What instruction is appropriate?
Individuals with dyslexia or a related difference require explicit, direct and systematic instruction in both oral and written language. This statement is well supported by; The National Reading Panel, Australian Dyslexia Working Party document, National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy and the Australian Dyslexia Association.
Multisensory Structured Language (MSL) includes the principles of scientific reading research but goes one step further with addition of the multisensory component. MSL is an approach offering a strong pedagogy strengthened with an understanding and application of the MSL principles. MSL it is not a program that a teacher must follow and a student ‘fit into’. MSL is flexible in delivery and differs to many other traditional reading and spelling programs. MSL offers direct and explicit instruction delivered in a structured and systematic way. MSL has a clear focus on what to teach and how to teach it. The MSL approach offered by IMSLE (AUS) has been adapted and strengthened to ensure optimum training outcomes. MSL assists ALL including individuals who have been identified with dyslexia or a related difference.
- Effective MSL training and instruction includes:
Explicit Instruction: Must directly teach the alphabetical principle (letter-sound system)
Systematic Instruction: Has a definite logical sequence of concept introduction,ordered from simple to more complex.
Structured and multi sensory: Structured, MSL teaches the structure of the English language in a sensible and comprehensible way. The Multi sensory (seeing, hearing, doing) component is vital in MSL for the delivery for optimum learning and meeting the needs of all leaners. Teacher and student output/input is multi sensory.
Flexible: Since dyslexia along with reading occurs on a continuum, a specialised teaching approach is best. MSL is an approach that offers flexibility, enabling a well trained and knowledgeable teacher to adjust their teaching to meet the needs of the learners rather than expecting the learners to fit one way, which is often the way with programs.
Diagnostic Teaching: The teacher continually assesses their students ability to understand and apply learned concepts. If it is discovered that a previously taught concept is confused, it is reviewed and if necessary retaught.
Individuals with dyslexia and similar challenges may require instruction of greater intensity and duration than typically developing readers and writers.
Cognitive-Dual Route Approach: Instruction needs to consider lexical and non-lexical pathways and the cognitive and linguistic processes involved in learning to read.
Visual recognition instruction is required: Irregular words are estimated to make up 10% of the English language. Many of these words occur in early reading experience. Irregular words need to be taught directly and explicitly. Ample exposure and practice is required to strengthen the visual memory "word bank" for irregular words both for reading and spelling.
Research from the National Reading Panel states that effective instruction includes:
1. Phonemic awareness
2. The teaching of phonology, the approach needs to be systematic, synthetic and structured. Not based on experimental, mishmash phonics.
3. Accuracy and Fluency
5. Comprehension and meaning
6. Writing and spelling
These elements are often referred to as the 'Big Six'.
A Multisensory Structured Language approach (MSL) contains all the above elements and goes a few steps further to ensure that learners are engaged by the specialised multi sensory component. MSL also ensures that when students are taught to decode that in the same lesson they are taught to encode (spell), make meaning (oral vocabulary) and write. MSL prefers that children read real books and that real books are read to them with ample opportunity to verbally discuss the book.
The National Reading Panel (NRP), The Australian Working Party Documents, The National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy (NITL) and the Australian Dyslexia Association (ADA) all support explicit, direct and systematic instruction which includes all five/six components.
- What is Multisensory Teaching?
Multi sensory techniques are frequently used for students with dyslexia and related differences. Research has indicated that all learners learn and remember best when learning is multi sensory. Multi sensory teaching techniques and strategies stimulate learning by engaging students on multiple levels.
Multi sensory learning (input and output) encourages all students to engage two or more of their senses simultaneously (auditory, visual, kinesthetic/tactile ) to:
Gather information about a task
Link information to ideas they already know and understand (schemata)
Perceive the logic involved in solving problems
Learn problem-solving steps
Tap into nonverbal reasoning skills
Understand relationships between concepts
Learn information in a meaningful way and better store it for later recall
- Effective and thorough Teacher Training is Vitally Important
Multi sensory Structured Language (MSL) Instruction is a specialist undertaking so teachers and allied professionals who provide MSL instruction need to be effectively trained and supervised in the use of the MSL approach. There are a number of specifically named methods and programs derived from MSL principles and there is evidence that many of these 'Structured Literacy' approaches have been highly successful.
Scientific and evidence based research informs educators of the best teaching approaches for students with dyslexia and related differences. MSL training creates a learning bridge between the MSL pedagogy and scientific research for all interested including general classroom teachers who want to supplement MSL into their exisiting literacy curriculum.
The ADA does not endorse one program or method but supports a direct, explicit, structured language and literacy approach with the additional of a multi sensory component for teaching those with dyslexia or a related difference.
"Classroom teachers are the key to unlocking the learning potential of all students, dyslexia is no different" Jodi Clements, ADA President
"A teacher must be well trained and qualified in how to accurately identify students who are struggling with written language and know how to effectively teach reading, spelling and writing to all children" ADA Advisory Team
"Dyslexia may take many forms, but dyslexics have one characteristic in common, they can learn and they can ‘make it’ in society if properly taught"
- Upcoming MSL Training courses dates and venues
2018 MSL Training venues and dates (updated on the 6th August 2018)
Wodonga, VIC, St Augustine's Primary School: 1st -5th October. Status: Open
Coffs Harbour, NSW, Bishop Druitt College: 8th-12th October 2018. Status: Limited
VIC, Chelsea Primary School: 15-19th October, Address: 34-44 Argyle Ave, Chelsea VIC 3196. Status: Full (with a wait list)
VIC, South Gippsland, supported by Loch PS, venue to be advised: 29th October - 3rd November Status: Open
Just released 2019 MSL courses:
NEW! January 14th-18th New Zealand, Palmerston North, Copethorn Conference Centre: OPEN
NEW! January 14th-18th South Australia, host school Salisbury Primary School: OPEN
NEW! January 21st-25th QLD Gold Coast, Varsity Lakes, The Chancellor Boardroom: OPEN
NEW! January 21st-15th Melbourne, host school Aldercourt Primary School: OPEN
Gold Coast, Varisty Lakes
New Zealand, Palmerston North, Hamilton area and South Island
Melbourne, various areas
Sydney, Surry Hills
Special location for March 2019, QLD, Port Douglas host school
To apply or enquire please email IMSLE: firstname.lastname@example.org
IMSLE Australia website: www.multisensoryeducation.net.au
MSL training course article: click here