Why do struggling readers get so frustrated?

A: Struggling readers get frustrated because most reading interventions lack an emphasis on underlying cognitive skills. Inferior programs don’t provide the right help. Prerequisite brain skills are missing in some children because of genetic or environmental influences.

What do struggling readers need?

Underlying Cognitive Skills

steps for struggling readers

Neuroscience research has shown us that reading proficiency requires a strong foundation of cognitive skills. The necessary skills are phonological awareness, processing, attention, automaticity, memory and sequencing.

Why don’t struggling readers get the right help?

Most intervention approaches start with reading fluency or reading comprehension. If this doesn’t work, adults tend to blame the child. Classroom teachers don’t have the tools to assess memory, attention, processing and sequencing. Sometimes they can recognize the underlying problems, but they don’t know what to do about them.

In the last ten years, there has been an effort to train students in phonological awareness. This is a wonderful result of all the research that has been done on reading acquisition. Songs, rhymes and syllable clapping games are fairly common now in preschool and kindergarten. Educational publishers have responded with software and manipulatives that capitalize on this market. Read our review of Earobics, one of the software products used by early educators.

Unfortunately, some students still need phonological awareness training in grade three and up. This is not available in an intermediate classroom.

Even if classroom teachers tried to address underlying cognitive skills, it wouldn’t work. It is almost impossible for an adult to provide the intensity of training that is needed in order to improve a child’s memory. The same can be said for processing, sequencing and automaticity.

How can struggling readers improve their underlying cognitive skills?

struggling readers

This is where personalized learning software does a better job than humans. It can provide non-judgmental repetition and customization. It can offer incredible intensity. This intensity can force the brain to make neural connections.

I use neuroscience-based programs to improve underlying cognitive skills. Once the underlying cognitive skills are established, my clients become proficient readers.

Anna Krueger, Clinical Director

Read our frequently asked questions about Fast ForWord to find out more.

FAQ about Fast ForWord

If you try our free demo of the early Fast ForWord programs, you will notice that there is no actual reading taught. There is not even any alphabet work. Instead, there is tons of work on phonological awareness, processing, attention, automaticity, memory and sequencing. In addition, the speech signal is slowed down so that even someone with severe deficits will be able to have success.

Other reading invention programs bypass these important prerequisites. This is why inferior programs frustrate students who have deficits in the core cognitive skills needed for reading proficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fast ForWord

There is a lot of information about Fast ForWord on this site! Keep reading…


About the Author Neuroplan

Online speech language therapy and literacy apps. Available across Canada. Dyslexia, Learning Disabilities, ADD/ADHD, Autism, Auditory Processing, Acquired Brain Injury, Stuttering, English Comprehension and Grammar.

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