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After years of failure, success in one summer

All over the country, students with reading disorders make little or no progress at grasping even basic skills of literacy from kindergarten through high school.  They are passed from grade to grade tasting failure year after year.  Many are expelled, some drop out, others turn to crime, some barely graduate. Almost none have the skills to earn a decent living.  

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In one case, a few children, thanks to the grant writing talent and concern of one psychologist at Office of Criminal Justice, got a chance at working with well trained literacy specialists.   Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, in collaboration with the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department, San Francisco Unified School District, the Urban Services branch of the YMCA of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice completed the final year of a three-year initiative in 2006 to address the literacy needs of youth probationers served at area community schools. During the first two years of the initiative (2004 and 2005), the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice secured a juvenile justice grant from the California Board of Corrections to implement the Read Into Your Future Project at Impact High School and the Youth Treatment and Education Center (YTEC). In 2006, the grant was implemented to provide services at Log Cabin Ranch High School, a residential facility for youth in the probation system. The collaboration was initiated by the previous success of the Lindamood-Bell® program in the Juvenile Court and Community Schools in San Diego County, California from 2002 to 2004*.  

In June 2006, Lindamood-Bell established a Center in a School™ program at the Log Cabin Ranch Facility to provide intensive literacy instruction for at-risk youth. Lindamood-Bell’s sensory-cognitive programs, which apply to curriculum and content standards, address students’ reading and comprehension needs. Below are some of the project highlights, followed by a more detailed data analysis. This summary of final results includes assessments that measure the components of scientifically-based reading research.

Summer 2006 Instructional Session at Log Cabin High School

m 19 Log Cabin High Students received intensive Lindamood-Bell® intervention during the 2006 Summer School Session

m 1 Lindamood-Bell® Project Manager and 3 Lindamood-Bell® Clinicians provided services directly to students

m 1 Log Cabin High teacher attended a 4-day Lindamood-Bell® workshop and began implementing initial steps of the programs

m Students (in decoding focus groups) made statistically significant progress in all areas of reading and comprehension that were measured
Lindamood-Bell completed the third year of a three-year collaboration with the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department (SF Probation) and San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) to provide intensive literacy intervention for youth on probation. Following eight weeks of instruction during the Summer School session at Log Cabin Ranch High School, students made statistically significant progress in key areas of reading and comprehension skills.
Student Achievement
Test results from the summer 2006 session show that students identified at Log Cabin High School as under performing on achievement tests substantially improved their skills related to reading and language comprehension. Key findings are as follows:

m Students who received instruction primarily in decoding made statistically significant progress in 12 out of 12 areas measured in reading and comprehension skills
m Six skills improved into the normal range of function, which is between the 25th and the 75th percentile (phonemic awareness, word attack, reading accuracy, spelling, vocabulary, and oral directions)

m Fourteen (14) out of 16 students improved in word recognition skills by two or more grade levels; 7 of 16 students improved by four full grade levels

m Ten (10) out of 16 students improved in reading accuracy by two or more grade levels

m Fourteen (14) out of 16 students improved in reading fluency by one or more grade levels

m Fifteen (15) out of 16 students improved in reading comprehension by one or more grade levels; 7 students improved reading comprehension by four or more grade levels

Word recognition, reading fluency, and reading comprehension remain below the normal range (below the 25th percentile); students need additional intensive intervention in the Lindamood-Bell® programs to increase these areas.  In key areas, many students made one or more grade level gains after only eight weeks of intensive intervention. Since many students are multiple grade levels below their current grade level, it is important that their reading and language processing skills are increased by more than one grade level in less than a year to close the achievement gap. The positive effect of the Lindamood-Bell® intensive intervention is also apparent considering the students’ historically low performance in reading and comprehension.

The following is a summary of key recommendations and ideas of future collaboration:
m SFUSD and Lindamood-Bell should explore options for providing more hours of instruction for many students who participated during the summer school session.Students received, on average, 103 total hours of instruction. Most students, based on their learning profiles and instructional needs, should receive a minimum of 160 to 220 hours of intensive Lindamood-Bell® intervention.

m SFUSD, SF Probation, and Lindamood-Bell should collaborate further and explore options for increasing the total number of students receiving Lindamood-Bell® intensive intervention. The model could be extended to additional community schools during the summer school session, or as an intervention program during the regular school year.

m More SFUSD instructors should participate in the Lindamood-Bell® workshops to begin implementing the programs through the curriculum. Additionally, the one SFUSD instructor who participated in Lindamood-Bell’s Center in a School™ program during the summer needs further professional development and support to implement the programs with quality and fidelity.
m SFUSD and Lindamood-Bell should explore options to expand the use of the Lindamood-Bell® programs in the regular classroom curriculum. Emphasis should be placed on vocabulary and comprehension development, with consistent use of the Visualizing and Verbalizing® program.
Coming in a future column:
Discussion with Tom Mendoza of Lindamood Bell on why this program was successful.


  • MAMAK 5 years ago

    My son attended Lindmood Bell the summer after 4th grade after several years of failure. Within days he knew he WAS smart and he COULD learn. It was a major turning point for him. It is unfortunate and tragic that so many kids grow up without the opportunity to receive appropriate reading instruction.

  • * 5 years ago

    We had to sue and settle with the district in order to get Lindamood Bell services for our child. It has been very helpful. The district still does not feel it is necessary. They are not willing to train teachers or accept another program into the district.