Reading Intervention

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Reading Intervention

What is Reading Intervention

Reading requires the complex integration of several skills including language skills and cognitive skill, which are called upon simultaneously to work together. Research has shown that the reading pathways in the brain develop from the language pathways. The integration of all the requisite skills for reading occur in a hierarchical fashion, and, in order for any level to work well, it is necessary for the lower levels to be automatic so that available brain resources can be used for the higher levels. A breakdown in processing at any one or multiple levels of this hierarchy can result in a reading delay which will require reading intervention. Reading intervention often requires an integrated approach to address the multiple processes involved in reading. The following levels of reading assist in the diagnoses and the intervention of reading struggles:

  • 1. Features: Each letter is composed of different lines and curves which must be learned and recognized by the brain during reading.
  • 2. Letters: These represent the basis for our alphabet and are learned early in the reading process. Letters are recognized and learned by their features.
  • 3. Sounds: Phonics and phonemic awareness are part of this stage when sounds become attached to letters and letter combinations. It is also when one understands that words are made up of letters each of which makes a sound and these sounds can be manipulated in a variety of ways to make a variety of words.
  • 4. Words: Words are stored in the memory systems, mostly the long-term memory system. The task of reading requires recognizing words and retrieving them from memory.
  • 5. Chunks: Chunks are groups of words which make up meaningful phrases. Sentences are made up of chunks, either single chunks or multiple chunks.
  • 6. Ideas: Ideas are statements with meaning. The meaning may be obvious or inferred based on knowledge of language. They are often abstractions of meaning.
  • 7. Main ideas: Main ideas provide summaries of what something says. It is often seen as the summary of the plot in a story.
  • 8. Themes: Themes provide an underlying message which is not stated explicitly in the text.
    Based on this framework, it is evident that reading delays or disorders can result from a breakdown at any level of this processing hierarchy. They may result from delays in the processing systems (visual, auditory) , memory systems, the language systems, or any combination of these systems. It is also evident that when there is a breakdown at an early level of the reading process, all future levels will become negatively impacted and contribute to the reading disorder.
    The most successful reading interventions will involve an integrated approach to treating the multiple systems involved in reading such as memory systems, language systems, processing systems and executive functioning systems.

Who Should Do Reading Intervention

Reading intervention can be used for both reading remediation for reading delays but it can also be used to strengthen reading skills that are already in place. There are several diagnoses and conditions which typically require reading intervention. The most common ones are:

  • Language Delays and Disorders
  • Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Dyslexia
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Speech Delays
  • Spectrum Disorders
  • Sensory Processing Disorders
  • Visual Processing Disorders

Programs for Reading Intervention

Fast ForWord Programs

Scientific Learning provides a variety of programs which emphasize training and remediation of auditory processing systems, language systems and reading skills. Their programs have been successful in the treatment of auditory processing delays and disorders. Each Fast ForWord Language program provides exercises for different levels of auditory processing and language processing from the earliest levels of processing the elements of sound to later levels of processing multi-step instructions and language comprehension tasks. Each level the program is designed to prepare the brain for learning through working on key foundational aspects of cognitive functioning, processing speed, memory, and attention.

As with any intervention program it is essential to identify the appropriate level or combination of levels which may be appropriate based on the information from the integrated brain systems evaluation.

In addition to the Fast ForWord language programs, Fast ForWord provides a series of reading programs that can be used in conjunction with the language programs to reinforce the auditory processing aspects of reading skills. Auditory processing deficits result in the inability to process clear phonological representations which leads to impaired phonological awareness. Phonological awareness is an essential skills for reading. Combining the reading programs with the language programs results in stronger auditory processing abilities, and ensures continued practice in the area of auditory processing while improving reading skills.

Reading Readiness

Although this program is called reading readiness and represents the first program in the reading series for reading intervention it is an excellent program for foundational auditory processing skills for young children. This program is effective because the temporal aspects of the sounds and words presented in the tasks are modified to allow for easier processing. This program allows for early practice of phonemic awareness skills, sound recognitions skills, auditory discrimination skills, processing of the temporal aspects of sound, and auditory attention.

Fast ForWord Language v2

Fast ForWord Language v2 is an effective intervention for children with early stage deficits in auditory processing as it is a level 1 intervention program. Each exercise targets different foundational skills such as sounds frequencies, phonemes, syllables, and finally words and sentences. The program builds upon the cognitive skills to provide individualized, intensive practice on the underlying auditory elements of language processing skills. Sound exercises present complex auditory information in a pre-word format with digitally enhanced speech sounds. The syllables, words and sentences tasks at the higher levels, have been acoustically modified to emphasize the rapidly changing phonetic elements within natural speech. These modifications provide an ideal environment for learning language based information when there are deficits in the auditory processing mechanism. The exercises at this level provide essential skills for learning to read.

Fast ForWord Language to Reading

This is a second level program that provides additional practice with basic speech sounds while performing in reading tasks. Similar to Fast ForWord Language v2 the exercises have been acoustically modified to emphasize the rapidly changing phonetic elements within natural speech. This level adds new sequences of sound combinations with different time durations, as well as more word exercises of various levels of linguistic complexity. The Language to Reading program also adds reinforcement of reading concepts such as graphemes, the letters that represent phonemes, and elements of visual tracking to support left-to-right reading patterns.

Fast ForWord Literacy and Literacy Advanced

This program is geared toward middle and high school students but can be used with upper elementary students who’s auditory processing delays require less early stage intervention.

Although these programs continue to develop auditory skills for processing sounds, syllables, and words, they introduce activities for used auditory cohesion and auditory/listening comprehension, sequencing of multi-step instructions, and auditory-visual memory skills. The activities provide advanced grammatical structures and vocabulary, as well as auditory skills related to reading such as phonemic awareness, decoding, and word recognition skills.

Fast ForWord Reading Series

Fast ForWord Reading provides a series of reading programs that develop reading skills through intensive language based activities. Like their language series the reading series combines training of cognitive skills such as attention and memory, language skills, and auditory processing skills, to target critical reading skills at various levels of reading development. There are five levels of training in the reading series.

  • Reading Level 1 – This level addresses phonemic awareness, sound-letter associations, phonics, vocabulary, sentence comprehension, and passage comprehension.
  • Reading Level 2 – Consolidates early reading skills through application of phonics and decoding strategies, improving word recognition, and understanding the rules for reading comprehension.
  • Reading Level 3 – This level concentrates on reading knowledge and fluency with a focus on phonology and spelling, morphology, syntax, vocabulary and comprehension.
  • Reading Level 4 – This level expands reading by applying knowledge of word origins, words forms, sentence structures, punctuation, and rules to improve comprehension.
  • Reading Level 5 – This level is appropriate for upper elementary and middle and high schoolers as it focuses on advanced reading comprehension and expanding vocabulary skills.

The flexibility of these programs allows for training at multiple levels within the same training session for a more individualized therapy program that is geared towards individual needs rather then a one size fits all approach.

Reading Assistant

The Reading Assistant program targets reading from a different approach by focusing on the aspects of reading which lend to the ability to read text accurately, quickly and fluently. This process incorporates both the decoding aspect of reading as well as the comprehension aspect of reading and how they work together to make successful readers.
There are three main components addressed in this program:

  • 1. Reading Fluency
  • 2. Vocabulary
  • 3. Comprehension

How Does it Work?

The first stage of training provides the trainee with an opportunity to read on their own or to have the passage read to them.

Reading Assistant attacks reading by providing practice with oral reading, vocabulary and comprehension skills using a variety of reading passages.

The reader models correct pronounciation, inflection, and rhythm. The trainee may click on any word in the passage to hear it pronounced. The program allows the reader to practice vocabulary skills by selecting key concepts throughout the passage that are underlined. When the trainee selects these words, the computer provides a definition with contextual support. Build into the system is also the ability to click on certain parts of the passage to activate “think about” questions to encourage active reading comprehension.

In the next stage of training, the trainee reads aloud while the computer records. During this stage reading assistant provides guided oral reading support through a real-time feedback mechanism which guides accurate word pronounciations and speed of reading.

In the final stage, the program presents a quiz which tests the trainees comprehension of the entire passage.
Before the trainee can pass to the next story, they must attain a fluency goal and comprehension goal that was determined by baseline reading test performance levels.


Working memory is the core of the information processing system. The process of reading requires that an individual hold many pieces of information in a very limited working memory system. If that system is overloaded with processing early stage reading skills such as decoding and fluency, then there is no working space available for the comprehension elements required for successful reading.

This is why it is important to train memory skills, especially working memory skills in order to help increase the working memory capacity and automate certain elements of reading.

Lindamood Bell Programs

The Lindamood Bell reading programs focus on the sensory-cognitive processing and language processing skills used for reading and comprehension. These skills include word attack, sight word recognition, contextual fluency, oral vocabulary and comprehension.

The programs used in the integrative model for intervention are:

  • 1. LiPS phoneme sequencing program – This program provides a multi-sensory approach to systematically teach phonological awareness, decoding, spelling and reading.
  • 2. Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking – This program develops concept imagery in order to facilitate comprehension skills. Increased concept imagery has been shown to improve reading, listening, comprehension, memory, vocabulary, critical thinking, and writing skills.

Hear Builder

Hear Builder is a program that addresses language and auditory processing skills in children from PreK to eighth grade. It provides individualized instruction at three levels of difficulty in 5 key areas of auditory and language development. Within each key area there are specific activities designed to target the multiple skills sets which are required for mastery of the domain. The following 5 areas and their skills sets are as follows:

  • 1. Phonological Awareness
    • Sentence Segmentation
    • Syllable Blending
    • Syllable Segmentation
    • Rhyming
    • Phoneme Blending
    • Phoneme Segmentation and Identification
  • 2. Phonological Sequencing
    • Place 2 of 3 Step Story Sequences with Pictures, Text, and Audio
    • Place 3 of 3 Step Instructional Sequences with Pictures and Audio
    • Place 3 of 4 Step Instructional Sequences with Text and Audio
    • Place 4 of 4 Step Story Sequences with Pictures and Text
  • 3. Basic Concepts
  • 4. Following Directions
    • Basic Directions
    • Seqential Directions
    • Quantitative and Spatial Directions
    • Temporal Directions
    • Conditional Directions
  • 3. Auditory Memory
    • Memory for Numbers
    • Memory for Words
    • Memory for Details
    • Auditory Closure
    • Memory for WH Information
    • Memory Strategies

This program provides comprehensive training in a variety of areas to improve early developing language skills, auditory processing skills and reading skills.

How Our Reading Intervention is Different

Through the use of different brain scans researchers have identified two specific neural pathways for reading, both residing in the left side of the brain. The Brodmann system also identifies several areas of the brain essential for the task of reading. These areas correspond to the locations of the sensors in the Brain Map/QEEG analysis. When any of these reading specific areas are identified through the brain map as being disrupted in some way, neurofeedback training can be used to retrain those specific regions. This targeted training addresses reading from the core brain processes and results in significantly improved reading abilities in a shorter amount of time.