Pyramid of Potential




The Roadmap from Reading Failure to Success 





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August 29, 2014
Hi Everyone

This is the last weekend for the Growing Brains Special. Get it before labor day and save. This product is for those who are interested in some products to try at home to improve your brain, check out our Growing Brains Everyday. This is some at home work that you can follow to increase processing speed. There is more information at that link and even a sample to try it out. 


Processing speed is an extremely important learning component and must be increased.  Extra time to process is a fine accommodation for now but fixing the problem, not accommodating it, is what we need to focus on for long term learning.  See my complete article below on how to increase processing speed.   


Click on the following link to download a sample exercise to improve processing speed:  Growing Brains Processing Speed Sample.  This is a sample from my Growing Brains Everyday curriculum. Get it now on sale while you still can and what better time than at the beginning of school. 



For all professionals:

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The best Moro reflex integration exercise
The best Moro reflex integration exercise
Go to our Youtube Channel to see the best Moro Reflex integration exercise. These exercises are all in Maintaining Brains Everyday and work well with Growing Brains



The Roadmap from Reading Failure to Success



This week I am starting to include in this newsletter certain chapters from my upcoming book, The Roadmap From Reading Failure to Success. I will not be including all chapters, and the chapters I include may be out of order, but this exercise will definitely help me finish the book I have started.


This week I will give you the basic outline, and next week and for many weeks after I will be including entire chapters. My hope is that you will send me comments, thereby improving the book as it is written, and to give you valuable information that you can apply for your child or student.


Next week I will be including the chapter on Rapid Automatic Naming within the Fluency chapter. Enjoy!



  • Dyslexia and Other Reading Problems
  • Phonemic Awareness
    • Setting up the brain to process sounds
    • Setting up the auditory system to process sounds
    • Games to play to become aware of sounds
    • Blending
    • Segmenting
    • Phoneme manipulation
  • Visual Issues
    • Near point acuity
    • Tracking
    • Convergence
    • Saccades
    • Double vision
    • Reversals
    • Visual discrimination
    • Visual attention
    • Irlen syndrome and the role of color
  • Decoding
    • Decoding by sound vs. phonics
    • Activities and resources
  • Fluency
    • Processing speed
    • Rapid automatic naming
    • The role of vision
  • Comprehension
    • The role of decoding
    • Fluency
    • Visualization
    • Vocabulary
    • Logic and reasoning
    • Auditory vs visual learner
  • Creating a Plan


Each chapter will include a quiz to see if this chapter is relevant to you or your student, general information, and what to do specifically. If you have read my other Roadmap book, you may be familiar with this outline, except that in this book, the actual exercises will be included, so that you will not need to go to other resources. 


If you have not read my other Roadmap book, here is your chance to read it before this one is released. Click this link to get a downloadable copy or Here to order your very own copy. 




Did You Know?

Causes of Severe Reading Difficulty and the Impact on Reading 


The Impact on Reading


Impact of Poor Phonological Awareness Problems:

Students with weaknesses in phonological awareness will have difficulty developing these skills which will impact their ability to develop beginning reading skills. Such students do not understand the alphabetic principle of English and fail to develop adequate decoding (letter to sound) skills for reading or encoding (sound to letter) skills for spelling. They may be unable to produce good invented spellings because they do not have the requisite skills necessary to segment words into sounds and map those sounds onto the appropriate letters. Such students tend to rely on their knowledge of words memorized as "sight words" and attempt to read new words based on context or by guessing based on partial letter cues (such as the first and last letters of the word). They may not recognize the common spelling patterns in words so do not benefit from the regularities that exist in the English language. Deficits in decoding (and encoding) are the most critical factors in poor reading for the majority of students. Studies clearly indicate that a major portion of the difficulty students have in reading comprehension is related to inaccurate identification of the individual words encountered which is, in turn, strongly related to decoding skills. It is, of course, possible to read words accurately and still have problems with comprehension and this is an area which is now being studied more carefully.


Impact of Naming Problems:

Students with difficulties in rapid naming/word retrieval are characterized by slow and effortful naming of items such as letters, numbers, and colors. Such students often have difficulty initially learning letter names/sounds in kindergarten and irregular, high frequency words in first grade; teachers and parents remark that these students seem to learn the information only to have forgotten it later. For such students, learning the names of items requires multiple repetitions over a long period of time and they may be slow to recall the names of the items even when they have been learned. Because they may not be able to accurately or quickly recall letter-sound associations, such children often make "reversal errors" such as hearing the sound of /b/ and writing the letter d- such errors are not related to "seeing" the letter backwards. The result of naming problems is that learning to read is very difficult - decoding and encoding will be affected by the difficulty such students have learning letter-sound associations and memorization of sight words is equally difficult. Even when such students learn to decode accurately, they often have to decode the same words over and over rather than recognizing those words quickly and automatically. Thus, reading is very slow and laborious and these students typically hate reading and avoid practicing.


Impact of Working Memory Problems: 

 Holding information in working memory involves the ability to hold a string of sounds (such as a name of a letter or a number) in short term memory while the information is being processed. This is often measured by the ability to recall a string of numbers or to repeat unfamiliar words accurately. Although of lesser importance for reading than phonological awareness and naming, weaknesses in this area can impact students ability to segment and blend sounds into words.


Students with a combination of phonological awareness, naming and working memory deficits are considered to have a double or triple deficit and are typically the most severely impaired of readers. 


To read the full article and find out about the causes, the link to the pdf article is here.



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Contact Us
Kathy Johnson, MS Ed

Bob Johnson

Pyramid of Potential
245 Washington St #3369
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Where's Kathy?

It is now time to set up your professional development at your school - Kathy is available for many dates this summer! Call now to secure YOUR date!


Below are the upcoming workshops that Kathy Johnson is giving. If she is not coming to your area, why not hire her for your next professional development?


  Kathy Johnson Photo 2010


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach 
Monday, September 15, 2014 in ELLICOTT CITY, MD 
Early Registration: $189.99
** Early Registration Prices Available Until 8/26/2014 **   


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 in 


Early Registration: $189.99
** Early Registration Prices Available Until 8/26/2014 **  


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach

 Wednesday, September 17, 2014 in 


Early Registration: $189.99
** Early Registration Prices Available Until 8/26/2014 **  


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach

Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse NY, December 10, 11, 12

If you aren't near any of these on-site professional development conferences, consider the following:


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach   Price: $169.99  Author: Kathy Johnson, MS Ed.  Format: DVD



Here is the girl's results from section 3.  This was their all time favorite section.  The girls loved the vowel substitution using the toobaloos.  They became very quick and accurate & could easily keep up with the metronome.  They also loved the tracking the letter.  I stopped writing the 2 letters on the page they were using after about day 24.  At first Izzy was much faster then Sarah with the tracking then Sarah caught up and passed her in accuracy and speed.  I would count with them to get started and then they would continue.  Sarah was very poor at tracking the pencil at first.  She needed a lot of verbal and visual cues not to lose the target and she used to move her mouth with her eyes.  With practice she got better and I was able to let the girls do tracking the pencil to each other instead of me doing it with them.


  Best of all was the Simon Says and Math Memory!  At first I thought they would never get it.  Sarah would make mistakes like when I said "circle the", she would immediately point to the circle.  To stop her confusion & help her differentiate,  I would first name the shapes/figures in the row, then begin with the verbal instructions.  At first Sarah could only get about 2 right in each row and she was holding Izzy back a lot.  Then near the end Sarah was able to remember as much as Izzy and they were getting at least 2 out of 3 rows all correct with 5 instructions.  Each time one or the other would get 1 wrong on one row.  I was shocked at how well Sarah's working memory improved.  She used to be unable to execute an auditory direction like, " go up and get the toilet paper from the bathroom and bring it downstairs."  She would never be able to find anything either.  Now she can listen to a direction and complete it!  It is amazing!  I can't tell you how much it has improved her ability to help out, be involved and created a more functional independence in her!


Most amazing was Izzy's ability to do the Math Memory addition.  I truly thought that it was not for either of the girls when we began.  Sarah could only add the first 2 numbers in a column.  Izzy on the other hand took off with it.  She seemed to have a knack for it that I'm not sure where it came from.  This is a little girl who could not remember her addition facts in 2nd grade.  She could not pass the mad minutes.  She kept asking me to do it with her and although she would have to count it versus know the fact sometimes, she could complete the whole table with only needing me to repeat numbers a few times if she forgot.  She became faster and more efficient with practice and she really enjoyed it.


Izzy is reading better but still gets hung up on long and short vowel sounds.  Her fluency has improved and she is now reading at where she should for 3rd grade.  She was reading at below grade level at the beginning of the year.  She is not as fidgety.  She hasn't knocked over her drink at dinner in a long time!  I'm not sure if she is not as fidgety at school but I will ask at her conference.  She used to get 60% on her district math assessments last year and at the beginning of this year.  A few weeks ago her teacher told me that Izzy got a 91% on her district assessment.  She has had another since then and I'm not sure how she did, but what a difference!!!  Izzy has changed from a little girl who struggled through all parts of school to a little girl who loves school and has confidence and feels good about herself.  She continues to be an amazing writer.  Her writer's voice is well above her age level.  Her spelling continues to be below average and I believe she will need to use tools to help keep her on track. 


Maybe the next section will help improve her spelling :) 


We have really enjoyed this journey in learning.  I have found that my girls are striving as different learners and I am proud of their differences.  I am no longer afraid of 4th grade for Izzy.  I am rejoicing in Sarah's accomplishments as she continues to learn and grow as a 15 year old, especially when I have seen the tragedy of some children that I work with who have Autism and are not as functional as they were when in elementary as they get into middle and high school.  This makes me believe that changes in the brain during adolescence must have something to do with it.  I also believe you are never too old to learn.  Thank goodness Sarah is a lifelong learner like her mother and she loves to do our "exercises", as we call it.


Let me know when the next section is ready.  I would love to continue with the girls during summer, so know that I am not confined to the school year to complete the 150 day program. 


I am so happy to be involved in this trial for the program!

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