to the International Dyslexia Association® (IDA), “Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.”
Effective reading instruction for students who struggle requires research-based solutions that keep them motivated and excited to learn. The most effective solutions are those that follow the Structured Literacy approach, which is distinctive in guiding how critical elements are taught.
Structured Literacy is defined by several elements and principles outlined in the Effective Reading Fact Sheet. Explicit, systematic, and cumulative instruction in the essential elements listed below is critical to ensuring student success in learning to read. This approach is not only vital for students with dyslexia, but research has found it is effective for all students.
Systematic and Cumulative
Structured Literacy Is:
Systematic and Cumulative. Material is organized to follow a scope and sequence that is a progression of easier to more difficult language structures and concepts. Each new step must be based on concepts previously learned.
Explicit Instruction. Instruction should deliberately teach all concepts with continuous student-teacher interaction. It is not assumed all students will naturally develop an understanding of these concepts on their own, through exposure to text, or through incidental instruction.
Diagnostic Teaching. The teacher must use diagnostic assessments for phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, automatic sight word reading, and language comprehension to complete individualized instruction. Formal and informal assessments are used for screening, progress monitoring, and educational diagnostics.
Who Benefits From a Structured Literacy Approach?
Students with dyslexia
Students in all grades
Students who struggle to read
Students who are learning to read
Students with reading challenges
Structured Literacy and the Orton-Gillingham Approach
The Orton-Gillingham approach is a structured literacy approach that specifically focuses on the relationship between sounds and letters. Named for the contributions of Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham, this approach to reading, spelling, and writing
is characterized by structured, sequential, and direct instruction. A multisensory approach is used to appeal to tactile learners, visual learners, and students with strong auditory processing skills. Many of our reading programs contain elements
of the Orton-Gillingham approach.
Reading, Spelling, and Writing Support for Students With Dyslexia
Reading Programs and Spelling Support
The following learning programs align with the principles of Structured Literacy. View the Solutions Overview for more information specific to reading programs, or use the links below to learn more about each solution.
This blended program applies the Structured Literacy approach recommended by the IDA and provides explicit, systematic, and cumulative foundational reading skill instruction. The program emphasizes higher-level comprehension as students progress and develop speed, accuracy, and automaticity while reading more complex text.
Voyager Passport’s explicit, systematic instructional delivery is focused on the five essential elements of reading: phonology, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension, plus language and writing. Its daily lesson
framework, formative assessments, and differentiation supports align with the Structured Literacy approach.
This powerful research-validated, specialized program is ideal for students who struggle reading long, multisyllabic words and comprehending content-area text. With explicit, systemic, teacher-led instruction, this intervention gives students new
skills to unlock grade-level, content-area text.
Read Well has many meaningful instructional components that support a child with dyslexia or other language-based learning disabilities as well as students with processing disabilities. Read Well incorporates principles from the Orton-Gillingham approach, using multisensory techniques like songs, dances, and kinesthetic activities to help children develop vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency. The program is language-based, multisensory, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible.
This research-based program is multisensory, explicit, and systematic, so students of all abilities, including those with dyslexia and English language learners, can improve their writing prowess. Step Up to Writing’s differentiated approach caters to students with varying needs, making it the optimal addition to any school curriculum.
As a consequence of advocacy, many states have now adopted laws pertaining to the identification and treatment of dyslexia. While recognition of dyslexia is long overdue, conflicts between scientific evidence and popular beliefs continue to complicate implementation of these well-intentioned laws. Dr. Louisa Moats, author and nationally recognized literacy expert, will address quandaries such as the definition of dyslexia, appropriate criteria for identification, teacher preparation, and selection and use of instructional approaches.
Dyslexia Screening and the Use of Acadience Reading
Acadience® Reading provides one of the best methods of identifying students who are at risk for early reading difficulties, including dyslexia, monitoring those students to determine whether they remain at risk, and identifying students who are not making adequate progress and should be referred for further assessment.
Students who struggle with spoken language, reading, spelling, and writing need science-based solutions and timely, explicit instruction. With the right intervention, every striving reader can conquer reading challenges and succeed in school