What Works?

Factors that lead to success: First, early in the child's life, someone has been extremely supportive and encouraging. Second, the young dyslexic found an area in which he or she could succeed. Finally, successful dyslexics appear to have developed a commitment to helping others.      International Dyslexia Association

Four Key Aspects to success

(Although having the benefit of all four would impact the individual with dyslexia to a greater degree, each aspect has its own unique benefits.)

1. Appropriate Remediation

There are many forms of remediation, but there is only one method that has research-based evidence dating back to the 1930's. It is referred to as the Orton-Gillingham approach, and has had a profound impact in the lives of many with dyslexia. 

Alphabetic Phonics is a program that incorporates all of the elements of the Orton-Gillingham approach and the five components of reading instruction, as outlined by the National Reading Panel Report.

You can refer to my book What's RIGHT with Me? for a more detailed description of what this remediation entails. The bottom line: IT WORKS! Here's just one of the many testimonies attesting to its success.        


"Mom, I'm using all my concentration to do what they ask, but they don't even think I'm trying. They just think I'm a bad kid."

Those were the words my son, Austin, spoke to me after his first few months of starting his kindergarten journey. His teacher told me he wasn't "paying attention", he was "distracting", and "not willing to learn".  He wasn't grasping information as quickly as his peers. 

My once confident, fun loving son, became argumentative, angry and withdrawn. Everything became a fight; homework, bedtime, and especially going to school. Something needed to be done. I knew my son was smart, he loved learning. Something wasn't right. ................. So, we enrolled Austin into FLC's school, Rolph Literacy Academy. (RLA is a private intervention school for children with dyslexia and other reading difficulties that incorporates Alphabetic Phonics into its full-day curriculum.)

Now, a year later, Austin looks forward to going to school. I even catch him reading in his closet. Rolph Literacy Academy has taught Austin reading, math, science, how to be a leader, a friend, and an advocate for himself. We have learned to see our child for the wonder he is and know that there is always hope. 

- Sarah Collins, Austin's Mother

Rolph Literacy Academy

2. Early Intervention

Phonemic awareness skills assessed in kindergarten and first grade serve as potent predictors of difficulties learning to read. We have learned how to measure phonemic awareness skills as early as the first semester in kindergarten with tasks that take only 15 minutes to administer - and over the past decade we have refined these tasks so that we can predict with approximately 80% to 90% accuracy who become good readers and who will have difficulties learning to read. We have learned that for 90% to 95% of poor readers, prevention and early intervention programs that combine instruction in phoneme awareness, phonics, fluency development, and reading comprehension strategies, provided by well trained teachers, can increase reading skills to average reading levels.

However, we have also learned that if we delay intervention until nine-years-of-age, (the time that most children with reading difficulties receive services), approximately 75% of the children will continue to have difficulties learning to read throughout high school. To be clear, while older children and adults can be taught to read, the time and expense of doing so is enormous.   (Dr. G. Reid Lyon)


      3.  Qualified teachers



The need for informed instruction for the millions of children with insufficient reading skills is an increasingly urgent problem. Unfortunately, several recent studies and surveys of teacher knowledge about reading development and difficulties indicate that many teachers are underprepared to teach reading. Most teachers receive little formal instruction in reading development and disorders during either undergraduate and/or graduate studies, with the average teacher completing only two reading courses. Course work is superficial and typically unrelated to teaching practice; and the supervision of student teaching and practicum experiences is fragmentary and inconsistent. At present, motivated teachers are often left to obtain specific skills in teaching phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, and comprehension on their own by seeking out workshops or specialized instructional manuals. In reading education, teachers are frequently presented with a "One Size Fits All" philosophy that emphasizes either a "whole language" or "phonics" orientation to instruction.                                               (Dr. G. Reid Lyon) 


Classes held at the Fundamental Learning Center

4.  Respect, understanding, and patience for student

In The Dyslexic Advantage by Brock and Fernette Eide, many now successful individuals with dyslexia were interviewed and when asked what factors were critical for their emotional and professional success, their responses were summed up as follows:

These factors included tenacity; confidence; positive self-image; a realistic acceptance of the personal struggles and shortcomings associated with dyslexic learning challenges, but also a deliberate focusing on personal strengths and areas of special interest; supportive home and school environments; and a supportive network of friends.