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Brookes Publishing
Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills / Edition 3

Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills / Edition 3

by Judith R. Birsch, Sally Shaywitz
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As new research shows how effective systematic and explicit teaching of language-based skills is for students with learning disabilities—along with the added benefits of multisensory techniques—discover the latest on this popular teaching approach with the third edition of this bestselling textbook. Adopted by colleges and universities across the country, this definitive core text is now fully revised and expanded with cutting-edge research and more on hot topics such as executive function, fluency, and adolescent literacy.

The most comprehensive text available on multisensory teaching, this book shows preservice educators how to use specific multisensory approaches to dramatically improve struggling students' language skills and academic outcomes in elementary through high school. They'll be prepared to

  • help students develop skills in key areas such as phonological awareness, letter knowledge, handwriting, phonics, fluency, spelling, comprehension, composition, and mathematics
  • plan structured, explicit multisensory language lessons that incorporate two or more senses
  • create a positive classroom environment conducive to effective teaching and learning for struggling students
  • conduct successful assessment of reading difficulties and monitor progress
  • teach older students who struggle with reading
  • work effectively with high-functioning adults with dyslexia
  • conduct biliteracy instruction for Spanish-speaking students
  • meet the needs of students who use assistive technology
  • know the rights of individuals with dyslexia

A text to keep and use long after the course is over, this book includes practical strategies and guidelines on planning lessons, conducting assessment, helping students with learning disabilities develop good study skills, and more. And the broad and deep coverage of multisensory teaching—unmatched by other texts—make this an essential reference and professional development resource for in-service teachers and reading specialists.

With this timely new edition of an authoritative textbook, teachers will be prepared to deliver high-quality multisensory instruction that improves outcomes for students with learning disabilities and their peers.

What's New:
  • Fluency chapter
  • Adolescent literacy chapter
  • More on executive function
  • Revised & updated chapters
  • New research & best practices
  • Chapters on assistive technology and rights of individuals with dyslexia now integrated into the book
  • Updated resources

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781598570939
Publisher: Brookes Publishing
Publication date: 06/01/2011
Pages: 816
Sales rank: 589,228
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Judith R. Birsh, Ed.D., Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT), Qualified Instructor (QI). Dr. Birsh's enduring belief that well-prepared, informed teachers are the major influence on effective instruction in the field of reading and dyslexia had its beginning in 1960, when she met her first student who, although 18 years old, read poorly. The quest to find answers to this puzzle led her to a master's degree in remedial reading and a doctorate in reading and language at Teachers College, Columbia University. After training with Aylett R. Cox in Dallas, Texas, she became a Certified Academic Language Therapist and Qualified Instructor, founding and directing the Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills courses at Teachers College in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Program in Learning Disabilities. Since her retirement in 2000, Dr. Birsh has maintained her commitment to teacher preparation by editing the first three editions of Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills, and co-editing the fourth edition with Suzanne Carreker, Ph.D. Dr. Birsh has given professional development workshops, consulted with private and public schools, written articles, and worked with students with dyslexia. In 2008, she received the Luke Waites Academic Language Therapy Association Award of Service and the Margaret Byrd Rawson Lifetime Achievement Award from The International Dyslexia Association.

Kay A. Allen, M.Ed., is a Qualified Instructor and a Certified Academic Language Therapist in private practice. She served as Executive Director of Neuhaus Education Center from 2000 to 2007 and is a board member of the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC). She is coauthor of Multisensory Reading and Spelling (Neuhaus Education Center, 1993).

Marilyn Beckwith, has had a 40-year interest in the relationship of spoken language to written language, which resulted in her using multisensory structured techniques to teach basic language skills to both dyslexic and nondyslexic individuals. This interest also resulted in her following related research made possible by advancing technology, which confirms the principles taught to teachers at the Neuhaus Education Center.

Susan H. Blumenthal, Ed.D., specializes in psychoeducational evaluations and cognitive remediation for adults and adolescents with learning difficulties and academic work output problems. She started an innovative program at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy to train psychotherapists to work with adult patients with learning disabilities. In addition, she has trained teachers at Teachers College, Columbia University; Hunter College; and Manhattanville College.

Suzanne Carreker, Ph.D., CALT-QI, works at the Neuhaus Education Center, a nonprofit organization in Houston, Texas, that has offered professional development in evidence-based reading methods to more than 60,000 teachers since its inception in 1980. Dr. Carreker, a past president of The Houston Branch of The International Dyslexia Association (HBIDA) and a current vice president of the national IDA board, is a frequent speaker at regional and national conferences and has authored a number of multisensory curricula and journal articles. She was the recipient of the 2009 HBIDA Nancy LaFevers Community Service Award for her contributions to students with dyslexia and other related learning differences in the Houston community.

Ellen Urquhart Engstrom, M.A., is Director of Teacher Training at Groves Academy, a K–12 independent school for students with learning disabilities and attention deficits in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Before joining the staff at Groves Academy in October 2010, Ms. Engstrom was a lead education specialist in the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training in Putney, Vermont, where she gave multiple workshops and courses for educators on integrating assistive technology into the curriculum. She has a long-standing interest in language and reading disorders, as well as the assistive technologies that support students with language-based learning difficulties.

Mary L. Farrell, Ph.D., earned her Ph.D. at Teachers College, Columbia University. She directs the FDU Center for Dyslexia Studies, through which FDU’s International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council–accredited Orton Gillingham teacher training program is provided. Dr. Farrell is also University Director of the Regional Center for College Students with Learning Disabilities, a comprehensive support program.

Katherine Garnett, founded Hunter College’s learning disabilities graduate program in 1980. A year later, she launched the HC Learning Lab, nationally recognized in 1996 as an “Exemplary LD Program.” Ms. Garnett also developed the special education training for The Edison Schools, as that experiment grew from 4 to 120 sites nationwide. She has spearheaded grant programs; authored articles, chapters, and monographs; served on editorial boards; and served as longtime editor of The DLD Times.

Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan, Ed.D., is a bilingual speech-language pathologist and a Certified Academic Language Therapist. She holds a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction. She works with the Texas Institute for Measurement Evaluation and Statistics at the University of Houston. Dr. Cárdenas-Hagan is the author of Esperanza (HOPE), a Spanish language program designed to assist students who struggle with learning to read. Her research interests include the development of early reading assessments and reading interventions for Spanish-speaking English language learners. She serves as a board member of The International Dyslexia Association.

Linda Hecker, M.Ed., has served many roles at Landmark College since its founding in 1985. She frequently presents workshops, seminars, and graduate courses for educators and parents and is the author of numerous articles and book chapters.

Anthony Henley, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist in the Washington, D.C., area whose practice focuses on learning and attention disorders. He has worked for more than 20 years as a learning disabilities specialist providing remediation, evaluation, and consultation services, and he has presented locally and nationally on the diagnosis and remediation of learning disabilities.

Nancy E. Hennessy, M.Ed., is Past President of The International Dyslexia Association. She is an experienced teacher, diagnostician, and administrator. While working in public schools, she provided leadership in the development of innovative programming for students with special needs, statewide revision of special education code in New Jersey, and an award-winning professional development initiative. She has delivered keynote addresses, workshops, and training to educators nationally and internationally. Her publications include articles and chapters on the dyslexic experience, study strategies, and mentoring. She recently coauthored the second edition of Module 6 of LETRS, Digging for Meaning: Teaching Text Comprehension (with Louisa C. Moats; Sopris West, 2009). She is a national trainer for Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) and an adjunct instructor with Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Marcia K. Henry, Ph.D., brings more than 40 years of experience working in the field of reading and dyslexia as a diagnostician, tutor, teacher, and professor. Dr. Henry received her doctorate in educational psychology from Stanford University. Prior to her retirement in 1995, she was a professor in the Division of Special Education at San Jose State University, where she taught and directed the Center for Educational Research on Dyslexia. Dr. Henry taught as a Fulbright Lecturer/Research Scholar at the University of Trondheim, Norway, in 1991. Dr. Henry speaks frequently at regional, national, and international conferences on topics related to intervention strategies for dyslexic learners. She also writes for a variety of professional journals and serves on the editorial boards of Dyslexia and Annals of Dyslexia, the journals of The British Dyslexia Association and The International Dyslexia Association (IDA), respectively. Since retirement Dr. Henry has taught at the University of New Mexico, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She provides teacher training related to the teaching of reading and related language arts and consults with several school districts and states on informed reading instruction. Dr. Henry is the author of teaching materials for integrated decoding and spelling instruction. She is a past president (1992-1996) of the Orton Dyslexia Society (now known as IDA). She is a fellow of the Orton-Gillingham Academy and received the Margaret Byrd Rawson Lifetime Achievement Award from IDA in 2000. Dr. Henry now lives on Madeline Island in Lake Superior, where she spends much of her time writing. She volunteers as a tutor at the island two-room elementary school when needed. She compiled Dyslexia: Samuel T. Orton and His Legacy for IDA's 50th anniversary in 1999.

Judith C. Hochman, Ed.D., Founder and Senior Faculty Member,Windward Teacher Training Institute. Dr. Hochman is Former Head of the Windward School in White Plains, New York, an independent school for students with learning disabilities. She was also Superintendent of Schools for the Greenburgh-Graham Union Free School District in Hasting, New York. She has been a teacher and administrator and is presently a consultant in both general and special education settings.

Michele Kule-Korgood, J.D., is an attorney in private practice, with an office located in Forest Hills, New York. Her practice focuses almost exclusively on representing parents of children with disabilities in obtaining appropriate special education services. Ms. Kule- Korgood has more than 15 years of experience in special education law and has represented families who are challenging the recommendations made by school districts in more than 1,000 matters. Her experience as a former special education teacher gives her unique insight into the complex issues surrounding these matters. She is an active member of the New York State Bar Association's Committee on Issues Affecting People with Disabilities and sits on the board of the Center for Learning Differences and the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. She is a frequent speaker at conferences regarding the rights of students with disabilities to secure an appropriate education. Ms. Kule-Korgood earned her juris doctor degree from Hofstra University Law School and, prior to that, obtained a bachelor of science degree in special education and a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Boston University.

Eileen S. Marzola, Ed.D., Marzola Educational Services, New York, New York. Dr. Marzola is an independent educational consultant who received her doctorate in special education (with a focus on learning disabilities) from Teachers College, Columbia University. She taught for more than 35 years at every level from kindergarten through graduate school and conducted numerous staff development trainings for those interested in improving instructional strategies for struggling learners. Dr. Marzola has been a keynote speaker and presented papers at many national and international conferences and published articles in professional journals including Journal of Reading Instruction, The Journal of Learning Disabilities, and Journal of Reading, Writing, and Learning Disabilities International. Dr. Marzola was honored by the New York State Federation of the Council for Exceptional Children with the New York State Teacher of the Year Award. She is Past President of the New York Branch of The International Dyslexia Association and serves on their board of directors.

Graham F. Neuhaus, Ph.D., is a faculty member of the Psychology Department of the University of Houston–Downtown, where she teaches, mentors students, and conducts research in the area of automaticity and reading fluency.

Claire Nissenbaum, M.A., is Founder and Emeritus Director of the Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center (retired September 2009) and Founding Board Member of the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC). Ms. Nissenbaum has been a specialist for more than 35 years. She is a member of the Professional Advisory Board of the Masonic Children's Learning Centers and received the Siena School (Maryland) Award for Significant and Lasting Contributions to the Education of Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities (2009). She has also received the Etoile DuBard Award from IMSLEC for Excellence in Education (2009).

Jean Schedler, Ph.D., is an educational consultant in private practice, working with schools to ensure sustainability of reading instruction and intervention at all tiers of implementation, using a systems design approach. She evaluates and designs individualized education programs, conducts academic evaluations, provides teacher training and mentoring, and is a fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. Her clinical and research interests are in implementing reading comprehension intervention programs in middle and high school settings.

Joan Sedita, M.Ed., is Founding Partner of Keys to Literacy (, which specializes in professional development for adolescent literacy. She worked at the Landmark School for students with learning disabilities from 1975 to 1998. She was the lead trainer in Massachusetts for Reading First and a national LETRS trainer and author. At Keys to Literacy, she develops professional development programs that focus on content literacy instruction, as well as literacy planning models for Grades K–12.Ms. Sedita received her bachelor of arts degree from Boston College and her master of education degree in reading from Harvard University.

Margaret Jo Shepherd, Ed.D., was cofounder of the program in learning disabilities and the Special Education Child Study Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. Unlike most programs preparing teachers for students with specific learning disabilities, the Teachers College program included a required course in multisensory language instruction. Since retiring from the Teachers College faculty in 1998, Dr. Shepherd has developed a graduate program preparing special education teachers at Cairo University and new primary school textbooks for government schools in Afghanistan. She also helped create an in-service program for teachers in rural schools in Afghanistan. She is currently working with Teachers College team on a teacher education project in Pakistan.

Gordon Sherman, Ph.D., Executive Director, Newgrange School and Education Center. Before joining the Newgrange School and Education Center, Dr. Sherman was Director of the Dyslexia Research Laboratory at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a faculty member in neurology (neuroscience) at Harvard Medical School. He received his doctorate in developmental psychobiology from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Sherman is a former president of The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and a recipient of two of its most prestigious honors, the Samuel T. Orton Award and the Norman Geschwind Memorial Lecture Award. He also was inducted into IDA's Sylvia O. Richardson Hall of Honor. Dr. Sherman speaks nationally and internationally to parents, teachers, and scientists about cerebrodiversity, learning differences, and brain development.

Jo Anne Simon, J.D., is an attorney in private practice in Brooklyn, New York, concentrating on disability rights litigation and consultation in higher education and high-stakes testing. A former disability services provider, teacher of the deaf, and sign language interpreter, she was lead counsel to the plaintiff in Bartlett v. New York State Board of Law Examiners through all phases of litigation. In 2008, she testified before the U.S. Senate regarding the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act (PL 110-325) on education and standardized testing. She is currently President of The International Dyslexia Association–New York and a member of the Professional Advisory Board of the Learning Disabilities Association of America. She regularly advises faculty and administrators regarding issues pertaining to higher education and the transition of students with disabilities from high school to postsecondary education.

Lydia H. Soifer, Ph.D., Language and Speech Pathologist and Director, The Soifer Center for Learning and Child Development. Dr. Soifer is Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and is a faculty member of the Early Intervention Training Institute of the Rose F. Kennedy Center for Research in Mental Retardation and Human Development. As a parent educator, teacher trainer, and staff developer in both public and private schools, Dr. Soifer's focuses have been the developmental needs of children regarding their learning, behavior, and communication and the nature of language functioning in academic performance and success. She regularly offers a course in language as it relates to learning and oral language as it relates to literacy, vocabulary development, and language assessment procedures.

Margaret B. Stern, M.Ed., was a math consultant to The Gateway School, where Structural Arithmetic was further developed. She is coauthor with Catherine Stern of Children Discover Arithmetic (HarperCollins, 1971) and the Structural Arithmetic Teacher Guides and Workbooks (Random House, 1965–1966). She is the 1989 recipient of the Orton Dyslexia Society Award and the 1998 recipient of the Bank Street College of Education Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in the Field of Education.

Joanna K. Uhry, Ed.D., teaches teachers about beginning reading and about dyslexia. She is the coordinator of Fordham University's Ph.D. Program in Language, Literacy, and Learning and carries out research on the underlying cognitive processes used by young children learning to read and write. Earlier experiences include teaching reading as an elementary teacher; directing a clinic for assessment and tutoring for children with learning disabilities at Teachers College, Columbia University; and directing the Ennis William Cosby Graduate Certificate Program, a professional development program at Fordham University for teachers in high-needs, early childhood urban classrooms.

Barbara A. Wilson, M.S. Ed., Cofounder and President, Wilson Language Training. Ms. Wilson has developed comprehensive professional development programs to prepare educators and practitioners to diagnostically teach reading and spelling, especially to older students experiencing difficulty; these models are included as part of college and university master's degree programs. Ms. Wilson has served as a consultant for several adult and adolescent literacy research initiatives and was invited to speak at the White House on middle and high school literacy. She is the author of four multisensory structured language programs based on the principles of Orton-Gillingham: the Wilson Reading System, Wilson Fundations, Wilson Just Words, and Wilson Fluency.

Beverly J. Wolf, M.Ed., Director, Slingerland® Institute for Literacy, 12729 Northup Way, Suite 1, Bellevue, Washington 98005

Ms. Wolf received her M.Ed. in education at Seattle Pacific University and brings to this collaborative effort experience as a classroom teacher, principal of an elementary school for children with dyslexia, Dean of Faculty for the Slingerland® Institute for Literacy, and an educational consultant providing professional development nationally and locally on structured language teaching. She has authored articles and books about dyslexia, creative activities for the classroom, and language-related guides for teachers. Ms. Wolf is a member of the Council of Advisors of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), a past secretary and board member of IDA, the recipient of the John and Beth Slingerland Award from the Slingerland® Institute, the Beth Slingerland Award from the Puget Branch of the Orton Dyslexia Society (WABIDA), and the Outstanding Educator Award from the Renton School District. Through her professional experiences she has had the good fortune to hold the hands of teachers whose professional expertise and experience helped shaped her own work as she in turn shared with them. Ms. Wolf is inspired by her ongoing work with the next generation of teachers. They stimulate her and motivate her to continue to develop materials that make teaching and learning exciting and fun. As she does, she reminds others that students with learning disabilities benefit from the collaboration of many professionals sharing with each other, as captured in this quotation from Hellman and Feibleman (1984, p. xx): "It goes in a circle and always has, like a child's dance of ring around the rosy. If I am any good, the person holding my hand has a chance of being even better."

Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, and Co-director, NICHD–Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06510. Dr. Sally E. Shaywitz is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, was a member of the National Reading Panel, and is the author of Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003).

Marilyn Martin, M.Ed., has been a learning specialist in private practice since 1991 and has worked with students of all ages with dyslexia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and nonverbal learning disabilities. She is also the author of Helping Children with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Flourish (Jessica Kingsley, 2007).

Table of Contents

About the Editor vii

Contributors viii

Foreword Sally E. Shaywitz xiv

Preface xvi

Acknowledgments xxix

1 Connecting Research and Practice Judith R. Birsh 1

2 Multisensory Structured Language Education Mary L. Farrell Gordon F. Sherman 25

3 Development of Oral Language and Its Relationship to Literacy Lydia H. Soifer 49

4 The History and Structure of Written English Marcia K. Henry 93

5 Teaching Phonemic Awareness Joanna K. Uhry 113

6 Alphabet Knowledge: Letter Recognition, Naming, and Sequencing Kay A. Allen Graham F. Neuhaus Marilyn Beckwith 145

7 Teaching Handwriting Beverly J. Wolf 179

8 Teaching Reading: Accurate Decoding Suzanne Carreker 207

9 Teaching Spelling Suzanne Carreker 251

10 Fluency in Learning to Read: Conceptions, Misconceptions, Learning Disabilities, and Instructional Moves Katherine Garnett 293

11 Word Learning and Vocabulary Instruction Nancy E. Hennessy 321

12 Strategies to Improve Reading Comprehension in the Multisensory Classroom Eileen S. Marzola 365

13 Composition: Evidence-Based Instruction Judith C. Hochman 405

14 Assessment Margaret Jo Shepherd Eileen S. Marzola 427

15 Planning Multisensory Structured Language Lessons and the Classroom Environment Judith R. Birsh Jean Schedler 459

16 Instruction for Older Students with a Word-Level Reading Disability Barbara A. Wilson 487

17 Adolescent Literacy: Addressing the Needs of Students in Grades 4-12 Joan Sedita 517

18 Learning Strategies and Study Skills: The SkORE System Claire Nissenbaum Anthony Henley 549

19 Working with High-Functioning Adults with Dyslexia and Other Academic Challenges Susan H. Blumenthal 587

20 Language and Literacy Development Among English Language Learners Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan 605

21 Multisensory Mathematics Instruction Margaret B. Stern 631

22 Technology that Supports Literacy Instruction and Learning Linda Keeker Ellen Urquhart Engstrom 657

23 Rights of Individuals with Dyslexia and Other Disabilities Jo Anne Simon Michele Kule-Korgood 685

Appendix A Glossary Marilyn Martin 699

Appendix B Materials and Sources Marilyn Martin 721

Index 769

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