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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Finding the Best Reading Program for Students with Dyslexia

If you are helping a struggling reader and you are looking for a reading program, it can be an overwhelming process to sift through the multitude of options that are currently available. Many approaches focus on the well researched Orton-Gillingham based instructional approach, however, each program offers their own materials and addresses a variety of different age groups.

What is the Orton-Gillingham Approach to Reading?
The Orton-Gillingham approach to reading was named after Samuel Torrey Orton (1879-1948) and Anna Gillingham (1878-1963) who gathered and published a detailed instructional manual in the 1930s. They created a structured, multisensory, step by step approach to teaching reading, writing and spelling that incorporated the explicit and systematic teaching of phonemic awareness, syllabication, and word morphology.  There has been extensive research on this approach to reading and it is known to be an excellent option for students with dyslexia.  

So How Can I Find the Best Program?
I've attached the following table to help make the search for your ideal approach more manageable. I don't have experience with all the programs, but I am familiar with and have used components of the ones that are starred in my own practice.

Grades 10-12
Grades Adults
Software Based?

Academy of Reading

Alphabetic Phonics

Association Method


Fast Forward

Fast Track

High Point

Jolly Phonics




* Lexia Reading

* Lindamood-Bell

Mind Play

* Nessy Reading

Open Court Reading

Orton-Gillingham Approach

Orton Gillingham Online Academy

Phonics First

Project Read


Read Naturally

Read Well

Reading Mastery

Really Great Reading

Simultaneous Multisensory Teaching


Sonday System

Sounds in Syllable

Spalding Method


SRA Early Intervention

Starting Over

Read, Write & Type Learning System


Take Flight


* Wilson Reading System

Created by Michael Bates and Dr. Erica Warren 

Do I Use a Reading Program in my Private Practice?
Personally, I don't use a reading program, however, I occasionally assign the Nessy Reading and Spelling online site to my students.  Although I was trained in a number of Orton-Gillingham based programs, I chose to study the comprehensive and extensive source: The Gillingham Manual.  Then I created my own supplemental games and multisensory activities to make the approach more engaging and enjoyable for students.

I hope you found this blog helpful and that the information will assist you in making the best decision for your particular situation.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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