Laterality and Learning

Laterality is one of the nine areas of tactile-kinesthetic processing that impacts learning. Simply stated, laterality is the internal awareness of space located to the right and left of the mid-line in the body. Furthermore, it is the internal awareness of both sides of the body working together and in opposition to each other.

Tactile-Kinesthetic Perception

Laterality and Learning: The Impact

Laterality difficulties can lead to problems with recognizing the difference between ‘b’ and ‘d’, ‘p’ and ‘q’, ‘was’ and ‘saw’ or telling how far or near something is in relation to themselves. This is also characteristic of children that don’t have a preferred hand for writing (being right handed or left handed). Sometimes children and even adults have difficulty with holding a piece of paper at the same time they are writing on it. Often these children have difficulty with crossing the mid-line.

These problems directly impact reading comprehension skills and your ability to read fluently. They also impact spatial awareness and your ability to mentally visualize both objects and stories (which aids memory skills) and rotate objects in space. Remember, a ‘d’ is the same shape as a ‘b’ and flipped down and over a ‘p’ or a ‘q’.

The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health report states:

A meta-analysis of Uttal et al. (2013) proved stable and transferable improvement of visuo-spatial abilities via special forms of spatial training even if the post-tests were not conducted immediately after finishing the training period. Beside that, the increase of subjects with initially weaker visuo-spatial abilities was larger than for rather skilled subjects.

This report also notes,  “There is lot of research which shows the relation of motor tasks, particularly motor tasks, which are conducted with hands and different kinds of cognitive activity, especially the influence on mental rotation performance of children and adults.” (Wohlschläger and Wohlschläger, 1998; Wiedenbauer and Jansen-Osmann, 2008).

Laterality and Learning Activities

There are a variety of activities you can do to improve laterality. One activity is to move a soccer ball with small kicks  using your dominant foot for 25 feet and then turn around and and move it back with small kicks, using your non-dominant foot. Additional laterality activities are included in the Summer Reading Program‘s Brain-Body Activities.

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in developing learning programs that target how people learn through the visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic processing systems. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

Auditory Processing and Spelling: How Are They Connected?

When you hear a new word for the first time, do you try to spell it? Often, it is easier to read a new word than it is to spell it. Auditory processing is the process of how your ears receive information and the steps involved to recognize or understand that information. Spelling integrates letter knowledge and phonological awareness (the ability to identify, manipulate, and use sounds of oral language) together. It is the ability to match the sounds that you hear to letters. Reading is the decoding of words, whereas spelling is the encoding of words. When you work on improving spelling, you inherently improve reading.

Areas of Auditory Perception

Auditory Processing and Spelling: The Reading Connection

We process information by hearing, seeing, and doing. Each of those systems is critical to our ability to learn.

Auditory processing skills are foundational for learning to read and spell. Phonemic awareness and phonics are the first steps in learning to read as well as spell. Both phonemic awareness and phonics depend on the auditory system. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds – phonemes – in spoken words. Phonics is the ability to accurately relate an auditory sound to a visual symbol such as a letter or letters. This is exactly what we do when we spell.

We hear in order to learn and understand. Auditory processing or perception then is the ability to hear, understand, and use what you have heard. Spelling then uses what you have heard to place the correct letters with the sounds they represent. This process is also known as encoding.

According to Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children by Catherine E. Snow, M. Susan Burns, and Peg Griffin, Editors, “Skilled readers develop a knowledge of spelling patterns and specific word identification strategies. They also have automatic word retrieval (fluency).”

Areas of Auditory Processing that are Integral to Spelling

Auditory-Visual Integration

This is the ability to accurately relate an auditory sound to a visual symbol.

Auditory Closure

An auditory processing area that affects spelling. This is the ability to combine sounds that are presented orally to make words. For instance, when given the individual sounds: c, a, and t; auditory closure is the ability to bring those individual sounds together to make the word cat. It is also the ability to ‘fill in’ the missing piece of a word. For example, if I were to say ‘po _a to‘, you would be able to fill in the missing ‘t‘ and say ‘potato‘.

Auditory Discrimination

The ability to discriminate between words that are similar or different in the way they sound e.g.: mob and mop; very and berry; scream and stream; mesh and mush.

Auditory Figure-Ground

The ability to attend to instruction or someone talking when there is background noise. Can you pay attention to what is being said? Or, are you distracted by the background noises?

These are four of the nine areas of auditory processing that impact spelling and reading.

Summer Reading Program incorporates 9 Areas of Auditory Processing

Bonnie Terry’s Summer Reading program uses proven methods that improve your auditory processing system:

  1. Reading Fluency Training that Incorporates Phonemic Awareness
  2. Rapid Naming Activities
  3. Phonics and Spelling Video Lessons
  4. Auditory Memory Activities
  5. Auditory Discrimination Activities
  6. Auditory Figure-Ground Activities

Learn More

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in developing learning programs that target how people learn through the visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic processing systems. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

 

Visual Processing and Brain-Based Learning

Visual processing is the process of how your eyes receive information and the steps involved to recognize or understand that information. Brain-based learning methods are based on the latest scientific research about how the brain learns. This includes cognitive development— how students learn differently as they age, grow, and mature socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Within brain-based learning is the awareness that we learn through the vision, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic systems.

The Visual Processing System Explained

We all receive information through our five senses: smell, taste, hearing, seeing, and doing. Within each of those senses, there are subcategories. The sense of smell can sense sweet, pungent, savory, floral, etc. The sense of taste can break down foods into salty, sweet, bitter, or sour. Within hearing (auditory processing), seeing (visual processing), and doing (tactile/kinesthetic processing), there are 9 sub-categories each. When learning is difficult, it is due to one or more of those areas not working as efficiently as they could, should and can. And, when you want to optimize learning, pay attention to what you are doing specifically to address each of these systems.

Visual Processing and Brain-Based Learning

Research from Early Choice Pediatric Therapy has found that once a child enters school, about 75% of the classroom activities are directed through visual processing pathways. This is one compelling reason to be sure to include a variety of visual activities to improve reading and overall learning skills.

Additionally, according to the National Vision Research Institute of Australia, about 40% of the human brain is involved in one form or another with visual processing.

Let me explain… Upon visual input, visual signals leave the eye and follow a path into the superior colliculus in the brainstem. This is where the electrical impulses react and control all eye movements such as blinking, dilating pupils, and tracking objects that are moving or tracking a line of words. The optic nerve then forms synapses and sends neurons to the occipital lobe of the cerebral cortex. This pathway is responsible for experiencing and controlling visual perception. The input comes from both eyes. The right cortex receives impulses from the left orbit and the left cortex receives input from the right orbit.

Rayner, in 1997, summarized 25 years of research on eye movements. Reading involves rapid eye movements, which are called saccades. These rapid eye movements and tracking are separated by fixations when the eyes are relatively still. Saccade movements typically travel about 6 to 9 letter spaces. They are not impacted by the size of print. The complete perceptual span is larger, extending to 14 or 15 letter spaces to the right and 3 to 4 spaces to the left. It is the saccade movement to the left combined with the perceptual span length that assures that every letter of every word enters the visual field.

About 10-15% of the time, readers also shift back (known as regression) to look back at material that has already been read. And as text becomes more difficult, saccade length tends to decrease and regression frequency increases.

It is important to note that the space between words does facilitate fluent reading. When the spacing between words varies or is not available, reading is slowed by as much as 50%. The research further notes that efficient eye movement is more critical than generating predictions of upcoming words. Readers systematically move their eyes from left to right across the text and then fixate on most of the content words. The processing associated with each word is very rapid, and the link between the eyes and the mind is very tight. Rayner, K. (1997) Scientific Studies of Reading, 1(4) pages 317-339.

Summer Reading Program incorporates the 9 Areas of Visual Processing

Bonnie Terry’s Summer Reading program uses proven methods that improve your visual processing system:

  1. Reading fluency training
  2. Rapid naming activities
  3. Visual memory activities
  4. Visual discrimination activities
  5. Eye-aiming activities

Learn More

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in developing learning programs that target how people learn through the visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic processing systems. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

8 Family Activities for the 4th of July

July 4th is the perfect time for family activities like a picnic or BBQ. While the family is together, be sure to play a few games. You can do relay races, an obstacle course, or even a water balloon toss. Relay races and obstacle courses actually improve several areas of learning including auditory memory, visual memory, laterality, and directionality. These activities all work on the brain-body connection which is critical to learning.

Brain-body activities such as relay races, obstacle courses, or playing musical chairs are typical movement activities that are fun for kids of all ages and are done in just a few minutes. Additional activities can be as simple as playing freeze tag or tossing bean bags at a target. The sensory systems in our brain are all interconnected and when we develop them in different ways, it also helps improve our academic skills.

Family Activities Improve Learning Skills: Relay Races Improve Areas of Perception and the Brain-Body Connection

Wheelbarrow Race

  • Pair kids in teams of two and mark off the start and finish lines. One player in each team must walk on his hands while his partner holds his ankles. Together they go as fast as they can to the finish line, then switch places and race back to start.

Egg on a Spoon Race

  • Form two teams. Give every player a spoon. Give each team a hard-boiled egg (or a plastic one). To play, teams carry their egg from the starting line to a turnaround point and back again, then pass it to a teammate to repeat the process. If the egg is dropped, the player must stop and retrieve it. Whichever team gets the egg back and forth the fastest wins.
  • Variations: Use a raw egg; skip the spoon and use an armload of plastic eggs; skip the egg and use a bowl full of pennies that must be transferred on the spoon; add obstacles to the playing area; require players to march or skip instead of walking

Balloon Race

  • These races are best for kids over 4. Littler ones may be scared by popping noises, and fragments of popped balloons are a choking hazard. Split the group into teams and have them stand in a single-file line. Give the leader of each line a balloon. He must pass it through his legs to the player behind him. That player passes it overhead to the next player. Repeat this pattern until the balloon gets to the end of the line; the last player runs to the front of the line and (optional!) pops the balloon to win the game.
  • Variations: Use water balloons or a beach ball; have kids race from start to finish lines holding a balloon between their knees or back-to-back with a partner, or, in pairs, balancing a balloon on a towel or piece of newspaper.

3-legged Race

  • Divide players into teams of two. Have them stand side-by-side and tie adjacent (inside) legs together using a bandanna or scarf. Mark off the start and finish lines. The three-legged pairs must work together to race to the finish. It’s harder than it looks!
  • Variation: Have duos link arms instead. To make this tougher, give them something they must carry together, such as a football or a small bucket of water.

Potato Sack Race Outside

Water Relay Races

  • Give each team a plastic cup and a bucket full of water. Put one empty bucket for each team at the finish line. Players must take turns filling up their cup from their bucket, then dumping it into their empty bucket. The game is over when the once-full bucket is empty; the team with the most amount of water in their finish-line bucket wins.
  • Variations: Use a large sponge instead of a cup; poke a few holes in the cup and make kids carry it over their heads

Dress-Up Relay

  • Divide your group into two teams. Place two similar piles, boxes, or suitcases of dress-up items at the end of the playing area, one per team. The first player runs to the pile, puts on all the dress-ups on top of her clothing, then runs back to her team. She removes all the dress-up items and gives them to the next player, who must put them all on, run back and forth across playing area, and then remove the dress-ups so the next player can repeat the process. Variations: Have the first player put on just one item from the pile. The second player has to put on that item, plus a second one. The third player puts on three items, and so on.

Be sure to take pictures too!

Fireworks Family Activities Improve Learning Skills

Get the most out of your trip to view the fireworks. Be extra observant. Count how may blue, green, red, white, and multi-colored fireworks there are. You can even make a chart for this. Decide which colors were your favorite ones. Was there a style that you liked better than another? This will help you with your observation skills. Be sure to take pictures throughout the day.

People watch. Look at the different kinds of people that come to view the fireworks. Bring a few sheets of paper with you so you can keep track of how many little children? How many do you think were school-age? How many teens? How many adults? How many people were dressed in red, white, and blue? Kids can also compare their counts with their siblings. Did you each get the same amount? If not, why do you think your counts were different?

Stretch Activity: Scrapbook / July 4th in Review

Afterward, on July 5th, put your pictures together with a quick summary of your day using graphic organizers from the Summer Reading Program. Then, 3-hole punch your summary and keep it in a family notebook. At the end of the summer, you’ll have a great family memory book as well!

Summer Reading Program Family Activities

Family outings and activities are built into the Summer Reading Program. This is one of the ways we build memory skills in addition to having a good time with your family. The activities improve your overall experience bank from which to draw upon while reading. This is your factual knowledge base, another piece of the comprehension puzzle. Take pictures or draw pictures of your family activity. Place them with a few sentences about the activity into your family memory book. Then, go through the family memory book and talk about the great times you had. Doing this will improve writing skills and both auditory and visual memory skills as well as 15 other areas of learning too!

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Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

Outsmart Summer School with Online Summer Reading Program

Registration is now open for the world’s first parent-friendly online summer reading program. The program includes the five principles of reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension) plus brain-body and executive function skills. Designed by learning expert Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET., the program is six-weeks long and takes 45 to 60 minutes a day.

This unique summer reading program allows parents to fit the activities into their schedule at home. It is accessible online with instructional videos to watch and worksheets to print out. The actual activities, however, are done offline at a table or outside.

“We love your program because we have five solid years of data supporting your work,” says the author of School Moves for Learning, Debra Wilson.

Terry’s program https://SummerReading2018.com/ typically shows three-to-six-month reading level gains in just six weeks. Some families even see results upwards of 50% to 75% gains in reading fluency and comprehension. Terry states this occurs because the program “incorporates the five principles of reading along with brain-body and executive function activities along with reading and vocabulary games using visual, auditory, and kinesthetic methods.”

Terry is releasing this summer reading program because the average reading scores of fourth and eighth graders have not significantly improved since 2013. According to the Nation’s Report Card, as of 2015, 64% of fourth graders and 66% of eighth graders are below proficient in reading. Terry states, “Ninety-five percent of reading problems are related to visual tracking problems, which are not tested for in most schools.”

Bonnie Terry’s Summer Reading Program Focuses on:

  1. Fluency training (reading accurately from left to right) for just 5 minutes a day improves foundational reading skills. It helps every child read not only at but above grade level. “Kids read across not down and need to master the art of eye tracking, just like a skilled athlete uses better eye-tracking skills to catch, throw and hit the ball,” she says.
  2. Listen, learn and do. Kids do not learn something until they act on it. Terry’s Summer Reading Program uses graphic organizers which show kids how to easily take notes on what they read. They learn how to turn those notes into summary paragraphs. “If ultimately we want to teach our kids to be good thinkers, we have to show them how to take action on what they learned,” says Terry. “Writing is the doing part of thinking.”
  3. Play games and have fun. Games establish an emotional connection with reading and writing, because they help you find main ideas, details, and how to write good sentences, and improve vocabulary.

Vocabulary Card Game

Regina Adams says, “We love the variety of activities. They have really made a difference in my children’s reading skills. Your program helps build their self-esteem. The activities included are short and quick.”

Learn More

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

Vocabulary and Comprehension: How Are They Connected?

There is a direct correlation between vocabulary and comprehension. If you don’t understand a word, how it is used, what it is related to, you don’t comprehend it. Comprehension is the ability to understand, analyze, synthesize, and use what you have read, heard, or seen. Words, otherwise known as vocabulary, are in everything: what you read, what you speak, what you listen to. Words are everywhere. So, to improve comprehension, we need to improve the vocabulary we use.

Vocabulary is often described as the knowledge-base of words and their meanings. This is the ‘go-to place’ in the memory system of the brain where comprehension takes place. We take in a word, process it, make associations with it, and file it into long-term memory. Once it is in long-term memory, it can be retrieved and used.

If you don’t have a large vocabulary to draw upon, comprehension becomes difficult. In fact, “lacking either adequate word identification skills or adequate vocabulary will ensure failure” (Biemiller, 2005). The Nation’s Report Card states, “Students who scored high in comprehension also scored high on vocabulary.” So, improving one improves the other. The more words you know (understand and can use appropriately), the better you comprehend.

How To Improve Vocabulary and Comprehension

Research states that vocabulary needs to be taught in a variety of ways for students to be able to use the words they learn at a later time.

  1. Direct instruction
  2. Repetition and multiple exposures
  3. Words must be useful so they can be used in multiple contexts

Apply the Research on Vocabulary and Comprehension

Teach new vocabulary:

  1. Use a story to model what the word means.
  2. Use the new word into a story or example that they have made up.
  3. Draw a picture or doodle a picture of what the words mean.
  4. Write the new word in a vocabulary notebook, keep your story example and picture with it.
  5. Engage in conversations using the new word every day for 5-10 days.
  6. Play games with the words.

The Summer Reading Program provides a variety of ways to improve vocabulary and thereby comprehension skills. Two specific activities are to draw a picture or doodle about what your read and playing the weekly card game. The card games rotate from word structure games that build vocabulary to specific vocabulary games that build word associations. Students learn and practice vocabulary in a relaxed game setting.  Eric Jensen, author of Brain-Based Learning, (1997) states, “Through visual and kinesthetic methods you’ll increase student performance.” Games do just that!

Learn More

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

Rapid Naming: What is it? How does it Impact Reading?

Rapid naming, often referred to as RAN (Rapid Automatized Naming), is critical to reading skills. It is the aspect of phonologic processing that allows a person to automatically retrieve the names and sounds of letters, symbols, words, word chunks, sentences, and rhymes in a quick and effortless manner.

This ability to retrieve stored information rapidly is directly related to the type of process that one goes through when they are reading. I like to think of it in terms of being able to press the ‘easy button.’ In other words, it is so easy to bring information up it is like you don’t even have to think about it.

In order to make sense of the written word, a child or adult must be able to quickly access and retrieve stored phonemes and/or word or word chunks that are stored in memory.

Rapid Naming (Rapid Automatized Naming or RAN)

Rapid Naming directly correlates with processing speed. When you are able to improve your visual processing speed, you inherently improve your reading skills. If it takes you less time to be able to recognize a shape, letter, or word, you are able to read faster. If it takes you less time to do this, it also means that it takes less effort.

Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) has been researched for close to three decades. The Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) Test demonstrates that the majority of children and adults with reading difficulties have problems with rapid naming. In fact, they are slower to process even most familiar symbols and stimuli in the language: letters, numbers, colors, and similar objects.

Snyder and Downey (1995) report from the Denver Reading Study that the accuracy rates of those with reading difficulties and those with normal achieving readers were not significantly different. The only significant differences noted were reaction time and production duration; readers with reading difficulties had significantly longer reaction times and production durations.

Can You Improve Your Rapid Naming Skills?

You can use flash cards of different symbols, shapes, colors, letters, and numbers and have your kids say the name of the objects as you cycle through the cards. But, because we read from left to right, the best way to practice rapid naming is to have shapes, letters, numbers and/or symbols listed from left to right. This activity also helps improve reading fluency and visual tracking skills.

Announcing Rapid Naming Drills in Our Summer Reading Program

As of today, Thursday, June 14, we have just added rapid naming drills to our Summer Reading Program. These drills focus on simple symbols to call upon and to scan from left to right to work on your ability to automatically interpret the symbol as well as to work on your visual processing and tracking skills. This is just one part of our holistic approach to improving reading skills. Additionally, we also have included specific reading fluency drills. Registration is now open.

Sign Up

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

Phonemic Awareness: What is it? How does it relate to reading?

Phonemic awareness combines the auditory and visual components of reading. It is the ability to understand sound structure. When we receive information through our senses, seeing, hearing, and doing, we use phonemic awareness to recognize words, phrases, and sentences. It is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate sounds. When we typically hear or read a word or a word part, we don’t often think in terms of the different sounds that are combined to make the word. Building these recognition skills of the sounds and components that make up words directly improves reading skills. Phonemic awareness is one of the five tenets of reading.

Components of Phonemic Awareness

Phoneme blending: Children listen to a sequence of separately spoken phonemes and then combine the phonemes to form a word. /d/ /o/ /g/ is dog. (This is the process used in decoding words.)

Phoneme segmentation: Children break a spoken word into its separate phonemes. There are four sounds in truck: /t/ /r/ /u/ /k/. (This is the process used in spelling words phonetically: “invented spelling.”)

Phoneme/Grapheme Correspondence: This is the sound/symbol relationship which also deals with visual memory. You teach which sounds are represented by which letter(s), and how to blend those letters into single-syllable words and then multi-syllable words.

Phonemic awareness instruction can help beginning and more advanced readers alike.

When You Improve Phonemic Awareness, You Inherently Improve Your Spelling, Reading, and Even Note-Taking

Phonemic awareness is one of the foundational pieces of reading. Bridging phonemic awareness with phonics is your ability to use that awareness and match the sounds to the symbols. These are two pieces of the five tenets of reading. Combining and improving your phonemic awareness and phonics also improves your ability to listen effectively and even take notes from a lecture.

The Five Tenets of Reading

  • Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds – phonemes – in spoken words.
  • Phonics is using the awareness of sounds and matching the sounds to the letter symbols.
  • Fluency is the ability to retrieve words effortlessly.
  • Vocabulary is the group of words you know and use effectively.
  • Comprehension is the ability to understand, analyze, synthesize, and use what you have read.

Phonics: More than matching the sounds with the symbols!

If students know the structure of how we put letters together to make words, the spelling (vowel) patterns, they can spell thousands of words. Your ability to see the patterns within words helps them to not only know what they are they are looking at but also know what sound the vowels will make. Conversely, when they hear a vowel sound, they’ll know how the syllable must be spelled to make that sound.

Playing with words, individual components of words as well as the vocabulary (meaning) of words expand a student’s ability to read, comprehend, and spell unfamiliar words. Our Summer Reading Program uses these specific strategies to improve reading skills effectively.

Areas of Auditory Processing

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

Spelling and Reading: How are they Connected?

Spelling and reading are mirror sides of each other. The spelling side is the encoding of words. The reading side is the decoding of words. These sides work hand in hand. In order to spell a word, you need to pull the word apart, a sound, pattern, or syllable at a time and retrieve the letters that represent those sounds, patterns, and syllables. You then either write them down or say them. The auditory, visual and tactile/kinesthetic memory systems are involved in this process. Think about it, how many times have you spelled a word out-loud and then write it down to double-check your spelling?

Researchers Brenda Rapp and Kate Lipka state, “We find clear evidence of shared substrates for reading and spelling. The results specifically provide strong support for a shared lexical orthographic function in reading and spelling in the left mid-fusiform region.” In other words, there are specific shared areas of the brain that build links between the visual forms and auditory forms of whole words.  Further studies by (Shahar-Yames and Share, 2008; Ouellette, 2010) conclude that practice writing your words brings an advantage to the long-term encoding-retrieval match (memory system retrieving the spelling of words).

So, how do you develop and improve both spelling and reading skills?

Spelling and reading need to be taught in an explicit manner made up of phonics instruction, the structural analysis including prefixes, suffixes, and root words, and comprehension strategies. You also can be taught to increase your rate of rapidly naming objects with specific exercises designed specifically with that in mind. However, you do not want to only do that. Any skill taught in isolation remains that, an improved skill in isolation unless you make the bridge to bring the skill from the isolated practice to real-life practice.

With spelling, you need to be taught in an explicit manner the sounds of the words and how to pull them together to make words. This is part of phonics and structural analysis referred to in the above paragraph. The Summer Reading Program teaches the sounds of the letters, how to put the sounds together to make words, and the several of the 8 structural vowel patterns in the English language. This addresses both encoding and decoding of words. This helps to cement, so to speak, your ability to both encode and decode thousands of words. Additionally, since best practices say these skills should not be taught in isolation, we work on the fluency of decoding words through the fluency portion of the program and comprehension through additional written techniques and games.

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

6 Benefits of Summer Reading Programs

Benefits of summer reading programs are well documented. In fact, summer reading programs have been around for more than a century, and they continue on because of their great benefits. Summer reading programs come in all shapes and sizes from online reading and answering questions to reading library books, to 4-hour per day programs, to online-delivery family participation programs that build family time fun activities into the program.

The 6 Benefits of Summer Reading Programs

  • Improve Reading Skills
  • Increase Desire to Read
  • Improve Self-Esteem
  • Neutralize Summer Learning Loss
  • Improve Comprehension
  • Improve Memory Skills

Overall, summer reading programs really do improve kids’ reading skills and increase their desire to read. Additionally, according to the School Library Journal, those who participate not only mitigate any summer learning loss, but they even show gains. Most kids develop an interest in reading, improve their comprehension, and further develop their memory skills. Reading content material even becomes more interesting.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Looking for the Best Benefits of Summer Reading Program

Are the five tenets of reading included?

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension

Is the Summer Reading Program Flexible?

  • Can you work the summer reading program on your time frame or are you tied to specific times of day?
  • Do you need to travel to the program?
  • Does the program offer a variety of reading activities including games or is it just reading and answering questions?
  • Is the program labor intensive?

Is the program based on your child’s reading level or on their grade level?

  • If your child is above grade level, can you start them there, or do they need to do their grade level activities?
  • If your child is below grade level or way below grade level, can you start them at their current level and level up from there?

Bonnie Terry’s Summer Reading Program allows kids to be kids and gives them the foundational skills in a holistic approach. This online-delivered program is one where families work together and play together as they improve their reading skills not just in school, but in life.

Learn more about Bonnie Terry’s Summer Reading Program.

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

The Brain-Body Connection and the Vestibular System: How does it relate to Reading?

The brain and body work together as a machine. This machine is designed to move through space efficiently. Vision is involved with walking and maintaining balance. Additionally, arms and legs swing, counterbalancing each other. The hips and buttocks stabilize the body. A person with good vision can see and read a sign that is 20 feet away while walking. The eye needs to be very stable in space. Together, the neck and vestibular system stabilize and refine the head and vision system.

The brain-body connection and the vestibular system are central to learning and processing information. The vestibular system is the sensory system that is the lead contributor to your sense of balance and spatial orientation. This system sends signals to the neural structures that control eye movement. The vestibular system helps us to focus our perception of objects and words. This is the system that helps us interact with the environment.

New neural connections are created whenever we throw or catch a ball, ride a bike, or even learn to read. When you input new information through your senses, your brain interprets this information and forms new connections. This is the work of the higher brain, the part of the brain that allows us to sense and understand the world around us.

During the process of walking, the vestibular system is activated. Your ability to control your body’s movement happens with your nervous system, spinal cord, brain stem, cortex, reticular system, and the limbic system working together. Information is passed up and down the body through the spinal cord. When the specific actions are executed, the tactile, auditory, motor, and visual systems sense the actions. Once the actions are completed, the cortex processes the information and performs higher-order thinking from the information generated during the activity. The cortex provides feedback as well as updates the memory banks.

This is why the vestibular system is considered the entryway to the brain and is said to have the most important influence on everyday functioning. The vestibular system is “the unifying system that directly or indirectly influences nearly everything we do,” (Hannaford, 1995, p. 38).

How Are Reading Activities Impacted by the Brain-Body Connection?

So, the vestibular system is important to higher-order thinking, receiving and interpreting data. Think about this for a minute. We receive information from taste, smell, seeing, hearing, and doing (tactile/kinesthetic). Once we receive the information, the brain needs to interpret the data. So, when we receive input in terms of words, shapes, sizes, directions, and space, the vestibular system sifts through the information and helps to interpret it, sending it to specific areas of the brain to gain meaning.

Simply stated, the vestibular system and the brain-body connection directly impact your ability to receive and interpret information: words, sentences, paragraphs, stories. It allows us to see the shapes, sizes, and positions of letters in space. Additionally, this system helps you to visually scan words across a page to read fluently and accurately. Without the ability to scan words across a page quickly and accurately, reading is stilted and comprehension is lost. So, as we improve the vestibular system, the system of brain balance, reading improves.

Brain-Body Activities

Brain-body activities are typically movement activities that are fun for kids of all ages and are done in just a few minutes. Activities can be as simple as balancing on an exercise ball, doing a tree pose, or tossing bean bags. The sensory systems in our brain are all interconnected and when we develop them in different ways, it also helps improve our academic skills. Even NASA has done extensive research on how brain-body activities can impact our ability to learn. Our Summer Reading Program includes numerous brain balance activities to improve reading skills.

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in developing learning programs that target how people learn through the visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic processing systems. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

Learn more about the Summer Reading Program

4 Steps to Prevent the Summer Slide (Learning Loss)

Wait, you want to prevent the summer slide, slip-n-slide? No, not that type of slide. We like that type of slide! We’re talking about the learning loss that kids often experience by not being in school over the summer. This is commonly referred to as the summer slide.

Summer break is upon us. This is your time to make a choice for your child: make a difference in their reading experience or fall behind with the summer slide? Children can lose between two and four months of learning over the summer. Children that struggle can lose between four and six months of learning.

You can make a difference to not only prevent the summer slide but also improve your child’s skills. You can even have fun while helping your child improve their skills. They can improve their skills in as little as 30-60 minutes a day, so they can still have tons of free time.

Step 1 to Prevent the Summer Slide: Plan Your Days, Weeks, and Months

I know that planning might sound like a strange summer activity, but it is really important. I’m sure you’ve all heard the statement, “fail to plan, plan to fail.” This applies very aptly to what are you going to do over the summer to ensure your children don’t succumb to the summer slide. However, more importantly, this applies to your child’s ability to be a part of the planning process. Children don’t automatically wake up one day as they get older and know how to plan their priorities as well as their day.

During the school year, so much of a child’s life is planned for them, from the moment they get up, to going to school, to after-school activities, and then bedtime. Teaching planning skills and being part of the planning process over the summer is one of the first chances they really get to be involved in planning.

When you have a stake in the plan, in what you are doing for the day, week, month, or field trip activity helps you to also give you a sense of belonging and self-worth. So, this is why planning and executive function activities are part of our 2018 Summer Reading Program. This gives children a chance to experience and carry out planning in a non-stressful way. Additionally, the planning process actually does improve reading skills.

Step 2 to Prevent the Summer Slide: Take Family Field Trips

Plan family field trips or adventures on Fridays or over the weekend. Rally together as a family and decide where you want to go. Let everyone speak up and ask even the youngest for their ideas. You don’t have to go far on your trips. Open up a map or search Google to find different parks, businesses, or museums that you haven’t been. This research phase can be a great part of the process of discovering where you want to go. Open up a calendar and plan out what days you can go where.

Then, to help your kids retain the wonderful experiences they are having, it is important to help them to process the activity. An easy way to do that is to have them write simple summary paragraphs about where you went and what they liked or didn’t like about the excursion. It is great to use fill-in-the-blank graphic organizers to help them with this. We have specially designed graphic organizers in our summer reading program.

Taking the important step of processing what they have done in a written format increases your children’s ability to make multiple connections with the activity. This increases comprehension in a multiple of ways. This will also give your children an enlarged memory bank of background knowledge to bring to any reading activity they do in the future.

Step 3 to Prevent the Summer Slide: Improve Reading Skills

summer slide reading fluencyOne of the most important things you can do to boost reading skills is to improve reading fluency. In our summer reading program, you will get our specially designed reading drills to improve your reading speed and accuracy. This part of the program just takes 5 minutes a day. Daily, short fluency training can make a huge difference in improving reading skills over the summer.

Learn about the 2018 Summer Reading Program

Step 4 to Prevent the Summer Slide: Enroll in the Summer Reading Program

We provide the framework, the overarching summer weekly schedule and even teach your kids how to plan their free time. Then we provide the video and audio lessons, reading material, and fun activities so your kids have a little bit of content work and then have the rest of the day to do whatever they want to.

The 6-Week Summer Reading Program includes:

  • Reading Fluency
  • Spelling
  • Comprehension
  • Phonics
  • Executive Function
  • Brain Balance Body Connection Activities
  • Video and Audio Lessons
  • Weekly Schedule
  • Easy Online Access
  • Help and Support

The difference is amazing. Sign up for our Summer Reading Program.

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

How Executive Function Skills Impact Reading

What are Executive Function Skills?

Executive function skills are part of our daily lives. These are the planning, organizing, and prioritizing skills that help you start a task and stay focused on it until completion. From doing your homework to planning a family vacation to building a sand castle, these skills are critical.

We don’t often think of the connection executive functions skills have with reading, but these skills also impact reading.

How Executive Function Impacts Reading

Any time you read:

  • You decide what you are going to read.
  • You decide when you are going to read.
  • You plan your reading to fit it into your day.

As you read a news story, an article, or a book, you constantly are using your executive functions skills by asking yourself:

  • Is this important?
  • Do I need to remember this?
  • What associations can I draw to the characters?
  • Do I have any personal life experiences that are relatable?

As you ask yourself questions about what you are reading as you are reading, it helps you retain, understand, and fully comprehend what you read. This is actually a component of executive function.

What reading processes are affected by executive function?

Your working memory and mental flexibility are activated by your executive function skills (asking yourself these questions, planning, and organizing your thoughts). Once you are able to organize your thoughts with your working memory and flexibility, you are able to act succinctly.

  • Vocabulary: helps you organize and categorize words to retain meaning
  • Grammar: helps you interpret content (the nuances and subtleties of the English language, for example: whether a group of words is a statement or a question)
  • Word and sentence emphasis: what words and sentences are important to gather meaning from (what type of mood or emotional context does the passage convey)

Executive function skills and working memory come into every aspect of reading. This includes retrieving word meaning and integrating that with prior knowledge and experience.

Your ability to maintain focus impacts your ability to read easily. Working memory comes into play by helping us to hold onto multiple bits of information in a paragraph as well as a story.

Executive Function Skills Build Foundational Reading Skills

Research by Laurie Cutting and George McCloskey has established the contributions of executive function to the reading process. Executive function skills work directly with working memory. If you improve your executive function skills, your reading comprehensions skills will naturally improve. There are specific activities for different age groups that strengthen executive function and reading skills.
Summer Reading Program 2018

Summer Reading Program Includes Executive Function Activities

We included executive function activities in our Summer Reading Program because of this direct connection. As executive function skills improve, reading skills improve.

The Summer Reading Program is for 1st through 8th graders. Every student can boost their reading skills.

Learn more about our Summer Reading Program here.

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

What can a Summer Reading Program do for your child?

A summer reading program can make the difference in your child’s future success. What if your child could make a 30% jump in their reading skills? What about 40 or 50%?

A parent just wrote me regarding her son. In a matter of three weeks, he had a 600% increase in his fluency, from 18 words per minute to 108 words per minute. Summer break is upon us, the perfect time to help your children get a ‘leg up’ on their learning.

Bonnie Terry Learning’s Summer Reading Program can be perfect for readers of all levels, whether they are at, above, or below reading proficiency for their grade level. It not only incorporates the five tenets of reading, but it focuses on improving the processes of how people learn. When your areas of visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic perception are working as well as possible, it makes learning and reading easier for you.

This program also benefits those with dyslexia, ADHD, learning disabilities, or other reading struggles. It is specifically designed to help those that are either behind in reading, struggle with reading, or just want to boost their reading skills.

What Should a Summer Reading Program Include?

One of the most important things to look for in a summer reading program is that it has fun activities but also includes the five tenets of reading. The five tenets are the principles of reading instruction. If these principles are included, you will see progress in reading.

Our Summer Reading Program Include All Five Tenets of Reading:

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension

What are each of these five tenets of reading?

  • Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds – phonemes – in spoken words.
  • Phonics is using the awareness of sounds and matching the sounds to the letter symbols.
  • Fluency is the ability to retrieve words effortlessly.
  • Vocabulary is the group of words you know and use effectively.
  • Comprehension is the ability to understand, analyze, synthesize, and use what you have read.

Our Summer Reading Program Also Include:

  • Spelling
  • Executive Function Lessons
  • Brain Balance Body Integration Lessons
  • Video and Audio Lessons
  • Weekly Calendar

Our program is a holistic approach to improving learning reading skills. By incorporating more than just the five tenets of reading, greater progress can be made.

What Parents Say About The Summer Reading Program for Struggling Readers

One component of the Summer Reading Program made a big difference for Brenda Prince. She says:

“I’ve been using the program with my ten-year-old special needs son who is reading below grade level and I can say that there has been a vast improvement as to his performance on each drill, both in his mastery of reading the words on the list as well as the number of words he reads each time. For example, his first attempt at Drill One which consists of Consonant-Vowel-Consonant words with the short a sound, he read eighteen words in the minute time frame but missed seven of those words. Over a period of three weeks, he was able to increase his speed to one hundred and eight words per minute and correctly pronouncing all of those words. When we moved on to subsequent drills, I noticed that he did much better, even on his first attempt at reading the word list.”

 

Janine Franks says:

“Thanks so much for the help you have given us. One of my sons was quite dyslexic in reading but after using your system, I rarely notice any sign of it. He actually enjoys reading now. He´s read Narnia on his own!”

 

Learn more about our Summer Reading Program here.

Be sure to sign up for the program.

Summer Reading Program 2018

Who Is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

Reading Fluency: What is it? And Steps to Improve it This Summer

What is Reading Fluency?

We often hear people about being fluent in different languages. This means that they are able to easily express and articulate themselves in that language. But, what is reading fluency?

Reading fluency is the ability to read easily, accurately, and articulately. It is the ability to accurately decode words. It is the ability to automatically process words. When reading aloud, it is also the ability to correctly add intonation (the rise and fall, pattern and pitch of voice when speaking) to words. This intonation correctly gives emphasis and life to a passage of words.

Reading fluency bridges the gap between word recognition and reading comprehension. When you are able to quickly, accurately, and easily read words, it is much easier to immediately understand the meaning of a passage. If you are not fluent and you are slow to read multiple words in sequence, it is much harder to comprehend or understand that sentence or paragraph as a whole.

Is it Important to be a Fluent Reader?

A fluent reader is a reader that reads with quickness and accuracy without effort or mindful attention to the mechanics of reading. In other words, a fluent reader has the ability to retrieve and read words automatically. Efficient readers are fluent readers. Reading slowly, single word by single word leads to both poor comprehension and frustration. If you can’t read quickly and hold the pieces of what you read in your mind, you typically don’t even like to read. It takes too much energy and labor.

If your child becomes a fluent reader, they could finally enjoy reading and get their assignments done faster. When you are a fluent reader, you can read at a faster rate while understanding what you’ve read. You improve your reading comprehension, processing speed, and other areas of perception.

Do these statements describe your child?

Do they…

  • Enjoy reading?
  • Take a long time to read?
  • Skip, repeat, or mispronounce words when reading?

Are they…

  • Confident fluent readers?
  • Reading in their free time?
  • Excited to read?
  • Decent readers but there might be room for improvement?

Announcing: 2018 Summer Reading Program for 1st – 8th Grades

Phonics, Reading Fluency, Comprehension and More

The Summer Reading Program is a 6-week program with videos, audios, reading selections, handouts, and brain-body activities, all online. Each week you will get a reading drill specifically designed to work on becoming a fluent reader and improve comprehension, visual tracking, and processing speed like those in our Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills books.

You will see progress each week. We have seen substantial reading fluency gains using our reading tools with hundreds of students in-house. Our results have been confirmed by an independent study on Bonnie Terry’s reading tools. This study was conducted by Dr. Debra Wilson with students grades 3-6 over a period of 5 years.

Research Behind Reading Fluency

The National Reading Panel report (2000) and other studies (Chard, Vaughn, & Tyler, 2002; Kuhn & Stahl, 2000; Rasinski & Hoffman, 2003) have given great emphasis to the importance of reading fluency, but it is still not a major component in learning to read in many schools and reading programs.

Samuels, a reading researcher from the 1970’s stated in 2006, “Comprehension requires the fluent mastery of the surface-level aspects of reading.” Additionally, Bashir and Hook in 2008 state, “There is a Key Link between fluency (word identification) and comprehension. There are specific ways you can improve your reading fluency.

Cecil Mercer’s research from the University of Florida has also proved short, daily practice of five to six minutes a day creates substantial reading gains. The key to overall success was doing the repeated oral reading over a period of time such as six months to twenty-three months.

Everyone Can Improve Their Reading Fluency and Comprehension

One homeschool mom recently tried our Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills out with her family:

Reading Fluency Review from Homeschool Mom

“When I first heard of Bonnie Terry’s 5 Minutes to Better Reading Skills program, I assumed it was only for beginning readers. Not so! It’s for everyone! My kids from 3rd to 6th grade are already benefiting from it and we’ve only been using it for a week. Their reading speed, confidence, and comprehension are going up by leaps and bounds!”

Read the Full Review

The Summer Reading Program 2018 includes Reading Fluency Training

Pam Cutler states, “I love your reading program and rave about it to everyone!! My son’s reading, writing, and self-confidence have dramatically improved, and the activities were fun to do.”

Karen Macy states, “My son was flunking out of first grade. We hired a private tutor, met with his teacher and his school principal. Nothing was working. The school was talking about holding my son back in the first grade. I felt that would have been devastating to his self-esteem. By chance one of the teachers mentioned the Bonnie Terry Learning System. I immediately went online and ordered it. Within weeks he was making progress. In fact, he just blossomed. He turned his school performance around so much that he was moved from the lowest groups to the middle groups and then the highest groups. It was amazing. He was so excited because work that he struggled with was now easy. His teacher was surprised with the change in him and he passed on to the second grade with no more problems.”

Learn More About the Summer Reading Program

Frequently Asked Questions