Specialist Literacy Tuition
Research and practice shows that multi-sensory learning techniques are essential when teaching literacy to students with dyslexia. Multi-sensory learning is:
“… learning by the simultaneous use of the eyes, ears, speech organs, fingers and muscles. The aim is for the learner to learn the names, sounds and shapes of all phonograms so he has permanent and automatic response.” (Augur, 1985)
Multi-sensory techniques are the standard teaching approaches used when working with students with dyslexia. Multi-sensory programmes involve all senses (visual, aural, oral and kinaesthetic) in the teaching process. For example, the well know “Look, Say/Hear, Cover, Write and Check” method for learning spellings. Tracing and writing words helps to reinforce them for reading and spelling.
Multi-sensory literacy programmes are structured, sequential, cumulative and they build in lots of opportunities for repetition and over-learning. The Orton-Gillingham method was the original multi-sensory programme designed to teach pupils with dyslexia. All good multi-sensory programmes follow similar structures. The following are some commonly used multi-sensory programmes:
- Alpha to Omega (Hornsby and Shear)
- The Bangor Dyslexia Teaching System (Elaine Miles)
- The Hickey Multi-sensory Language Course (Augur & Briggs, Eds.)
- Toe by Toe (Keta Cowling)
- Jolly Phonics.
The psycho-educational assessment report is incredibly important when developing a plan for literacy tuition. It identifies the students learning strengths and weaknesses, as well as giving details on current literacy levels. This provides a very useful starting point for literacy development work. The psychologist’s report may also identify specific areas which need to be addressed, e.g. revision of letter-sound correspondence, knowledge of spelling rules. Learners with dyslexia need to be taught all the rules and exceptions of English reading and spelling in an organised manner. Unfortunately, English is a complex language which has many exceptions in comparison to other languages which are more phonetically regular.