Open LORE - Reinvention of the Neurological Impress Method October 23 2014, 0 Comments

by Bethany Wagner

What is NIM?

When you see Open LORE reading software in action, you immediately know something is different. The software reads e-books aloud, highlighting the words and phrases simultaneously, showing one way it is truly unique. This brings an effective, time-tested method of teaching reading into the modern technological age.

Known as the Neurological Impress Method (NIM) of reading instruction, this method was first pioneered by R. G. Heckleman in the 1960s. NIM is an interactive method of multi-modal reading in which a teacher reads a text out loud while the teacher or student tracks the words being read with a finger or hand.

In a benchmark study in California’s Merced County, Heckleman and his researchers investigated the impact of NIM on the reading levels of 24 middle school and high school students. After administering just 8 one-hour instructional sessions, the students experienced an average increase in reading levels of 1.9 grades, with some achieving far more. NIM has been employed as an intervention technique ever since.

Watch NIM in Action

To see NIM in action, watch these two YouTube videos (Amanda Wagner has no relation or connection with Open LORE):

NIM Effectiveness

Many teachers have witnessed firsthand the benefits of NIM. Roland McCormick, an experienced 5th grade teacher retired after 33 years, utilized NIM with students who were reading two or more grade levels behind their peers. One student, Mark, entered McCormick’s Albany, Oregon, classroom at a pre-primer reading level. “He was so lacking in confidence that he couldn’t even begin to read,” said McCormick. “I read with him every day using a ruler to track the words as we read together.” Mark’s progress was so positive that his mother requested he stay with McCormick for two years of additional instruction. McCormick recalls seeing him years later at his high school graduation: “I saw Mark standing proudly in his cap and gown. He had tested out above eleventh grade reading, showing incredible improvement.”

Another student, Rachel, came into McCormick’s class reading at a 3rd grade reading level.  After testing her reading level, applying NIM, then re-testing her at the end of the year, she had gained two full grade levels in reading.  “NIM worked,” said McCormick.  “I don’t know what else would have helped.”

While NIM has proved effective, it does have a major drawback, as it requires intensive one-on-one instruction. “I needed to instruct all the kids in my classroom, but NIM demanded regular individualized attention,” said McCormick. Here, Open LORE steps in, providing the out-loud reading with text-to-speech voices and on-screen synchronized text tracking. Depending on students’ abilities, the speed can also be adjusted and the sound turned off to allow users to read on their own at a comfortable rate.

But NIM is not only for young students learning to read. More studies have been published connecting multi-modal reading of this nature with reduced reading fatigue, better focus and attention while reading, and improved reading comprehension, as we will discuss in future posts. Whether reading for learning or for pleasure, Open LORE software helps readers unlock their own potential to enter into an engaging, enjoyable reading experience.