Posts Tagged ‘reading success’

Summer Learning Loss

June 28, 2013

summerreading1The American ideal of lazy summers filled with fun has an unintended consequence: If students are not engaged in learning over the summer, they lose skills in math and reading. For over a century, scholars have recognized that summer vacation is a period when students’ rate of academic development declines relative to the school year. Summer learning loss varies across grade level, subject matter, and family income.

Research shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer vacation. According to a report by the RAND Corporation, the average summer learning loss in math and reading for American students amounts to one month per year. On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.

Furthermore, the learning loss is cumulative, summer after summer. It has a tremendous impact on students’ success, including high school completion, post-secondary education and work force preparedness.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Consider enrolling your child in Optiminds’ Cognitive Camp this summer to keep them mentally challenged. Or you might consider an Optiminds’ Reading/Writing or Math Strategies program.

Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Reading Fiction Can Help Us Empathize with Others

March 15, 2013

womanreading2Over the past decade, academic researchers have gathered data indicating that reading fiction activates pathways in the brain that measurably help the reader better understand real human emotion—improving his or her overall social skillfulness.

For example, in study participants who were asked to read about characters setting a new goal, researchers detected activity in the pre-frontal cortex—a part of the brain involved with setting goals.

In another study, subjects were asked to guess the emotional state of a person from a photograph of their eyes. Researchers found that the more fiction people read, the better they were at perceiving emotion in the eyes, and correctly interpreting social cues.

It seems that when we read fiction, we have the time and opportunity to think deeply about the feelings of others, really imagining the shape and flavor of alternate worlds of experience. Scientists see a significant relation between the amount of fiction people read and their empathic and theory-of-mind abilities.

Theory of mind is the ability to interpret and respond to those different from us—colleagues, employees, bosses, customers and clients. It helps us understand others’ points of view—to be empathetic, a trait that is essential in any collaborative enterprise, and certainly in today’s globalized economy.

If improving your reading is on your agenda this year, Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds offers customized programs to help readers of all ages improve their skills and comprehension.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Sign Up for Optiminds Summer Cognitive Camp

March 8, 2013

We know it isn’t even the first day of Spring yet, but we are already planning our Optiminds Cognitive Camp schedule for 2013.

Of course, our sessions will include our core areas of focus:

  • Cognitive Training
  • Math, Science, Language Arts, & Social Studies
  • Social Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • PCI© Reading Program
  • Orton Gillingham© Phonics
  • FAST© Phonics Program
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Using Puzzles & Games

And new for 2013, we will be including “Expressive Writing: Stories and Poetry.”

Cognitive Camp runs from June 24 to August 9, from 9 a.m. to 12 Noon. (No camp on July 4) Camp location is at Addams Elementary School at 2222 W. Webster Road in Royal Oak. Camp fees are $50/day and $200 /week.

We are also currently organizing a Cognitive Camp with Activities that would be a full-day program, running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Addams Elementary. But we need a commitment of 10 students per week to make this happen. So if you are interested, please let us know as soon as possible. The cost: $100 a day or $400 for the week.

Some of the fun activities we hope to offer in the Cognitive Camp with Activities are:

  • Dancing
  • Cooking
  • Cheerleading
  • Crafts
  • Sports

Also new this year—Ask us about our Early Drop Off service.

We can’t think of a better way to keep your brain in shape over the summer!

You can register for Optiminds Cognitive Camp online by clicking on the “Cognitive Camp Registration” link on our home page at: optimindsct.com.  Or you can contact Jane Stewart Ph.D. at (248) 496.0150 or jstewart@optiminds.com. Please return your application with a $50 deposit to: Jane Stewart, 2127 Marywood, Royal Oak, MI, 48074.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Tutoring Can Help Foster a Love of Reading

February 22, 2013

boysread2Helping a child become a reader is one of the greatest gifts that an adult can give, a gift that continues to pay dividends throughout life. Children who acquire strong reading skills at an early age often enjoy a more successful academic experience.

But getting children to read is becoming more difficult with the proliferation of movies, television shows, computer games, sports and after school activities vying for kids’ attention today.

Instilling a love of reading comes as much from reading to your children when they are very young as from your child’s own confidence in his or her reading skills. If you feel that your child may need help with their reading skills, tutoring is a great way to support and cultivate a love of reading. And remember, reading skills can be improved at any age.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds specializes in tutoring reading at all levels. Dr. Stewart and her staff will develop a customized, results-oriented reading program tailored to your child’s needs. One-on-one instruction in a comfortable atmosphere will quickly help improve your child’s reading performance, comprehension and vocabulary. With newfound confidence in their reading abilities, your child will be well on their way to becoming an avid reader.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at www.optimindsct.com.

The Leadership Benefits of Reading

February 8, 2013

Deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders.

Steve Jobs is said to have had an “inexhaustible interest” in William Blake. Winston Churchill won his Nobel prize in Literature, not Peace). President Harry S. Truman read every book in the library named after him in his hometown of Independence, MO, before he died in 1972.

Many business titans are or have been avid readers, believing that reading cultivates the knowledge, habits, and talents to improve their organizations, as well as their own personal effectiveness.

A larger vocabulary, more world knowledge and abstract reasoning skills are just a few of the leadership benefits of reading. Reading is one of the quickest ways to acquire and assimilate new information; and reading a wide variety of things is good for creativity, exposing leaders to insights in other fields that might lead to innovations in their organizations.

Reading novels can improve empathy and understanding of social cues, allowing a leader to better work with and understand others. Reading can also increase verbal intelligence, making a person more adept and articulate when communicating with others.

You might want to try reading one book this year in three areas outside your comfort zone. If you are working on a problem in one field, seek out books in other fields to see if there are applications that might cross over to your profession. Share favorite books with co-workers to encourage discussion and new ideas.

If improving your reading is on your agenda this year, Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds offers customized programs to help readers of all ages improve their skills and comprehension.

To learn more about Optiminds brain training and tutoring programs, call us today at (248) 496-0150 or email Dr. Jane Steward directly at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at www.optimindsct.com.

When to Consider Tutoring for Your Child

November 25, 2012

With the school year getting underway, many parents are looking for ways to help their children gain an academic edge whenever possible. Not long ago, needing a tutor was viewed as a sign that a child couldn’t keep up with his peers. Today, tutoring is an accepted—even expected—part of middle and high school education. Parents are often surprised to learn how common tutoring is, not only for children who are behind academically or have a learning disability but also for those who are bringing home good report cards.

Some points to consider if you are trying to determine if tutoring is right for your child:

Kids who are gifted are prime candidates for tutors because they are often not challenged enough in the classroom. A tutor can create a customized program that is both challenging and stimulating to help renew your child’s enthusiasm for learning if it has fallen by the wayside.

With states requiring testing of students every year in reading and math from grades three to eight, many parents are using tutors to improve their child’s performance. Often the scores from these exams are used to determine whether a child gains admission to a selective public middle or high school or whether a child is put on a vocational or academic track at school.

There is a higher expectation today to know more at earlier ages. Because standardized tests are so important, schools start prepping kids for them sooner. As a result, many middle school children are doing what once was considered high school work, while many high schoolers are taking college-level courses. Tutoring can help students keep up with things and meet the challenge of these higher expectations.

Tutoring can help fill in the gaps in classroom curriculum. Some states no longer emphasize spelling or grammar since that knowledge is not required for state tests. As a result, middle school children may know the definition of SAT vocabulary words such as “perambulate” and “quiescent,” but they don’t know how to spell such basic words as “independence” or when to use commas or semicolons. Parents turn to tutors to help their kids bone up on these fundamentals.

With competition to get into a good college so great today,  many families turn to tutors to help boost grades and SAT scores. If your teen is preparing to take the SAT this year, a tutor can help them prepare for the exam, identify types of problems they will encounter, and equip them with essential test-taking skills. Often, scholarships are directly linked to a student’s SAT scores. So it makes sense to invest ahead of time in tutoring so your child does better on the SAT and has a better chance at qualifying for a scholarship.

When it comes to tutoring services in metro Detroit, Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at www.optimindsct.com.

Early Tutoring Can Be a Real Asset

September 22, 2012

An important resource in ensuring your child’s academic success is getting the help of a tutor. Dr. Jane Stewart offers tutoring services for students of all ages at her two locations—Optiminds in Southfield and The Brain Development Center in Novi.

Tutoring used to be thought of primarily as a remedial tool. If a student was struggling or made some mistakes  along the way, working with a tutor was a way to get help and make a fresh start. But nowadays, working with a tutor is often treated like having an academic personal trainer and, as such, is enlisted by even the best of students. Good students know how to take advantage of the possibilities of good tutoring and to get started early in the semester before trouble starts.

With the new school year just getting underway, here are some reasons why starting tutoring early can help:

  • Real learning takes time and starting early gives your student a chance to learn concepts slowly and solidly.
  • By being proactive, your child has a chance to grasp foundational concepts on which more difficult work is built.
  • Student and tutor have time to get to know one another and establish the rapport that can make a difference in how they work together.  The more a tutor works with your child, the more they get to know strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles.
  • Early work means that early homework assignments will be done correctly. This translates to a higher grade average and less jeopardy occurring later in the semester.
  • A tutor will hold your student accountable for completing work.
  • A tutor provides constant feedback on the work, which helps a student stay on track with subjects.
  • Tutoring builds confidence in a person’s learning abilities, increasing motivation to continue to do well.

Dr. Jane Stewart specializes in helping people of all ages improve their study, reading and cognitive skills at two locations: The Brain Development Center in Novi and Optiminds in Southfield. Contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com.

You can learn more about The Brain Development Center at: http://novipsych.com/brain_development and Optiminds at: www.optimindsct.com.

Tips to Encourage Your Child to Read More

July 27, 2012

Studies show what common sense tells us: the more kids read, the better they read and the more pleasure they get out of reading. But what about children who read very little? If this is the case with your child, you need to know why your child doesn’t like or want to read so you can decide what will work best in motivating your child to discover or rediscover how much fun reading can be.

Here are some suggestions to help overcome resistance to reading:

  • Expose your child to reading material related to their interests; use their interests and hobbies as starting points
  • Help them rearrange their schedules to make more time for reading
  • If your child is having a hard time reading, talk with his or her reading teacher. They will help you determine if your child may have a learning disability; and they can point you to interesting books and materials written at a level that matches your child’s reading ability.
  • Don’t nag about the value of reading and don’t bribe your child with a reward for reading.
  • Leave all sorts of reading materials including books, magazines, and colorful catalogs in conspicuous places around your home
  • Notice what attracts your children’s attention, even if they only look at the pictures. Then build on that interest; read a short selection aloud, or simply bring home more information on the same subject.
  • Let your children see you reading for pleasure in your spare time.
  • Take your children to the library regularly. Explore the children’s section together. Ask a librarian to suggest books and magazines your children might enjoy.
  • Present reading as an activity with a purpose—a way to gather useful information for, say, making paper airplanes, identifying a doll or stamp in your child’s collection, or planning a family trip.
  • Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters. Older children enjoy showing off their skills to an admiring audience.
  • Play games that are reading-related. Check your closet for spelling games played with letter tiles or dice, or board games that require players to read spaces, cards, and directions.
  • Perhaps over dinner, while you’re running errands, or in another informal setting, share your reactions to things you read, and encourage your children to do likewise.
  • Set aside a regular time for reading in your family, independent of schoolwork—the 20 minutes before lights out, just after dinner, or whatever fits into your household schedule. As little as 10 minutes of free reading a day can help improve your child’s skills and habits.
  • Encourage your child to read aloud to you an exciting passage in a book, an interesting tidbit in the newspaper, or a joke in a joke book. When children read aloud, don’t feel they have to get every word right. Even good readers skip or mispronounce words now and then.
  • On gift-giving occasions, give books and magazines based on your child’s current interests.
  • Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. What about menus, road signs, food labels, and sheet music? Take advantage of countless spur-of-the-moment opportunities for reading during the course of your family’s busy day.

 Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping to improve the study, reading and cognitive skills of clients of all ages. Find out more about Optiminds brain fitness programs and cognitive skills training by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit our website at www.optimindsct.com.

 

The Importance of Reading Comprehension

June 8, 2012

As young children, we first learn to read; and then around mid-elementary school, we start reading to learn. Some children who are proficient at oral reading can experience difficulty at this time, in terms of comprehending what they read.

Comprehending what one reads is imperative for a child to be successful in school. Children must be able to understand the context of the words in individual sentences and also understand multiple concepts when reading longer passages.

There are basically two types of reading comprehension skills—concrete and abstract. Concrete comprehension skills are the easier of the two to master. They include the ability to answer questions when the information being asked is explicitly stated in the reading selection. Concrete skills include vocabulary, main idea, fact or opinion, sequencing, following directions and reading for details.

Abstract reasoning includes inference, analysis, evaluation, drawing conclusions, and cause and effect; and requires the reader to draw on prior knowledge and processing to identify what is not explicitly stated.

Both types of comprehension require that the reader have adequate processing and working memory skills, which enable them to take in new information, identify and categorize it, merge it with previously learned information, and respond.

Comprehension struggles can be temporary and minor or an indicator of a long-term learning problem. Optiminds offers a free brain diagnostic test to determine exactly how to help your child reach his/her full potential.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping to improve the reading and cognitive skills of clients of all ages. Find out more about Optiminds tutoring programs by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit our website at www.optimindsct.com.

Make Optiminds Your Personal Tutor

May 12, 2012

Are you or your child struggling at school? Maybe all you need is a little tutoring from Optiminds.

Optiminds is a professional tutoring service that has been helping students of all ages improve their academic skills. We serve the metro Detroit area, including Southfield, Bloomfield Township, Royal Oak, Oak Park, and Farmington Hills.

It’s a fact that most schools today are not equipped to handle the individual demands of every student. Optiminds’ success is based on an approach comprised of customized, individualized exercises designed to stimulate targeted areas of the brain.

We tutor in math, writing, reading and speed reading. Our programs focus on everything from problem-solving, critical thinking and time management to study skills and test preparation. This includes ACT Prep, ACT Math Prep and ACT Reading Prep.

“This program has given me the tools to manage school, work and homework with less stress and more organization,” says Sally, a high school student who completed an Optiminds tutoring program.

If you are looking for experienced tutors in metro Detroit, give us a call today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: jstewart@optimindsct.com.  Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping people of all ages improve their cognitive, memory and learning skills. To learn more, be sure to visit our website at www.optimindsct.com.


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