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I’m teaching English to both Grade 7 and 8 in our school. Most of them

are average when it comes to reading but there is one Grade 7 student who

really struggles. In my class I always have reading activity every Tuesday

and Thursday,where each student will have to read and tell the story they

had read during weekends. I noticed that this one student of mine reads

slowly and painfully, experiences decoding errors, especially with the order

of letters and reads without facial expressions. I did able to record and write

one of her readings.From the story The Witch “ When I was twelve years

old, I used to go to Libas, about nine kilometers from the town, to visit my

favorite uncle, Tio Sabelo, the head teacher of the barrio school there.”she

reads it like this “When I was telve your old I used to go to Libra about

nine kimoleters form the to visit my favourite uncle Tio Salebo the head

teacher of the barrio school there.” I noticed that she reads slowly with

hesitation to pronounce each word , there are interchanging order of letters,

and she cannot explain well the story. According to the website of Learning

Disabilities Association of America(LDAA) the above mention symptoms

are signs that a student has a reading disability termed as Dyslexia. This

specific learning disability affects reading and related language-based

processing skills. The severity can differ in each individual but can affect

reading fluency, decoding, reading comprehension, recall, writing, spelling,

and sometimes speech and can exist along with other related disorders.

Dyslexia is sometimes referred to as a Language-Based Learning Disability.


According to the International Dyslexia Association that,”A

comprehensive evaluation typically includes intellectual and academic

achievement testing, as well as an assessment of the critical underlying

language skills that are closely linked to dyslexia. These include receptive

(listening) and expressive language skills, phonological skills including

phonemic awareness, and also a student’s ability to rapidly

name letters and names.”

In the case of my student she has difficulty in reading due to problems

identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words

(decoding). She had difficulty with remembering simple sequences such as

counting to 20, naming the days of the week, or reciting the alphabet. She

also have difficulty understanding the rhyming of words, such as knowing

that house rhymes with mouse and other pronunciation difficulties.I was

able to diagnose it during our reading activities.

Dyslexia does not result from vision or hearing problems. It is not due

to mental retardation, brain damage, or a lack of intelligence. In the case of

my student, the reason is not mental retardation nor brain damage nor lack

of intelligence. With this, I can conclude that its either the main cause of her

Dyslexia is the development of her brain or the teaching she received during

early stage. Letter and sound association must be properly taught and

learned during early stage. Since she don’t have proper foundation to this,

she cannot pronounce the words properly, sometimes guessing the

pronunciation of a word based on the first letter or two, interchange order

of letter, and had difficulty in comprehending both written and orally given

text. Her spelling can look quite jumbled at times not because she reads or

sees words backwards, but because she have trouble remembering letter

symbols for sounds and letter patterns in words(Dyslexia in the Classroom).


Most people with dyslexia need help from a teacher, tutor, or

therapist specially trained in a structured literacy approach. Many

individuals with dyslexia need one-on-one help so that they can move

forward at their own pace. In addition, students with dyslexia often need a

great deal of structured practice and immediate, corrective feedback to

develop automatic word recognition skills and Initial Teaching Alphabet

can be used to remediate this difficulty.

I chose Initial Teaching Alphabet as the best strategy to attend the

needs of my Dyslexic student because this strategy is more focused on the

foundation or the basic of reading with the letter-sound association.

Also, there are researches that tell that I.T.A. is a big help for Dyslexic

students. The Pitman Initial Teaching Alphabet (i.t.a.) was invented by Sir

James Pitman, grandson of the inventor of Pitman shorthand. It is designed

to make it easier for English-speaking children to learn to read English.

From the paper of John Downing,”The Effectiveness of i.t.a. (INITIAL

TEACHING ALPHABET) in the prevention and treatment of Dyslexia and

Dygraphia”he says that “For remedial treatment, i.t.a. seems to be most

effective when students are exposed to it for the greater part of their

working day. If only a brief daily period of i.t.a. teaching is available, its

chances of remedying reading and writing disabilities are much less

certain.” Therefore, to ensure that it is effective it must be used every day.

One of Sarah K Major’s 8 Secrets for teaching children with Dyslexia

supports the use of i.t.a as remediation for Dylexia which states that”Focus

on teaching phonemic awareness and manipulation.”

The blog “Dyslexia in School” supports the i.t.a. as an important

consideration in ensuring effective phonologic-based reading instruction to

help child to learn.The blog even suggest ways on how to teach children to

read through familiarization of sounds and letters and how to associate

them. “With phonemes, you can:-Isolate, Identify, Segment, Blend, and

Manipulate (add, delete, substitute).”

“An appropriate remedial reading intervention for a child with

dyslexia includes direct instruction in learning the code of sounds and

letters. This is often done through the use of a special program such as the

Orton-Gillingham program. The Orton-Gillingham program, and similar

programs such as the Wilson System, Project Read, and Alphabetic Phonics,

offer direct, intensive instruction in phonics and spelling. These approaches

are ideal for students with dyslexia because they are multisensory

approaches that offer children opportunities to learn through seeing,

hearing, and touching. They also utilize a large amount of repetition that

helps children with dyslexia learn.”(PBS Parents)

Thorstad (1991) investigated the effect of orthography on beginning

readers by comparing acquisition of reading and spelling in Italian children,

English children learning to read with i.t.a., and English children learning

with the traditional orthography. He found that Italian and English i.t.a.

children learned to read in one year what would take English traditional

orthography children three to five years to achieve.

P. David Pearson (1997), in a review of the First Grade Studies of the

1960’s, commented that “when kids were equipped with a transparent

orthography (i.t.a.) that was completely under their control, they became

fearless writers, producing a great deal of text.”

"I've been doing research and providing remediation services to children

and adults with reading disability/dyslexia using i.t.a. since 1986.It is,

without doubt, the most effective intervention for struggling readers that

I've used in my 40 plus years as an educator.

Dyslexic children need to know the truth about the English language,

that there is more than one way to write each sound. This means spelling is

made up of two main processes sounding words out and memory.

Beating discusses that phonics lessons created for dyslexic

people should help these students to gain a greater understanding of the

fundamental principles of English. The lessons should teach them to clearly

distinguish all 44 sounds, while at the same time illustrate the intricacies of

how the sounds match up to the letters. This discussion suggests that initial

teaching alphabet is useful and effective in teaching reading to students.

The BBC News also have a discussion about the use of ITA . “The

thinking went that as children became fluent in ITA, they would become

aware of conventional spelling and move seamlessly into the normal

alphabet.” The posted question about the effectivity of ITA and opinions

vary, because the system was never successfully made mainstream. They

also had an interview to one former pupil in the school they conducted in

Uk who has very strong views about it.She says that, “I suffered ITA for my

first few years at school, with the consequence that at the age of seven I

could barely read or write," he says.” But according to her ITA helped her

to be able to read basic words and even read unfamiliar words.


Aside from Initial Teaching Alphabet, there are also strategies that

can be used to remediate students with Dyslexia. Students with dyslexia

learn most effectively when information comes in through many sensory

channels simultaneously. This is often referred to as multisensory


Multisensory teaching links listening, speaking, reading and writing

through the simultaneous and alternative deployment of visual, auditory,

kinesthetic and tactile sensory modalities. It should be ensure that the pupils

with dyslexia are seeing, saying, hearing and manipulating materials during

learning time or reading remedial sessions.

· Pupils with dyslexia seem to learn more effectively if multisensory

approaches are used for mastering and assimilating letter-sound

correspondences and sight words. They need systematic multi-sensory

teaching that combines encoding (spelling) and decoding (reading), as these

processes are inter-linked.

Multisensory instruction allows pupils to use their own approach to

the tasks through utilizing their strong learning channels and at the same

time exercising their weak ones.

Multisensory instruction should be supported with other principles

of good instruction including enhancing pupil attention and motivation,

providing feedback and modelling, avoiding overloading the pupil, giving

sufficient practice and providing effective reinforcement.

There are numerous commercially produced multisensory teaching

programmes to guide teachers working with pupils with dyslexia that can

be downloaded in various learning websites but should be evaluated before


Also, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can support

multisensory learning and provide flexible learning tools for both the

teacher and pupil.


Bryant, D. N.( 1965).Some Principles of Remedial Instruction for Dyslexia:

The Reading Teacher,Vol. 18, No. 7,pp. 567-572. Retrieved from


Major,S.D. (2016,February 4).8 Secrets for teaching children with Dyslexia:

How can I best help my Dyslexic child?Retrieved from


Kurnoff, Shirley. The Human Side of Dyslexia:Strategies That Work for

Students Grade 9 to 12 with Dyslexia. London Universal, 2001. pp.168-

169 Retrieved from

Beating Dyslexia: Guidance for Creating Phonics Lessons for Dyslexic

Students. Retrieved from

Research on Using i.t.a. to Teach Beginning Readers: Pearson First-

grade Studies. Retrieved from

BBC News. Introduction of the Initial Teaching Alphabet.( 5 September, 2001)

Retrieved from