If you’re searching for a quality Orton-Gillingham based reading program for helping your child overcome dyslexia, the SPIRE Reading Program is worth your consideration.
There are several aspects of S.P.I.R.E. you may find helpful in providing reading instruction to your child.
The SPIRE Reading program was introduced to me during my Orton-Gillingham training. As a mom I appreciated the clarity of the program and it’s explanations.
S.P.I.R.E. is clearly created to help children with diagnosable dyslexia learn how to read based upon Orton-Gillingham methodologies. S.P.I.R.E. uses a proven scope and sequence, is time-tested, and it’s a carefully developed reading program.
I hope the information I provide below will help you decide if it is the program for you.
S.P.I.R.E. (Specialized Program Individualizing Reading Excellence) was written by an Orton-Gillingham Fellow. The Teacher’s Guides are scripted to provide good teaching support, so the program is usable by most people.
Preparation for each lesson is simplified because the procedures are very consistent from one lesson to the next, which makes it a good homeschooling curriculum for teaching reading dyslexic children.
The S.P.I.R.E. reading system uses all of the sensory channels. Thus, if you haven’t had specific training in Orton-Gillingham methods or multisensory instruction, be sure to visit the Learning Abled Kids’ Multisensory Instruction Tutorial.
You’ll want to understanding multisensory instruction because it is the heart of the SPIRE reading program. (Understanding this type of teaching will help you know how to work with your child using any Orton-Gillingham reading program for dyslexia.)
If you are not trained in Orton-Gillingham methods, it will be essential for you to get and follow the instructions in the Teacher’s Guides. Using the Teacher’s Guide for the Sounds Sensible Kit (Pre-Level 1) and each of the 8 levels will help you teach more easily because you won’t have to think up multi-sensory activities every day.
You must be sure to incorporate the multi-sensory aspects of the lessons into your teaching. If you don’t incorporate the multisensory activities into your teaching, the program is not likely to work. The key in any Orton-Gillingham reading program, including S.P.I.R.E., is in how well the multi-sensory elements are utilized within the program.
Teaching your child to a point of mastery for each phoneme is also essential. Mastery means your child can immediately and automatically respond to prompts without hesitating to think about what his response should be. Mastery is demonstrated when your child automatically responds.
As mentioned above, there is a consistent lesson format from lesson-to-lesson within the SPIRE reading system. If you look at the S.P.I.R.E. 10-Step Lesson Format (see: http://eps.schoolspecialty.com/downloads/other/spire/SPIRE10Step.pdf), you can see the types of activities used in the multi-sensory teaching and get a good idea of the amount of time you’ll be spending with each activity.
You will find S.P.I.R.E. is more Auditory than Visual. And large-movement Kinesthetic elements are the least in number within the S.P.I.R.E. program. Moving a tile or flipping through cards are kinesthetic, but not in such a way as to reinforce the learned element.
Tracing phonemes ON the card with a finger, tracing with a big toe on carpet or a bare finger on velvet would be much more effective as a kinesthetic activity, and can be added on to the program by you.
If your child is a kinesthetic learner, this program would not be likely to be the most effective program if you use it “as is” for your specific child. When practicing the writing elements in the program, I would recommend making modifications to those activities to incorporate more effective kinesthetic activities, and most notably adding on large writing on a chalkboard mounted on a wall.
S.P.I.R.E. would be a great program for a child who is primarily an auditory learner. It is still a great program for any child given you are aware of your child’s primary learning style and you incorporate additional activities into the program based upon your child’s needs.
Overall, the S.P.I.R.E. Reading Program is a great program and can easily be modified to include additional elements for a tactile or kinesthetic learner. Visual elements are included in the student textbooks and may be sufficient to meet the needs of a visual learner. By incorporating additional tactile and kinesthetic activities into the program, this program can become virtually the “perfect” Orton-Gillingham reading program.
If your child is primarily a tactile or kinesthetic learner and you are not inclined to add in kinesthetic and tactile activities, I’d recommend against using this program.
If you aren’t sure of your child’s learning style, you can assess your child’s primary learning style by using the tools suggested in the short tutorial at: http://learningabledkids.com/multi_sensory_training/page01-welcome.htm — It is free online and generally takes about 20-30 minutes to go through.
The S.P.I.R.E. curriculum scope and sequence is as follows:
Sounds Sensible Kit (Pre-Level 1) – covers mastery of 20 consonants and short a.
Level 1 – Short vowels i, o, u, e, ch, th, wh, ing, ong, ung, ank, ink, onk, unk.
Level 2 – ff, ll, ss, al, wa, qu, ck, tch, magic e, vowel+consonant+e.
Level 3 – so, he, fly, ild, old, ind, ost, oll, ay, -ed, suffixes, consonant syllable division, ou, prefix a-.
Level 4 – ea, oa, ai, ee, -le, oo, igh, ie.
Level 5 – soft c and g, er, ur, it, ear, wor, dge, s sounding like z, ow, oe, kn, or, ar.
Level 6 – a-, -a, -able, ph, ought, aught, ue, ew, tu, oi, oy, aw, au, ey, kn, wr, mb, gh, gu, -age, open syllables.
Level 7 - ct, ei, eigh, open sllable i, -tion, -sion, -ci, -ti, tu, -ture, -sure, -ous, -ence, -ent, -ance, -ant, -cy, -ency, -ancy, ui, eu, -er, -or, -ar, -ard.
Level 8 – ar, arr, ir, er, err, ur, dis-, mis-, pre-, pro-, re-, de-, ex-, -al, -en, -on, -an, -ain, -ine, -et, -ite, -ate, -ic, -ive, -ary, in-, im-, il-, ir-, un-, under-, sub-, con-, com-, cor-, col-, ab-, ad-, ac-, af-, ap-, per-, i sounding like y, ch sounding like k or sh, que sounding like k.
The S.P.I.R.E. scope and sequence was “refined over years of working with struggling readers.” As you can see, it builds in complexity and requires
When shopping for an Orton-Gillingham reading program for YOUR child, you have to know your child’s needs and your abilities before you can find the “right” program. Before continuing here, if you haven’t already been there, you might find it helpful to look at “How to find ‘Effective’ Orton-Gillingham Programs” to learn more about selecting a program.
I don’t know if that helps with your actual decision making about whether to use S.P.I.R.E., but it is what I know. S.P.I.R.E. is a solid Orton-Gillingham reading program, well worth using.
➜ See SPIRE Reading Program Pricing Now.
To consider other possible curriculum for dyslexic students, check out other Orton-Gillingham based reading programs here.