What is Dyslexia?

According to the International Dyslexia Association, “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

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Structured Literacy is Key to Student Success

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. It encompasses instruction that conforms to IDA’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading.

 

 

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Structured Literacy

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.

Elements

  • Phonology
  • Sound-Symbol Association
  • Syllable Instruction
  • Morphology
  • Syntax
  • Semantics

Principles

  • Systematic and Cumulative
  • Explicit Instruction
  • Diagnostic Teaching

 

Structured literacy is:

  • Systematic and Cumulative. Material is organized to follow a scope and sequence that is a progression of easier to more difficult language structures and concepts. Each new step must be based on concepts previously learned.
  • Explicit Instruction. All instruction should deliberately teach all concepts with continuous student-teacher interaction. It is not assumed students will naturally develop an understanding of these concepts on their own, through exposure to text, or through incidental instruction.
  • Diagnostic Teaching. The teacher must use diagnostic assessments for phoneme awareness, phonics, spelling, automatic sight word reading, and language comprehension to complete individualized instruction. Formal and informal assessments are used for screening, progress monitoring, and educational diagnostics.
Literacy Products

WHO BENEFITS FROM
A STRUCTURED LITERACY APPROACH?

  • Students with dyslexia
  • Students in all grades
  • Students who struggle to read
  • Students who are learning to read
  • Students with reading challenges

Solutions

The following programs align with the principles of structured literacy. View the PDF below for more information specific to dyslexia, or use the links below to learn more about each solution.

DOWNLOAD DYSLEXIA PDF
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LANGUAGE!® Live | Grades 5–12
This blended program applies the structured Literacy 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.
Alignment to Dyslexia Handbook

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LETRS® | Grades K–12
This literacy professional development is ideal preparation for teachers who work with students with dyslexia and other reading challenges. The program aligns to the International Dyslexia Association's IDA’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading.
Research Base

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Read Well® | Grades K–3
Read Well has many meaningful instructional components that support a student with dyslexia or other language disability as well as students with processing disabilities. The program is language-based; multisensory; structured, sequential, and cumulative; cognitive; and flexible.
Alignment to Orton-Gillingham

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RAVE-O® | Grades 2-4
This program follows a structured literacy approach and is designed to address the challenges faced by students with dyslexia at this age. RAVE-O’s focus on word meaning and word connections to aid fluency and automaticity is ideal for students with dyslexia.
Alignment to Dyslexia Handbook

 
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The New Herman Method® | Grades 3–6
This small-group reading intervention for struggling students incorporates a multisensory approach to teaching and reading. The program provides numerous opportunities for student responses in every lesson.
Alignment to Dyslexia Handbook

 

 

One Student's Story

For students with dyslexia and other reading challenges, the struggle to read can make the day-to-day demands of school frustrating and challenging. Dylan was one of those students.

His starting point was in elementary school, where he struggled to read. After years of searching for an answer, he was diagnosed with dyslexia. Unfortunately, his school system did not have a program to support his diagnosis. Dylan’s pivotal moment came when his parents learned a neighboring school district had a well-trained teacher with a research-based program to meet his needs. Watch Dylan’s inspiring story here.

 

 

 

Solutions That Support Structured Literacy: