Chances are, if your child or student is struggling to read well, even after interventions have been provided by your school or outside help, he or she is not getting the two ingredients that are crucial for helping students learn to read:
- Phonemic Awareness Instruction and
- Multi-sensory Treatment
Research shows that most students will continue to struggle with reading difficulties until these two elements are used for intervention.
Students with poor phonemic awareness show easily detectable symptoms. For example, they struggle with the sequence of sounds in words. They have trouble sounding out new words and often resort to guessing. They may also add, omit, and reverse sounds when reading.
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development:
Of children who display reading problems in the first grade, 74% will be poor readers in the ninth grade and into adulthood unless they receive informed and explicit instruction on phonemic awareness. Children do not mature out of their reading difficulties.
Many schools still do not teach phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness must exist or be explicitly taught before phonics instruction begins. Otherwise, phonics will not make sense to most children with reading difficulties.
Children with reading and spelling difficulties learn best by using several senses. We teach students the speech therapy based Lindamood-Bell® method, which is a new way to process letters and sounds. It’s kind of a two heads are better than one approach to reading.
Our strong, multi-sensory learning method makes sense to students where many other methods have not. Multisensory methods have proven to be effective for dyslexic students, those who struggle with visual and auditory processing and those with difficulties in language and memory. Research by the National Institutes of Health has shown that “best practices” for an individual with auditory and visual processing weakness is to be instructed in reading and spelling in a way that is direct, explicit, and simultaneously multi-sensory.
The instruction must start with phonemic awareness instruction, followed by a systematic approach to phonics. It must also teach reading and spelling as related subjects with intense practice and constant repetition and weaving of the concepts taught.
At Pathways Literacy Center, these interventions are employed in a one-on-one setting so that movement through the program is completely tailored to the learner’s individual needs. We know that our brains are just like our finger prints; they are unique and therefore our learning needs are too.
LiPS®: Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing® Program
The Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing™ (LiPS®) Program provides specific instruction for students with weak phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is the ability to process the individual sounds, or phonemes, within spoken words. Students who cannot judge the sequence of sound units within spoken words cannot grasp the alphabetic principles upon which English reading and spelling are based. When reading, speaking, or spelling, they often add, omit, or reverse sounds in words. Research indicates that strong phonemic awareness is the foundation for reading and spelling success.
The LiPS® program teaches students to feel the actions of their lips, tongues, and vocal chords, and to notice and label them. Using this new ability to “feel sounds,” students learn to count, identify, and order sounds within words. They then use this “motor kinesthetic feedback” to read and spell. The LiPS® program enables children and adults to think, often for the first time, about how to read and spell.
Seeing Stars®: Symbol Imagery for Phonological and Orthographic Processing
The primary goals of the Seeing Stars®: Symbol Imagery for Phonological and Orthographic Processing in Reading and Spelling program is used to strengthen visual memory of language components/words by developing symbol imagery. Unlike most reading programs, Seeing Stars instruction directly applies symbol imagery to sight word development, contextual fluency, spelling, and increasing the speed and stability of phonemic awareness. The Seeing Stars® program addresses the difficulties many students have in retaining previously known words. The Seeing Stars® program begins with the development of visualizing individual letters and progresses to the manipulation of multi-syllable words. It also includes a component that addresses sight word development.
The Seeing Stars® program aims to make reading words automatic by practicing word attack in a very specific way. It is designed to improve word attack skills. Children learn to identify “sight words” during the Seeing Stars program. Sight words are words that “do not play fair” – that is, they do not follow the rules of the English language. “What” is an example of a sight word, because you cannot sound it out. Once children have a bountiful supply of sight words that they can identify instantly, reading becomes significantly less labored.
Unlike most reading programs, Seeing Stars instruction directly applies symbol imagery to sight word development, contextual fluency, spelling, and increasing the speed and stability of phonemic awareness. Students in the Seeing Stars program move through a series of steps – from single consonants/vowels to multisyllabic and contextual reading – to develop the imagery-language connection for competency in written language.
Lindamood-Bell Programs are highly researched based and are recommended by educators and clinicians worldwide.
* Lindamood-Bell ® is a registered trademark of Lindamood-Bell Learning Process of San Luis Obispo, CA. Pathways is not affiliated with or sponsored, accredited, certified or endorsed by Lindamood-Bell Learning Process.