More Than Tutoring: Why Intensive Instruction Works

May 20, 2016


Those who are new to Lindamood-Bell instruction may be more familiar with traditional tutoring and programs which are generally conducted 1 to 3 hours a week over the course of months or years. Therefore, recommendations for intensive intervention—4 hours/day and 5 days a week—may be a new concept.


If your child is having difficulty with reading, spelling, reading comprehension, or math, they are most likely suffering from a language processing weakness. In order for an individual to become a global, independent reader and thinker, strength in these areas is absolutely mandatory. Your child’s sensory-cognitive functions must be intact, specifically their phoneme awareness—the ability to auditorily perceive sounds within words, symbol imagery—the ability to create mental imagery for sounds and letters within words, and concept imagerythe ability to create an imagined or imaged gestalt (whole) from language. If there is a breakdown within any of these areas, your child will struggle and experience frustration.


There is hope! These sensory-cognitive functions can be developed. In order for your child to strengthen his language-imagery connection, daily intensive instruction is necessary. Why daily intensive instruction? Nanci Bell provides reasoning for daily intensive instruction in the following excerpt from Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking:


“The rate of learning gain can be improved with intensive intervention. Students with severe weakness in concept imagery may be years behind in language comprehension. For example, Johnny, a student in the fifth grade with reading comprehension at the second-grade level, has a three-year gap between his grade level and his reading comprehension. Even with adequate oral vocabulary and decoding skills, Johnny didn’t gain a year in reading comprehension for each year in school…intervention has to decrease the learning gap by increasing the rate of learning. To increase the rate of learning, you need to provide the right diagnosis and the right instruction, in the right environment. The last is often intensive intervention, four hours a day, five days a week, which results in years of gain in weeks of instruction.”


But will it work for MY child?


Parents often worry that their child will not be able to maintain focus for so many hours. Lindamood-Bell sessions are organized to involve a high level of interaction, movement, games, and motivational rewards.  Students work with a different tutor every hour to keep the levels of attention and intensity high and the sessions interesting.  Further, our students see the success quickly and realize they can learn given the right tools!


To hear a very powerful story from a family about their decision to do intensive instruction, view Why We Chose Intensive Intervention.

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