Is a Lindamood-Bell Tutor Right for Your Child?
Lindamood-Bell provides a series of programs for children with diagnosed dyslexia, autism spectrum disorder, and other learning difficulties. Their programs, which are among the most successful and well-known interventions, are backed by research and take advantage of the foundation of imagery and language in developing solutions that improve spelling, math, and reading comprehension skills.
In the last 35 years since its foundation, Lindamood-Bell tutors have significantly improved the lives of countless children through their highly successful programs that tackle reading, comprehension, and mathematics. One of the primary methods they utilize is the Orton-Gillingham approach, which teaches literacy to young children using a multisensory strategy.
Lindamood-Bell Research-Validated Programs
Lindamood-Bell’s research-validated programs were developed using the imagery-language foundation to teach reading, comprehension, spelling, and math. These programs are individualized and tailored to address each student’s specific learning needs using an interactive and multisensory approach.
Lindamood-Bell offers five intervention programs, which can be evaluated by the following factors:
The course assists all students in developing their skills. They are intended to help students achieve high academic standards.
The approach has been shown to improve the performance of “at-risk” students in schools. Likewise, the program assists in improving academic performance through independent assessments.
The approach has been applied efficiently in other locations outside the original pilot school(s).
The program can be developed professionally and continuously implemented by the developers or independent contractors, or through a network set up by schools in the program.
Seeing Stars® Program – Symbol Imagery for Phonological and Orthographic Processing in Reading and Spelling (SI)
Difficulty in identifying letters in words is one of the key reasons that some children struggle with sight words and reading fluency. This is known as poor visualization of symbols. Identity, number, and sequence of sounds and letters may be characterized as the capacity to view the word identity, number, and sequence. It is a key knowledge that supports fluent reading and precise orthography.
Seeing Stars®’ process-based education teaches students the creation of photographic images for letters in words and the connection with language sounds. This then extends to multi-purpose words, context and orthography. The Seeing Stars® program builds imaging as the basis for spelling awareness, phonemic awareness, word attacks, word recognition, orthographic spelling, and contextual reading fluency – the capacity to see sound and letters in words.
Lindamood-Bell cites the study, Neural Changes Following Remediation in Adult Developmental Dyslexia (Eden, Jones, Cappel, Gareau, Wood, Zeffiro, & Flowers, 2004), wherein a group of adults with dyslexia were given eight weeks of Lindamood-Bell instruction. Before and after the teaching sessions, the subjects underwent an assessment of their basic reading skills as well as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Another group of individuals were subjected to the same procedure but without Lindamood-Bell instruction.
The subjects under Lindamood-Bell were given an average of 112 hours of instruction to work on their reading skills. The study used the Seeing Stars and Visualizing and Verbalizing programs, with some individuals receiving Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing instruction as well.
Results showed that Lindamood-Bell subjects displayed more significant improvements in phonemic awareness and symbol imagery than their counterparts. They also displayed a greater increase in brain activity after receiving instruction. These results support the Dual Coding Theory model of cognition that Lindamood-Bell adopts in their programs.
Another study Lindamood-Bell has participated in using the Seeing Stars program is The Causal Relationship Between Dyslexia and Motion Processing (Joo, Donnelly, & Yeatman, 2017). In this particular research, the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Science (I-LAB) investigated the link between motion sensitivity and reading skills. Lindamood-Bell’s intensive reading intervention program, Seeing Stars, was used to examine this relation, particularly in individuals with dyslexia.
In the end, the study revealed two things. First, results show that regardless of the deficit, motion sensitivity was stable over the course of the intervention. Secondly, the deficits in motion sensitivity that were noted had no negative impact on the learning process. These findings challenge the theory that motion processing deficiencies are caused by a lack of reading experience. Instead, the authors suggest that motion processing deficiencies are one of a number of linked risk factors for reading problems.
Furthermore, they go on to say that dyslexia is most likely a multifaceted impairment in learning to read. This is in line with the premise of the Seeing Stars intervention used in this study, which holds that being able to mentally manipulate the symbols for reading is just as important as manipulating the sounds of the English language in learning to read. In conclusion, while the reading intervention improved reading ability, learning to read had no effect on motion sensitivity.
These findings further support an older study, Abnormal Visual Motion Processing Is Not a Cause of Dyslexia (Olulade, Napoliello, & Eden, 2013), which suggests that visual magnocellular dysfunction visual magnocellular dysfunction is not the cause of dyslexia, but may rather be a result of poor reading.
On Cloud Nine® Math Program – Visualizing & Verbalizing for Math
The Lindamood-Bell On Cloud Nine® Math Program increases the capacity to envision and express mathematical concepts and procedures. To improve both mathematical thinking and mathematical computation, concept imagery and numerical imagery are merged with language. With this training, basic arithmetic teaching is an excellent solution for kids of all ages or grades. Especially those who have problems with mathematics or need extra encouragement and guidance.
Cloud Nine® Math helps students with:
- Image numbers, idea numbers, and line numbers
- Counting by ones, twos, fives, tens, and setting up pictures for the notion of basic ten math
- Basic addition and subtraction with borrowing and carrying
- Multiplying and dividing functions — and understand them
- Problem solving
- Comprehending decimals and fractions
In the 2006 study Spatial Visualization, Visual Imagery, and Mathematical Problem Solving of Students with Varying Abilities (van Garderen, 2006), gifted students, average achievers, and students with learning abilities were assessed based on their problem solving skills, visual imagery representation, and spatial visualization abilities. Results showed that the use of visual images yielded higher word problem-solving performance. Additionally, higher performance on each spatial visualization measure was substantially and positively connected with the use of schematic imagery. On the other hand, it was negatively correlated with the use of pictorial pictures.
The Nancibell® Visualizing and Verbalizing® Program for Cognitive Development, Comprehension, & Thinking
Visualizing and Verbalizing is the research-based reading comprehension curriculum for students of all ages offered by Lindamood-Bell. It was first developed by language and literacy disorder expert Nanci Bell and can be used by both a Lindamood-Bell tutor and parents at home.
Many readers can read words and speak a vocabulary that has been acquired but still struggle to understand phrases or paragraphs. Visualizing and Verbalizing helps individuals who wish to improve their reading comprehension and language processing skills use pictures or imagery when reading or listening to text.
The primary goal of using visualization is to teach students to view the core idea or the picture as a whole. This is known as Concept Imagination. Students begin with describing photos they are shown using their own words. Once they have mastered this, they move on to expressing or talking about things they have seen but are not in front of them. The Lindamood-Bell tutor may also ask them various questions about these objects or experiences or ask them to describe personal items at home in detail.
This trains students to create mental images of basic phrases and sentences, paragraphs, and finally, the complete text. Teachers and parents can further enhance their learning by asking probing questions about the mental picture they have created about the text.
Early studies show that in order to understand and make meaning of what is being read, both sides of the brain must be activated and engaged. The left hemisphere of the brain is associated with speech, reading, and writing and what is often targeted and engaged by traditional teaching methods. On the other hand, the right brain handles nonverbal skills and is responsible for intuitive, imaginative, and creative thinking. For reading instruction to be effective, educators must employ techniques and strategies that actively engage both hemispheres. And that is exactly what Visualizing and Verbalizing does.
Talkies® Program for Oral Language Comprehension & Expression
Gestalt imagery refers to one’s ability to create imaged wholes. It is based on a visual perception theory developed by German psychologists in the early 1920s to explain how the human mind understands and navigates the chaos in the world to arrive at meaningful conclusions.”Gestalt” literally translates to “unified whole,” which aptly encapsulates how we perceive, process, and put together disparate components.
In oral and written language comprehension, gestalt imagery plays a crucial role. According to the 1991 study by Nanci Bell, Gestalt Imagery: A Critical Factor in Language Comprehension, many individuals have weak gestalt imagery despite having acquired good vocabulary and decoding skills and background knowledge. This leads them to process spoken or written information only in parts instead of understanding the whole and can result in language difficulties, which includes struggling with reading and oral comprehension, weak oral and written expression, trouble with following directions, and poor sense of humor.
The Talkies® Program for Oral Language Comprehension and Expression serves as the primer to Lindamood-Bell’s Visualizing and Verbalizing® program. It aims to establish the imagery-language connection and develop the dual-coding imagery and language as the foundation of language expression and comprehension.
The Visualizing and Verbalizing® program (V/V®) builds idea imaging. It may be used as a base to understand and produce an imagined or imaginary shape from the language. Concept imagery development improves understanding, memory, oral vocabulary, critical thinking, writing, and listening. This program is highly beneficial for students with limited oral vocabulary or have difficulties verbalizing. It is also recommended for preschoolers and children with autism spectrum disorder.
Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing® Program for Reading, Spelling, and Speech (LiPS®)
The Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing (LiPS®) program is an all-encompassing multisensory program that utilizes explicit and systemic instructions for developing phonological awareness, decoding, orthographic, and reading abilities. The purpose of LiPS is to produce fluent readers and skilled spellers.
Children with decoding and spelling problems typically have weak phonemic awareness. This means they have trouble identifying sounds within a word, which causes them to substitute, omit, add, or reverse sounds and letters.
With the LiPS® program’s guided strategies, a Lindamood-Bell tutor guides and teaches students to explore, see, hear, and sense the physical features of letter-sounds. They begin to understand how words are built, grasp the oral-motor movements of phonemes, and learn to recognize the identity, number, and sequence of sounds in words. This lays out one of the main foundations of literacy acquisition, which includes reading, spelling, and speech.
In the study, Effects of a Theoretically Based Large-Scale Reading Intervention in a Multicultural Urban School District (Sadoski and Wilson, 2006), students of Pueblo City Schools in Pueblo, Colorado, were given instruction under the Lindamood-Bell programs, including Seeing Stars®, Visualizing and Verbalizing®, and LiPS®, from the 1998-1999 to 2002-2003 school years.
A short summary of the results showed that by 2003, schools that received Lindamood-Bell programs were 26 percentage points higher than the average of comparison schools. This further supports the Dual Coding Theory model of cognition adopted by Lindamood-Bell programs Seeing Stars®, Visualizing and Verbalizing®, and LiPS®.
Meanwhile, a 2015 review from What Works Clearinghouse, which is an update of their initial study in 2008, reveals that while Lindamood-Bell’s Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing® program shows potentially positive results on comprehension, its effects on alphabetics for beginning readers remain mixed.
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Eden, G. F., Jones, K. M., Cappell, K., Gareau, L., Wood, F. B., Zeffiro, T. A., & Flowers, D. L. (2004). Neural changes following remediation in adult developmental dyslexia. Neuron, 44, 411-422. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2004.10.019
Joo, S., Donnelly, P. M., & Yeatman, J. D. (2017). The causal relationship between dyslexia and motion perception reconsidered. Scientific Reports, 7, 4185. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-04471-5
Alexander, Ann W., Helen G. Andersen, Patricia C. Heilman, Kytja S. Voeller, and Joseph K. Torgesen. 1991. Phonological awareness training and remediation of analytic decoding deficits in a group of severe dyslexics. Annals of Dyslexia 41 (1):193-206. doi: 10.1007/BF02648086.
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Bell, N. (1991). Gestalt imagery: A critical factor in language comprehension. Annals of Dyslexia, 41(1), 246-260. doi:10.1007/BF02648089
Maximo, J. O., Murdaugh, D. L., O’Kelley, S., & Kana, R. K. (2017). Changes in intrinsic local connectivity after reading intervention in children with autism. Brain and Language, 175, 11-17. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2017.08.008
Lindamood, P., Bell, N., & Lindamood, P. (2013). The roles of concept imagery, phoneme awareness, and symbol imagery in cognitive modifiability. Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes.
Christodoulou, J. A., Cyr, A., Murtagh, J., Chang, P., Lin, J., Guarino, A. J. … Gabrieli, J. D. (2015). Impact of intensive summer reading intervention for children with reading disabilities and difficulties in early elementary school. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 50(2), 115-127. doi:10.1177/0022219415617163
Huber, E., Donnelly, P. M., Rokem, A., & Yeatman, J. D. (2018, February 22). White matter plasticity and reading instruction: Widespread anatomical changes track the learning process. Nature Communications. Preprint doi:10.1101/268979
Aaron, P. G., R. Malatesha Joshi, Regina Gooden, and Kwesi E. Bentum. 2008. “Diagnosis and Treatment of Reading Disabilities Based on the Component Model of Reading: An Alternative to the Discrepancy Model of LD.” Journal of Learning Disabilities 41 (1):67-84. doi: 10.1177/0022219407310838.