There are two great blog posts Reading Horizons has that explain the reason for multi-sensory instruction and how to properly apply a multi-sensory approach to teaching reading. Those two posts are: The Connection Between Vocabulary and Reading Skills and A Simple Strategy for Teaching Struggling Readers.

Unfortunately, they are two separate posts and they are on our blog for schools and institutions, not The Reading Corner Blog. For this reason I’ve created this post and combined what is addressed in both to create one super informative post for homeschoolers, mothers, and those of us without an education degree!

It builds the connections that allow us to put it all together! Language is a complex subject; it uses sensory outputs (writing and speaking) as well as sensory inputs (reading and listening) and in order to learn to be a fluent and comprehensive reader we need to be able to connect all the modalities language uses together. Shantell Barrett, a reading teacher, trainer, and dyslexia specialist, explains that connection and its importance quite nicely in this small video clip.

Now that we know the reason for multi-sensory reading instruction, what is the proper way to use it? Well, it is through the process of dictation; the process you use to make the connections there are between reading, writing, speaking, and listening to the English language. Here is a four step dictation process you can use with your child:

Step 1: You (as the teacher) say the word twice (this can be a word you are having your child read, or a word that is part of their spelling or vocabulary list).

Step 2: Have your child say the word back twice.

Step 3: Have your child write the word once.

Step 4: Have your child read the word once (by having them mark the word, decode it, and then read it).

Here is another quick video of Shantell Berrett explaining this process and the results she and others have had when using it. Enjoy!