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A Magical Solution for Urban Schools Reading Intervention Programs

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Unit 9 Project:
A Magical Solution for Urban Schools Reading Intervention Programs
LaKisha Overton
Kaplan University

Professor Kerr
March 31, 2014

A Magical Solution for Urban Schools Reading Intervention Programs
Reading can be the gateway to a new world. Unfortunately today there are large numbers of inner city elementary school children who struggle with reading daily. For example, “According to the 2012 Maryland School Assessment, 34.5% of Baltimore City 3rd graders are reading below grade level, a figure that is double the state average” (Baltimore City Library Project, 2014, para.1). It’s the duty of inner city school districts to make changes that will embrace the issues which are effecting the academic growth of children. The letters in words are symbols and those letters make sounds. Putting them all together equals reading, and reading is the key to a child’s future independence. That independence allows them to be positive contributors to society. As well as prepare them to maneuver daily technological advances in our society. A child without a solid reading foundation could be led on a path to becoming a high school dropout. “One in six children who are not reading proficiently in the third grade do not graduate from high school on time” (Baltimore City Library Project, 2014, para.1). Many children have low to poor academic achievement. Multisensory reading intervention can be the solution to help break the cycle of poor reading skills amongst children in urban environments.
A multisensory reading approach such as the Orton-Gillingham Method of teaching can be the possible solution for elementary school children’s reading problems A lack of sufficient reading skills can have a tornado effect on a child’s potential fulfillment in life. Implementing a multisensory reading program will address the needs of children who didn’t have a strong foundation of early childhood education, struggle with basic reading skills because of their distinctive learning styles, and children who have undiagnosed learning disabilities. “Calfee (1983) suggests that the majority of reading disabled children represent an instructional dysfunction rather than a constitutional disability” (Boulware-Golden, Dahlgren, Joshi, 2002, p.229) The group of children Calfee is talking about is also a large portion of elementary school children who struggle with reading, which could be a large portion of third grade Baltimore City students who are reading below grade level.
When it comes to reading, many children who have unique learning styles need creative reading strategies for reading intervention. According to the 2012 third grade Maryland School Assessment scores for Baltimore City, the curriculum used for reading intervention isn’t very effective. Maybe trying or implementing a new approach for wouldn’t be too much of a gamble. “If a child isn’t learning in the way you teach them, change your teaching strategy and teach the child in the way he/she learns” (Praveen/Lexicon Reading Center, 2014, para.1). Multisensory reading instruction is a strategy that embraces children’s diverse learning needs and styles. This ultimately includes children who have difficulty grasping basic reading concepts at an early age. Many children who struggle have reading problems because they learn differently. The method or curriculum that was taught to them didn’t match their learning styles. Therefore, they were unable to proficiently grasp basic reading skills.
Why is multisensory reading instruction beneficial for children who have reading problems? Multisensory reading approaches like the Orton-Gillingham method historically have been able to assist children with learning differences such as dyslexia and children who learn differently. This approach consequently increases their overall reading, writing and spelling skills. The Orton-Gillingham method is a phonics based method of that uses auditory, visual, and kinesthetic strategies. It’s an effective for those who have difficulties grasping “whole word” concepts; and includes all senses. Phonemic awareness is an understanding of sounds in words. A common characteristic of a child having difficulty with reading, is their lack of ability to distinct different sounds. This common issue makes it difficult to read proficiently. Phonics play a leading role in multisensory instruction. It helps with decoding, spelling, and expressive writing skills. The ability to have an understanding of phonemic awareness is vital to be a strong reader. Step by step phonics instruction teaches a child to break a word down and not try to memorize it. The ultimate outcome of the approach is for a child to read the word in text or out of text. Words aren’t necessarily placed to memory and can be decoded no matter where they see the word. Children who have learning differences are able to learn more from this type of approach.
Students with learning difficulties typically have difficulties in one or more areas of reading, spelling, writing, math, listening comprehension, and expressive language. Multisensory techniques enable students to use their personal areas of strength to help them learn. They can range from simple to complex, depending on the needs of the student and task at hand. (Praveen/Lexicon Reading Center, 2014, para.1)
Using Methods such as Orton-Gillingham for reading intervention can help struggling readers improve their reading skills.
Evidence shows multisensory reading approaches help children who struggle in areas such as phonological awareness, decoding, and reading comprehension. To illustrate the success of a multisensory reading approach; is an example of the Orton-Gillingham Method used in a study for remedial reading instruction. A study was completed with four groups of African American first grade students from a southwest inner city who had reading problems. At the start of the school year both groups of children were pre-tested in the areas of phonological awareness, decoding and comprehension. The study group of children received 50 minutes of daily Orton-Gillingham tutoring, by teachers. Consequently at the end of the school year, children who received Orton-Gillingham tutoring made much larger gains in the areas they were both pre-tested in. Unfortunately, the control group wasn’t taught phonics in a step by step approach in a detailed manner like the Orton-Gillingham method and made much smaller gains in the same areas.
Often children, who have characteristics which include low verbal ability, have behavior problems, and older students don’t benefit from this kind of method. In spite of a multisensory reading approach benefiting children who struggle with reading, the approach seems to have a stronger impact on younger children. Studies show older students can make smaller gains in the areas of decoding, spelling and reading comprehension when tutored in the Orton-Gillingham Method of teaching. “The impact of phonics instruction on reading was significantly greater in the early grades (2nd through 6th grades) after children had made some progress in reading presumably with another method” (Ehri, 2003, p10). According, to evidence from studies, one reason older students aren’t as responsive to this approach is they’ve already retained some basic reading skills, more effort is required to change their habits of reading; which makes it difficult to learn new reading strategies. Additionally children who have characteristics such as phonological retrieval or encoding deficits and behavior problems also are resistant to multisensory reading instruction.
In conclusion, society is becoming more technologically advanced daily and children need to be able to keep up. They need to have basic reading skills to grow with those advancements. Solid literacy skills will allow them to understand and utilize them. Multisensory reading instruction will be the tool that will allow a child who once struggled with reading, to navigate the future of technology. Multisensory Instruction is the solution to the problem of many children reading below their grade levels. This approach can provide a child with the key to a successful and productive life.

Revision of Unit 5 Letter to Baltimore City Public Schools Chief Academic Officer Ms. Maria Navarro

Dear Ms. Navarro,
We hope you’ve had a wonderful school year thus far. Our organization is writing you regarding the school systems elementary school students who are struggling in reading. The Multisensory Reading Intervention Program Project has a solution that can help students in First-Third grades that are reading below their grade levels. In the past, Baltimore City Schools has reached academic success in many areas. However during the past two years many first –third graders have continued to struggle with basic reading skills. “According to the 2012 Maryland School Assessment, 34.5% of 3rd graders are reading below grade level, a figure that is double the state average.” (Baltimore Library Project, 2014). MRIPP can drastically change those startling statistics with a fantastic reading program. It’s a reading method that includes auditory, visual, and kinesthetic strategies that benefit struggling readers. Studies conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development show have proven that.
The approach is the Orton-Gillingham Method of Teaching. Orton-Gillingham encourages children to utilize senses such as their non-verbal skills to make achievements in readings. As well as keep them focused and engaged in reading. It would be greatly appreciated for you to look at your schedule and let us know when we can come speak to you and your staff about this wonderful program.

Please feel free to take a look at our website, or contact us at (410) 555-1212. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this letter and I look forward to hearing from you soon.


LaKisha Overton
Founder, MRIPP

I’ve had such a wonderful learning experience during this course. At first I was a little nervous taking this class immediately after College Composition I. However as I moved further in the course, I was no longer nervous. While researching the topic of my big idea I stumbled upon some helpful information. The new information I’ve learned about Multisensory Reading, have helped me grow personally and professionally. For the past nine years I’ve worked for an organization that provides free tutoring services. The services are provided to low and middle income adults and children who have reading problems with undiagnosed reading disabilities. Volunteers provide the tutoring using the Orton-Gillingham Method of teaching one hour a week. The information I’ve learned during my research will allow me to provide more resources to clients through my program, stronger advocacy services, and more researched information about multisensory reading instruction.
Since starting back in school I’ve forgot about the fun stuff I used to enjoy about school. This includes creative writing. College Composition II has allowed me to improve on the writing concerns I always have while writing in school. Run on sentences, omitting words when I write or type, and citations have always been my quirks. The Citation Guide was extremely useful and will assist me a lot in my future courses. Many of our units during this class have provided me with strategies and solutions to make improvements to writing weaknesses. During this class I was also politely forced to get over my fear of using something new for computer based presentations; Prezi. I truly enjoyed Prezi and it challenged me. I loved how easy it was to use and the graphics were 100% better than Powerpoint. I quickly got over my fear and suggested to some of my peers to use it for the final tech project. The feedback I received from one of my classmates and my professor helped me tremendously improve my formal letter. They noticed wordy paragraphs and grammar errors. My professor’s comments helped me revise the paragraph in my letter that had the most important information. I had a few grammar errors that my classmate helped me notice. Their overall comments helped me improve the persuasive tone in the letter.
In closing, I truly have benefited from the constructive criticism from my professor and peers. Including the positive suggestions and writing tools of wisdom from my professor. All of the Kaplan University Writing Center tools have helped me get through this course with ease and comfort. This course has provided me with the skills and resources that will provide a writing guide for my future courses.
Link to my Prezi Presentation: “The Benefits of Multisensory Reading Instruction for Elementary Children Who Struggle with Reading”

Al Otaiba, S, Fuchs, D (2002). Characteristics of Children Who Are Unresponsive to Early Intervention: A Review of Literature. Remedial and Special
Education, Vol 23 (5 200.316). Retrieved from
Baltimore Library Project Baltimore:Poverty, Children, Literacy & Libraries
(2014). Retrieved from
Ehri, L.C., Nunes, S.R., Stahl, S.A., & Willows,D.M. (2001). Systematic phonics Instruction helps students learn to read: Evidence from the Nation Reading Panel’s Meta –Analysis Review of Educational Research, 71(3),393-447
Joshi, R.M.,Dahlgren, M., & Boulware-Gooden, R. (2002). Teaching Reading in a Inner City School through a Multisensory Teaching Approach. Annals of Dyslexia, 52(1), 229-242. Praveen A.V. (2014). What is Multisensory Teaching Techniques? Lexicon
Reading Center. Retrieved from

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