Build a Learning Foundation:
We have developed a 5-step research backed, academic, gross motor, visual, auditory, and memory building learning integration program that builds a solid foundation for academic success.
The Problem: Academic Failure Due to Gaps in the Learning Foundation
Students who have a difficult time mastering reading and math skills often have gaps in their learning foundation as the root cause.
Students with learning issues often have visual and/or auditory systems working differently than their peers as well
as problems with gross motor activities and memory issues. These students are also usually tactile learners, which means
they learn by doing. We prepare them to succeed academically by strengthening the sensory components that are weak and systemmatically filling in any gaps that have occurred.
Why The Traditional Tutor/Learning Center Solution Gets Limited Results:
Traditional learning centers and tutors address reading problems by providing more phonics and decoding tips/tricks.
For math, demonstrations are just given more slowly and repetitions of computation are given.
The philosophy is that more is better, even though the information is presented in the same method that didn't
work for the student to begin with. This repetition bores an already exhausted learner.
More progressive tutors may use multi-sensory approaches by using games or manipulatives. This is a beginning first step,
yet once a student is in 3rd grade or higher, most schools require students to take in information from a lecture or
demonstation and process the information independently without the use of manipulatives or multi-sensory learning
techniques. This sets the student up for failure, because these techniques are generally not used in a traditional classroom
Reviewing phonics, math computation, and using manipulatives may get the student a few steps ahead, but the core problem
will not be solved since the underlying sensory issues that cause reading and math difficulty have not been
addressed. The student will need extra support at every step in school, which is expensive and time consuming.
Students suffer from low self-esteem, and do not enjoy school, reading, writing, or math. Many students will
receive a recommendation to be retained, start the IEP process, or attend a special school for children with learning
The Harp Learning Program Solution:
Getting to Grade Level and Beyond
The Harp Learning Program addresses the sensory root cause of reading, math, and writing difficulties
while filling in any academic gaps that may have occurred. Our program consists of academic, gross motor, visual,
auditory, and memory components.
Over 90% of students who finish the program remain at or above grade level.
Morris, GS, Sifft, JM, Khalsa, GK
California State Polytechnic University, Paloma August 1988
Effects of Educational Kinesiology on static balance of learning disabled students.
Educational Kinesiology is a movement-based program designed to enhance academic performance and may also influence performance of motor skills. A study was conducted to determine whether Educational Kinesiology techniques affected the static balance of 60 learning disabled students.
The group receiving Educational Kinesiology improved more than the control group or the group receiving only basic movement activities.
Harp Learning Institute uses similar techniques to help students who are struggling to learn. Students not only participate in cross lateral movements using their arms and legs while using specified eye placemen but also engage in activities designed to increase visual and auditory processing as well as eye/hand coordination in conjunction with the cross lateral motions necessary for building neural pathways in the brain and connecting the body with the brain.
Motor Skills and ADHD, University of Maryland, 2009
Gross and fine motor delays are commonly seen complications accompanying ADHD. Gross motor skills involve large muscles used in things like running and climbing, while fine motor skills involve the finger, the hands, and the wrist, like putting a puzzle together.
A study published in the May 18, 2009 issue of "Behavioral and Brain Function" found that 80 to 96 percent of ADHD boys showed moderate to severe problems with motor skills compared to the control group of non-ADHD boys.
Handwriting was specifically noted as a problem. These students were also noted to be clumsy when running or skipping and demonstrated increased muscle tone, jerky movements, and difficulty with both balance and stability.
The motor problems observed did not appear to be due to inattention or impulsiveness.
ADD and ADHD are often symptoms of another learning issue or coincide with other learning issues.
Because of this, gross motor skills training is imperative to help students with ADD/ADHD succeed in not only school but in life.
Harp Learning Institute provides gross motor skills that are imperative to learning success. Students become balanced and confident through the combination of gross motor, cognitive, and cross lateral motion activities. Not only students with ADD/ADHD benefit from motor skills training, but all students who are struggling to learn benefit from making sure this foundational skill to learning is in place.
Duckman and Swets 1998 pg.7
According to this research study the more you see and hear pure movement, the deeper it becomes imprinted in your nervous system and the more likely you are to perform it as a conditioned reflex.
Once students have imprinted the task in their nervous systems, the conditioned reflex can affect academics by being routine and not a conscious effort.
This leaves space for higher level skills to use the conscious effort instead of the student focusing on the pure movement only.
At Harp Learning Institute, students begin with pure movement. Simple exercises are performed and then, with success, other activities are added, specifically using movement in conjunction with cognitive skills.
For instance, students jump on a mini-trampoline while citing directions and colors of arrows on the wall. Students also might recite multiplication facts as while catching a ball. The brain is busy thinking while the body is busy moving.
This prepares the student for multi-step thinking in later years, such as needed in Algebra or reading multi-syllabic words.
Neuroschological Theory of Motor Learning
Willmingham, Daniel B.
This research study by Willingham notes that learning grows directly out of motor control processes. Three motor control processes may be turned to specific tasks, thereby improving performance. These motor control processes are:
1. selecting spatial targets for movement
2. sequencing these targets
3. transforming them into muscle commands
When motor control processes become automatic, space is created for the student to learn higher level skills easier because the lower level skills are no longer a conscious effort.
Students at Harp Learning Institute continuously are asked to select spatial targets in conjunction with movement. For example, in order to access the visual memory portion of the brain, students look up and to the right while performing cross-lateral activities.
This helps build neural pathways in the brain as well as enhance body/brain connections.
Sequencing of targets is crucial for later academic success. Early on at Harp Learning Institute, students sequence body movements with cognitive or sensory building movements.
For instance, students stand on a balance board while moving a ball on a plate in numerical order from 1 to 10. This sets the stage for later academic development.
Once the information is set into the muscle memory, students can command their bodies or their brains to perform a skill, and due to these muscle commands, the body and brain work in conjunction to perform skills that are precursors to academic success.
Stein JF, Richardson AJ, Fowler MS, Brain, 2000 Jan: 123
University Laboratory of Physiology, Department of Orthoptics, Royal Berkshire Hospital Reading, UK
Poor control of eye movement may lead to unstable binocular fixation and hence unsteady vision: this could explain why many dyslexics report that letters appear to move around, causing visual confusion.
Binocular control and reading progress was assessed with students with initial unstable binocular control after the left eye was patched. These students were followed for 9 months.
Significantly more of the children who were given occlusion gained stable binocular fixation in the first three months - 59% compared with children not being occluded - 36%.
These children were also more likely to have improved their reading abilities. The occluded students improved their reading scores by 9.4 months in the first three months compared with 3.9 months in those who were not patched.
Students attending sessions at Harp Learning Institute routinely perform eye movement and eye tracking activities in conjunction with patching or occluding not just the left eye, but both the left and the right eyes. This is a major contributing factor to increasing reading scores as well as other academic success.
King, Ethel M.
Journal of Educational Psychology
Effects of different kinds of visual discrimination training on learning to read words
The study compared 6 groups of 23 kindergarten children learning to read 4 words following different kinds of visual discrimination training.
Each group was designated by the method of presentation and type of stimuli used in training. 5 groups were trained with successive presentations and 1 group with simultaneous presentations.
The types of stimuli used for discrimination training included different words from the reading task, different meaningful words (presentation of visual form, sound, and picture), same words as reading task, same letters which were constituents of reading words, and geometric forms for the control group.
Significant group differences in reading performance were found in groups trained in matching different meaningful words and the same letters.
At Harp Learning Institute, students receive visual discrimination training in various manners. Our visual processing level is rich in not only visual discrimination activities, but visual closure, visual memory, and visual motor integration.
These activities all help students recognize and manipulate written information that translates to reading, writing, math, and spelling achievement. By breaking down the higher level academic activities into smaller components, such as visual discrimination, the skills can be mastered and then built back up for academic success.
Nicole M. Russ, Trent G. Nicol, Steven G. Zecker, Erin A. Hayes, Nina Kraus
Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL June 2004
The auditory brainstem response reflects neural encoding of the acoustic characteristics of speech syllables with remarkable precision.
Some children with learning impairments demonstrate abnormalities in this preconscious measure of neural encoding, especially in background noise.
This study investigated whether auditory training targeted to remediate perceptually-based learning problems would alter the neural brainstem encoding of the acoustic sound structure of speech n such children.
Auditory training can alter the preconscious neural encoding of complex sounds by improving neural synchrony in the auditory brainstem.
Children with auditory processing disorders do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even though the sounds are indeed loud and clear.
For instance, the request, "Tell me how a fish and a cat are alike," may sound to a child with an auditory processing disorder like, "Tell me how a dish and a can are alike."
Students attending Harp Learning Institute receive auditory training each time they attend.
We start with basic auditory discrimination and auditory closure to remediate the student's inability to process auditory information correctly.
Instead of working on the bigger skill of words at first, we take the students back to individual sounds and slowly build up to words and sentences. As the students make progress in this area, not only academics improve but behavior (due to frustration) and communication skills improve. This makes for a happier student.
The Journal Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found that people with dyslexia have more trouble recognizing voices than those without dyslexia.
This problem is critical for dyslexic students who are trying to read - the ability of a child hearing someone speak to connect the auditory bits that make up words, called phonemes, with the sight of the written words. If a child has trouble grasping the sounds that make up language, acquiring reading skills will be more difficult.
Students must be able to recognize auditory information and process it correctly to make the connection between written information and sounds that go with the written information.
At Harp Learning Institute students receive auditory processing skills that start in small bits and then gradually increase to higher level processing. Since we know that this hearing is occurring in the brain, we have students use their brains to process this information.
We use nonsense as well as familiar sounds and words so that the student cannot just rely on meaning to manipulate sounds in the brain. Students actually learn to process auditory information correctly and in turn relate it correctly to the written word, whether they have dyslexia or another form of learning difference.
Alexandra Morrison, Jason Chein November 2010
These individual studies involved using working memory training as a tool for cognitive enhancement.
Indeed using working memory training can be used as an effective tool for cognitive enhancement.
At Harp Learning Institute students start with basic visual recall activities that begin to fill in gaps in their memory foundation. Slowly, after skills mastery is met at every level, the demand is increased and students advance to more difficult visual and auditory memory skills. Students at the highest level of the program not only retain visual and auditory memory information but learn to manipulate it as well, which contributes to a more efficient working memory.
Memory Enhancement in Language Pedagogy: Implications from Cognitive Research
Farzad Sharifian, PhD
Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, WA, Australia
This paper reviews a number of sub-paradigms in cognitive research on memory enhancement and explores some insights that they may have for theory and practice in English language teaching.
The research reviewed in this paper has made rigorous attempts to discover perceptual and processing strategies that may enhance retention of information in human cognitive storage.
It was found that generation of stimuli by learners, rather than simple reading, enhances retention. A major trend arising from a number of these studies is that an increase in cognitive effort may lead to better memory.
Students at Harp Learning Institute practice memory building activities as well as cognitive skills that work together to help enhance retention of learning and application of learning not only in an academic setting but in the world. This helps create life-long learners.
Ball W, Blackman B
The effects of training in phonemic segmentation and of instruction in letter names and letter sounds on kindergarten children's reading and spelling skills.
Phonemic awareness instruction, combined with instruction connecting the phonemic segments to alphabet letters, significantly improved the early reading and spelling skills of the children in the phonemic awareness group.
However, instruction in letter names and letters sounds alone did not significantly improve the segmentation skills, the early reading skills, or the spelling skill of the students.
Harp Learning Institute uses an intense phonemic awareness program that is sequential as well as multi-sensory.
Students begin by combining two sounds and eventually build up to multi-syllabic words while touching, seeing, and saying the sound or word combinations.
This process, used in conjunction with key motor, cognitive, memory, auditory, and visual building activities helps students of any age build reading and spelling skills.