Reading Therapy

At AZ Dyslexia Center, our Reading Therapists use a variety of programs, techniques, and methodologies in each dyslexia therapy session. This means every program we use is evidence based. The programs we utilize fall under the Orton-Gillingham Instruction methodology. You may have heard this called structured literacy.

“Orton-Gillingham is an instructional approach intended primarily for use with persons who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing of the sort associated with dyslexia. It is most properly understood and practiced as an approach, not a method, program, system or technique. In the hands of a well-trained and experienced instructor, it is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility. The essential curricular content and instructional practices that characterize the Orton-Gillingham Approach are derived from two sources: first from a body of time-tested knowledge and practice that has been validated over the past 70 years, and second from scientific evidence about how persons learn to read and write; why a significant number have difficulty in doing so; how having dyslexia makes achieving literacy skills more difficult; and which instructional practices are best suited for teaching such persons to read and write.” -Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Samuel Orton was an American neuro-psychiatrist and pathologist who initially studied adults with brain damage but went on to study children with reading disabilities. He made the startling discovery that children being referred to him as retarded (because of their struggle with reading) had normal or even above average IQ Scores. As early as the 1920s, Orton helped pioneer the concept of multi-sensory teaching which integrates kinesthetic (movement), tactile (touch), visual and auditory learning into the reading process. For example, having students write in the air or trace oversize letters, while simultaneously saying the names and sounds of the letters.

Ann Gillingham brought her educational ideas to life by developing a detailed multi-sensory reading program for students. Based on her knowledge of language structure, GIllingham literally wrote the Orton-Gillingham manual which included the systematic and explicit teaching of sounds (phonemes), prefixes, suffixes and roots (morphemes) and common spelling rules.

An Orton-Gillingham program contains the following basic skills needed to read:
Phonological Awareness
Difficulty with phonemes is at the heart of dyslexia and so, not surprisingly, the teaching of the specific sounds of language and the ability to parse or segment words into their constituent sounds is an integral part of the Orton Gillingham curriculum. Teaching phonological awareness does not have to involve text, just the voice and the ear. The student should be able to distinguish and reproduce the fundamental sounds of the language.
To read without comprehending is not to read at all, and so semantics, or the comprehension of written text, is critical. It is shockingly common for weak readers to struggle through text only to arrive at the end and have no idea what they just read.
Sound-Symbol Association
Students must learn to associate the sounds with letters (graphemes) that represent them. This is a two way street, wherein students have to be able to read the letter and make the sound and hear the sound and then draw the letter. Naturally, this skill is then extended into two letter blends, (digraphs) and then longer blends and syllables.
Instruction must include the teaching of basic syllables and syllable division rules. Types of syllables include closed, vowel-consonant-e, open, consonant-le, r-controlled and diphthongs.
How to order words in a sentence is taught explicitly through the study of grammar, sentence structure and good writing practices.
The study of root words, prefixes and suffixes with an aim to understand how words can be built up and manipulated to change their meaning.

At AZ Dyslexia Center, we use several different programs so each student’s instruction best matches the student’s needs. The following list is a sample of the areas in which we focus:

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Reading
  • Spelling
  • Sight Words
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Vocabulary
  • Writing Composition
  • Study Skills
  • Auditory Discrimination
  • Latin and Greek Roots
We have reading therapists trained and certified in the following programs:
The Wilson Programs
Fundations levels K-3
Wilson Reading System
Just Words
Lindamood-Bell Programs
Seeing Stars
Visualize and Verbalize
Vanilla Vocabulary
Barton Reading & Spelling
The Barton Reading and Spelling System was designed for students of any age who have, or are suspected of having, dyslexia.