5 Programs Involving Structured Literacy Approach

Last Updated on October 6, 2023 by Editorial Team

Structure Literacy – the thorough technique of literacy pedagogy that has proven benefits and effects on students, especially those with dyslexia. While programs under this module address the foundation elements of reading comprehension that concern word recognition, decoding, and verbal language skills; the techniques used under these programs also help struggling readers with one-on-one interventions that equip them with the fundamentals of the language.

It is described as one of the most effective approaches for students who experience learning difficulties, whether to read, learn, or write. Therefore, addressing this, we will discuss some structured literacy programs in this post that will prove helpful for students with dyslexia. 

What is a structured literacy approach?

Structured literacy is a comparatively new term created by the International Dyslexia Association to unify many different names for this research-based approach. Orton–Gillingham, phonics-based reading instruction, and systematic teaching are just some of its other aliases.

This approach was nearly a century old when Dr. Samuel T. Orton and Anna Gillingham partnered to help individuals who struggled with reading. They believed such difficulties weren’t brain-based and were not supported by the popular rote memorization method that was popularly used to teach reading back then.

Orton and Gillingham devised phonics-based, systematic, explicit, and highly structured methods with multisensory components to help students retain the concepts that evaded them. This is the same method we call Structured Literacy today.

How does a structured literacy program work?

Structured Literacy instruction is a systematic way of teaching students how to read and spell by first teaching them the smallest units of sound. Structured Literacy teachers are forthright about how English is predictable and an unpredictable subject because of its linguistic rules behind spelling and pronunciation.

structured literacy program

Teachers work on the various verbiage approaches to imbibe a proper sense of reading in students. This includes:

  • phonemic awareness
  • decoding skills
  • encoding skills 
  • sight words, and
  • reading fluency

Teachers follow the scope and sequence by

  • Covering one syllable at a time
  • Until all six syllable types are taught which include Closed, Open, Vowel-consonant-e, R-controlled, Vowel pair/diphthong, and Consonant-le

Characteristics of structured literacy programs

Just like any other activity or program that comes to help an individual to speak, write, and read, Structured Literacy programs also cover multifaceted aspects. Therefore, 6 pillars of structured literacy programs are being taught under this vast umbrella. They are:

1. Phonological awareness

Research suggests that phonological awareness is a foundational skill for knowing how to read and write well. It allows the learners to divide and manipulate the sounds in spoken language. This may involve many things like words in a sentence, syllables, and individual sounds in a word concerning phonetics.

2. Phonics & Word Recognition

Under phonics and word recognition, skills like decoding and spelling are taught, which include alphabetic principles, morphology, and techniques for reading phonetic terms that are multi-syllable in nature. The usage of decodable texts backs these instructions. Spelling instruction, just like decoding texts, also includes explicit instruction of spelling rules and guidelines.

3. Reading Fluency

Reading fluency is the capability to read words quickly enough to make them sound like collective sentences with accurate, meaningful phrasing. Reading techniques such as repeated fluency drills help improve an individual’s reading pace, rate, and understanding.

4. Vocabulary

Vocabulary knowledge is essential and is of utmost value in reading and writing skills. Instructions that fall under this category should be taught and practiced in a language-rich atmosphere. Some vocabulary instruction exercises include

  • morphology
  • classroom conversation
  • reading loudly
  • autonomous reading, and
  • wordplay

5. Listening & Reading Comprehension

Instruction under this category handles many patrons of language comprehension, like vocabulary, syntax, semantics, verbal reasoning, sentence processing, understanding of literacy structures, and skills for reading text. 

6. Written Expression

Written expression instruction possesses writing mechanics, like handwriting, spelling, punctuation, and syntax. At the same time, semantics in this technique involves the phases of the writing process, like composition, revision, editing, and evaluating the corrected text.

Structured literacy programs

If you have recently discovered your kid’s difficulty with reading, you may want to consider structured literacy programs. They are essential in giving your kid the additional reading, spelling, and writing assistance they need. This systematic approach is a way of teaching language that stresses the five basic parts of literacy. Here are they: 

1. Reading and spelling program

A one-on-one tutoring program called the Barton Reading & Spelling system helps students with spelling, reading, and writing. It benefits children, teens, and adults with dyslexia or other learning difficulties.

This program proves to build positive reading skills in people who have dyslexia. It is a direct approach that allows a deep focus on reading difficulties. The problem also focuses on diagnosing and implementing different techniques to solve the issues. The assessment tests are highly beneficial in establishing a connection in the development of literacy skills in students.

Program Link

2. The Family Fluency Fun Kit

This guidebook, created by the Neuhaus Education Center, has several paragraphs with numbers after every 100 words. So while a parent may track how long it takes and monitor the kid’s development, the youngster can read the paragraph to the 100th word.

This literacy program helps parents and teachers inculcate the efficacy of reading in the learner. The program provides manual and rapid word recognition charts to enhance the learning experience. It includes skilled reading, essential skills for fluency, spoken language, repeated reading, and different activities to improve reading skills.

Program Link

3. The Comprehensive Literacy Curriculum: Language

This curriculum includes multisensory and reading, writing, spelling, and grammar training. Additionally, it provides an English as a Second Language (ESL) element to help users who are having trouble learning the language.

It is an effective literacy program that integrates different aspects of reading, writing, vocabulary, and grammar. The program also focuses on sharpening foundation skills and spoken English. Children also access interactive writing, independent writing, and word study in such a program.

Program Link

4. Program Linda mood-Bell (Lips)

This application promotes phonemic awareness by teaching users how lip motions relate to vocal sounds. Children can then use this knowledge to enhance their reading, spelling, and pronunciation. 

The program is directed to make individuals read and comprehend their understanding to their full potential. It leads to the development of an oral-motor and auditory aspect for students. In addition, the program aims to provide phonemic awareness through the identity and sequence of sounds in words.

Program Link

5. Nessy

Students who use Nessy learn the fundamentals of reading. This program’s framework is methodical, data reports are laid out and simple to grasp, and it is created to fulfill Common Core and the strictest state criteria.

Nessy is a fantastic platform to explore different topics for students. It covers the science of reading, spelling, and phonics and also offers programs for dyslexia. Nessy is broadly used for students across the world. Programs are designed with proven research through effective learning solutions.

Program Link

What makes this approach efficient in special education?

This method proves to be highly incremental for all readers and benefits pupils with dyslexia. Moreover, it is easily measurable and diagnostic and helps the teacher in assessing ‘concept mastery’ per lesson through reading observation and written dictation. Teachers respond to a student’s progress by moving at a certain pace led by the student’s improvement and not by the curriculum.

1. Moving forward

When addressing the requirements of kids with dyslexia and other literacy issues, structured literacy approaches are far more effective than many standard literacy techniques. 

  • In SL, teacher-led, explicit teaching in all significant literacy aspects is prioritized. 
  • A phoneme-grapheme (encoding) and grapheme-phoneme (decoding) level method is used in the initial phonics teaching. 
  • The phonics curriculum is effectively connected with texts and other materials.

2. Helps in a systematic approach to learn

Create organized, cumulative learning paths that move from foundational abilities to more advanced ones.

  • Give students several chances to use their knowledge while reading materials they can understand and decode.
  • Use the feedback from the students to modify the presentation, tempo, and quantity of practice.
  • Both informal (observation) and formal (standardized) methods should be used to monitor the development closely.  

3. Gives confidence to the kids

It is important to understand that the kids must have confidence in what they are being taught; if they are not interested in learning, it is also equally difficult for the teachers to make them understand the subjects. 

  • Structured learning programs can give a proper layout to the teacher to teach the kids and make them feel familiar and comfortable with their subjects.  

4. Quick learning

The next thing that makes this a great way of teaching the kids is that it offers quick learning, making them grasp lessons and concepts easily. Then, if the structured literacy program is followed correctly, the kids can inculcate the things taught to them and show surprising results. 


Students with dyslexia often struggle to read and spell, but structured literacy programs have helped them tremendously. First, the students become more efficient at speaking English; this makes it easier for them when they are trying out new words or having conversations in everyday situations later on down the road. It also helps with developing a strong vocabulary, and enhanced spell-check, and makes learning, understanding, and gasping skills prompt and effective.

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