How to Help Your Child Read Better

Question: Several years ago, I read in your column about a technique that can help some struggling readers advance to reading on grade level in as little as eight to 12 hours. It would certainly be a miracle worker for me if I could use this technique during the summer with my children, who are both reading below grade level. Where can I find out how to use this technique? -- Seeking Help

Answer: Summer is definitely a good time to shore up your children's reading skills. School is simply going to be a continual struggle for them if they can't read on grade level. Plus, the new Common Core State Standards are going to test not just your children's ability to read but their ability to read content area materials after fourth grade.

The technique that you are referring to is called the Neurological Impress Method (NIM). It has a parent and child sitting close together and reading the same material aloud together. NIM starts with using material that is very easy for children to handle, and advances rapidly to their reading more difficult material. It should be used every day for 10 to 15 minutes. It can lead to a significant increase in word accuracy, fluency and comprehension.

It is important for you to understand that NIM does not work for all children, especially those who are seriously disabled readers. However, you should know after just four hours of using this technique whether or not it is working for your children and improving their reading.

You'll be able to learn more about NIM and other time-tested techniques to improve children's reading at Look for them under Skill Builders -- Reading -- "Improving Children's Reading Skills with Techniques that Work at Home."