SIM for Parents
What Kind of Help does SIM Offer for my Son or Daughter?
The Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) is a set of Learning Strategies and Content Enhancement Routines designed at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. Initial SIM development focused on helping struggling students, but over time the strategies have consistently proven to significantly improve academic outcomes for all students. Education researchers designed the Learning Strategies to help students approach, understand, self-monitor and complete academic activities by explicitly teaching them how to verbalize, and ultimately to make automatic, the steps involved in reading, writing, calculating, studying, and completing assignments. Likewise, the Content Enhancement Routines help teachers present content in an understandable and easy-to-learn manner. The specific routines simplify the complexities and organize the information within the curriculum to provide support for all students to reach higher-order thinking about the concepts in their classes. The Learning Strategies and Content Enhancement Routines can be used in all learning settings including classrooms, homeschooling, small group instruction, micro-schools, learning pods and one-to-one learning. The strategies and routines are appropriate for students as young as 3rd grade and through college level.
The array of SIM Learning Strategies range from:
- helping struggling readers to become more fluent (Visual Mapping, Word Identification), to
- helping build vocabulary (Word Mapping), to
- helping inactive readers become more aware of and more involved with the text (Fundamentals of Paraphrasing and Summarizing, Inference, Self-Questioning).
- direct instruction in sentence and paragraph writing (Fundamentals in Sentence Writing, Paragraph Writing)
- more intensive study in writing for middle schoolers, high schoolers and college age students (Proficiency in Sentence Writing, Theme Writing).
- SIM math strategies cover everything from addition to division.
Study and Performance strategies:
- help students remember information (Listening & Note-taking, First Letter Mnemonic), and
- teach students how to complete assignments and tests with confidence (Test-Taking, Assignment Completion).
Each Learning Strategy comes with a step-by-step manual for instructors and student practice materials. Because Learning Strategies target individual skills, students can learn just the strategy or a suite of strategies they may need to master under-developed skills.
While SIM Content Enhancement Routines are used by students, they are led by the instructor. The teaching routines provide a visual tool to present complex and detailed information in a systematic, meaningful and organized format. For example, the Unit Organizer gives an overview for students on the key concepts being learned in the unit, important big picture questions, and a schedule for upcoming assignments and projects. Students write on the Unit Organizer throughout the unit to track learning progress. Also, there are routines for teaching concepts (Concept Mastery, Concept Comparison), increasing performance (Quality Assignment), explaining text, topics, and details (Framing, Clarifying) and higher-order thinking (Question Exploration, Argumentation, Cause and Effect).
How can I get SIM for my Child?
It’s easy to access SIM strategies and routines. Share this page with administrators and/or teachers at your child’s school. Teachers can seek professional development on their own, yet SIM is often best when supported by the school administration and implemented school-wide, targeting specific areas in need of improvement within the school. Share this page with tutors, academic coaches, homeschooling parents, micro-school or learning pod teachers you know who could benefit from integrating strategic instruction into their curriculum and lessons.
SIM instruction takes place in every state across the United States and in some international locations. To find an instructor or SIM expert in your area, fill out our request for professional learning form.
Sim in Action
- As a middle schooler, Andrew Franz (.pdf) could not seem to complete simple chores or school assignments in a timely manner. The Assignment Completion Strategy gave him the structure and discipline he needed to succeed and to put his dream of becoming a pilot or navigator for the U.S. Air Force within reach.
- A young hockey player with severe dyslexia, just two credits short of graduating from high school, learned to read at the end of his high school career because of SIM reading strategies. He took his new skills to college, where he graduated with Hockey 1st Team All-Academic honors before going on to play professionally.
- A Florida youth, first diagnosed with a learning disability as a sophomore in high school, had managed to make good grades despite his weak written expression skills. In SIM writing strategies, he found the tools he needed to produce excellent written work and to succeed in his general education classes.
- More personal stories of how SIM has improved and changed people’s lives.