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What You Can Do When Your Student Doesn’t “Get It”

Apr 14, 2017
 
 

Teachers know there is a long list of reasons to make reading a lifelong habit: the cognitive workout we get when we read and the exposure to new ideas are arguably top reasons to be a regular reader. So, when a student (who otherwise has adequate decoding skills) is unenthusiastic about books, regardless of the topic, it is certainly reason for concern.

 

Most reading experts agree on one thing: in order to comprehend what they read, students must have strong decoding skills and adequate oral vocabulary. In other words, they must be able to accurately decode every word on the page and also know what the words mean.

 

Unfortunately, many students who are able to decode well and understand words continue to demonstrate weak comprehension skills. This is the student in your class who reads but never appears to “get it.” Words seem to go in one ear and out the other. This is a student who may also demonstrate weak memory when following directions or has a hard time understanding conversations.  They may appear to not even try to listen.

 

These students may only be getting parts of the information they read or hear, but not the whole.

 

They can be helped.

 

What is missing for these students?

 

Clinical research over the last thirty years indicates there is a separate comprehension weakness that is rarely identified. This weakness often undermines the reading process. It is a weakness, based in the sensory system, in creating an imaged gestalt or “whole.”

 

Nanci Bell, author of the Visualizing and Verbalizing® for Language Comprehension and Thinking program, first became aware of the connection that underlies comprehension while she was teaching phoneme awareness to students struggling with literacy, many of whom had been previously diagnosed as dyslexic. Nanci has described that at the time, she was unaware of a separate comprehension dysfunction. Like many others, she believed difficulty with reading comprehension was caused by weak decoding and weak oral vocabulary skills.

 

In the following excerpt from Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking, Nanci Bell describes the incident that sparked her passion to change learning for students struggling with weak comprehension.

 

………………………………………………….

 

Needing a break in the lesson from spelling word after word, I decide to have Allan,    [a college student majoring in architecture], read and give me a verbal summary.  Handing him a college level skill book, I ask him to read aloud so I can be certain he is decoding accurately.

 

He accurately reads the page of material, and I take the book from him, saying, “Good job.  Tell me what you read.”

 

Allan gives me the very complete summary, beginning with the main idea and then including all the details.  To my amazement, he infers, concludes, predicts, and evaluates the material.  He is confident and involved in the activity – a much different Allan than the one that struggles with spelling.

 

I stare at him, saying, “That was really an incredible summary.  How are you able to do that?”

 

Looking at me, surprised and now shy, Allan replies, “I don’t know.”

 

Realizing that Allan seems embarrassed and unsure of himself because of my question, I reassure him.  “That really was good.  You have very good reading comprehension.  How did you do that?  If I know what you do to remember what you read, perhaps I can teach others to do it.”

 

Thoughtful, Allan replies, “I don’t know.”  Then, after a pause, he says, “I make movies when I read.”

 

A little surprised, I ask, “What do you mean, you make movies when you read?”

 

“I don’t know.  I just see movies in my head when I read.  The words turn into pictures and I just remember the pictures, the images.  Don’t you do that?”

 

Thinking about the books I’ve read, I finally answer, “Yes.  I do.  I picture what I read.  I guess I’ve just not thought about it.”

 

“Do other people do that, too?”

 

“I don’t know … but I’ll find out …”

 

The statement “I make movies when I read” prompted my twenty-five-year-odyssey exploring the relationship between imagery and language.  Today, twenty years after first writing Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking, I am still passionate about the importance of imagery to comprehension and cognition. (Bell, 2007, pp. 4-8)

 

………………………………………………….

 

If you have students who are demonstrating weak reading or language comprehension skills, you can learn the steps of the Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking program by attending one of our workshops for teachers: Schedule and Locations

 

If you need further information or have questions, please contact us at:

 

Melbourne: (03) 9815 2949

Sydney Chatswood: (02) 9410 1006

Sydney Double Bay: (02) 9328 7119

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Attention South Pasadena, California-area parents and professionals!
Lindamood-Bell will join @insightcollective.spasadena for their annual free dyslexia screening event on Saturday, May 4th! Appointments are limited and required—call 626-765-4482 or email admin@orenboxerphd.com
The Lindamood-Bell Learning Ability Evaluation sheds light on how your child's strengths and weaknesses impact their reading, comprehension, and math skills. You'll receive personalized recommendations for the type and duration of instruction that can transform your child's learning ability and confidence! 
Get started at the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
Join us this summer for Lindamood-Bell’s evidence-based instruction, where we improve Reading, Comprehension, and Math skills in just a few weeks. 
Check out the full testimonial from pediatric neuropsychologist Dr. Oren Boxer at the link—watch now at the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
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Now hiring for summer! 🌞📚
We’re looking for energetic, positive individuals to work as tutors (who we call Clinicians) in a Lindamood-Bell Learning Center. Join us as we teach students to read and comprehend to their potential! For more information and to apply, follow the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
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#LindamoodBell #NowHiring
Students of all ages and abilities thrive at Lindamood-Bell Academy! We develop foundational skills and provide a personalized learning experience—in-person or live online.
📆Join us on Wednesday, April 18, for our Lindamood-Bell Academy Virtual Open House. Get details and register now—follow the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
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📣Attention educators! 
Join us Wednesday, April 17th, for a Leaders in Literacy Webinar featuring Dr. Robert Pasternack. As a teacher, New Mexico State Special Education Director, and, ultimately, as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education, Dr. Parternack has spent his career focused on improving student outcomes. Register now at the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
Lindamood-Bell summer learning can change your child’s life! Our evidence-based instruction improves Reading, Comprehension, and Math in just a few weeks. 
⏳Enroll now for special savings on your first week of summer learning. Hurry, spots are filling fast! Follow the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
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#lindamoodbell #testimonial #tutor
Now hiring for summer! 
We’re seeking energetic, positive individuals to work as clinicians (tutors) in a Lindamood-Bell Learning Center. Join us as we teach students to read and comprehend to their potential! For more information and to apply, follow the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
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#LindamoodBell #NowHiring
Our learning center creates a personalized learning plan tailored to each child’s specific needs. Students often make years of improvement after just a few weeks. Now enrolling for summer! Follow the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
Dr. Harold Koplewicz, founder of the @childmindinstitute, joined @nprfreshair to discuss why kids and teens are experiencing unprecedented levels of anxiety and depression— and what parents can do about it. 
On the topic of dyslexia and other learning difficulties, Dr. Koplewicz describes the value of evidence-based reading instruction and his family’s personal experience with Lindamood-Bell. 
Listen to the full episode – Link in @nprfreshair’s bio.
Your student can thrive with Lindamood-Bell Academy! We develop foundational skills and provide a personalized learning experience—in-person or live online.
📆Join us on Wednesday, April 18, for our Lindamood-Bell Academy Virtual Open House. Get details and register now—follow the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
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#LindamoodBellAcademy #LindamoodBell #dyslexia #privateschool
This summer, Lindamood-Bell can make the difference of a lifetime for your student. 
Our evidence-based instruction improves reading, comprehension, and math in a matter of weeks.
⏳Enroll now for Early Bird Savings on Summer Instruction. Learn more and get started at the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
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#lindamoodbell #testimonial #summercamp
🌞Now hiring for summer! We’re looking for energetic, positive individuals to work as tutors (clinicians) in a Lindamood-Bell Learning Center. 
📚Join us as we teach students of all ages to read and comprehend to their potential. We provide paid training in our evidence-based approach!
🌟View our current open positions and apply today! Follow the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
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#LindamoodBell #SummerPositions #JoinOurTeam  #NowHiring
Looking for a school where your child can thrive? Your child can reach their amazing potential with Lindamood-Bell Academy!
💡Join us on Wednesday, April 18, for our Lindamood-Bell Academy Virtual Open House. Get details and register now at the link in our bio, @lindamoodbellofficial.
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#lindamoodbellacademy #lindamoodbell #testimonial #openhouse
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