Search & Teach

About Search

SEARCH is a 20-minute individual test designed to:

  • Identify children vulnerable to learning difficulties
  • Provide a clear profile of strengths and weaknesses in neuropsychological skills,

basic to reading and the language arts

  • Provide a structure to guide appropriate intervention before failure has occurred

SEARCH was developed as a screening instrument for children ages 63-80 months. Its most effective use is in scanning an entire class during kindergarten or early in first grade in order to provide teachers and administrators with a grade-wide profile for the proper planning of content, organization and timing of instruction. SEARCH can also be used in clinical planning for individual children who appear to be faltering in classroom activities. SEARCH is based on both clinical and statistical research that focuses on neuropsychological skills basic to reading and the language arts. The importance of these skills was determined via a 2-year intensive interdisciplinary study that examined 1st graders neurologically, psychiatrically, perceptually, psychologically and educationally. Results of this study revealed that those children vulnerable to learning failure lagged in developing skills relating to spatial orientation and temporal organization. A follow-up of the original group of children, validated the clinical judgment that reading failure is associated with specific types of perceptual immaturity—namely, in visual, auditory, and body-image immaturity—all relating to orientation in space and organization in time. SEARCH uses the results of this research to formulate its program, making early identification of learning disorders in children key to overcoming potential failure.

About Teach

TEACH is a resource book of instructional methods and fifty-five task cards that builds a child’s pre-academic skills specific to reading and the language arts. As the companion instructional element of the SEARCH & TEACH program, TEACH provides the rationale, the step by step methodology, and the teaching materials necessary for intervention with children who are found to be vulnerable to learning failure as determined by SEARCH. TEACH organizes a program of learning according to an individual child’s SEARCH profile. As such, TEACH considers a child’s strong and weak academic areas and prescribes appropriate instructional tasks basic to reading and the language arts. The TEACH program prioritizes pre-reading tasks from simple to complex and organizes them into a practical plan of five clusters as ascertained by the results of the SEARCH test.

These clusters include:

  • Visual
  • Visual-motor
  • Auditory
  • Body-image
  • Intermodal skill clusters

Educational intervention is provided by resource room teachers and educational assistants who work with children individually or in small groups. Typically, groups meet three to four times per week. A variety of settings are appropriate for the TEACH phase, ranging from:

  • One-on-one instruction
  • Small groups of similarly profiled children
  • Resource rooms (pullout model)
  • A small area within a classroom (classroom support model)


Search & Teach

Archie Silver & Rosa A. Hagin A Programme Designed for Young Children   Search & Teach™ is a programme designed to locate children vulnerable to learning failure and to offer educational intervention before failure has occurred. The programme is a prescriptive approach designed to prevent problems by building those neuropsychological skills necessary for progress in reading, writing and spelling.   SEARCH, the first part of the programme, enables the teacher to identify children who are at risk for learning problems and to assess strengths and weaknesses in those skills basic to school learning. SEARCH is an individual test for children approximately 5¼ – 6½yrs years of age.   TEACH provides a range of learning activities from which a teacher can select those appropriate to the individual profile of assets and deficits which the scanning in SEARCH has revealed. Learning activities, or tasks, are organised according to modality clusters.   Drs Silver and Hagin believe that, unlike their classmates, vulnerable children have for various reasons failed to develop those skills basic to school learning through maturational processes and formal and informal educational experiences prior to first grade. These skills have been found to be basic to academic learning. They are teachable skills which vulnerable children can be helped to acquire through systematic intervention. TEACH organises these skills into clusters of directed experiences aimed towards developing those neuroperceptual skills which have not been acquired through maturation and prior formal and informal learning experiences. After scanning pre-school and first-grade groups, and profiling the scores obtained, the teacher can then study the patterns of individual children to make plans for teaching.

Background to SEARCH and TEACH

SEARCH had its origin over 25 years ago at the Outpatient Clinic of the Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, New York where Drs Silver and Hagin worked. It was found that approximately 80{e53a31b7ae5abebb6a07e3088fac4d5faefb0482995da7cb9916f1509f8994f5} of all the children, 8 – 12 years old, referred to the clinic for emotional and behaviour difficulties, were also severely retarded in reading. Their attempts to understand those children, led them to describe a syndrome which accompanies most learning failure.   In 1949, a tutoring programme was started at the Bellevue Hospital Mental Hygiene Clinic, to offer the best of remedial education at that time. A follow-up study done 10 years later revealed that the same perceptual immaturities discovered 10 years previously, were still present. This follow-up study showed that learning disability is a long-term, “tenacious” problem. Drs Silver and Hagin thus realised the following: “We cannot wait for spontaneous maturation which may never occur or which, at best, may occur so late that waves of failure have already engulfed the child. The result is missed educational opportunities and reactive emotional problems.”   Drs Silver and Hagin hypothesised then that a direct attack on the perceptual immaturities, an attempt to train them out by educational stimulation, could accelerate the maturation of lagging functions and so induce the level of neuropsychological maturation necessary for beginning reading. A controlled study to devise and test methods of perceptual stimulation was conducted during 1964-1968. This study showed that deficits in spatial and temporal orientation of the eighty 7-12 year-old boys treated, improved with training. An improvement in oral reading and reading comprehension was also indicated. (Please note: Perceptual stimulation is not intended to be a method for teaching reading, but is directed towards developing the neuropsychological basis for learning.)   In 1969, Drs Silver and Hagin moved their work out of the clinic and into the first grades of the public schools in their area. They chose this point for intervention because it is in first grade that the child’s cognitive development begins to focus on reading. SEARCH therefore evolved from long clinical experience culminating in intensive interdisciplinary examination of all first-graders at Kips Bay School in two successive years (1969-70 and 1970-71). Factor analysis of the data collected helped define SEARCH components (subtests) and to locate the most powerful measures of each component.   The detection of children vulnerable to educational failure led to the following aspect of the programme — intervention. The content of TEACH, originally devised and tested during the perceptual stimulation experiments in 1964-1968, has been adapted for use in resource (remedial) rooms and also with pre-school children. The content of TEACH is therefore the product of many years of discussion, experimentation, evaluation and, revision. Drs Silver and Hagin’s work with SEARCH and TEACH continues to this day at Kips Bay School in New York. It has been replicated in many other schools across the USA and in other parts of the world.   All SEARCH & TEACH materials are available from: Shoestring Press, LLC 14 Witherwood Drive Hamburg, New Jersey 07419 Phone: 973-827-6010 Email: