Answers to frequently asked questions

How does the Nicolay Method work?
The children will become aware of the thought processes they utilize when reading and writing. Then they experience how children with good reading and writing skills use their thought processes and how they can effectively apply these skills successfully into their own learning strategies. We also implement with a relaxation exercise that will assist the children while studying to improve their concentration. Counterbalancing possible psychological, family or social disadvantages, which may have a negative effect on the children learning to read and write error free, is an important factor and also addressed here.

How long does it take before tangible improvements can be seen in reading and writing?
Eighty percent of children need only four to ten individual sessions to achieve good grades and read and write error free. Within eight to twelve weeks they will have mastered the technique and be able to apply it to both known (familiar) and newly learned (non familiar) words. The children will also be able to apply the concept towards grammatical rules later resulting in higher test scores and grades. Even children who could not be helped with other forms of therapy, or were certified as incurable dyslexics, will be able to achieve good grades in reading and writing. A pre-requisite is that one parent or tutor could be actively involved in the individual sessions and will utilize the practical instructions for continuing support at home leading to a successful conclusion.

When does the Nicolay Method not work?
The Nicolay Method (NM) will not be successful if conflicts between the parent and child are not transformed into constructive cooperation or if one fails to create the necessary relationship requirements between the parents, child and myself as the instructor, or the therapist or tutor. 

Does the Nicolay Method also work for other languages? Yes

Can adults also apply the Nicolay Method successfully?
Yes, although it usually takes longer than in the case of elementary school children.

Is reading and writing difficulties/dyslexia an illness or a deficit in the child?
I do not support the theory of genetic disposition when addressing the term dyslexia in children. Those labeled dyslexic do not suffer from any form of deficiency or illness and are capable of the same success in spelling and reading and writing words error free. The same disastrous trend in Germany of associating therapy with illness equates that new illnesses are being assigned to children who do not function well within the existing school system.

Children with learning difficulties are considered hopeless cases by their parents and teachers and they believe that only endless hours of tedious therapy can possibly help to correct the problem. The Nicolay Method (NM) has proven, based on the experience of thousands of children, that this is not the case and it is confirmed by their parents. (See list of references).

My experience with thousands of children in both the classroom and individual sessions has shown that each child is capable of learning to read and write error free and also understand grammar and improve their vocabulary. They are also able to complete written tests (dictation) with at least a B grade making just a few mistakes. 

Some children still develop problems in school with learning to read and write correctly even though they are willing and motivated.

It seems that these children are unconsciously using a learning style that is not suited or effective for learning known words and writing (orthography, written language acquisition) them down error free.

I believe that if a particular instructional method is only effective and successful with some of the children in the class, then it could be highly possible that this strategy is unsuitable for the whole class and the teachers should be aware of this and certainly adapt their teaching methods to student learning and not vice-versa.

Family, social and other obstacles 
Family and social issues or other negative factors in the child's environment can have a negative effect on their school performance. But they are not the main cause of reading and writing difficulties, dyslexia or any learning disabilities. Many children with excellent skills in written language are confronted with the same difficulties and end up just fine. It has not been my experience that improving the learning environment automatically leads to a substantial improvement in reading and writing. On the other hand, the implementation of an effective learning style in combination with a balanced learning environment leads to rapid and lasting success.

You can find further information of the way NM works in the book, The Dyslexia Myth.

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