What Programs Work?

Research demonstrates consistently positive outcomes for special needs students when teachers use:

Multi-sensory approaches:

  • Wilson Approach
  • Orton-Gillingham
  • Spalding Approach – Writing Road to Reading

Direct Instruction:

  • Open Court
  • Corrective Reading — SRA
  • Explode the Code – EPS


Some popular programs may cause some difficulty for special needs students with LD or dyslexia:


  • Great deal of drill at outset
  • May not provide enough mix of good literature
  • Requires a lot of memorization of letter sounds

Sing, Spell, Read and Write

  • Difficulties with the sequence of skills introduced (e.g., short /e/ and short /i/ too close)
  • Bunches up new skills in latter part with inadequate practice to achieve mastery

Hooked on Phonics

  • Good use of music and rhythm
  • Too little application of drilled sounds
  • No reading content of substance