A student who easily gave up reading if a passage seemed any bit long or difficult to read due to delayed language development came to join the School of Life-Active Learning Center’s psycho-educational program. He found it extremely challenging to find what the main idea or important information is in a reading passage and consequently, acquire grade-equivalent knowledge.
We first introduced a psycho-educational strategy which helps bring the student’s interest-“chicken salad”-into the learning situation so he could spot the main idea in a reading passage with ease. Along with training to improve his vocabulary acquisition skills, we helped him practice picking out only the “chicken breast” (the main idea) from a “chicken salad” (the entire reading passage) for months.
At first, the student often chose the first or last word out of the most noticeable sentence as “chicken breast” without deeply thinking or easily gave up practicing the strategy by saying “I don’t know” even when the given passage became longer by one or two lines.
But as the student’s vocabulary gradually improved, he began to really understand sentences, and after he understood the concept of a main idea, his avoiding behavior began to noticeably decline. Now he has gained more confidence in not only finding the main idea or concept in sentences or paragraphs, but also in reading longer texts without giving up.