Understanding Explicit Instruction

When we talk about the teaching methods that work best for children with learning difficulties, we use the term explicit instruction and contrast it with implicit instruction. But what exactly do these terms mean?

The Difference Between Explicit and Implicit Instruction

Typical classroom teaching exposes children to words and reading materials without pointing out patterns in the reading material and without directing the students toward a specific goal. This is called implicit instruction and children who do not have language-learning problems will easily discover the patterns for themselves. But children who are dyslexic or have other neuro-linguistic challenges will not see the patterns or understand the purpose of the reading materials.

Explicit instruction, on the other hand, will offer the very same materials along with guidance on goals and expectations for the task, as well as examples, practice, and feedback. With that additional framework and practice, a child with language-learning problems, such as dyslexia, can keep pace with his or her peers at grade level.

We might say that implicit learning is unconscious or intuitive, while explicit learning is conscious and directed.

The National Reading Panel, which studies the effectiveness of various approaches to teaching children how to read, suggests that explicit instruction can also boost comprehension for all types of learners: “…explicit or formal instruction in the application of comprehension strategies has been shown to be highly effective in enhancing understanding.”

Lexercise delivers explicit instruction of the linguistic concepts necessary for skilled reading and spelling along with the structured practice that researchers say is a critical component of learning. The concepts, skills and routines are embedded into carefully designed lessons. A student plays the Lexercise games in a motivating online format, practicing daily and achieving mastery at each level before moving on. The student is given feedback on the accuracy of his or her responses, each answer is scored and reports are generated for the clinician to monitor and analyze the student’s performance.

If you suspect your child has a language-learning disorder and you would like a referral to a qualified professional or if you have questions about dyslexia or language learning problems, give me a call at 1-919-747-4557 ext. 1 or e-mail support@lexercise.com.

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Sandie Barrie Blackley, MA/CCC

MA/CCC - Cofounder and CKO

Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.