Jul 102014

14 PROVEN Orton Gillingham Reading Program Choices

When your child is falling behind in reading, you don’t want to mess around with ineffective reading programs. While there are MANY great reading programs on the market, many are NOT effective for kids with dyslexia. For kids with true dyslexia, an orton gillingham reading program is often the best type of program.

Whether your child has true dyslexia or not, Orton Gillingham reading programs for dyslexia are a great choice. The programs listed below are proven dyslexia programs. They are proven by research to be effective for teaching reading to kids who are diagnosed with dyslexia.

Insights about Choosing Orton Gillingham Reading Programs

Whether or not a specific Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia will work for YOUR child depends on your child’s individual learning needs. Therefore, it’s good if you can pay attention to the specifics of each program. Notice what types of activities each program uses for teaching reading.

Each Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia is a little bit different in its teaching focus. If you know your child’s learning style  before choosing an Orton Gillingham Reading Program, you can choose a reading program that teaches the way your child learns EASIEST.

If you pick a program that matches your child’s learning style, and that makes learning easier, then you won’t have to repeat teaching as many times before your child learns to read. Your child will also enjoy the lessons more (or at least, hate them less 😉 ).

Reading “The Dyslexia Help Handbook for ParentsDyslexia Help Handbook for Parents book dyslexic dyslexie books” before purchasing any Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia can help you chose the right program for your child. It could save you money if it prevents you from buying even one Orton Gillingham reading program that isn’t right for YOUR child. 😉

What Orton Gillingham Reading Programs Teach

Orton Gillingham reading program choices teach phonemic awareness through explicit, direct instruction. Effective instruction for overcoming dyslexia begins with the most basic elements, which are the phonemes.

Proven Orton Gillingham reading programs for dyslexia cover every reading detail. The Orton Gillingham Reading method is specific, sequential, and multi-sensory.

Reading about the Orton-Gillingham methodology and other Orton-Gillingham reading programs can help you better understand the O-G method, which are the heart of most dyslexia programs.  Be aware, no single Orton Gillingham reading program is the “best” for teaching every child who has dyslexia.

Learning Styles and Orton Gillingham Reading Programs

To help your child, it helps a lot to know your child’s individual learning preferences and needs. Then pick an Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia that matches your child’s learning style.

orton gillingham reading programorton gillingham reading program

For example, if your child is a kinesthetic or tactile learner, pick an Orton Gillingham reading program that uses a lot of air writing, finger tracing, or other active ways of practicing.  If your child is a visual learner, having colorful imagery included in the teaching materials helps.

If you have the money, and are willing to teach your own child, you can use a scripted Orton Gillingham reading program listed below. These programs have comprehensive and heavily explained insructions. They help parents teach own their kids by following the instructions.

These Orton Gillingham Reading Programs are often used in schools. They are a bit more expensive than programs listed on our Reading Remediation at Home page, but these are proven programs that work for many kids.

Choices For A Scripted, Proven, Orton Gillingham Reading Program for Dyslexia:

The ABeCeDarian Reading Program

This Orton Gillingham reading program is popular among homeschooling moms. It is less expensive than many of the programs. Several learning abled kids’ moms have had great outcomes with ABeCeDarian. They find this Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia easy to use. It has provided great progress for their kids.

All About Reading

All About Reading and All About Spelling

These are cost-effective, easy to follow Orton Gillingham reading programs. AAR and AAS tell you what to do and when to do it. The program also tells you what to say as you’re teaching. Again, these programs are favorites among learning abled kids’ moms because they are easy to follow and cost effective. AAR and AAS combined will provide a top-notch Orton Gillingham reading program to help you teach your child to read.

Barton Reading

This Orton Gillingham Reading Program is somewhat expensive. Parents like it for its clear instructions and thorough reading instruction. It is one of the Learning Abled Kids’ moms’ favorites.  Barton provides great reading progress for most kids.  If you want an excellent Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia and can afford Barton, many parents love Barton.

The New Herman Reading Method

The “old” Herman program is the initial method used with our son. The Herman Reading program has been available for a number of years. Renee Herman was a great help to me in figuring out how and why our school’s reading resource program wasn’t working. This dyslexia program has lots of how to instruction to help you teach your child. This Orton Gillingham Reading Program is one of the better ones for a kinesthetic, tactile, or an active learner.


As described on the SPIRE page, is an Orton-Gillingham fellow’s program.  It has been tested and refined over a number of years.  SPIRE is more ideal for auditory learners than for active learners. This Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia has been modified over time to include the most recent research and best practices.

Wilson Reading

Wilson Reading is a tried and true classic Orton Gillingham Reading Program. It has been around for decades. The Wilson Reading program is used by a number of private schools for teaching children with dyslexia. The program is not as heavily scripted as some of the programs, so this program is a good choice if you’ve had Orton-Gillingham training.

**Saxon Phonics

Saxon is a strong, well-developed reading remediation program. It is also one of the less expensive Orton Gillingham Reading Programs. It includes all materials, teachers guides and student books. This program is a great value.
Saxon Phonics on Amazon.comorton gillingham reading program
Complete Saxon Phonics Intervention, Home Study Kit at ChristianBook.com
Buy Other Saxon Phonics Program products at ChristianBook.com
View Other Materials for Teaching A Child How-to Read at Christianbooks.com
View Reading Comprehension Resources at Christianbooks.com

**LiPS from Lindamood-Bell

LiPS is the same program used at Lindamood-Bell centers. It’s also in use by many private organizations that teach reading. You can order LiPS through Gander Publishing. The kit is expensive, but the program works with most children who struggle with phonemic awareness.

LiPS is a little complex to use. However, if you can read and understand the instructions, it is cheaper to do the program yourself. Having the program offered by the Lindamood-Bell Centers is extremely expensive. Not all children respond well to their parent as their teacher though. So, if your child needs a lot of phonemic awareness training, you may want to look for a provider.

Software-based Dyslexia Programs:

Research shows that the MOST EFFECTIVE way to teach a child with dyslexia to read is to use a direct teaching program (those listed above) and a computer-based practice program. By combining the two teaching methods, your child will have repetitive practice to help him master reading.

A child with true dyslexia requires 200 to 300, or more, repetitions of practice with each single phoneme. Therefore, it’s a rare parent or teacher who has the time and patience to repetitively teach each phoneme that many times. Using a computer program can give your child all of that practice. A computer is also infinitely patient! 🙂

The BEST time of day to use one of these practice programs is right before going to sleep at night. Why? Because research shows that your brain continues to process whatever happened right before bed. That means learning “sticks” better when you study right before sleep. If you have your child use an Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia right before bed each night, then phonemes continue to be stored in your child’s memory. That equals better learning.

Each Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia below is computer-based. Some of them are online, so you can use those programs anytime, anywhere. Others are loaded onto a computer via software download or a CD. Having a program you can practice anytime, anywhere can add flexibility to your child’s learning.

Proven Software-based Orton Gillingham reading program for dyslexia options:


Earobics is designed to teach a child with auditory processing issues. It helps the child “tune in” to key sounds in words and teaches phonemes in relation to print. It also builds concentration and the ability to attend to sounds within words. Some kids can’t “hear” the individual phonemes in a rules based program, so Earobics is a better place to begin for some kids.

**Fast ForWord Early Literacy

The Fast ForWord program, like Earobics, begins with Phonemic Awareness as a starting point. I’ve not seen nor used this program, but many people say it is excellent. It has a LOT of research behind it. Fast ForWord is one of the top computer-based choices.


This program focuses on basic concepts, Following Directions, Phonological Awareness, Auditory Memory, and Sequencing. HearBuilder has research that supports its effectiveness. They also have affordable pricing for HOME users. There is built-in progress reporting, so you don’t ever have to wonder whether your child is progressing through the program. The reports are also great for homeschoolers who have to provide evidence of their child’s work. This program is written for K-8th grade students. However, I think it’d be alright for a high school student who isn’t prone to complaining loudly. The graphics are not overly babyish, which is a complaint some older students have about other programs. Overall, HearBuilder would be a good practice program to use on a daily basis.

**Lexia Reading

Lexia is the program we used. HOWEVER–It has changed and now meets Common Core standards, and they also added TIMED exercises. The timed items are frustrating to kids with a slow processing speed. IF a neurologically slow processing speed is something your child has, this program isn’t likely to be your best fit.  Lexia has numerous different practice activities within 5 levels. The program is very thorough. It begins with basic vowel sounds, and progresses up through roots, prefixes, suffixes, and syllabication. This program is a great teaching tool when used on a daily basis.

Multisensory Reading, Spelling and Penmanship

“This is a multi-sensory reading, spelling and penmanship program. It builds associations between symbols and sounds in the English language. The program uses self-paced repetition. It uses the close association of visual, auditory and kinesthetic elements to improve kid’s language skills.” This program has computer-based and app-based practice. It is a great technology-based, multi-sensory dyslexia program.

Prolexia Ultra Phonics Tutor

This program is great for practicing handwriting and phonemic awareness together. Learning these skills together can help streamline your child’s educational day. Having a shorter day is a great benefit for both you and your child! That said, I HIGHLY recommend getting their “light pen” to use for practice. Using the pen-type of pointer will help your child develop handwriting skills more directly. If your child uses the mouse for the pointer device with the program, the writing skills will not transfer as well to pencil and paper.

You may also want to check out the Free Multisensory Reading and Dyslexia Programs online. Those programs are a good way to engage your child in extra reading practice. There are also great audio-visual or hands on programs you can use as dyslexia programs.  You may also want to check out:

Best Homeschool Curriculum for Kids with Dyslexia, ADHD, or other Learning Disabilities

Jun 042014

We’ve known for decades:

Orton Gillingham Approach Reading Programs are effective for teaching children with dyslexia to read:

If your child has been diagnosed (officially) with dyslexia by a qualified neuropsychologist, psychologist, or psychoeducational evaluator, then you probably need to use an Orton Gillingham reading program for homeschooling to teach your child how to read.

The Orton Gillingham (O-G) method was devised by Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham. It is a multisensory method used to teach children with true dyslexia to read. The orton gillingham approach is not a reading program. However, there are many reading programs available that use the Orton Gillingham approach.

In order to find an effective reading program using the Orton Gillingham approach, you first need to know the essential components of the teaching method.

The Orton Gillingham approach incorporates the following criteria:

  • Comprehensive – every detail of phonology is taught – every letter, every sound, every sound-letter combination, rules for spelling, rules for decoding, frequency of words using rules, etc.
  • Explicit instruction – every detail of phonology is taught outright – there is nothing that is bypassed in the instruction.
  • Direct instruction – Every detail is taught directly to the student.
  • Multi-sensory – Each piece of instruction is taught multiple ways using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic (movement) based teaching.
  • Mastery – Each piece of instruction is taught until the student can automatically recall the sound-letter combinations, decoding and spelling rules, syllabication, etc. without hesitation.

SO, when you are searching for an Orton Gillingham reading program, be sure the program is comprehensive, teaches content auditorily, visually, and kinesthetically. The program should be detailed and explicit in directly teaching your child. It should also have built-in mastery checks that you can use in assessing your child’s level of automatic recall.

There are some programs that have visual and/or auditory components, but NOT kinesthetic components.  While these programs work to a degree, they will not work as well as programs where teaching also incorporates some kind of movement, like finger spelling, clapping, toe writing on the carpet, large writing on a big chalkboard, etc.  If your child happens to be a kinesthetic learner, and many children are, then a program that does not incorporate large-body movement will not be the best program for your child.

As a key step, you will want to assess your child’s learning style to know what type of learning activities serve your child best.  If your child is primarily a visual or auditory learner, you’re in luck! Virtually all Orton Gillingham reading programs use visual and auditory components or activities.

Thus, when you are looking at programs, carefully consider how thorough the reading program is in using the Orton Gillingham approach.  Orton Gillingham reading programs that are widely used among homeschooling families who are working to overcome dyslexia include (in no particular order):

Direct Instruction Dyslexia Reading Programs:

orton gillingham approachorton gillingham approach

Computer-based Dyslexia Reading Programs to be used in ADDITION to Direct Instruction:

If you’d like an Orton Gillingham app for reading practice, Sound Literacy is one that uses virtual letter tiles for teaching. “Sound Literacy provides a parent with the basic building blocks (elements) that written words are made of – letter and letter combinations, prefixes, suffixes, and bases. With the added ability to create any combination used to explain how words are structured, spelled, or pronounced the possibilities are endless.”

In addition to the resources above, check out our “Home School Curriculum for Learning Disabilities” Resource page for a wider variety of homeschooling curriculum for dyslexics.  There are numerous Orton Gillingham reading programs available on the market.  You just need to be aware of your child’s learning style. Then pick a reading program that includes activities for your child’s primary learning style. If the program is also based upon the orton gillingham approach, the reading program you choose should be a good fit for your child.

Aug 022013

Return to Questions

Q: I’ve heard the Lindamood Bell is good, but it is so expensive. Is it worth the money? Can you provide a Lindamood Bell review?

The Lindamood Bell platform is a well-respected set of programs that help kids with learning disabilities learn to read, comprehend, and do math (depending upon the program used). The Lindamood Bell programs have proven research behind them to document their effectiveness.

SO, Let me share with you my experiences with Lindamood Bell in this Lindamood Bell Review for you. My answer to the question is part Lindamood Bell Review, part personal experience, and partly an answer to the question about the cost/worth of the program.

Lindamood Bell Review : Our Evaluation Experience:

We had our child evaluated by the Lindamood Bell Center near us. We looked at the possibility of enrolling our son in the program. The environment was very friendly and the center director was quite knowledgeable. I actually LOVED the Lindamood Bell center and would have placed my son there without hesitation.

We paid a fee to have our son evaluated by the center. The results were clearly explained, and specific programs were recommended based upon the Lindamood Bell review of my son’s learning needs. I had no complaints about the evaluation and results explanation whatsoever. All of that was very professionally done.

Unfortunately, the cost of the program was well over $10,000 dollars and I felt somewhat like I was in a “hard sell” situation as they tried to convince me the program was worth the cost.

It’s not that my child’s learning needs wouldn’t be WORTH the money. His learning needs were priceless. Rather the price was far out of our reach. It was suggested we could take out a second mortgage on our home. Um. No. They do offer a financing program too, which is good because most ordinary families would have to finance the program.

There were also no guarantees that the Lindamood Bell programs would work for our child in the average time frame. If it took longer, that would cost more. SIGH.

Any individual child’s timeframe could be shorter than average, or it could be longer and cost more. There is no real way to gauge ahead of time how long it will take your child to complete the program. Again, the programs do have solid research behind them, so it could be worth the money if you have enough to pay for the program.

My Lindamood Bell Review Surprise:

I was also going to college at the time, getting my Master’s Degree in Instructional Design. That same summer, I saw a job posting on the college’s job board for an opening at the Lindamood Bell Learning Center. I went to check it out.

The job was temporary summer employment. The training was for 7-10 days. Then the new hires begin working with kids in the center. One week of training and you’re ready to teach kids. Somehow, I thought the people working with my child would have more experience than that. I didn’t expect there might be a college student who had been trained for a week providing a $10,000+ program for my child.

The Lindamood Bell centers do have people who work there year-round. They are no doubt highly knowledgeable and excellent at implementing the programs. If your child was placed with a well-experienced person, that person could probably provide excellent results in a shorter period of time.

In any case, when I read the notification and researched the job, I lost all interest in paying the hefty fees for someone at the Lindamood Bell center to work with my son. I figured I could get the instructor’s manuals and figure the programs out myself.

For your reading and Lindamood Bell review, I took a screenshot of this year’s similar job announcement. They have openings all over the country. You can read the announcement and decide for yourself whether you would meet the job criteria–In other words, could you learn how to use the program and implement it?

lindamood bell review

CLICK to see larger image.

Lindamood Bell review – My Personal Revelation:

If you wonder whether you can handle implementing the Lindamood Bell programs yourself: I’d say, “If you can read and follow directions, you can probably provide the program(s) to your own child.” 😉

With what I knew at that point, we decided to take a Do-It-Ourself approach with the Lindamood Bell programs my son needed. They have teacher’s guides.. So I bought a couple of them!!

I ordered Lindamood Bell Teacher’s Guides and Program Materials and implemented some of the programs at home. We also used materials from the Seeing Stars, LiPS, and Visualizing & Verbalizing programs.

LiPS and Visualizing & Verbalizing were the Lindamood Bell programs we used most heavily. We had good success with them. Some moms have had difficulty with the LiPS program. That generally seems to happen when the parent and child have difficulty working with each other. In such a case, paying a private tutor or the Lindamood Bell center might be a more effective solution.

I will also be totally transparent and let you know, I had already had Orton-Gillingham training. If you feel like you need training, Lindamood Bell does offer training, and it might help you to take their training. The training is a lot cheaper than the full-fledged program. Plus, if you get trained, you can make money working with other people’s children too. 

If you think you might like to arm yourself with their training, go to the Lindamood website and get on their mailing list.  They will send you brochures about upcoming training events as well as a catalog of their products. As I mentioned, you can order Lindamood Bell Teacher’s Guides and Program Materials online.

Trust me, using the Lindamood Bell programs and materials based on the Teacher’s Manuals works well enough if you can’t afford their first-hand services. The programs are not rocket science. If you can read and follow directions, you can probably provide the program for your child.

I’m sure the quality of our drill and practice wasn’t as intense as it would have been provided at the Lindamood Bell center. However, it was a WHOLE LOT cheaper for me to work with my own boys. We had good success using the programs.

Lindamood Bell Review Summary

I WOULD definitely recommend the Lindamood Bell programs to anyone. I am particularly fond of the LiPS program for any child who struggles with phonemic awareness. I continue to recommend LiPS and other Lindamood Bell programs to other moms for home use. I would give a positive Lindamood Bell review for any of their programs.

That’s my Lindamood Bell review based upon our experiences. Truly, I believe the Lindamood Bell programs are well worth the at-home cost if you have the time and ability to work with your own child. In terms of a child’s lifetime, even the center’s cost could be “worth it.” However, If you can’t afford the center’s program, don’t let that stop you from providing a Lindamood Bell program to your child!

I hope this Lindamood Bell review is helpful to you in making decisions on behalf of your child. If you’d like to leave a Lindamood Bell review of your own, feel free to leave a comment below. If you post a review, please be aware you are responsible for your own Lindamood Bell review content. Please remain FACTUAL, respectful, and maintain the privacy of individuals. 😉

Best Wishes,

Return to Questions

Aug 012013

To create multisensory reading instruction for your child, you must first think of your learning goals. Also consider whether your child has an auditory learning style, visual learning style, kinesthetic learning style, or tactile learning style.

When you have determined what you want your child to learn, you can list each of the learning styles. Then think of a way to teach your child the topic using an auditory activity, visual imagery, kinesthetic learning activities, and activities geared towards the tactile learning style.

Research shows using all of the learning styles simultaneously is the most effective means of teaching. That is why multisensory reading instruction is at the heart of Orton-Gillingham reading programs for overcoming dyslexia. 

Your child should be able to see, hear, touch, and do something related to the multisensory reading instruction. That will help the instruction “stick” in your child’s mind.

Example of Multisensory Reading Instruction

As an example, let’s look at a combination of auditory and visual input. It is more effective to do the activities simultaneously rather than using one input followed by the other input.

Let’s look at an example of the syllable “eat.” If you read the text to your child THEN show him an image of the syllable, it is less effective than showing him the syllable as you read the text. 

By associating the imagery immediately with what your child is hearing, he will better remember the information. Even better, You can have your child trace the letters in the syllable with his finger on the page of the book.

Most effective would be to have your child write the letters with his finger in the sand while saying the sound of the syllable aloud. This is multisensory reading instruction at its best.

This type of multisensory reading instruction is multisensory learning.

Multisensory Instruction for All Subjects and All Learning Styles

For different subjects, there are different multisensory teaching methods you can use for teaching each subject. The sections of this tutorial that follow this one will cover multisensory reading instruction, multisensory math, science and social studies using multisensory teaching methods. From there, it should be easier for you to teach using multisensory reading instruction activities for reading or any unit about any topic.

The biggest key in multisensory reading instruction is to incorporate auditory means of input, visual imagery suitable for a visual learning style, kinesthetic learning activities, and activities geared towards the tactile learning style for each concept your child needs to remember.  This is particularly true when using an Orton-Gillingham reading program to teach a child with dyslexia to read.  Multisensory reading instruction of this nature is THE key to success in using an Orton-Gillingham reading program.

 multisensory reading instruction

Jul 102013

SPIRE Reading Program For Helping Your Child Overcome Dyslexia

The SPIRE Reading Program was introduced to me during my Orton-Gillingham training. As parent, not a classroom teacher, I truly appreciated the clarity of the program and it’s solid, step-by-step explanations.

The SPIRE Reading Program uses a proven scope and sequence, is time-tested, and it’s a program that has been carefully developed over time.

S.P.I.R.E. (Specialized Program Individualizing Reading Excellence) was written by an Orton-Gillingham Fellow. It is a high quality, Orton-Gillingham-based reading program created specifically to teach children with diagnosable dyslexia how to read.

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.)

SPIRE Reading Program’s Scripted Teacher Guides

If you are not trained in Orton-Gillingham methods, it will be essential for you to get and follow the instructions in the SPIRE Reading Program 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.

Reading Skill Mastery is Essential

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, 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.

SPIRE Reading Program and Your Child’s Learning Style

You will find the SPIRE Reading Program 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.

The SPIRE Reading Program is great 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 SPIRE Reading ProgramSPIRE 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.
See SPIRE Reading Program Pricing NowSPIRE 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: ../multi_sensory_training/page01-welcome.htm — It is free online and generally takes about 20-30 minutes to go through.

The SPIRE Reading Program 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.

SPIRE Reading Program Summary

I don’t know if that helps with your actual decision making about whether to use the SPIRE Reading Program, but it is what I know. 😉 S.P.I.R.E. is a solid Orton-Gillingham reading program, well worth using.

To consider other possible curriculum for dyslexic students, check out other Orton-Gillingham based reading programs here.

Best Wishes!

Jul 102013

Are you looking for homeschool reading programs for a child who has dyslexia?

Are you struggling to help your child overcome dyslexia?

This page will help you find a viable homeschool reading programs for overcoming your child’s dyslexia and point you to general homeschool curriculum options, Free Homeschool Curriculum options for teaching Math, Reading and Spelling to kids with ADHD, Dyslexia, or other learning disabilities, and free interactive multisensory reading programs  too!

Teaching your child to read, whether he has dyslexia, or not, can be frustrating, but given the right reading programs, it can be done inexpensively at home.

If your child has dyslexia, or you suspect he does, you will want to use one of the Orton-Gillingham reading programs. This page includes beginner reading programs as opposed to proven reading programs for teaching children with dyslexia to read.

Whether you are just starting to homeschool your child or you’ve been homeschooling for awhile, it would be helpful for you to screen your child for his current reading decoding ability and reading fluency level.

If you don’t have or can’t afford a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation, you might want to use the Free Reading Assessments to access your child’s reading abilities. The tests listed are free.

If your child is a beginning reader, here are some free online reading programs for practice:

reading programsreading programs

If you are just beginning to teach your child to read, one of the best things you can do is use a systematic, direct teaching method. Great reading programs explicitly teach each phonogram to your child. The method mentioned above, Orton-Gillingham, may be the perfect choice, but that will depend upon your child’s specific learning disabilities.

Rainbow Reader Games is a printable reading games collection. This reading program can help make learning to read more fun, adds a multisensory element to reading practice. It will reinforce your child’s reading skills. These materials are a great way to add some FUN to reading practice! I recommend this reading program for any child–whether the child has reading difficulties or not. These materials aren’t designed specifically to teach reading, but they are a fun way to reinforce what a child is learning otherwise from systematic reading instruction.

If you’ve tried teaching your child to read, but your child does not seem to “get it,” if he can’t blend sounds together, or shows other signs of struggling with reading, there are any number of Orton-Gillingham reading programs you can use to help your child at home without spending a lot of money.

Reading Programs I recommend for home use:

reading programsAll About Reading is a new Orton-Gillingham reading program that is very robust, offering a comprehensive reading solution. It’s affordable as compared to a lot of reading programs. I even recommend the Deluxe Interactive Reading Kit as being IDEAL for use with virtually any Orton-Gillingham reading program. Get started with the Reading Level 1, and move into the levels that follow as your child advances in reading skill.

Logic of English has two programs. They are Foundations which is an Orton-Gillingham inspired reading program for ages 4-8 and Essential which is a comprehensive Orton-Gillingham inspired program for ages 8-adult. The Logic of English programs teach phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, vocabulary using morphology, fluency, phonograms, spelling rules, the reasons for how words are read, and comprehension skills. The programs are multi-sensory programs.

The Click’N’Read program is computer based and makes an excellent reinforcement reading program. Kids find this reading program easy to use and the automatic tracking of progress is a great help to teaching parents. If you use a reading program such as All About Reading alongside a computer-based program such as Click’N’Read or Earobics, it can build your child’s reading skills faster.

Language Tool Kit & Manual, Grades K-5

**Language Tool Kit & Manual, Grades K-5
By Paula D. Rome & Jean S. Osman / Educators Publishing Service – The Language Tool Kit is an inexpensive kit that we used. It teaches based on Orton-Gillingham principles, and is designed for use by a teacher or a parent. This set contains 163 cards (4″ x 6″) in a white cardboard box along with the 32 page manual. One group of cards has spelling units printed in large type on one side, with the common and rarer sound equivalents on the reverse side in small type. Key words and spelling patterns are also listed. The salmon-colored cards are for the teacher’s reference, and the yellow cards are for extra practice with consonant blends. Grades K-5.

Teach Your Child To Read Method E-flash Cards by Glenn Doman is a reading program that may work for some children. It is based upon an e-Flash Card method.. The child works with flash cards on the computer to learn to read. This method is most likely to help build reading fluency as a child is able to recognize words.

S.P.I.R.E. Reading Programreading programs is a great Orton-Gillingham reading program as well. This program has a bit more beef to it, is easy to follow, easier to implement without much preparation. The program has been fine-tuned over a number of years and is one of the most well-developed programs you can purchase and use easily at home.  Click the link above to read a review of the S.P.I.R.E. Reading Program.

Writing Road to Reading: The Spalding Method for Teaching Speech, Spelling, Writing, and Reading Programreading programs – WRTR is a comprehensive Orton Gillingham reading program which will help your child make great gains if you can follow the program diligently. I will tell you, the program is overwhelming at first glance. However, after digging in and getting started, the program is not as difficult as it seems. This program is among the most comprehensive, inexpensive programs you can use. You can make your own manipulatives or buy one of the Reading Interactive Kits at AllAboutLearningPress.com. Buying a kit takes a whole lot less time and is relatively inexpensive.

Reading Reflex: The Foolproof Phono-Graphix Method for Teaching Your Child to Readreading programs – This is not my favorite of reading programs, but easy to understand and easy to follow. The RR program had some shortcomings in that it did not teach ALL of the phonemes when I last reviewed the program, but it did teach almost all of them, and has been updated. If it is still missing a few of the phonemes, they can be easily covered on the side. Additionally, when I had difficulty with some program materials ordered through the company, they were less than considerate and helpful, bordering on rude. Therefore, I suggest this program as one that is easy to follow.. it does have its merits, but it is far from my top choice.

If you desire simply to teach your child to read, and your child does not have disabilities, I recommend the book **”Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessonsteach your child to read” or the Explode The Code seriesteach reading. These are both systematic reading programs that work well for a child who has no known issues with phonemic awareness or auditory processing. They are both excellent reading programs, but the 100 Easy Lessons program often does not work all that well for children with true dyslexia or central auditory processing issues.

Scripted, complete reading programs:

There are some reading programs that are sold as “complete” kits, which can be purchased for a couple hundred dollars. These two programs are designed to take a child from non-reader to reader, and provide everything you need.

**Saxon Phonics – This is a robust and well-developed reading remediation program. It is also one of the less expensive programs that includes all materials, teachers guides and student books. No reading remediation program worth using can beat the value in this package! With the Saxon name behind the product, you can hardly go wrong.
Saxon Phonics on Amazon.comreading phonics
Complete Saxon Phonics Intervention, Home Study Kit
Other Saxon Phonics Program products
Other Materials for Teaching A Child How-to Read
Reading Comprehension Resources at Christianbooks.com

**LiPS from Lindamood-Bell – This is the same program used at the pricey Lindamood-Bell centers, and by many private organizations that teach reading. The kit is expensive, but the program is proven to work with most children who struggle. The program is rather involved, but if you can read and understand the instructions, or can afford to go to training offered by Lindamood-Bell Centers, it is a lot cheaper to do the program yourself. However, not all children respond well to their parent as their provider, so you’ll want to be certain your child is willing to work with you before you spend the money on this kit.

Reading Programs in the form of Drill and Learning Software:

ClickN READ Phonics – Children who are struggling with reading and children with learning disabilities can use this program, which is designed for ease of use, and is based upon solid teaching of reading skills.  Best of all, kids generally love this program. ClickN’ READ Phonics lets you buy the program for your child at a low cost and all subscriptions come with a 60-day money back guarantee.  If you hop on over there and give it a try using their demo program, you’ll be able to determine if this program may be a good fit for your child.

Earobics is designed to teach a child with auditory processing issues to “tune in” to key sounds in words, to teach them the phonemes in relation to print, and to build concentration (specifically the ability to attend to sounds within words). For some kids, they can’t “hear” (or recognize) the individual phonemes enough to be taught with a rules based program, so Earobics is a good place to begin.  We used Earobics (older kids’ version) as one of the early, foundational programs in my boys’ instruction and the program contributed to a great outcome in our homeschooling to overcome dyslexia.

Fast ForWord through Gemm Learning – This is a great program that works really well for kids with notable phonemic awareness difficulties. The program runs on your computer, uploads after your child’s session, and a Gemm learning specialist reviews your child’s work and progress. The additional level of guidance and oversight makes this a hybrid kind of program, but as far as your child’s work goes, it is totally a computer-based remediation program. You’ll like this option if you want support from a provider.

HearBuilder from Super Duper – This program works on phonological awareness up through 8th grade reading skills. It also works on memory skills, so it is an ideal reading program for a child diagnosed with clinical dyslexia who also has a deficit in working memory. The program also works on auditory memory and sequencing. The program is available online or as a CD-rom program for your computer. The cost is VERY reasonable and easily affordable as compared to many other programs.

Lexia Reading – This is the program we have chosen and have been sticking with. It has numerous different practice activities within 5 levels and has been instrumental in helping with basic spelling and reading abilities. The program is very thorough, beginning with basic vowel sounds, and progressing up through roots, prefixes, suffixes, and syllabication. This program is a great teaching tool when used on a daily basis.

Multisensory Reading, Spelling and Penmanship – “Multisensory reading, spelling and penmanship CD-ROM program builds an association between symbols and sounds in the English language through self-paced repetition. It utilizes the close association of visual, auditory and kinesthetic elements to help students improve their language skills.”

Children Learning Reading Sounds GREAT. Does it work? I don’t really know, but if you get the program and it works for you, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! If it works–really works–I would be excited to promote this program to Learning Abled Kids’ parents confidently. The program does seem to be built on what I know to be sound instructional practice in teaching reading–explicit, direct instruction in phonemes. Given it works, it might actually be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Read, Write & Typereading program
– “This 40-lesson adventure is a powerful tool for 6-8 year-old children just learning to read, for children of other cultures learning to read and write in English, and for students of any age who are struggling to become successful readers and writers. Children learn phonics, reading, spelling, writing, vocabulary, punctuation, and even keyboarding. Children see, hear, speak, touch, and move their fingers as they play each new level in this multisensory program.” Given that other programs are more comprehensive in their teaching of reading, I personally would recommend using programs that teach phonemes, sight words, decoding skills, comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary in a progressive reading program designed to take the child to approximately a sixth grade reading level, rather than spending so much for a limited scope program. However, IF your child cannot learn sight words through other means, the Learning to Read Program might be what you need.

General Curriculum Recommendation:

Odysseyware provides an online, visual learning solution for students children of school age with Dyslexia or ADHD. The Odysseyware Learning Environment provides the use of text-to-speech with highlighted reading so your child can read along. The use of text-to-speech button provides your child the option to read, listen to, or read along with each presentation. Lessons also include videos, audio, video study tools, and interactive elements. There are a lot of explanatory videos in Odysseyware, and the other features mean kids with auditory and visual Learning Styles will be served very well by the program. Odysseyware allows your child to progress at his own speed, which will allow your child to achieve his greatest individual potential.reading program for kids

Be SURE to learn about additional options by checking out each of these resources:

Downloadable Workbooks:

The following workbooks are downloadable from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ by clicking on the link provided or entering the document code into the ERIC search box.

Phonics Plus, Book A (Levels K-1) – by entering ED429275 into the search box.

Phonics Plus, Book B: Short Vowel Patterns, Long Vowel Patterns –  by entering ED429276 into the search box.

Phonics Plus, Book C: Grades 2-3 – by entering ED441218 into the search box.

Spell, Say, and Write–A Synthesis of the Phonics and Whole Word Systems: A Beginner’s Workbook for School or Home Study – by entering ED370089 into the search box.

Jul 102013

If your child struggling terribly to learn which letters represent individual sounds, I have some free resources for you, but first you need to understand how these resources will help you.

Overcoming Dyslexia Requires Phonemic Awareness Training

Children with TRUE dyslexia struggle with phonemic awareness. 

If your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia by a neuropsychologist, psychologist, or other educational professional, then your child lacks phonemic awareness (PA).  PA can be taught, but it takes daily diligence to help your child overcome his struggles.

Picking a program that will actually work for your dyslexic child is challenging, but you can choose wisely by understanding the different types of programs.

Teaching Reading to children with dyslexia through phonemic awareness programs at home or in school is critical for overcoming true dyslexia. You may be confused by the different ways people recommend overcoming dyslexia, but how you approach your child’s difficulty should be based upon your child’s particular areas of deficit. No single program is going to be “best” for every child.

Reading programs can teach in several different ways. 

Which Program is Best for Teaching A Child With Dyslexia?

Learning by whole word recognition is the least likely to be successful for children with true dyslexia.  There are not many whole word recognition remediation programs, but one that I consider “whole word” is Reading Recovery, which many schools use, but which is often ineffective for children with true or severe dyslexia.

“The goal of “Reading Recovery” is to help children acquire efficient patterns of learning to enable them to work at the average level of their classmates and to continue to progress satisfactorily in their own school’s instructional program.”

Reading Recovery was the first program used to try to intervene my son’s reading difficulties, but it was totally ineffective.  Reading Recovery  was Jenny’s child’s first program, but the program was totally ineffective for her son too.

Simply put, for children who are diagnosed with true phonemic awareness deficits (dyslexia), Reading Recovery does not seem to work effectively.

The “best”, most universal form, of remediation is through “the rules” governing our language and by teaching phonemic awareness explicitly.

Phonemic Awareness

Beginning with phonemic awareness, the recognition that each word is made up of separate sounds called “phonemes”, this type of instruction tries to teach the child language as it relates to printed text from the most basic element up through complex, multisyllable words.  Specific, sequential, multisensory instruction that spells out every detail for reading decoding and encoding (which is spelling) is covered by every comprehensive Orton-Gillingham reading program.

Which program you should begin with will be determined by your child’s individual needs. You’ll need to determine, or know, if your child has phonemic awareness issues. You can get an idea of which approach you may need to take by asking your child how many “sounds” he hears in certain words.. for example “short” has 3 sounds.. /sh/, /or/, /t/ — that is a tough one though. A simple one would be “see”… it has two sounds.. /s/ and /ee/ or maybe “dog” having 3 sounds.. /d/, /o/, /g/. The key is whether your child can determine the specific spoken sounds in each word in order to sound out words when reading or to know which letters to write when spelling.

You can use pre-made phonemic awareness programs created for teaching children with dyslexia, or you can study the Orton-Gillingham methodology and teach your child yourself.  We used a combination of home created resources and purchased programs.

Free Phonemic Awareness Resources

If you need some free phonemic awareness tools for working with your child, I have just created some new ones to go with my new book, The Dyslexia Help Handbook for Parents: Your Guide to Overcoming Dyslexia Including Tools You Can Use for Learning EmpowermentDyslexia Help Handbook for Parents book dyslexic dyslexie books, which is available on Amazon.

The first resource is a table of phonemes that you can use as a checklist when teaching your child each individual phoneme.  Simply print the PDF file at learningabledkids.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/sec-phoneme-table.pdf and use it as your teaching guide.

I also have some Phonogram Tiles that you can print on cardstock, laminate with adhesive laminate, cut out and use for letter and spelling practice with your child.  You can find the Phonogram Tiles PDF at learningabledkids.com/downloadablepdfs/completesetphonemetiles.pdf.

Lastly, I have made some sight word practice cards.  You can print this PDF on perforated business card sheets with 10 cards per sheet, which you can buy on Amazon or at a local office supply store. That’s the easiest way to make the flashcards.  If you want to print the words on cardstock, you can use a paper cutter to cut the words into flashcards, but it is more difficult to make the cards a precise and uniform size. The sight word cards can be found at: learningabledkids.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/sight-word-cards-secd.pdf

Because auditory issues can be significant, If your child has little phonemic awareness, I’d lean towards **Earobics or **Fast ForWord Literacy to begin with. Be aware though, if your child has difficulty with auditory issues, he may find these programs very difficult (mine did) and may not like the program initially. You might have to set up some sort of reward system for completion of an activity or certain amount of time. (For example, If you work on the program for 20 minutes, I’ll read a book to you). Fast ForWord Literacy is also very difficult to come by on the open market and generally provided through trained providers.  Thus, it can be expensive to get your hands on a copy of the program for independent home use.  You may prefer to go to a paid provider anyway because they are trained to work with your child and the program in order to provide the best outcomes.

After the phonemic awareness issues are addressed, whether by using a program like Earobics, or through individualized therapy, you should be freer to choose from among various remediation programs. You may also want to read about the Orton-Gillingham methodology and Orton-Gillingham reading programs before you delve into program selection further.

Depending upon your particular circumstances, you may want to use private services, pursue services for your child at school, or help your child at home.   If you plan to do it yourself, check out recommended Reading Programs for Home Use. These programs are fairly inexpensive, based upon Orton-Gillingham methods, but depend upon your own dedication to providing the program. In some cases, you have to create or buy your own supporting materials. These programs are all viable and usable by anyone who can read, comprehend, and follow directions.

If you will pursue services from another provider, you can familiarize yourself with various programs at on our “Proven Packaged Reading Programs” page. These programs are more expensive, CAN be done at home, are complete, comprehensive, and have been proven to work.

phonemic awareness

Jul 102013

You CAN help your child overcome dyslexia at home using proven reading intervention programs!

I taught my boys to read at home, and lots of other parents have done the same.

All you need is a list of GREAT reading intervention programs to choose from and information about how to choose a program. This page will teach you about how to choose a great reading intervention program for your child.

Teaching your child how to read isn’t rocket science. It really isn’t.  All you need is to chose one of the quality reading intervention programs. If you get the right program, it’s not that hard to teach your child to read. It’s repetitive, but it is not difficult.

Your child’s school may want you to think “only a highly qualified person” can teach your child. Seriously though… If you can read, you can teach your child to read. I taught my son with severe dyslexia to read and it was a LOT easier than I thought it’d be.

If you’re going to teach your child to read at home, you’ll need to educate yourself about the method used for teaching a child with dyslexia how to read.  There is a specific method, called the Orton-Gillingham method (O-G). The O-G method has been proven to work when teaching children with dyslexia to read. O-G is the method I used.

To effectively teach your child to read, you need to know three things:

  1. You’ll need to know more about the Orton-Gillingham method (what it is).
  2. You also need to know what multi-sensory instruction is (it’s closely related to the O-G method).
  3. It is also helpful if you know your child’s learning style.

Orton-Gillingham Reading Programs involve providing instruction in ALL four learning styles simultaneously. The VAKT learning styles are at the heart of the Orton-Gillingham method. If you don’t know what multisensory instruction is, click on this link to learn about multisensory teaching.

If your child is a visual learner, your child needs to be taught using images.

If your child is a kinesthetic or tactile learner, he needs to be taught through movement or hands-on learning.

Children tend to learn through each of the channels at varying degrees.  Therefore, if you teach your child using multi-sensory instruction with a heavy focus on your child’s learning style, then learning will be maximized.

Using Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs to overcome dyslexia isn’t a quick road to reading. However, using O-G multisensory instruction is a way of teaching that will maximize your child’s ability to absorb the information as you teach.

The specific Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs that are best for your child will depend on the VAKT learning styles being used most heavily within the program. If the program’s teaching methods match your child’s learning style(s), then your child will learn!

The intensity of your instruction is a big factor in how well your child will learn to read. You can have the best O-G program on the planet, but if you don’t use it daily for a meaningful lesson length, then your child won’t make good progress.

Another major factor in how easily your child will learn to read is your child’s working memory strengths or deficits. Working memory problems make it more difficult for your child to remember your teaching. Cognitive Enhancement programs can improve memory issues, so they are highly recommended as a companion program when working on your child’s reading skills.

Intense, repetitive instruction is a big key for getting info into your child’s long-term memory.   Sometimes a child can require 300+ repetitions to retain the concepts he’s being taught. So, as I said earlier, teaching your child is repetitious, but it isn’t rocket science.

True Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs are based on teaching using all of the learning styles simultaneously. Some reading intervention programs only use one or two of learning styles. They may opt to use a single channel instead. Limiting the number of learning styles being used will eliminate at least one learning avenue. That is big issue if the learning style NOT being used happens to be your child’s best learning style!

Some reading intervention programs use a limited number of repetitions. They may have you teach your child the sound for the letter “b,” 10-20 times, but O-G methods require you to teach your child until your child learns the sound-letter combination. You may have to teach the combination 50, 100, or 300 times! (Hint, computer-based practice programs are GREAT for getting in the needed number of repetitions.)

If you choose one of the reading intervention programs that does not address your child’s primary learning style, your child will not learn from the program.  Reading intervention programs aren’t true Orton-Gillingham programs if they don’t provide instruction through each learning style. The program must includeauditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile elements. An example of this would be saying the sound of a letter out loud, while tracing the letter with a finger in a pan coated with liquid soap.

In my opinion, the best way to teach your child is to determine your child’s primary learning style(s) first. Then use ALL of the learning styles for teaching your child while using your child’s primary learning style most often.

No matter which of the reading intervention programs you use, you’ll have to provide *intense* repetition for your child. If you use ALL of the learning styles in your repetition, it can make teaching and learning more fun!

reading intervention programs

By changing activities every few minutes and presenting the phonemes in different ways, you will be able to keep your child engaged in your lessons for the necessary length of time.  Daily reading instruction is needed. A minimum of 40-60 minutes of one-on-one instruction per day is required to overcome any measurable level of dyslexia.

No matter which of the O-G reading intervention programs you choose, the program will start with the most basic aspects of reading instruction. You will begin by teaching your child to recognize the phonemes in both auditory and spoken forms. Once your child masters both hearing and speaking the phonemes, then his new phonemic awareness skills can be applied to printed text.

You also need to know that reading is primarily an AUDITORY activity. Many people think reading is “visual learning” because it is printed on a page, but the processing of the words being read happens in the language center of the brain. Fluent readers “say” words in their brains as they read. Brain scans, called fMRIs, show the language center of the brain is activated during reading. This is why deaf children typically have more difficulty learning to read, and blind people have less difficulty learning to read using braille.

It is not a piece of cake to teach your child how to read using one of the Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs. It takes time and a combination of programs. I combined about six reading intervention programs when I taught my sons to read.

I also took an Orton-Gillingham training course to be sure I covered all of my bases. Orton-Gillingham reading intervention programs have been shown in numerous studies (over decades) to be effective for most children with dyslexia. If you can afford the training, I highly recommend it.

Are Reading Intervention Programs Necessary?

It’s important for you to know the following breakdown of reading disabilities:

  • 60% of kids learn to read with “standard” instruction (phonics or whole language – doesn’t matter – these kids will likely learn to read given any reading instruction at all).
  • 40% of kids struggle and need specific, detailed instruction in how to read.
  • Of those 40% who initially struggle, 10-15% will have significant difficulty learning to read. They require intense, specific, sequential, multi-sensory instruction (an Orton-Gillingham reading intervention program) to learn to read.
  • There are approximately 3% of children who will be unable to learn to read. Their IQs may actually be below average, not just pulled down to below average because of specific learning disabilities. Some kids have low IQ’s, but their IQ scores go up as they receive proper instruction.

Using one of the proven reading intervention programs with your dyslexic child can help your child become educationally successful!
reading intervention programs

Jul 102013

What exactly is the Orton Gillingham Method or an Orton-Gillingham reading program?

The Orton Gillingham method uses multisensory teaching to teach reading to kids with dyslexia. Multisensory instruction is a specific way of teaching children with learning disabilities, and particularly for overcoming dyslexia.

The Orton Gillingham method was created through the joint efforts of Samuel T. Orton and Anna Gillingham. Specifically, Orton-Gillingham reading programs incorporate specific, sequential, direct, multisensory instruction.

For children with dyslexia, this means they are taught every sound (phoneme) and the representative letter combination(s) that represent the sound, one at a time, in a specific order, in a small group, using multi-sensory teaching methods.

The multi-sensory, Orton Gillingham method of teaching may include tracing letters with their finger in sand as they say the sound (not the letter), or tracing the letter on the carpet with their bare feet as they say the sound, making the letters out of clay, or pipe cleaners, or using any other medium that allows them to hear, see, feel, and move while learning their sound/letter combinations.

When looking at reading, writing, or spelling programs for your child, you will find there is a wide variety of programs based upon the Orton Gillingham method of instruction. When thinking about the differences in Orton Gillingham programs, think of the Orton Gillingham methods as a set of multi-sensory activities. Each program that is based on Orton Gillingham methods is one type of program that fits within the set. Each program may or may not include instruction using all of the learning styles.

Some programs based on the Orton Gillingham method use picture cards for queues to help the child recall letters, but for some children this may be an extra step in their recall of the associated sound. Most programs also have differences in the order that phonemes are presented too, and no specific order is better than another.

The types of materials used and order of instruction are the most common variations between various programs based on Orton Gillingham methods.  Probably the biggest difference in programs specific to teaching reading and spelling would be whether the program seeks to teach the child to “encode” or “decode” — Encoding is taking a sound you hear, recalling the representative letter combination(s), and writing them down on paper. Decoding is taking the printed word, looking at it, and determining what sound you should say. Encoding is spelling and decoding is reading.

So called ‘pure’ Orton Gillingham method reading programs primarily teach “decoding”. These programs teach a child how to read and provide some instruction in spelling, but the focus is READING.

Some programs primarily teach “encoding”.  Two well known programs using the encoding approach are Writing Road to Reading and Spell To Write and Read. These programs primarily teach spelling and generally reading skills come along with it.

I found teaching decoding (reading) did not successfully bring about proper spelling. I am not convinced teaching encoding (spelling) first will always bring about reading, but I do believe teaching the encoding / spelling is more likely to bring about reading skills than the reading is likely to bring about good spelling abilities.

Children with severe dyslexia may very well require teaching from both directions, so I’d actually recommend approaching it from both sides. This would mean calling out the sounds (dictating) and having the child write down the letters; AND using flash cards to show the child the written phonemes and letting them call out the represented sound. By doing it both ways, the child’s learning is maximized. I’d actually do one, then the other, but not both at the same time.

For information on how to select an effective reading program based on Orton Gillingham methods, read “How to Find Effective Orton-Gillingham Reading Instruction Programs for children with dyslexia” or consider purchasing the Orton-Gillingham Manual.  For a complete program, you can get the book and the corresponding drill cards.  For training opportunities, you might consider these resources:

379200: Gillingham Manual (Eighth Edition)**Gillingham Manual (Eighth Edition)
By Anna Gillingham & Bessie W. Stillman / Educators Publishing Service. The Orton-Gillingham method is a proven method for teaching kids with dyslexia how to read. The Orton Gillingham method is commonly used with children who have dyslexia. Based on extensive research about the learning styles of children with specific language disabilities, this Orton Gillingham method uses visual, auditory, and kinesthetic associations to help students learn sound-symbol relationships. The Gillingham manual is the definitive guide to using the Orton-Gillingham method. The Orton Gillingham manual covers reading and spelling, learning sound symbols (letters and letter combinations), spelling patterns, handwriting, and dictionary usage.

Within the Orton Gillingham method, these skills are addressed:

  • Sound-symbol relationships
  • Letter formation
  • Spelling generalizations
  • Dictionary use
  • Short and long vowel sounds
  • Digraphs
  • Diphthongs
  • Affixes and roots
  • Word structure
  • Consonant sounds
  • Decoding and encoding words

**Institute for Multi-Sensory Education (IMSE) – “Based on the time-tested Orton Gillingham method of reading instruction, the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education (IMSE) offers a revised and expanded multi-sensory approach that provides students the opportunity for success and benefits every learner.”

Orton Gillingham method Phonetic Word Cards**Phonetic Word Cards
By Anna Gillingham & Bessie W. Stillman / Educators Publishing Service – This case contains 610 cards for use with any Orton Gillingham method approach to reading instruction. The cards are divided into 43 groups of phonic sounds. Single words and detached syllables are used to exemplify the important patterns and generalizations found in reading and spelling. The cards can be used for decoding practice, to introduce spelling rules and generalizations, or for dictation. They are organized sequentially beginning with CVC words and moving on to spelling generalizations, syllabication, and word structure. One case per student is recommended.

**The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators – See “Training Programs & Courses” on the main menu for continuing education programs relevant to using the Orton Gillingham method of instruction.

379202: Gillingham Phonics Drill Cards (8th Edition, without pictures)**Gillingham Phonics Drill Cards (8th Edition, without pictures)
By Anna Gillingham & Bessie W. Stillman / Educators Publishing Service – The Orton Gillingham method is commonly used with children who have dyslexia and other reading disabilities. Based on extensive research about the learning styles of children with specific language disabilities, the Orton Gillingham method uses visual, auditory, and kinesthetic associations to help students learn sound-symbol relationships. These non-picture Phonics Drill Cards are organized into three sets of numbered cards, each set designated by a color. White indicates consonant phonograms; salmon indicates vowel phonograms; and yellow indicates sound symbols for spelling. The word and the sound symbol of the phonogram are printed on the back of the card. The teacher pronounces the sound, and the student names the letter or letters that spell the sound. One pack is recommended for each student.