Evidence Based Learning: Structured Literacy Programs & Approaches
Most teacher training colleges just give teachers an overview of the methodologies recommended by the International Dyslexia Association when they receive training in special education. Instead these methodologies are taught by private companies or certified individuals, not colleges (yet).
Scientific research based methodologies for dyslexics are multi-sensory based. Dyslexia is a learning difference; students use a different part of their brain to absorb the information. Therefore, they need to be taught in a way that suits the way they learn: a multi-sensory approach. They use images, they feel the shape of the letter, they touch and move objects around they repeat the sound and use their gross-muscle memory to access a different part of their brain (a range of approaches that are based on the individual student). There are so many styles of learning as each child is unique - this is why the training is important.
In order to use these methodologies properly, teachers must have intensive instruction, consistent mentoring and follow up. Teachers cannot go to a two day or one week workshop and then come back and teach the rest of the staff. Unfortunately, this is the current model in SFUSD (Peter Wright, 2018).
Please note that the following service providers and organizations are NOT affiliated with Dyslexia Advocacy Action Group in any way. We DO NOT receive payments for recommending them - NOR SHOULD WE (as this would mean we have a conflict of interest).
We strive to present good accurate information and educational services that are of high quality and NOT unethically expensive. If there is a problem or issue with any of the providers listed, please do let us know with an email or by filling out a form. We appreciate your feedback.
Find the right educational psychologist by asking if they use the FEIFER Assessment of Reading (FAR). This is critical for evaluating the dyslexia subtype and understanding the specific approach that will meet the students needs. Read more about Feifer HERE.
Dr. Erin McDonough, an educational psychologist has been recommended by more than a few parents on Long island. Dr. McDonough's battery of tests include the Fiefer Assessment of Reading which indicates specific subtypes of dyslexia. This is a critical insight and can help teachers trained in Orton-Gillingham approaches to expediently address specific weaknesses. Dr. McDonough is also an excellent teacher and trains school psychologists to identify dyslexia. If you mention you found Dr. Erin McDonough via this website (or Helen Roussel) you can receive 10% off for a dyslexia screening and 20% for a comprehensive screening!
Erin M. McDonough, Ph.D. Psychological Diagnostic Evaluations of New York 1044 Franklin Ave Suite 215 Garden City, NY 11530 Call: (516) 240-8212
Mrs. Sands is a Fellow of The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. She has been a Board Member of the New York State Branch of the International Dyslexia Association and received the N.Y.S. Branch award in 1997. Mrs. Sands is the director of Reading Reform Foundation's teacher training program in New York City schools. Here she supervises expert teaching consultants who work with 75-100 classroom teachers each year. She also teaches graduate level courses in colleges and off site at the Reading Reform Foundation offices.
Reading, Writing and Spelling: A Multi-sensory Approach Participants learn how to teach children to read, spell and write using a multisensory phonetic approach which includes visual (seeing), auditory (hearing) and kinesthetic (writing) modalities. Participants will learn specific techniques for teaching sound-symbol relationships, syllable division and spelling rules. Reading, Writing and Spelling: A Multisensory Approach, Part II, Skills Development Offers hands-on opportunities for planning and implementing effective daily lessons including demonstrating in front of the class and receiving individual feedback from the instructor.
Tutor Interview Tip: It is critical that programs are administered to fidelity; if a student is not receiving the required hours per day/week it is NOT guaranteed that they will make progress. These programs and approaches are evidence based therefore, they have to be administered as prescribed. Usually for a student that is reading a year or more below grade level, once per day is usual; one whole school period or one hour (some students can do twice a-day and make fast progress). When you are looking for a tutor; ask when they had their last training or if they have any work or testaments from other students/parents of students. Look at their results and training.
Talk to the head of your special education department about training a teacher in your school district.
NOTE: Many school districts use structured literacy programs incorrectly. Wilson Reading System has four programs, two are for regular students (Fundations and Early Intervention) and are supposed to be taught for at least one period per day and are not for students with dyslexia. Just Words (for students after third grade) and Wilson Intensive are for students with dyslexia or at risk of dyslexia.