Reading Strategy: The Neurological Impress Method

In this posting, I would like sharing about a reading strategy, Neurological Impress Method (NIM). It is a form of "choral" reading in which the teacher and student read together while simultaneously tracking the words. Originally used with children who had stuttering disabilities, NIM was researched and brought into general use by R.G. Heckelman, PhD in the 1960s and has since been used successfully with thousands of children.
Below is the description and the steps of NIM, read and comprehend it!
The Neurological Impress Method is intended to increase the reader's fluency (their ability to decode words accurately and automatically, without conscious thought) and to "impress" word memory onto the students' natural thought processes. Other positive effects these activities have with early readers include:
v  Aiding students in copying correct pronunciation, inflection, and phrasing
v  Increasing self-assurance in reading
v  Providing a good model of reading mechanics and fluency
v  Providing a comfortable and relaxed environment for reading to take place
The Neurological Impress Method should be undertaken over a period of several months, with activities being done daily. Be alert for cultural conflicts as this will be a close working situation; be sure to begin with books that contain words the child can already read.
The following steps are universal for the Neurological Impress Method and are pulled in part from the LinguaLinks Library Version 4.0 CD-ROM.
Steps in using a regular size book with NIM:
These steps are for using the Neurological Impress Activity with any normal trade book:
1. Establish with which hand the student writes and eats. Sit on that side of him/her. You will speak directly into that ear.
2. Let the student choose the book they wish to read with you
3. Together, hold the book between you.
4. Start by reading out loud together, taking care to model good fluency, chunking phrases and pausing only for proper punctuation.
5. Read slightly more quickly, a little louder than your student, being careful to read with good enunciation and enthusiasm.
6. Track (follow) the words smoothly with a finger as you read, carefully matching the speed of the spoken words. The student's finger should rest on top of yours as you track.
Note: This allows the learner to:
Hear the word immediately before saying it; Copy the inflection and flow of the language; Begin to get the "feel" of tracking the words.
7. At the end of the line, pay careful attention! Quickly move your finger back to the beginning of the next line in order to train the student's eye to scan smoothly while reading. Keep everything synchronized.
8. Occasionally lower the volume of your voice to let the student lead the reading.
9. Gradually help the student take over tracking by guiding their hand smoothly under the words.
Note: At no time in this process should you correct, try to teach or ask the student questions. The focus of the moment is on fluency and making the "voice-to-print" match.
The Neurological Impress method can also be used with a group, although perhaps with slightly less effect because the immediacy of hearing the words up close is lost.
The following steps are used for the Neurological Impress Method with a Big Book or a story wall chart:
Place the Big Book or chart on its holder so that everyone can see it. Start by reading out loud together. Read a little more quickly and louder than your students. Track the words smoothly with a pointer as you read. Occasionally lower the volume of your voice to let the students lead the reading.
For more information about this strategy,please visit

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