Learning how to read proficiently involves many different types of skills. These skills actually start developing in the womb. Early brain development from birth to age 5 is the most critical stage of brain development to establish the basic foundation for learning. The following link provides a great resource for families for understanding what they can do to help their child develop properly, First 2000 Days.
Most students who struggle in school entered school behind in the foundational skills that empower effective learning and never caught up-- The Skill Gap. Schools do a fairly good job of teaching students who have the foundational skills how to read proficiently. But, most do not do a very good job of catching up students who are behind. Summary on Closing the Skill Gap.
Learning how to read proficiently by third grade is considered the most important early academic milestone. Most children learn how to read by 3rd grade and then use these reading skills to learn content (learn to read--read to learn). So if a child is not proficient by 3rd grade they don't have the skills to learn effectively. They usually become frustrated and find it difficult to stay at grade level.
Our primary focus is to prevent this situation. We work with families with children in grades K-3 to ensure their students build the skills they need to become proficient in reading by the end of 3rd grade. We provide online tools that families can use at home to build the proper foundation of reading skills.
However, the same training principles can apply to students in grades 4 and up, even adults. We can help any student improve, but those who are behind benefit the most.
Details of the program are available on the training page. Members will have access to many free tools that can help any student develop stronger skills to empower more effective learning. Some of the tools have a nominal cost. More information on cost is available on the Cost Summary page.
We have a limited number of scholarships available and are working to raise funds to provide more scholarships.
Students in the program need to train consistently about 20-25 minutes daily, five days per week. Short sessions spread out over five days is better than one or two sessions that are longer. The consistent daily training is key to success.
The programs are delivered online. Families will need a computer, laptop, or tablet with high-speed access to the Internet. Tablets can be obtained for $50 or less from Amazon. Most areas have affordable access to the Internet. Check out the following link to explore what is available in your area. They also list access to low-cost computers. EveryoneOn
Check with your school to see if they have any programs that can help. If a family cannot afford Internet at home, be creative. Many shops and libraries have free Wi-Fi. Once you have a computer, you can check to see if there are any Wi-Fi signals in your area. If yes, knock on doors until you find the source and ask to see if you can partner with that person to help your child. Most neighbors are happy to help.
If you live in an apartment complex, talk with the manager to see if the complex can arrange for community access.
We are also working to raise funds to provide computers to those most in need. Please join now to gain access to the free components of the program. We also provide insights on things you can do at home with your children without a computer.
What a student believes about themselves and their abilities can dramatically influence how well they do in school.
What is a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset?
Do I or my children have a fixed or growth mindset and how do I change?
2. Visual Processing
How well your child processes visual inputs can significantly impact their ability to learn. Beyond just seeing correctly, the brain has to process visual inputs to make sense of the inputs. We provide access to several online tools that can help to identify and correct visual processing deficiencies.
3. Auditory Processing
What is the difference between phonemic awareness and phonics? How do they impact reading?
Does my child have strong auditory processing skills?
How can I find out and what can I do to strengthen auditory processing skills?
Most school testing in grades K-2 should assess phonemic awareness. If not, the Gibson Test has several subtest to assess this area. The brain training program has several exercises to help strengthen auditory processing skills.
4. Reading Kingdom
Reading Kingdom is a proven, award-winning early online reading program. We chose this program over other programs because of its effectiveness. It is designed to help students achieve the 3rd grade reading milestone. However, older students who are behind can also use the program to achieve basic reading skills. It is often used for ELL students.
Learn more at Reading Kingdom.
There is also a version for students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at ASD Reading
5. Cognitive Processing Skills
Of the major systems involved in learning, cognitive skills define how the brain processes information. These skills include processing speed, visual processing, auditory processing, memory, attention, logic and reasoning. These skills enable a person to process sensory inputs and then perform tasks such as reading, learning, paying attention, planning, remembering, understanding, and solving problems.
In the past, these skills were thought to be fixed once a child reached a certain age. A wealth of new science and research has proved that the mature mind can still make new neural connections and improve cognitive skills through the proper training.
Cognitive skills can be assessed with the proper instruments. Historically, this required a trained professional to do the assessment one-on-one. This is expensive and time-consuming, thereby limiting the number of students who can be assessed.
Gibson Test of brain skills
We have access to an online cognitive skill screening tool based upon a proven clinical model, the Gibson Test. If a student struggles with any aspect of learning, cognitive skill screening can identify causes. The Gibson Test is a nationally validated/normed online tool that measures cognitive skills functioning. The 45-minute screening includes nine different mental tasks organized like puzzles and games on a computer. By scoring the individual processing skills, the Gibson Test helps identify weak areas that may be contributing to learning struggles. Even high-performing students may be compensating and working harder than necessary because of one or more weak processing skills.
More information about the Gibson Test
The Value of Assessing Cognitive Skills
One of the best general Internet resources on the field of brain training is Sharp Brains.
We have developed an online brain training program in collaboration with one of the leading clinical brain training companies. They have centers worldwide.
Students train 25-30 minutes daily, 4-5 days per week; more up to an hour daily if it is important to improve skills faster. Most students need to train for 6-12 months. The length of time depends upon the need and consistency of training.
Your Family Ambassador will work with you to set up your student(s) for the Gibson Test and Brain Training once the Reading Kingdom Program has been completed or if we are working with an older student.
Additional brain development information and tools
The brain and how effectively it processes inputs defines how easily and well a student can learn. The following links provide additional resources to consider to help students who struggle improve their brain processing.
Brain Integration Therapy
Primitive reflex training