Focus on skills that underlie reading

"There are no universally effective programs, but here are knowable principles that need to be incorporated in all programs about how we teach written language."

Maryanne Wolf, researcher and parent, in Proust and the Squid, 2007, p. 209

The following is a list of some programs that have been developed for struggling readers and writers. Some were created specifically for dyslexia and are underigrded in the tenets of Structured Literacy (e.g., the Orton-Gillingham approach, multi-sensory approaches).

Depending on the program, it may focus on one of more of the various skills that underlie reading—oral language, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, spelling, or writing. You will need to determine which program works best for your child.

Most generally, these programs are best used in an individual or small group therapy setting. Professionals will want to familiarize themselves with the program. Some require specific training. For example, Orton-Gillingham is a multi-faceted approach that was created specifically for dyslexics. It teaches reading, writing, and spelling by using auditory, visual, and tactile measures. Many other reading and writing programs utilize the Orton-Gillingham approach.

When researching a Structured Literacy-based program, such as one that is built on the Orton-Gillingham approach, either for training courses or to access a certified tutor or therapist, look for programs/courses that have been accredited. The International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) holds their accredited courses to rigorous standards that in turn allow the courses to certify qualified individuals who meet these standards as teachers, therapists and instructors. These accreditation-certification credentials ensure access to reliable and effective instruction. Other reliable resources for programs serving dyslexics are found through the Academic Language Therapy Association and the International Dyslexia Association.

In addition to the program descriptions, we have provided a table that summarizes some of the programs and their varying features.


  • All About Learning Press

    All About Learning Press

    All About Reading teaches phonics, decoding, fluency, and comprehension in a fun and engaging way. All About Spelling teaches encoding skills, spelling rules, and multisensory strategies to help students become proficient spellers for life.
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  • Barton

    The Barton Reading & Spelling System

    The Barton Reading & Spelling System is a one-on-one tutoring system that improves spelling, reading, and writing skills. It works well for children, teenagers, and adults who struggle due to dyslexia or a learning disability.
    Visit the website

  • Equipped for Reading Success

    Equipped for Reading Success

    Equipped for Reading Success is a comprehensive step-by-step program that presents more than 20 strategies to improve memory and effortless word retrieval skills in order to overcome reading difficulties for early level readers.
    Visit the website

  • Expanding Expression

    Expanding Expression Tool Kit

    This multi-sensory mnemonic strategy facilitates language organization. The kit targets elementary school students, though it can also be used with older students to help with vocabulary, writing, and organization.
    Visit the website

  • Family Fun

    The Family Fun with Fluency Kit

    Produced by the Neuhaus Education Center, this manual contains a set of passages marked at the hundredth word. A child can read the passage to the hundredth word while a parent times how long he takes and tracks his progress over time.
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  • Language! The Comprehensive Literacy Curriculum

    Language! The Comprehensive Literacy Curriculum

    This program offers reading, writing, spelling, and grammar instruction, in addition to multi-sensory components. It also offers an English as a Second Language (ESL) component to assist users who are struggling to master the language.
    Visit the website

  • The Lexia-Herman Method

    The Lexia-Herman Method

    Comprised of three programs, this method encourages improved reading comprehension by targeting basic phonemic awareness through a mix of blending, segmenting, and sound exercises.
    Visit the website

  • Lindamood-Bell

    The Lindamood-Bell (LiPS) Program

    This program encourages phonemic awareness by helping users understand how mouth movements correspond to spoken sounds. Children can then apply this understanding to their speech, spelling, and reading and see improvements.
    Visit the website

  • Literacy Lab

    Literacy Lab

    This research-based reading program starts with the user distinguishing letters and letter sounds and ending with the user reading full sentences and stories. In the end, the user can comprehend and analyze what he or she just read.
    Visit the website

  • Moose Materials

    Moose Materials

    While not a reading program or curriculum, Moose Materials are activities and games that can support many Multisensory Structured Language Programs. They provide students with the reinforcement necessary to master reading and spelling.
    Visit the website

  • Nessy Reading

    Nessy Reading

    Nessy helps students master foundational reading skills. This program is designed to meet the Common Core and most rigorous state standards, the structure is systematic, and data reports are clearly organized and easy to understand.
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  • Project Read

    Project Read

    Project Read is a language arts curriculum that is carefully designed for all age groups and learning profiles. Piloted in 1969 by Victoria Greene, the Project Read program has helped students in areas of phonics, reading comprehension, and written expression. From its inception, the three guiding principles have been direct instruction of the concepts and skill of language, presentation of concepts and skills in their dependent order (from simplest to most complex), and multisensory strategies and materials created specifically for each concept and skill. The curriculum is designed to be delivered by regular classroom teachers, and offers a variety of products to cater to each classroom’s needs. Project Read has been proven to help close the learning gap by increasing test scores, meeting state standards, and enriching existing RTI models. In addition to classroom materials, Project Read offers staff development tools for effective intervention in reading, written, and oral language.
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  • RAVE-O

    The RAVE-O Curriculum

    This curriculum is designed to improve reading fluency and comprehension of 2nd - 5th graders. Through word play activities, the RAVE-O systematically walks students through carefully selected core words at the phonemic, orthographic, semantic, syntactic, and morphological levels.
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  • Read Naturally

    Read Naturally

    This program aims to improve reading proficiency through teacher modeling, repetitive reading, and student progress monitoring. It provides students with practice reading and writing problems that help the practitioner gauge progress and set reading fluency goals.
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  • Reading Focus Cards

    Reading Focus Cards

    This desktop app was published with the potential to help challenged readers of all ages who struggle to read digitally-generated text. This app provides more customizable focus, color and additional options for individual users than any other tool of its kind available.
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  • REWARDS Program

    REWARDS Program

    The REWARDS program is a family of reading and writing intervention materials created for young struggling learners. The program aims to increase fluency rates, enhance reading comprehension, and increase precision in sentence writing.
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  • Sonday System 1, 2

    Sonday Systems 1 and 2

    The Sonday Systems are beginning and intermediate reading intervention programs that use the Orton-Gillingham approach to language instruction. Students will learn and systematically go through core reading and writing skills such as sound blending, basic vocabulary, handwriting, and reading comprehension. The programs include complete lesson plans and instruction material for teachers.
    Visit the website

  • SPELL-Links


    SPELL-Links uses a speech-to-print word study approach that leverages the brain’s innate, biological wiring and organization for oral language. Unlike other reading programs, which begin with the written letter and teach students to match the letter to a sound, SPELL-Links first helps students learn how to attend to the sound structure of spoken English words and then how to connect and combine sounds (phonology), letter patterns (orthography, mental orthographic images), and meanings (semantics, morphology) to read and spell words.
    Visit the website

  • Wilson Fluency Basic

    Wilson Fluency/Basic

    This program explicitly teaches fluency skills and reading practice. It aims to help readers apply their knowledge to connected text, and it complements any reading program that directly teaches the structure of English words.
    Visit the website

  • Wilson

    Wilson Reading System

    This language-based program teaches the fundamentals of vocabulary and language by giving its users the tools to understand the English language coding system. It utilizes the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory approach to assist readers.
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  • WORDS: Second Edition

    Marcia Henry's book, Words: Integrated Decoding and Spelling Instruction Based on Word Origin and Word Structure – Second Edition, now includes reproducible student activities and expanded progress-monitoring tools. WORDS emphasizes decoding and spelling based on word origin and word structure, thus strengthening students' ability to decode, comprehend, and spell.
    Visit the website


To learn more about the Orton-Gillingham approach, visit Special Education Advisor's Orton-Gillingham: Who, Where and Why? page.