Multisensory Phonics Reading Program

Phonics Help Kids Learn to Read…And Enjoy Learning!

From the mailbag, Dr. Linda Silbert answers a reader’s questions asking if phonics-based reading programs work for a struggling reader.

Struggling readers can benefit from multisensory phonics reading programsDear Dr. Linda:

My daughter has a terrible time with reading. The teacher suggested that I look for materials that use the Orton-Gillingham Method.

Then I talked to another mom whose daughter also had trouble with reading. She said that she’d heard the Wilson Method was good too.

I have no clue about these methods. I’m not a teacher, but I really want to help my daughter with reading. Can you tell me what to do? Do I have to know these methods in order to help my child? Confused Mom

Dear Confused Mom:

You can certainly help your daughter with reading without knowing the Orton-Gillingham Method or the Wilson Method. But before you do anything, first talk to your daughter’s teacher. Find out why she’s having a hard time in reading. Children, struggle with reading for many reasons.

Since your daughter’s teacher suggests materials based on the Orton-Gillingham Method, I’m assuming that’s what is used at her school. It’s a phonics and multi-sensory-based program as is the Wilson Method which is based on Orton-Gillingham.

If your daughter’s teacher tells you your daughter is having a hard time with phonics (how small groups of letters called phonemes sound), you’ll be able to find everything from fun card games to activity books that can help.

In addition to phonics help, these materials will be multi-sensory, meaning that they involve the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic senses: hearing a word, seeing a word, writing a word or making a word out of blocks or alphabet card

How to Know if a Multisensory Phonics Reading Program Will Help a Struggling Reader

But before you buy a multisensory phonics reading program, ask the teacher exactly what she or your daughter’s reading teacher recommends so the help you give your daughter is similar to how she’s being taught in school.

Teaching phonics follows a set program which teachers are trained in so just giving a child random groups of letters to practice probably won’t help and can be detrimental.

I suggest, in addition to the materials her teacher suggests, that you find a qualified tutor who knows the Orton-Gillingham methodology. In this way, her tutor can supplement the school’s instruction. Contact the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) for referrals.

Keep in mind that just because your daughter is having trouble with reading, doesn’t mean it’s a phonics problem or that she has dyslexia. Ask that your daughter be tested if her teacher isn’t sure exactly what the problem is.

Dr. Linda Silbert

P.S. The Tiger Tuesday Multisensory Phonics Reading Program has lots of fun Phonics Card Games to help kids who struggle with reading.

Do you have questions? Please comment below!


Phonics Centered — Consistent with Orton-Gillingham — Multisensory