Neurological Impress Method

Instructional Practice
Oral Reading Fluency
Tier III

15-20 mins

Target Student

Students who have basic word attack skills and have approximately a grade 2 level sight vocabulary. It is appropriate for general education students in the primary grades and for older students with learning disabilities who do not read fluently.


The Neurological Impress Method (NIM) is a form of paired reading in which a student and teacher (or other professional) read the same text almost simultaneously. Sitting side-by-side (elbow to elbow), the teacher reads a text slightly faster and louder than the student while both follow the text with their fingers. Reading along with a more fluent reader is thought of as "an impress, an etching in of word memories on the natural process" (Heckelman, 1969). In addition, positive reinforcement from the tutor may help build students' self-confidence and enjoyment of reading.


This is an instructional practice. An instruction practice is a teaching method that guides interactions in the classroom and supports student learning. Instructional practices involve an educator using particular method, practice, or protocol during instruction.

How To

Steps for NIM (adapted from Flood et al, 2005)

  1. Select an instructional-level text (or better yet, ask the student to select the text).
  2. Sit next to the student so you are close to the student's ear.
  3. Move your finger under each word as you read it. The student rests his or her finger on top of yours.
  4. As you read the text aloud together, set the pace by reading slightly faster than the student. Model fluency and expression, chunking words in meaningful phrases and pausing for punctuation.
  5. Gradually release the "lead" to the student as the he or she becomes more comfortable with the text. As the student reads more fluently, the teacher can soften his/her voice, allowing the child’s voice to “take the lead".

Flood, J., Lapp, D., & Fisher, D. (2005). Neurological impress methods plus. Reading Psychology, 26, 147-150.

Heckelman, R. G. (1969). A neurological-impress method of remedial-reading instruction. Academic Therapy 4(4) 277-282.

Related Resources

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