learning skills

Learning To Read: Essential Skills and Abilities

How many intelligent children are failed each year because they fail to learn to read? How many teachers blame themselves because their students do not thrive under their tutelage?

If one says it takes intelligence to learn to read, everyone would agree. Therein lies the conundrum – what is meant by intelligence? We know that general intelligence is not the answer.

What if we asked a different question – not how much intelligence but what kind. If we ask what kind of intelligence is required for learning to read, we have a much better chance of understanding how intelligence is related to reading.

In order to answer the question, though, we must look to a theory of intelligence that validly and reliably reflects the functions of the human brain as a basis for designing tests that will allow teachers to diagnose the kinds of intelligence a child brings to school and match those to what kinds are needed for successful learning.

It is much easier to include intelligence training in the earlier grades, and it is much easier to teach children than to “fix” adults who have failed to succeed in school.

With studies, the specific and different abilities as they related to different aspects of reading began to unfold like a picture book – specific and basic abilities like:

  • Visual memory for details
  • Visual closure
  • Visual attending
  • Conceptual classification
  • Visual discrimination

Each of these intellectual abilities took precedence in importance over Continue reading “Learning To Read: Essential Skills and Abilities”


You’ve Got Talent!

I have often thought of renaming my position from teacher to “Talent Development Specialist”.

The idea of helping children develop their talents and gifts started many years ago when I read a book call the The Power of Uniqueness by Bill Hendricks and Arthur Miller. This fascinating book changed my thinking about how we encourage and train children. The authors emphasized that each of us are born with a prescribed pattern of strengths that indicate what kind of life’s work we should pursue in the future. When I was introduced to SOI, I recognized it was a fantastic tool to help parents see the potential for their child and how to further strengthen a child’s abilities.


My path was directed to Structure of Intellect abilities testing when my youngest son, Christian, struggled with readiness skills and sensory integration dysfunction. As a result of his evaluation, I knew that he would not be on a common track with other students. Through investigation into sensori-motor exercises and cognitive skill training, I found alternative ways to approach his educational needs. I learned that his strengths in figural learning were the reason he loved drawing and creating Lego structures. Through the years, he has developed a love of film editing and animation, which he plans to pursue as a career.

We all know how critical it is to identify weak abilities to remediate to help children succeed in school. However, one of my favorite parts of the SOI evaluation is to guide parents in seeing their child’s strengths in areas that schools Continue reading “You’ve Got Talent!”