Introduction:  Building Reading, Writing, and Reasoning Skills

hese instructional software and print materials are based on the work of Dr. Arthur Whimbey and Dr. Myra Linden, well-known teachers, researchers, and authors in the areas of reading and writing improvement.  The TRAC Structures for LearningTM software system featured in this catalog is a unique interactive textbook carefully developed to implement the successful approach of Whimbey and Linden for improving reading, writing, and reasoning skills.   

Why These Methods Produce Results

Students improve reading skills by reading, and reading skills are improved most effectively if students read appropriate material carefully and thoughtfully, rather than skimming the material, or skipping over sentences that may have difficult or unfamiliar words. Similarly, students improve their writing skills by writing, and writing paragraphs that use correct models of English expression, grammar, and spelling build good habits for writing expression, and contribute directly to improving writing skills.

The recently published report,
Reading Report Card for the Nation and the States (U S Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1999), documents a recent national study of reading performance at grades 4, 8, and 12, and lists as a major finding "...a positive relationship between writing long answers to ... assignments that involve reading..." in improving reading scores. 

Reading specialists know that students construct meaning as they read, if they read carefully and thoughtfully - an essential process in developing reading skills and improving comprehension. Visualization and analysis of ideas and concepts presented in text are central to the process of constructing meaning. However, much current reading software incorporates extensive animated

graphics, animation, and even sound; while such software may be attractive to students, this emphasis on visual imagery and animation unfortunately interferes with the essential processes of constructing meaning from text-based material. 

To avoid these failings, in designing and developing the
TRAC SL system New Intelligence involved Dr. Whimbey and Dr. Linden from the beginning; TRAC SL was developed to incorporate the most effective methods for developing reading and writing skills. 

Consequently, the focus in
TRAC SL is on reading and comprehending text, and writing from memory; use of graphics is limited, with the illustrations that are included designed to help the student focus his or her attention on the text-based material presented. 

Teachers often give students tests, or require students to write a paper or report on reading material that has been assigned, as a measure of comprehension, and as an incentive to the students to read the material carefully.  However, such measures in the form of tests or required reports occur after the material has been read, and do not provide feedback to the student as to his or her success
during the reading session. Further, it is possible for the student to read carelessly or even skip much of the material and still move from paragraph to paragraph through the reading assignment.

The approach used in
TRAC SL is based on the Text Reconstruction (TR) methods of Dr. Whimbey and Dr. Linden.  TR exercises as implemented in TRAC SL provide very effective incentives for students to read carefully and thoughtfully, and produce rapid results in improved reading comprehension and writing skills.

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