Prevent the Summer Slide!

Even just 2-3 hours a week of quality instruction can prevent the Summer Slide! Evidence-based reading instruction using Orton-Gillingham or Reading Simplified methods can not only prevent the summer slide, but they can accelerate your child’s growth over the summer months. The key is to connect with an instructor who is well-qualified and who also is a good fit for your child. Looking for someone who is experienced, compassionate, and committed to helping your child accelerate their learning over the summer? To find out more, click below.

Structured Literacy or Balanced Literacy?

classroom reading group
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

I am a nerd! For fun I read about The Science of Reading. Seriously!?!

Today I spent an hour with Comparing Reading Research to Program Design: An Examination of Teachers College Units of Study. In graduate school, we were all about Lucy Calkins Units of Study (see this New York Times article) and exposing kids to great books and getting them to LOVE reading. But how many kids weren’t learning to read? More than half in my district, and even more as I moved to a special education classroom.

The article discusses what we know about how students learn to read based on the Science of Reading. The authors argue that this widely used reading program fails to give our students the skills they need to make meaning of what they read. Especially lacking is explicit instruction and practice in systematic phonics instruction including phonemic awareness and letter-sound correspondence.

Don’t misunderstand me … I love sharing good books with children! But my job is to teach students how to make meaning of these books on their own. By providing quality instruction using programs based on the Science of Reading – such as IMSE Orton Gillingham or Reading Simplified – and supporting students’ accuracy, fluency, and vocabulary development, I can help your child to become a successful, independent reader.

The Science of Reading is Real!

Brain Activity During Reading,

We now know so much about how children learn to read that we didn’t know when we were in school! Using brain imaging, scientists can see what parts of a child’s brain are activated when reading. Children who learn to read easily build pathways for memory of sounds, letters, words, and comprehension. Children who struggle to read have a more difficult time building these pathways. Researchers have shown that children can train their brains for reading success when teachers use Structured Literacy methods.

What’s the best way to teach kids with dyslexia how to read? The most helpful approach is called structured literacy. This way of teaching reading is:

Systematic: Reading skills are taught in a logical order. Kids have to master the basics before moving on to more complex skills.

Explicit: Teaching is clear and direct. There’s no guesswork.

Diagnostic: Teachers constantly assess students to make sure they’re mastering concepts before moving on. Instruction is individualized.

You can help your child succeed by engaging with a tutor trained in Structured Literacy using a quality method such as Orton-Gillingham or Reading Simplified. Be sure to ask what training your tutor has had, how the sessions will be structured, and how your child’s progress will be measured!