8 Essentials for Teaching Reading and Spelling to Children with Special Needs
Special children have special needs, and the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs keep special needs children in mind every step of the way.
The following list illustrates the various special needs children can have, as well as the eight essential elements that help these children learn to read and spell without confusion and frustration.
1. Direct Instruction
Children with special needs require explicit lessons. They shouldn't have to guess or struggle alone to figure out how to read words or what spelling pattern to use.
2. Incremental Lessons
Children with special needs require incremental, sequential lessons that begin with the most basic spelling skills. The lessons in the All About Reading and All About Spelling programs carry the student gradually from one concept or skill to the next, with each step building upon skills the student has already mastered. Lessons are presented in a logical order to lessen the frustration and enhance the sense of accomplishment.
3. Multisensory Activities
Learning well involves all our senses. We need to see, hear, and touch to truly absorb and master new skills.
Since most children favor one sense over the other senses, multisensory programs enhance learning by adding depth to the lessons that encourage students to develop all of their senses—which in turn leads to developing stronger skills. When children are taught using all three pathways to the brain—the visual, the auditory, and the kinesthetic—they learn even more than when they are taught only through their strongest pathway (*Farkus, 2003). Read more about Simultaneous Multisensory Instruction here.
Regardless of which sense a child favors, all children need reading and spelling programs that can be adapted to their preferred learning style, whether it be through visual, auditory, or tactile methods.
Every lesson in All About Reading and All About Spelling includes multisensory activities that reinforce the concepts being taught.
4. Phonogram Instruction
Reading efficiently and spelling properly involves the knowledge of rules and phonograms, and neglecting to teach the phonograms only shortchanges your student.
All About Reading and All About Spelling teach the basic phonograms based on the Orton-Gillingham approach. This approach has consistently proven to be the best method for mastering the reading and spelling of the vast majority of English words.
5. Reading and Spelling Rules
There is pattern and logic to the English language, with few exceptions to the rules. Teaching the rules governing the majority of words helps make exceptions clear and easy to learn.
6. Continual Review
Everyone needs to remember what they've learned, and continual review provides long-term benefits to all students, no matter what their learning needs might be.
Help children remember concepts through continual review of previously learned rules and words, even basic ones. Continual review permanently ingrains instruction into children's brains—and it only takes two minutes of review per day to make that happen. See more tips on review in the blog post, Making It Stick.
7. Fluency Practice and Dictation Exercises
Once a child has learned how to decode words, we include plenty of practice to help that student become fluent in reading those words in a variety of contexts. The activities, fluency pages, and readers in All About Reading help a student move from simply knowing how to sound out a word to being able to read that word easily in any context.
Similarly, once a child has learned to write and spell basic words, dictating phrases or sentences promotes better spelling in practical situations.
Although it's common for children to spell words correctly during spelling lessons, it's equally common for students to misspell those same words when they encounter them outside of lesson time.
The dictation exercises in All About Spelling give students the opportunity to use and practice their new knowledge.
See the blog post, What’s the Difference Between All About Reading and All About Spelling for examples of how each program provides exercises to help students read and spell with confidence.
8. Easy-to-Follow Lessons
The All About Reading and All About Spelling method is easy to follow, with clear lesson plans that let instructors focus on the student instead of figuring out the next step in the lesson.
Our building-block approach uses progressive, sequential lesson plans to create a strong foundation of essential skills. Each level in the program builds upon the former in a logical sequence that helps your child achieve reading and spelling success.