The Reading Program used in our resource room is Preventing Academic Failure. It is a multi-sensory program for teaching reading and spelling. It is an adaptation of the Orton-Gillingham techniques of teaching reading and spelling that was developed by Dr. Samuel Orten, Anna Gillingham and Bessie Stillman, for teaching dyslexic students. They found that a reading program should contain all of the following: a sequence of language skills, a multi-sensory approach, and a focus on word analysis. Our reading program contains all three of these elements.
Reading and spelling are taught together because both deal with the coding of oral language. Reading, the receptive form of written language, is the decoding process in which visual symbols are associated with meaningful auditory equivalents. Spelling is the expressive component of written language in which words are encoded into visual symbols. Teaching both reading and spelling during the same period acts as a reinforcement of this process.
The reading program uses a word analysis approach based on phonetic skills. A sequence of language skills is presented that progresses from the simplest units of written language to the most complex. The children learn to use individual sounds to build syllables, words and sentences. All materials are presented to the learner using a multi=sensory approach. Visual, auditory and kinesthetic modalities are trained simultaneously. The children learn to say the sound and write the letter and these activities reinforce each other.
As our students get older we move form a phonetic based program to a more literary based program. The students will read appropriate grade level texts and novels. Instruction will focus on reading skills (vocabulary development and comprehension) grammar skills and writing skills. Reading, spelling and vocabulary still reinforce each other but are know literature based rather than phonics based. Phonics skills are still taught but at a high more sophisticated level.