriate grammar and punctuation. Developing one’s ability to compose sentences and paragraphs that are highly descriptive and pleasingly worded also enhances the process. However, it is a task that many students struggle with and tend to avoid.

 

Cincinnati Reading Center has created a Writer’s Road Map™ that helps students become better writers. We work on getting ideas down on paper in a clear and organized way. The learning process we use when comprehending – creating images in your mind that match the words on the page – is also used when writing. One’s ability to dual-code, or shift back and forth between words and concept images, makes it easier to put those words on paper. The focus is on the thinking process behind writing, not merely the content. Then the child can figure out what they want to say and envision how it will all be organized on paper, before picking up a pen or putting fingers on a keyboard. Once a mental representation of what the student wants to say is completed, graphic organizers are used to plan and organize the structure of the writing. This involves writing effective sentences and paragraphs, planning papers, and developing a “writer’s voice.” We include writing in a variety of genres such as personal narratives, compare and contrast essays and opinion papers. The writing is then critiqued and revised as needed. Grammar, sentence building, and vocabulary are also incorporated as appropriate. With this approach, students develop the necessary tools to simplify and enjoy the process of writing.

We are your guides to helping your child succeed

What does a parent do?  Schedule a formal reading evaluation!

With a reading evaluation, we will learn together the strengths and weaknesses of your child’s reading processes, and identify the root cause of the reading difficulty.