Jalen's Story

Jalen has always been ahead of her classmates with her word skills, but now that she can read whole books, she seems so disengaged.

Jalen, a second-grader, has strong Decoding and Alphabet Knowledge skills. She loves computer word games because they are like video games. However, she is struggling with reading comprehension assignments, often sitting quietly but not doing the work.

Jalen’s well-meaning teacher, Mr. Fitzgerald, thinks she is a daydreamer and misses directions. He prints out the reading directions and asks Jalen to look at them before she asks questions.

While this is a well-meaning intervention that can be effective with other learners, it only makes Jalen quieter because of her unidentified learner factors.

Mr. Fitzgerald can see this strategy is not working. He turns to the internet to look for other strategies for students who daydream. The top result takes him to the LVP Working Memory factor. This research summary discusses how low Working Memory can cause a student to appear distracted. He decides to give Jalen a simple assessment suggested by LVP, Backward Word Recall. He discovers Jalen may have Working Memory deficits.

As Mr. Fitzgerald explores LVP further, he sees that Working Memory interacts with Verbal Reasoning. Readers who have Working Memory deficits can struggle to hold information across a reading experience. This can make it hard for them to comprehend what they are reading.

Mr. Fitzgerald then sees that LVP suggests research-based strategies that support both Working Memory and Verbal Reasoning. He chooses two to use with Jalen:

  • Brief Instruction Steps + Visualization/Enactment: Jalen’s Working Memory needs make it critical to offer short instructions and for Jalen to visualize or enact these before starting the work. This will help improve her Working Memory and Verbal Reasoning by modeling and stimulating the development of mental processes.
  • Story Maps: Creating maps before, during, and/or after reading helps students activate prior knowledge and connect reading across a reading experience. This helps improve Working Memory and Verbal Reasoning by combining them into one visual activity.