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10 Essential Instructional Elements for Students With Reading Difficulties
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10 Essential Instructional Elements for Students With Reading Difficulties
A Brain-Friendly Approach



October 2015 | 256 pages | Corwin

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. 
“Dr. 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.”
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

 
Introduction
Context

 
Code First or Meaning First

 
Tools in Your Teaching Toolbox

 
Audience

 
 
Section I. Understanding the Reading Process
 
Chapter 1. Creating Meaning With Print: The Neurocognitive Model
Understanding Reading

 
Reading: A Neurological Perspective

 
The Neurocognitive Process

 
Last Word

 
 
Chapter 2. Eye Movement and Neural Pathways
Eye Movement During Reading

 
Understanding Our Learning Organ

 
Last Word

 
 
Chapter 3. Understanding Reading From a Cognitive Perspective
The Difference Between Brain and Mind

 
The Information Processing Model

 
The Two-Way Flow of Information

 
Last Word

 
 
Section II. Diagnosing Reading Problems, Documenting Progress, and Planning Instruction
 
Chapter 4. Diagnosis and Documentation
Diagnosing the Problem

 
Graded Word Lists

 
Graded Reading Passages

 
Assessing Comprehension

 
Putting It Together

 
Last Word

 
 
Chapter 5. Reading Lessons
SRE Lesson

 
Guided Reading Lesson

 
Shared Reading Lesson

 
Last Word

 
 
Section III. 10 Instructional Elements
 
Chapter 6. 10 Elements of Reading Instruction
No Magical Programs

 
Comprehensive Reading Instruction

 
Teaching Reading With the Brain in Mind

 
Last Word

 
 
Chapter 7. Emergent Literacy: Concepts of Print and Phonemic Awareness
Approaches to Early Literacy Instruction

 
Creating the Conditions for Early Literacy Learning

 
Concepts of Print

 
Phonemic-Phonics Hybrid Activities

 
Last Word

 
 
Chapter 8. Emotions and Motivation
Emotions

 
The Value-Expectancy Theory of Motivation

 
Some Basic Strategies

 
Last Word

 
 
Chapter 9. Literature and Instructional Approaches
Strategies for Promoting Voluntary Reading

 
Instructional Approaches

 
Last Word

 
 
Chapter 10. Phonics
Fawnix

 
14 Strategies

 
Last Word

 
Appendix: Phonics Checklist

 
 
Chapter 11. Strategies for Developing Word Identification Skills
Terms and Concepts Related to Word Identification

 
Context Clues: The Semantic Cueing System

 
Word Order and Grammar: The Syntactic-Cueing System

 
Word Parts

 
Morphemic Analysis

 
Sight Words

 
Last Word

 
 
Chapter 12. Fluency
Reading Fluency

 
Neural Pathways and Networks

 
Strategies for Enhancing Reading Fluency

 
Avoid Round-Robin Reading

 
Last Word

 
 
Chapter 13. Comprehension of Narrative Text
Comprehension Basics

 
Teaching Tips

 
Activities Organized by Cognitive Process

 
Last Word

 
 
Chapter 14. Comprehension of Expository Text
Expository Text

 
Teacher Pre-Reading Strategies

 
Study-Skill Strategies

 
Pedagogical Strategies to Develop Cognitive Processes Related to Comprehension

 
Last Word

 
 
Chapter 15. Vocabulary
Attending to Vocabulary

 
General Principles for Developing Students’ Vocabulary

 
Strategies for Developing Students’ Vocabulary

 
Visual Displays and Graphic Organizers

 
Last Word About Words

 
 
Chapter 16. Writing
The Why and How of Writing

 
Specific Strategies

 
Last Word

 
 
Epilogue

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. 

Dick Allington, Professor of Education
University of Tennessee

"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."

Joan Whoolery, Reading Specialist
Fairfax County Public Schools, Alexandria, VA

"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."

Terry Bernstein, (London Borough of Barnet) and former Senior Literacy Difficulties Specialist
London Boroughs of Camden and Westminster. (UK)

"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."

Paul Wickham
Contra Costa County Office of Education, retired teacher from the Los Angeles Unified School District

"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."

Marty Duncan, Ed.D., educator, author, former teacher and superintendent

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