Frequently Asked Questions about PREP

Why is it called PREP?

PREP stands for PASS Reading Enhancement Program. It is based on the PASS theory of Intelligence (Planning, Attention, Simultaneous and Successive Processing), and should be understood within the framework provided by PASS theory.

What does PREP do?

The PREP program improves the information-processing strategies that underlie reading, while avoiding the direct teaching of word-reading skills. This method is founded on the premise that it is easier for children to learn these strategies by inductive rather than deductive means (Carlson & Das, 1996). Accordingly, the program is structured so that tacitly acquired strategies are likely to be used by the children in appropriate ways.

Attention and planning are important aspects of tasks given in the program. Specifically, attention is required to perform each task, and planning skills are developed by encouraging the children to discuss their strategies and solutions both during and following each task.

Who is most likely to benefit from PREP?

A number of children who are highly motivated and emotionally well adjusted, and who have a supportive family environment, nevertheless experience reading difficulties. Research shows that these children can be classified into two groups. The groups are similar in that children in both are unable to read at the level expected for their grade (“Read” means the ability to identify written words, especially unfamiliar words or “made-up” words that have no meaning).

The larger group of poor readers comprises children whose reading difficulties arise from a wide array of weaknesses in cognitive functioning, while children in the smaller group can be classified as dyslexic readers. The poor reader from the larger category is likely to struggle in other subjects that do not require a lot of reading, and may perform poorly on a wide variety of intellectual tasks.

By contrast, the dyslexic child has specific cognitive processing difficulties that are related to converting spelling to speech or with phonological coding. PREP training improves word reading and comprehension.

Research shows that most children who have reading difficulties, including word reading and comprehension, despite good motivation and emotional well-being, will benefit from PREP.

How many subjects can use PREP at the same time?

For PREP to be both efficient and effective, there should be no more than four children in any group session.

Is PREP age-appropriate

PREP is a remedial reading program. It is therefore imperative that children begin the program at their own reading level irrespective of their current age or grade. 

How is PREP structured, and what does it consist of?

The program consists of eight tasks which vary considerably, both in content and in what they require of the student. All tasks involve a global training component and for some tasks, an additional, curriculum-related bridging component.

The global component consists of structured non-reading tasks that require the application of simultaneous or successive strategies. These tasks also provide children with the opportunity to internalize strategies in their own way. The global tasks begin with content that is familiar and non-threatening so that strategy acquisition begins in small stages. Complexity is introduced gradually, and only after a return to easier content. Through verbal mediation, which occurs through discussion of specific strategies used, the children are encouraged to apply their chosen strategies to academic tasks such as word decoding.

The bridging component involves the same cognitive demands as its global component, and provides training in simultaneous and successive progressing strategies that are closely linked to reading and spelling.

The global and bridging components are further divided into three levels of difficulty. This allows the child to progress in strategy development and, for those who already have some successful processing strategies in place, to begin at an appropriate level.

A system of prompts is also integrated into each global and bridging component. The prompts support and guide the child to ensure that he/she completes the tasks with minimal assistance and maximal success. A record of these prompts provides a monitoring system for facilitators to determine when material is too difficult for the child or, alternatively, when the child is ready to progress to the more difficult level.