Helping Students Learn to Read

Basic Reader is a complete reading program designed for elementary age students who are struggling with reading.

There are three major causes of reading difficulties: students do not have the necessary perceptual skills; students are not ready cognitively; or the teaching method does not match the students learning style.

Basic Reader addresses all of these causes and helps students read better in five easy steps:

  1.  screen student for vision problems
  2. determine student’s learning style (figural, symbolic, or semantic)
  3. choose the best learning path for the student
  4. administer workbook and computer exercises tailored for the student
  5. reintroduce reading instruction

Basic Reader can be used with many different kinds of students: Continue reading

Attention Issues and SOI

When Ernest, age 10, came to my SOI classes twenty years ago, he drove everyone crazy.

He banged his pencil on the table, danced in his seat and only looked at his SOI brain exercise module when I asked him each question individually. Our teachers persisted in developing his attention by using an expanded form of SOI that included sensori-integration as well as brain training modules.

As Ernest did each balance board exercise, he would have to bring his attention again and again to the task at hand to be able to master it. He struggled at first, but as each exercise was mastered, he would be given the next level. Before the SOI program, I don’t think Ernest knew he could control his own brain. He just reacted to everything.

After about sixty hours of classes, he would come in, sit quietly at the table and engage in his booklets with interest. At school, he’d become a star pupil. He now knew how to shift into the reflective mode so necessary for success in reading, composition and math.

The process of finding out exactly what a student like Ernest needed and providing the right exercises in the right order plays out again and again in SOI/IPP. Easily 90% of the students we assist have attention issues of some kind. Ernest looked like a full-blown “ADHD” candidate when he first came in. His lack of control around focusing entirely evaporated, however, once his neurological connections were put in place through exercise – both physical and mental. Continue reading

To Teach and To Learn: A Separate Experience

I simply never tire of watching students strengthen their learning abilities through using the SOI modules (learning booklets) in the area of Cognition, Memory, Evaluation, Problem-solving, and Creativity. I remember leaving meetings focused on our daughter’s challenges in school feeling discouraged and frightened. We were told she had low comprehension.

A parent does not stop by the bookstore and buy a book on comprehension that would solve the problems being experienced in the classroom. Fortunately, SOI came into our lives when our daughter was nine and SOI knew how to teach comprehension! In her case, we learned it was visual comprehension that was the roadblock in learning how to read as revealed when she took the SOI Assessment of Learning Ability.

When I became trained in SOI and opened my own learning center in 1989, I became fascinated with the SOI process of assessment and development of individual learning abilities.  In my first year of serving students, my confidence increased dramatically. I was not tutoring students in curriculum; I was using the SOI materials to develop and strengthen the ability to learn curriculum. Continue reading

This Child Just Can’t Remember!

When I hear this statement from a parent or educator, my mind switches into a questioning mode.

What kinds of things don’t they remember?  Can you give me an example of what they can’t remember?  Is it just one thing? Is it multiple things?  Is it situational?  What’s happening when they can’t remember?  Is the information they don’t remember visual or auditory?  Is the difficulty in remembering information or numbers?

No, I don’t badger the witness; I just wonder.  The good news is that I don’t have to wonder long.

Fortunately, with the SOI assessment, we have the answers to many of these questions. Even better, Continue reading

Practice Makes Progress!

“Would you choose to build a house on top of an unfinished foundation? Of course not. Why, then, do we rush students through education when they haven’t always grasped the basics?”

Mastery based learning is a concept we embrace at Shady Oak Learning. Sal Kahn, who created the now famous Kahn Academy, recently illustrated this in a Ted Talk. Kahn created a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other  subjects. I get excited when I see well-known experts validate what we know to be true with our students in our school.

SOI Certified Learning modules help us provide a mastery based approach to helping young children acquire foundational learning skills. Each child progresses at his or her own level.

As Mr. Kahn explains in his talk, teaching for mastery and not for a grade, helps students take ownership of their own learning. When we initially test students with the Structure of Intellect test, we know their strengths and weaknesses, and how to improve their ability to master content.

Mastery learning, a concept researched and introduced by Benjamin Bloom in the 1970s, has been widely researched and proven to be effective to help students reach a high level of achievement, when students are given the necessary time and appropriate learning conditions.

Last year we had a group of students in Pre-K who observed their fellow K-2nd grade students have success mastering the Certified Learning modules. They couldn’t wait to get started on their workbook and computer modules when school started this year!

Our motto is “Practice Makes Progress”, and incremental progress with feedback motivates students to achieve.

written by: Pam Jarvis

Pam is an SOI Practitioner and the founder and Director of Shady Oak Learning, a private K-6 elementary school in Fort Worth, Texas.

To view this blog in Spanish, click here.

SOI Changes Lives in Many Ways

In 1988, I experienced SOI for the first time when my now-grown son struggled in the third grade. He was given the SOI test and completed sessions throughout the year at Brainworks (formerly of Carrollton). After I retired from teaching school in 2002, I became the math coordinator at Brainworks and learned a lot more about the SOI tests and modules.

In the spring of 2008, one of my adult clients at Brainworks was James O’Connell. James had finished a tour of duty in the army and was back home  trying to figure out what to do with his life. James had attended Carrollton schools and struggled because of his ADHD. He was apprehensive about going to college because of his past school experiences and struggles with math/algebra.

When I first began working with James, I had no idea what a big part of my life James and his mother, Patti O’Connell, would become! I still hear from Patti from time to time whenever James reaches a milestone in life. A couple years ago, she emailed me to remind me of where James began when I first met him.

James’ initial SOI test was on October 31, 2007. At that time, we estimated that James would need approximately 73 hours of SOI cognitive skills training and 40 hours of work with me on math and algebra. That amounted to about 50-60 two-hour sessions.

After only 38 hours of session time, however, James was Continue reading

SOI Success In My Classroom

I’ve had the pleasure of being the SOI/IPP teacher at Southcrest Christian School in Lubbock, Texas for four years. In those four years I’ve learned more about people and education than I ever did in college, and I know there is so much more to learn!

I think the thing that gives me the most pleasure in working my students is the self-confidence and happiness I see develop in them. I have so many success stories to share, but I will just give some snapshots of a few of them.

One particular student began to ride his scooter and bike all over the block after working in the IPP lab; he couldn’t do that before! Another student went to Disneyland with his family and was so much more confident; he skipped and danced with the Chipmunks in front of a room full of people. His mom sent me a picture of this proud moment!

My own son Continue reading