According 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.”
For a more detailed description, see the IDA Dyslexia Handbook: What Every Family Should Know.
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 the approach endorsed by the International Dyslexia Association’s Board of Directors. This direct teaching method encompasses instruction that conforms to IDA’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading.
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.
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.
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.
LANGUAGE! Live® | Grades 5–12
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® | Grades K–5
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.
REWARDS® | Grades 4–12
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® | Grades K–3
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.
Step Up to Writing® | Grades K–12
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.