Twenty percent of school aged children have dyslexia. Unfortunately, this disorder often goes unidentified, misdiagnosed or even ignored by the public school system. As a result, too many children are not getting the education they need. In order for these children to reach their full potential, science has shown that early intervention is necessary. For intervention to be effective, three elements are necessary. These three elements are shown in the analogy of the “three legged stool”. If one of the legs is missing or short, the stool will fall over (i.e., the intervention won’t work effectively).
1. A Structured Literacy Curriculum
To gain proficiency in reading, spelling and writing students need to be taught with a program that is scientifically backed. The structured literacy (AKA, Orton-Gillingham) approach is supported by more than three decades of research from The National Institutes of Health making it “the gold standard” in teaching students to read and spell. It is not only the most effective method for students who are struggling with reading words and spelling them, but it is the most effective method for teaching the foundations of literacy to all students.
2. An Expert in the Structure of English
The English spelling system is very regular but in complex ways, so the teacher or therapist using a structured literacy curriculum must have a deep understanding of how English words are pronounced and spelled. The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) accredits professional development programs that meet IDA Knowledge & Practice Standards. Professional development programs that have earned IDA’s Accreditation-PLUS prepare professionals to work one-on-one with students who have complex language processing difficulties.
3. Deliberate, Daily Practice
Practice is essential for retaining concepts and developing skill. Short (~15 minutes a day), focused practice games between lessons not only reinforce and automate reading and spelling skills but also help parents and therapist measure the student’s progress.
With this combination of elements, significant progress can be achieved in a matter of months. The Lexercise Structured Literacy Curriculum© is a blended learning model, combining face-to-face lessons and online games for daily practice. In Lexercise Professional Therapy, a trained therapist customizes the Lexercise Structured Literacy Curriculum© to fit a student’s specific learning needs. Most students make dramatic gains with this approach. As a result, Lexercise is able to guarantee a grade level increase in reading abilities after 2 months of therapy, or your third month is free.
Taylor is a senior studying communication at NC State University. As the Blog and PR intern for lexercise she utilizes her passion for writing to help inform parents of struggling readers, writers and spellers. She feels a connection to Lexercise through her love for children and their well-being.