Finding the Best Reading Program for Students with Dyslexia

Posted by Erica Warren on

If you are helping a struggling reader and you are looking for reading programs or dyslexia programs, it can be an overwhelming process to sift through the multitude of options that are currently available. Many approaches focus on the well-researched Orton-Gillingham-based instructional approach, however, each program focuses on its own materials and addresses a variety of different age groups. If you already have tried other phonemic awareness-based reading instruction and want to consider other reading programs, this blog will help you uncover some other great options.

best reading programs for dyslexic students

Searching for Great Reading Programs/Dyslexia Programs

If you are helping a struggling reader and you are looking for a structured literacy reading program, it can be an overwhelming process to sift through the multitude of options that are currently available. Many approaches focus on the well-researched, direct instruction, Orton-Gillingham-based instructional approach, however, each program offers its own program aims and materials for struggling readers and addresses a variety of different age groups.

What is the Orton-Gillingham Approach to Reading?

The Orton-Gillingham method or approach to reading was named after Samuel Torrey Orton (1879-1948) and Anna Gillingham (1878-1963) who gathered and published a detailed instructional manual in the 1930s. They created a structured, multi-sensory, step-by-step approach to teaching reading, writing, and spelling that incorporated the explicit and systematic teaching of phonemic awareness, syllabication, and word morphology for children with learning differences. There has been extensive research on this approach to reading and it is known to be an excellent option for students with dyslexia.  
Happy kids reading

So How Can I Find the Best Program?

I've attached the following table to help make the search for your ideal reading instruction approach more manageable. I don't have experience with all the programs, but I am familiar with and have used components of the ones that are starred in my own practice. Also, please note that some of the proven programs are for in-person sessions while others are online or on a computer program and some teach students that are in preschool to elementary whole others also address the needs of older students. Some of these reading programs also offer multi-sensory learning, reading practice, spelling rules, reading comprehension, and basic writing skills.
Grades 10-12
Grades Adults
Software Based?
Academy of Reading
Alphabetic Phonics
Association Method
Barton Reading
Fast Forward
Fast Track
High Point
Jolly Phonics
* Lexia Reading
* Lindamood-Bell
Mind Play
* Nessy Reading
Open Court Reading
Orton-Gillingham Approach
Orton Gillingham Online Academy
Phonics First
Project Read
Read Naturally
Read Well
Reading Mastery
Really Great Reading
Simultaneous Multisensory Teaching
Sonday System
Sounds in Syllable
Spalding Method
SRA Early Intervention
Starting Over
Read, Write & Type Learning System
Take Flight
* Wilson Reading System
Created by Michael Bates and Dr. Erica Warren 

Do I Use a Reading Program in my Private Practice?

Personally, I don't use a reading program. Although I was trained in a number of Orton-Gillingham-based programs, I chose to study the comprehensive and extensive source: The Gillingham Manual. Then I created my own supplemental games and multisensory activities to make the approach more engaging and enjoyable for students.

Comprehensive Dyslexia Screener log CDS

I hope you found this blog helpful and that the information will assist you in making the best decision for your particular situation.

Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren

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