Success Stories

Ann is really fun and happy and made reading like a game. I used to cry when I tried to read. Now I love learning to read!

- Laura, 8

...I was at a point of despair not knowing how to properly help my 4 dyslexic children. We had tried so many things, but none of it seemed to be working. Then we found Ann! She taught me the proper way to help each of my children and the right programs to use (and they have worked!) She has changed our family forever...

- Melissa, mother of 5

When my son was 14, he still could hardly read simple 3 letter words, even after using other interventions for many years. He is a severe dyslexic with short term memory issues, and reading seemed almost an impossibility. After implementing all that Ann has taught us, he jumped up to a 4th grade reading level and is steadily improving. We have learned the importance of using research based programs. They really work!

- Michelle, mother of a happy son who can finally read

Methods - Training a Super Reader

Discovering Your Power to Read

Image of kids reading a book - Discover Your Power to Read

What is involved in learning to read? The most simplistic view of reading (Gough & Tunmer, 1986) shows a mathematical equation of decoding X comprehension = reading. The multiplication sign is used instead of a plus sign because if either side of the equation is 0 then the outcome is also 0, or in this case, the outcome equates to no reading. It takes being able to decode (identfying words) and to comprehend (understanding what the words say) to accomplish the goal of reading.

How much of our brain capacity is taken up in the act of decoding and comprehending? This simple view of reading suggests:

Pie chart showing the proportion amount of decoding to comprehending in the brain of expert readers.

Expert readers hardly use any decoding. The decoding process has gone underground and is reserved for unfamiliar words automatically. Therefore, they have most of their brain capacity to concentrate on the strategic process of comprehending.

Pie chart showing the proportion amount of decoding to comprehending in the brain of novice or poor readers.

However, poor readers are just the opposite. They are using their awareness of phonemes and their knowledge of phonics rules to decode all most every word they read. It is often a labor intensive and slow process which requires most of their brain capacity to be used decoding instead of comprehending.

How can we turn poor readers into expert readers?

Since 1999 when the Nathional Reading Panel (NRP) analized thousands of reading studies, educators and researchers have become aware that acquiring the ability to read requires orchestrating seven important components.

NRPs Big 5

The first 5 factors are:

  1. Phonemic Awareness (PA) (discerning and being able to manipulate small sounds in words)
  2. Phonics (learning letter-sound associations)
  3. Fluency (reading with expression, at an acceptable rate, with comprehension)
  4. Vocabulary (understanding the meaning of words and the concepts they represent)
  5. Comprehension (understanding and remembering ideas, concepts, etc.)
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development - Logo

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: an evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implication for reading instruction: Reports of the sub-groups (NIH Publication No. 00-4754). Washington, DC, U.S. Government Printing Office.

Recently 2 other components have been added to the NRPs big 5. They are:

  1. Oral language proficiency (the act of listening for understanding and speaking to be understood)
  2. Writing (the ability to express oneself through print and to communicate ideas with others) Writing also allows us to maintain heritage.

What Research Has Told Us:

Most students who experience difficulty reading need in one, or all, of the 7 components:

  • More focused strategy instruction
  • More intense strategy instruction
  • More time and practice reading

At Superhero Training Center we have combined, focused and intense strategy instruction with the seven components necessary for literacy acquisition. Our instructional model offers a dynamic training experience that supports individuals in overcoming their reading challenges.

What to expect in a Training Session >


Poor Readers

Poor Readers  - Shankweiler et. al., 1999 - Bar Chart depicting decoding skills to comprehension.

Shankweiler and his colleagues (1999) asked the question, "What do poor readers look like?"

  1. Are they mostly word callers (the bottom bar)? These are readers who decode well but do not understand what they read.
  2. Are they mostly children with strong background knowledge and extensive vocabularies, so they decode poorly but they comprehend fine (the middle bar)?
  3. Or are they poor decoders as well as poor comprehenders (the top bar)?

Shankweiler sent out a call for children with learning disabilities. He ended up with 176 struggling readers that were between 7 and 9 years old. All of the children had an IQ of 80 and above. These children had an average to above average intelligence but were having trouble cracking the code. He gave the children assessments that measure reading and listening comprehension, and assessments that measure phonics skills. He found that more struggling readers have problems with decoding and comprehension. Shankweiler's findings led to an acknowledgement that phonics is a major culprit in poor reading. The bar graph provided illustrates his results.

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