Components of a Good Dyslexia Program
You may have heard that children with dyslexia need a reading and spelling program that is multisensory. Multisensory teaching techniques and strategies stimulate learning by engaging students on multiple levels. They encourage students to use some or all of their senses (auditory, visual, and kinesthetic/tactile). Multisensory programs often use letter/word tiles, letter/word cards, and other items that can be moved and manipulated. A multisensory program just makes more sense to the dyslexic mind.
Just because a reading and spelling program is multisensory does not mean it will work for students with dyslexia. Individuals with dyslexia require explicit, direct and systematic instruction in both oral and written language in order to be successful. An Orton-Gillingham influenced program can assist all children, including children who have been identified with dyslexia or a related differences.
The Orton-Gillingham Approach, what’s the difference?
Characteristics of Orton-Gillingham:
✔ Language Based
Effective Instruction Includes:
Personalized instruction that recognizes the individual needs of learners. While dyslexic students share similarities, there are always differences between students. Dyslexic students often have additional problems that complicate learning, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dysgraphia.
Explicit instruction during which the letter-sound system is directly taught.
Systematic, sequential, incremental, and cumulative teaching allows learners to move from the simple, well-learned material to the more complex, only after mastering each step along the way. Instruction is used to create a logical sequence of concepts.
Structured and multi-sensory delivery of language content is characteristic of effective instruction.
Flexible teaching must be utilized because dyslexia occurs on a continuum and a specialized teaching approach is best, rather than a program or method which does not allow flexibility.
Diagnostic teaching is used to continually assess the student’s ability to understand and apply learned concepts. If it is discovered that a previously taught concept is confusing, it is retaught. Individuals with dyslexia may require instruction of greater intensity and duration than typically developing readers and writers.
Cognitive approach of instruction teaches students to understand the what, why, and how of the learning process. Confidence is gained as they improve their ability to apply new knowledge about the learning process itself.
Applied linguistics is used to formally teach syllabic, morphemic, syntactic, semantic, and grammatical structures of language and writing. Engages the student in integrative practices that involve reading, spelling, and writing together.
Linguistic competence stresses language patterns that determine word order and sentence structure and the meaning of words and phrases. Also examines common patterns and literary forms employed by writers.
Visual recognition instruction is required to teach irregular words, which are estimated to make up 10% of the English language. Many of these words occur in early reading experience. Irregular words need to be taught directly and explicitly. Ample exposure and practice is required to strengthen the visual memory “word bank” for irregular words both for reading and spelling.
Emotionally sound teaching provides success and mastery to increase self-confidence and motivation. Continuous feedback and positive reinforcement are key components.
We offer Barton Reading and Spelling, which is an Orton-Gillingham influenced system, along with other programs that address the co-morbid or parallel challenges of attention/focus, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, working memory, and scotopic sensitivity.
For a downloadable PDF with more information from the International Dyslexia Association on Orton-Gillingham and how the Barton program uses Orton-Gillingham, see Spelling the Orton-Gillingham Way Using the Barton Program.