IdeaChain is designed to improve reading (and listening) comprehension.
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IdeaChain is a product of MindPrime, Inc.

How Does MindPrime's IdeaChain Work?

The Foundation        
  • When you understand something, the mind is doing two jobs simultaneously: It's dealing wit the words you's creating a mental picture which becomes the anchor and the organizer of your thought.
    (If you have not seen the presentation, Why People Have Problems With Comprehension, you may want to do so before you continue.)

  • Individuals who have difficulty with comprehension frequently have problems making mental pictures. It's not that they can't make a mental picture (although many times they will tell you that)...It's that they can read words faster than they can create, change and adapt their mental pictures.

  • MindPrime's IdeaChain program teaches an individual to become more efficient at mental imaging so they can process information more efficiently and understand as they read.

The Problems in Creating Change
  • Comprehension or understanding is a complex process. You MUST pull the process apart and you MUST walk your way through the process one step at a time.

  • The BIGGEST PROBLEM you have in helping another person with comprehension is that you cannot see their thinking and they cannot see yours. How do you help your child when You are not sure what they're thinking right now? What do they have and what do they not understand?

  • You must find a common frame of reference, a language that your child clearly understands, so that what you teach sticks permanently.

  • If you are feeling extremely frustrated about how to help, you have a lot of company! Many parents and teachers begin to feel that somehow it is their fault that the child is not understanding and remembering. The frustration of both parent and child can put undue pressure on the learning process.

The Solution - MindPrime's IdeaChain Program

IdeaChain gives you specific language to coach your child to greater understanding. IdeaChain starts your son or daughter at a point where he or she can be successful.

It contains all the material you need to complete the program. We also encourage you to apply the lesson material to homework study and assignments as soon as possible.

Here's what you get with IdeaChain...

  • An Overview to get you off to a quick start and give you background on the comprehension issues
  • The Lesson Notes highlight your role in the lesson and tell you specifically what to do
  • The Student Orientation helps you explain to your son or daughter how IdeaChain works
  • The Tracking Chart gives you a place to keep a record of your child's progress
  • Other Activities are family orientated activities that help you reinforce comprehension principles outside the lesson
  • Teacher Notes are designed to keep your child's teacher informed about what you are doing at home, if that is appropriate.

There are three Stages, or steps, to the IdeaChain reading comprehension course:

The Concrete Stage

What you do...

  • Use simple activities with photographs to teach your child to see in depth.
  • Get a window into your child's thinking by watching how your child approaches the picture activities. You clearly see what they are missing, how they are jumping around or what they need to do differently.
  • Ask questions...not open ended questions, but specific types of question spelled out in the IdeaChain program, to support your child and to stimulate organization of information.
  • Build summaries that easily evolve from the concrete picture activity.


  • Your child begins to see full rich details, a skill which pays off in writing assignments as well as in reading.
  • Your child learns how to organize the information in a picture and tell you about it in a organized way.
  • Your child can express summaries that pull together the main points of a picture or concrete scene.
  • These skills - seeing richness of detail, organizing and summarizing - are crucial reading skills which are extremely difficult to teach in the abstract. Using MindPrime's IdeaChain process you can accomplish this in about three weeks to two months.

    With these scripted activities you build a common frame of reference with your son or daughter that you can use to coach them through any subject or clarify communications when they get tangled up trying to tell you something.

The Snapshot Stage        

What you do...

  • Transfer all strategies learned in the Concrete Stage to building mental still-pictures without the support of concrete pictures or objects. This is a BIG step for the child to generate his or her own full mental picture. Why build a mental still-picture or snapshot? Because generating the kind of mental movie most people create when reading a book is far too complex at this stage of development. Mental snapshots are the first step toward building a mental movie.
  • Clear up directional issues such as right and left. Check that your child is solid on how to describe the relationships between various items in their mental picture.
  • Continue to stress richness of detail, organization and summaries.


  • Build organized mental pictures of simple concepts.
  • Develop summaries of single-concept mental pictures.
  • Use mental snapshots to build and retain definitions for history, science or reading school studies.

    These skills are the beginning of spontaneous mental imaging. The are totally creative in that the individual makes all the decisions about what goes into the mental picture. After some practice the individual can make changes to and rearrange a mental picture.

The Reading Stage

What you do...

  • Begin to build mental images from written text.
  • Stop the eye from bouncing right over the words. Use markers in a specific strategy to pull the eye to the words needed to build a mental image.
  • Begin active reading by separating the author's meaning from the elaboration in an individual's mental picture. (Yes, even young children are able to do this with your coaching.)
  • Begin answering factual and inferential questions using mental images built from reading.


    Begin to visualize directly from text. The goal of developing mental imaging is to visualize "on the fly" in real time. Visualizing supports developing meaning as you read. Noticing richness of detail and organizing information as you read leads to the ability to summarize, make inferences and remember more. The more strategies are used the stronger they become.

A Note From The Author, Jane Wilkinson

Thank you for exploring MindPrime's IdeaChain program. We would love to be able to answer every question you have about our program. If we have not done that...especially about how the program relates specifically to your child, student or someone you want to help...please read on...

Give us a call (800-460-8484) and let us know what other information you need to make an informed decision about helping your son or daughter, grandchild, student or yourself. We are a small company. You will not talk to a telemarketer. You will talk with an educator who can answer your questions. Our office is open 8:30 am to 5:00 PM central time.

Most of the time we can talk with you immediately when you call. On occasion, if we have several calls at once, we may ask you for a good time to call back. If you are not free to talk during the day, we will arrange a time to talk in the evening so that your questions can be answered.

Our goal is to improve lives, which is what happens when an individual begins to grasp and remember what they read and hear. It is our joy and pleasure to serve you in this process.

Jane Wilkinson


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800-460-8484      4547 Baylor Camp Road, Crawford, Texas 76638    
MindPrime and IdeaChain are registered trademarks of MindPrime, Inc.

Reading comprehension improvement . . . in as little as three months!


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