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Effective Supports and Approaches Related to Dyslexia

 I have been using two main approaches to help  learners who struggle with de-coding in my class this year 2013.

  The Davis Approach is whole word learning.  It teaches the learner how to focus attention using a visual technique.  This approach uses the strengths of the learner.

 Multi-lit,which is a phonics, sound based learning approach.  It spends time building up the weakest area of the learner teaching them to hear and identify sounds in words.

 When I asked my 9 learners which method they preferred, seven choose the Davis Method and 2 the Multi-lit.  

 Details of the Davis Approach that I used in Class

 Firstly, I taught each child to gain attention through one of two methods.  Either “Hands on Shoulders” or “Minds eye on dot”  (both these are explained in the book).   Plus Release which is like deep breathing and Dial, which is like energy levels  up or down - being in control of being more awake and energized or the opposite - calm and slowed down.  These 3 things are called “Focus Tools”.

Secondly, we learnt the alphabet both lower and upper case by making each letter out of clay and mastering it.  To master a letter the student uses their focus tools.  They say the letter’s name plus something beginning with the letter.  Time is spent on letters which appear similar making sure that the learner can identify each one.

Thirdly, we started learning Trigger Words.  These are 219 words which are similar to the Essential Spelling Words.  They are all words which do not have pictures with them. For example,  if I say “House”  you will get a picture of a house in your brain.  If I say “the”  you probably do not have a picture.  The students make out of clay, a picture of the word they are learning.  They then make the word out of clay.  They then master it.

 So far this year, we have clayed (made) 90 Trigger words.  We clay one per day.  

This approach has helped the students who are over 8 years old the most.   

It takes time (15 mins?)  and it  helps the learner remember the word. All my over 8 year olds remember over 90% of the 90 words we have mastered this year.

It does not labor on phonics but on a visual and tactile learning method, although sound is included.  “The word says....”

It is fun and uses creativity.  

It does not produce stress for the student.

It is success based. 

It is dependent on the teacher being able to explain the method so the learner can understand and this does take skill.


For more information -  http://bit.ly/18O2yGn  

“The Gift of Learning”  by Ronald D. Davis and Eldon M. Braun or 

“The Gift of Dyslexia - Why some of the Smartest People Can’t Read... and How They Can Learn”  by Ronald D. Davis with Eldon M. Braun.   

 Details of the Multi-lit Approach that I used in Class

 Each student has a 10 - 15 min lesson each day.  They work through a workbook which has ordered certain sounds to be learnt.  They achieve mastery of the sound and work towards fluency where the sound becomes automatic.  They spend time practicing the sounds to achieve this alone and in words.  At the end of each Level, the student reads through a made up story to show their mastery of the sounds.  It also has a spelling component where the students learn to spell the word.

This approach is set up so it is easy for anyone to teach this method.  It is easy for the a teacher or teacher aide to use.

 For more information - http://www.multilit.com  

   I have found benefit from both approaches, although I am convinced that the Davis Focus Tools has helped each student significantly.  It has helped the Phonics approach be more easily absorbed.   It has given each student success without stress.  

Alongside these approaches, each student has an I Pad and are being taught to read using text to speech techniques and have access to other Apps to help them express their learning.



  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 12 Nov 2013 11:54am ()

    Thank you Tara for starting this thread and for the resources shared Barbara and Chrissie.

    It seems quite common for teachers and students to be just learning about that the signs and strategies to support Dyslexia now? I'm thinking some symptoms include disengagement, lack of confidence due to decoding issues? Some specific agencies have more information about ways to address this, but these could be based in another town.

    So, any good advice for parents? 

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 10 Dec 2013 3:53pm ()

    Famous People with the Gift of Dyslexia. What a great name for a website. I'm now wondering if people without Dylexia are 'missing out' on a different way of seeing the world?

    Wouldn't the study a famous person, become even more intriquing - if students researched what made them successful, if they were 'blessed' with the gift of Dyslexia?

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 13 Dec 2013 10:32am ()


    Thank you so much for sharing these amazing pieces of work Anne. I must admit when I first read them I was very moved (and then forgot to reply). Such beautiful writing in response to such a frustrating reality.

    The challenge of learning with Dyslexia is huge - I've learned alot already from reading/viewing/listening to the stories so far. It has also been useful finding out the details about strategies and possible e-tools that can be used to help in this difficult journey. More please Smile.


    Other related links include:

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 18 Dec 2013 10:22am ()

    Thanks for this reminder Anne. A friend told me today of a young 9 year old boy, very clever - who told his mum, he'd rather be able to read and write, than be clever. It's certainly a barrier when we're surrounded by symbols and text everyday. Undecided

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