The Box Lesson
The Box Lesson is Lois's tried-and-true activity. She created the concept while teaching her son, Nicholas, who had been struggling with connecting sight words. Gaining insight from Isabel Briggs Myers' book Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type, Lois realized that without the necessary background—or connections—a child has no framework for storing new information. The sentence I saw a cat climb up a tree can be incredibly challenging for a struggling learner to comprehend, especially if they've never seen a cat climb up a tree. Briggs Myers writes that separate and arbitrary facts are hard to understand and remember. Yet making learning intrinsically interesting, surprising, or funny helps make learning happen with no effort at all.
Nicholas had especially struggled with connecting the sight words: could, should, and would. A few shoe boxes, a letter from a zoo, and a bottle of "elephant pee" helped Nicholas not only understand and learn these words, but enjoy the process of doing so—making all the difference for a struggling learner.