For many of us reading just comes naturally. We automatically break up words into syllables, apply spelling rules and understand the concept of language. Learning to read with dyslexia is not a natural process. Children with dyslexia must be taught reading and spelling explicitly and directly. On today’s post I am going to give you strategies on how to teach a child with dyslexia to read and spell.

Multisensory Learning

Children with dyslexia MUST be taught with a multisensory approach. When taught with a multisensory approach, these children learn all the letters, letter combinations, sounds and words by using all of their pathways. They see it (visual), hear it (auditory), touch it (tactile) and move with it (kinesthetic).

When learning the vowel combination ‘oa’ for example, the child might first look at the letter combination of a picture of a GOAT, then close his/her eyes and listen to the sound, then trace the letters in the air while speaking out loud.

This combination of listening, looking, and moving around creates a lasting impression for the child as things will connect to each other and become memorable. Using a multisensory approach to reading and spelling will benefit ALL learners, not just those with dyslexia.




The other significant component in helping a child with dyslexia learn to read and spell, is utilizing an Orton-Gillingham approach. In Orton-Gillingham, the sounds are introduced in a systematic, sequential and cumulative process. The Orton-Gillingham teacher, tutor or parent begins with the most basic elements of the English language. Using lots of multisensory strategies and lots of repetition, each spelling rule is taught one at a time.

By presenting one rule at a time and practicing it until the child can apply it with automaticity and fluency, a child with dyslexia will have no reading gaps in their reading and spelling skills.  

Children are also taught how to listen to words or syllables and break them into individual sounds. The learn to manipulate sounds by changing, deleting and substituting sounds. For example, “…in the word steak, what is the first sound you hear? What is the vowel combination you hear? What is the last sound you hear?”  

Children are also taught to recognize and manipulate these sounds. “…what sound does the ‘ea’ make in the word steak? Say steak. Say steak again but instead of the ‘st’ say ‘br.’-  BREAK!”  

Every lesson the student learns in Orton-Gillingham is in a structured and orderly fashion. The child is taught a skill and doesn’t progress to the next skill until the current skill is mastered. Orton-Gillingham is extremely repetitive. As the children learn new material, they continue to review old material until it is stored into the child’s long-term memory.

A child with dyslexia thrives with the Orton-Gillingham approach!


Use the PRIDE Reading Program

The PRIDE Reading Program is an Orton-Gillingham curriculum that is super easy to use and highly effective for children with dyslexia. It is HEAVILY scripted out, so you do not need to go through any extensive or difficult trainings to teach this program. The PRIDE Reading Program is used by homeschooling parents, teachers, and tutors with great success.  

In Summary

Kids with dyslexia need more structure and repetition in their reading instruction. They need to learn basic language sounds and the letters that make them, starting from the very beginning and moving forward in a gradual step by step process.

Think of it as if your child is learning a foreign language for the first time. He or she needs to start at the very beginning, learn the pronunciation of each letter in the alphabet as well as all the different spelling and language rules related to the foreign language. This needs to be delivered in a systematic, sequential and cumulative approach.

For all of this to “stick” the child will need to do this by using their eyes, ears, voices, and hands.

Thank you so much for reading my post today!


Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at or visit the website at

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