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



The goal with phonics activities is to strengthen neural pathways so that students can process letters and words quickly.


Phonics is the ability to associate sounds with letters or letter patterns. Phonics is one of six ways to identify individual words as we read. The other five are the following: (a) analogy [word families], (b) morphemic awareness [prefix, suffix, affix, root], (c) context clues [semantics], (d) syntax [word order], and (e) sight words. (These will be described in more detail in the next chapter.) Phonics instruction is very important, but it should never be taught as the sole component in any reading program (Erickson, Hanser, Hatch, & Sanders, 2009; McCormick & Zutell, 2011; National Institute for Child Health and Development, 2000). Reading instruction that ...

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