MSL Training courses

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.

NEW IMSLE Logo 12.1.18

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


    4. Vocabulary


    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

    2019 Confirmed MSL Training venues and dates (updated 17th January 2019)

    March 18-22nd Wollongong, NSW.Venue:Dapto Ribbonwood Centre: OPEN

    April 29th-3rd May Victoria, venue & host school Kerrimuir Primary School:LIMITED

    West Melbourne (City Location) VIC July 1-5th. Venue Independent Schools, Rosslyn St, West Melb: OPEN

    Sydney, Surry Hills, NSW 15th-19th July. Venue address Mary St, Surry Hills: OPEN

    Melbourne, VIC 2nd-6th September. Venue Bentleigh West Primary School: OPEN

    Victoria, 23rd-27th September. Venue Mt Waverley Primary School: OPEN

    Wodonga (NSW side) 30th September - 4th October. Venue Lavington East Primary School: OPEN

    New Zealand, Christchurch 30th September - 4th October: OPEN

    Yearly Venues

    Gold Coast, Varisty Lakes usually early year

    New Zealand, Palmerston North, Hamilton area and South Island

    Melbourne, various areas and school hosts, usually scattered throughout the whole year

    Sydney, Surry Hills usually June July school break

    Coffs Harbour usually Sept/Oct school break

    South Australia presently once a year

    Tasmania presently once a year

    VIC, Wodonga usually Oct or Nov

    To apply or enquire about further venues and dates for 2019 please email IMSLE:

    IMSLE Australia website:

    MSL training course article: click here



    Judith R Birsh

    IDA Fact Sheets

    National Reading Panel (What Works)

    Louisa Moats (IDA Perpsectives)

Close Comments