10 Essential Instructional Elements for Students With Reading Difficulties
A Brain-Friendly Approach
- Andrew P. Johnson - Minnesota State University, Mankato, USA
Learning & the Brain | Literacy, K-12 | Specific Learning Difficulties
Brain-friendly strategies to help all students become lifelong readers
Learning to read is more than just an educational issue; it’s a social justice issue. Did you know that struggling readers are twice as likely as their peers to drop out of high school? Through time-tested, research-based neurocognitive teaching strategies, 10 Essential Instructional Elements for Students with Reading Difficulties will enable you to hone readers’ skills and help students from all grade levels develop their ability to create meaning from print.
Drawing from five key areas of neurocognitive research, Andrew Johnson provides a ten-point teaching strategy that encompasses vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, writing and more. A key resource for creating intervention plans for struggling readers, features include:
- Information on the often-overlooked importance of emotions in the process of overcoming reading struggles
- Strategies to promote voluntary reading, even for the most reluctant students
- Useful resources such as graphic organizers, additional reading and writing activities, and QR codes that link to videos
- Use these strategies today and you can count on more students leaving your classrooms as fluent, lifelong readers.
Terry Bernstein, Former Senior Literacy Difficulties Specialist
London Boroughs of Camden and Westminster, UK
“This is the text I wish I had when I began to teach. Dr. Johnson clearly illustrates the process our brain uses to create meaning from text.”
Marty Duncan, Ed.D., Author and Former Educator
Andy Johnson has written a unique professional text, unique because this may be the first American book to discuss reading difficulties from a top-down perspective. What Johnson does, quite eloquently, is to argue the limitations of the bottom-up perspective for developing readers. On the other hand, Johnson presents the research supporting a top-down perspective, especially for developing readers who read with understanding. He doesn't argue against developing student decoding proficiencies as much as he argues for a far more contextualized approach in the development of this aspect of emergent literacy and for a much more important role for student self-selection of texts and for the engagement of students in wide reading.
His arguments are clear and his writing is easy to read. His suggestions for instruction are research-based and cover early literacy development quite completely. Primary grade teachers, especially, will love this book, and rightfully so.
"As an educator with 30 years’ experience as a reading specialist and learning disabilities teacher, I recommend this book as a resource that pulls together divergent ideas about reading, and weaves them together in a way that makes sense."
"It has become fashionable in recent years to view the teaching of reading as being as simple as getting children to sound out words. This is understandable. When we look at a page we see words made of out of letters, so it's easy to think that that's all there is to it. And for legislators and publishers this is an attractive proposition. The fundamental job of teaching children to read becomes something simple, logical, easy to measure, and of course easy to explain to parents. However, a closer look at what really goes on when we read soon tells us that the story is deeper, more beautiful, and more complex. Those words refuse to play ball (try “give” and “hive”) and when we read we don't actually look at every letter in every word--far from it. Professor Johnson tells the story of reading in a logical and clear manner with a book that is excellently researched, immaculately referenced, and full of practical tips for the practitioner."
"This book for teachers who want to help their struggling students learn to read and write includes classroom-tested reading and writing strategies and activities that students will enjoy and practice. Creating the conditions for student success is all spelled out in this book."
"This is the text I wish I had when I began to teach. Dr. Johnson clearly illustrates the process our brain uses to create meaning from text. He suggests reading teachers need to de-emphasize phonics and use activities that ask the student to also use semantic and syntactical cues. The text includes ten chapters of instructional elements with tons of activities to increase motivation, phonic awareness, and fluency."
Sample Materials & Chapters
Chapter 1 - Creating Meaning With Print