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Technique for Reading on Grade Level; Games Distracting Second-Grader

April 1, 2011
Marge Eberts & Peggy Gisler

Question: Years ago, my mother told me about a technique described in your column that had some children reading on grade level in 8 to 12 hours. My son reads slightly below grade level. I would like to hear more about this technique with the hope of improving his reading.

-Seeking Help

Answer: The technique that we have advocated as a possible way to improve children's reading is commonly called NIM (Neurological Impress Method). It is one of many assisted reading strategies and is effective with many students. Some are actually able to advance as much as a grade level within two hours of working with NIM. The neat thing about NIM is that you should know within four hours of instruction whether it is working with your child. Children with serious language of neurological impairments may require additional help before starting NIM.

Here is a shortened version of how to use NIM. Go online to to learn more about NIM and other helpful reading strategies that parents can use to improve their children's reading.

You will need to follow these instructions exactly:

1. Choose material that is very easy for your child to read. It could be several levels below his grade level. As he begins to catch on, put him in higher reading level material.

2. NIM reading sessions need to be held for only 10 to 15 minutes every day.

3. Sit your child slightly in front of you so you will be reading into his right ear.

4. Hold the reading material together.

5. Read the material out loud with your child at a normal rate.

6. Have your child run his finger under each word as it is spoken. You may have to guide your child at first.

7. Read as many pages as you can in a session.

8. Do not ever correct your child or discuss what has been read.

At first you may need to re-read the initial lines or paragraphs several times until your child is reading fluidly. As he becomes a better reader, you can read in a softer voice or lag slightly behind him. To keep him interested, read a variety of material -- textbooks, magazines, fiction and non-fiction. Quit using NIM when your child is reading at the level where he is expected to read, as further improvement is not likely to occur.

Question: In my daughter's second-grade class, the children are able to play rather active games when they complete their work. The noise level really distracts my child, who is starting to receive lower grades. Her teacher is very sensitive to criticism. How should I handle this situation?


Answer: It isn't easy for young children to concentrate on their work when others all around them are playing noisily. Other children are probably having the same problem as your daughter. Plus, it is highly likely that some children are just rushing through their work to play.

It is a simple fact that children in any class are going to complete assignments at different rates. It doesn't sound fair that some are being rewarded for doing their work fast, and others have to see them having fun when they are trying to do their work.

Approach this teacher with the fact that your child is having a great deal of trouble concentrating while others are playing. Then ask what can be done to help her handle this situation. This is a better approach than criticizing the teacher's actions. If the teacher does not want to change this approach, ask if your child can complete her work in another area or possibly wear earphones.

Send questions and comments to Dear Teacher, in care of Mahoning Valley Parent, Box 395, Carmel, IN 46082-0395, or log on to, or e-mail



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