• What is specialized reading instruction? Some people need a specific type of instruction to help them learn to read. One type of specialized instruction, especially helpful for people with dyslexia, is based on the research of Dr. Samuel Orton, a neuropsychiatrist, and Anna Gillingham, an educator and psychologist. They compiled this research and created an approach to reading instruction in the 1930's. Research continues to support the effectiveness of this approach. The Orton-Gillingham method gives explicit instruction in decoding (breaking words into syllables and phonemes - the smallest unit of sound), and encoding - or spelling. This approach helps develop automaticity and fluency at the word level for both reading and spelling.  Many programs have been developed that follow the Orton-Gillingham method. 
    One of the activities recommended to help students with phonemic awareness is a phoneme addition/deletion/substitution activity. The activity helps students manipulate sounds within words so that they become more aware, not only of the individual sounds that make up words, but it also helps students recognize common letter patterns within words. 
    Here is an example:
    Say the word "mat" (student repeats the word)             "mat"
    Say the word "mat", but instead of /m/, say /p/             "pat"
    Say the word "pat" (student repeats word)                    "pat"
    Say the word "pat", but instead of /t/, say /n/                "pan"
    Say the word "pan" (student repeats the word)              "pan"
    Say the word "pan", but instead of /a/, say /i/                "pin"
    Another acitivity is segmenting words into their individual sounds.
    Here is an example:
    Using bingo chips, the student slides a chip forward for each sound heard in a word. If the word is "hat", 3 chips are pushed forward. If the word is "clock", 4 chips are pushed forward because /ck/, although 2 letters, only makes one sound. This helps students separate blends within words (cl), and recognize that some letter combinations make only one sound (ck). Blends are often a challenge for students to both read and spell, as it can be difficult for them to separate out each individual sound. 
                                     Elkonin Boxes with chips                   Boxes with letters
                                                                                                 One Box per SOUND
     Elkonin Box for segmenting sounds                       boxes with letters/one box per sound