At the end of my third week with Lindamood-Bell Australia, the Associate Director took over the last half of the second hour to test run paragraph by paragraph reading. She gave me a story at grade level 5, and I did well enough that she decided that it was time to drop Multiple Sentence task, continue with Whole Paragraph, and introduce Paragraph by Paragraph. That’s how I began week four today. I also had another improvement: all my main ideas were succinct, to the point!
We alternate who reads because I need to improve both my receptive (they read) and expressive (I read) language processing and reading comprehension. The Whole Paragraph Imaging with Higher Order Thinking stories are at grade level 9/10, but the Paragraph by Paragraph Imaging with Higher Order Thinking is at level 5/6. Aside from the obvious difference in length — read one paragraph as opposed to two or more — they also follow different processes. I have to review in my head or out loud when really tired the process before I begin.
Whole Paragraph Imaging with Higher Order Thinking
As I or the clinician reads the paragraph-long story, I image the characters, the movement, the colours, the scenery, background, perspective, etc., like a series of pictures or a moving picture. What I can’t image, I skip. Sometimes I don’t know what an object or person would look like, and I’ll skip that too. Sometimes the clinician is reading quicker than my brain can process, so I’ll zone out for a nanosecond and pick it back up wherever they are in the paragraph-story.
At the end of the reading, I’ll summarize the story in my own words based on the images I created. Then the clinician will ask me questions about my mental pictures of the story; as they ask, I create more pictures, add to the ones I’d created, ask them how to image abstract concepts, until I have a complete set of pictures for the paragraph-story. Sometimes I’ll change them as a result of realizing I’d misunderstood something or being guided to think more about the why behind a part of the story.
After the clinician has checked my mental pictures, they’ll ask me for the main idea. And lastly, they’ll ask me Higher Order Thinking questions. The books they use provide such questions; but often with me, they think up harder questions. And if we’re not careful, I’ll lead them into a rabbit warren of ideas and conversation.
Paragraph by Paragraph Imaging with Higher Order Thinking
This starts the same as Whole Paragraph: read one paragraph, give a word summary of that paragraph, check my mental pictures. We repeat the process for the succeeding paragraph(s). As I improve, they will increase the number of paragraphs I’ll read, and this process will be repeated for each paragraph. Today I or the clinician read to me two-paragraph stories. Either I can read the whole story, paragraph by paragraph, or the clinician will. The Associate Director said that sometimes we alternate who reads the paragraphs within a story. The one difference from Whole Paragraph is that a coloured square of felt is put down for each paragraph, like for the Sentence by Sentence or Multiple Sentence stories. They put a felt down, which I can see through the document camera, and I put a felt down on my own desk. I believe I’m also supposed to touch it, so I have visual and touch senses both feeding me an anchor tied to the paragraph (or previously, the sentence) that I’m reading.
Once the entire story is read, the clinician will ask me for three key images for each paragraph — the strongest pictures I have in my head, basically — of the story, touching and looking at each felt as I go through all the paragraphs. Then we take the felts away, and they ask me to give a word summary for the entire story — the story in my own words based on my mental images. When I have strong pictures or images, they know I’ll be giving a good word summary.
In my second hour today, and for the second Paragraph by Paragraph story of the day, sound suddenly entered my mental imagery! The addition of another sense, and automatically too, heightens the vividness of the imagery both in my mind and in the clinician’s mind when I describe my pictures.
After my word summary, like with previous tasks, I give the main idea and answer Higher Order Thinking questions.
Then I inhale half an ice cream sandwich, guzzle some pop, and fall into bed.