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10 Essential Instructional Elements for Students With Reading Difficulties - Book Cover Look Inside

10 Essential Instructional Elements for Students With Reading Difficulties

A Brain-Friendly Approach

By: Andrew P. Johnson

This book details how the brain creates meaning from print, and how educators can leverage the latest neurocognitive research to help students struggling with reading.

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781483373775
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2015
  • Page Count: 256
  • Publication date: October 28, 2015

Price: $39.95

Price: $39.95
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Brain-friendly strategies to help all students become lifelong readers

Learning to read is more than just an educational issue; it’s a social justice issue. Did you know that struggling readers are twice as likely as their peers to drop out of high school? Through time-tested, research-based neurocognitive teaching strategies, 10 Essential Instructional Elements for Students with Reading Difficulties will enable you to hone readers’ skills and help students from all grade levels develop their ability to create meaning from print.

Drawing from five key areas of neurocognitive research, Andrew Johnson provides a ten-point teaching strategy that encompasses vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, writing and more. A key resource for creating intervention plans for struggling readers, features include:

  • Information on the often-overlooked importance of emotions in the process of overcoming reading struggles
  • Strategies to promote voluntary reading, even for the most reluctant students
  • Useful resources such as graphic organizers, additional reading and writing activities, and QR codes that link to videos
  • Use these strategies today and you can count on more students leaving your classrooms as fluent, lifelong readers. 
“Dr. Johnson tells the story of reading in a logical and clear manner with a book that is excellently researched, immaculately referenced, and full of practical tips for the practitioner.”
Terry Bernstein, Former Senior Literacy Difficulties Specialist
London Boroughs of Camden and Westminster, UK

“This is the text I wish I had when I began to teach. Dr. Johnson clearly illustrates the process our brain uses to create meaning from text.”
Marty Duncan, Ed.D., Author and Former Educator

Key features

This text includes the following:

  • Advanced organizers, charts, and figures that will be used to demonstrate exactly how each strategy is used and applied  
  • References to a website that contains a wealth of teacher resources that they can use (
  • Links to short, video mini-lectures that the author has prepared.  These are between two and eight minutes in duration.  See the example at:   
  • Appendices for graphic organizers, examples of authentic assessment, and additional reading and writing activities


Andrew P. Johnson photo

Andrew P. Johnson

Dr. Andy Johnson was a 1976 graduate of Grantsburg High School in Grantsburg, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Wisconsin, River Falls where he graduated with a B.S. degree in Music and Speech-Communication. After earning elementary teaching licensure, he taught 2nd grade in River Falls, Wisconsin from 1983-1986. He went on to teach in elementary schools in the Twin Cities area and also spent three years working in the Grantsburg School District as A 5th grade teacher and the Gifted Education Coordinator.

He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Literacy Education in 1997. He is currently working at Minnesota State University, Mankato as a professor of literacy in the Department of Special Education where he specializes in literacy instruction for students with reading difficulties. He is the author of 10 books and numerous academic articles related to literacy, learning, teacher development, and the human condition.

He lives in North Mankato with his wife, Dr. Nancy Fitzsimons and his dogs Mickey and Emmet.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



     Code First or Meaning First

     Tools in Your Teaching Toolbox


Section I. Understanding the Reading Process

Chapter 1. Creating Meaning With Print: The Neurocognitive Model

     Understanding Reading

     Reading: A Neurological Perspective

     The Neurocognitive Process

     Last Word

Chapter 2. Eye Movement and Neural Pathways

     Eye Movement During Reading

     Understanding Our Learning Organ

     Last Word

Chapter 3. Understanding Reading From a Cognitive Perspective

     The Difference Between Brain and Mind

     The Information Processing Model

     The Two-Way Flow of Information

     Last Word

Section II. Diagnosing Reading Problems, Documenting Progress, and Planning Instruction

Chapter 4. Diagnosis and Documentation

     Diagnosing the Problem

     Graded Word Lists

     Graded Reading Passages

     Assessing Comprehension

     Putting It Together

     Last Word

Chapter 5. Reading Lessons

     SRE Lesson

     Guided Reading Lesson

     Shared Reading Lesson

     Last Word

Section III. 10 Instructional Elements

Chapter 6. 10 Elements of Reading Instruction

     No Magical Programs

     Comprehensive Reading Instruction

     Teaching Reading With the Brain in Mind

     Last Word

Chapter 7. Emergent Literacy: Concepts of Print and Phonemic Awareness

     Approaches to Early Literacy Instruction

     Creating the Conditions for Early Literacy Learning

     Concepts of Print

     Phonemic-Phonics Hybrid Activities

     Last Word

Chapter 8. Emotions and Motivation


     The Value-Expectancy Theory of Motivation

     Some Basic Strategies

     Last Word

Chapter 9. Literature and Instructional Approaches

     Strategies for Promoting Voluntary Reading

     Instructional Approaches

     Last Word

Chapter 10. Phonics


     14 Strategies

     Last Word

     Appendix: Phonics Checklist

Chapter 11. Strategies for Developing Word Identification Skills

     Terms and Concepts Related to Word Identification

     Context Clues: The Semantic Cueing System

     Word Order and Grammar: The Syntactic-Cueing System

     Word Parts

     Morphemic Analysis

     Sight Words

     Last Word

Chapter 12. Fluency

     Reading Fluency

     Neural Pathways and Networks

     Strategies for Enhancing Reading Fluency

     Avoid Round-Robin Reading

     Last Word

Chapter 13. Comprehension of Narrative Text

     Comprehension Basics

     Teaching Tips

     Activities Organized by Cognitive Process

     Last Word

Chapter 14. Comprehension of Expository Text

     Expository Text

     Teacher Pre-Reading Strategies

     Study-Skill Strategies

     Pedagogical Strategies to Develop Cognitive Processes Related to Comprehension

     Last Word

Chapter 15. Vocabulary

     Attending to Vocabulary

     General Principles for Developing Students’ Vocabulary

     Strategies for Developing Students’ Vocabulary

     Visual Displays and Graphic Organizers

     Last Word About Words

Chapter 16. Writing

     The Why and How of Writing

     Specific Strategies

     Last Word