What is multi-sensory teaching?
A font that’s fit for dyslexics
November 1, 2016
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January 15, 2017

1 Jan 1970

What is multi-sensory teaching?

Most parents who have children with dyslexia have heard of multi-sensory teaching or multi-sensory learning. Below we explain why using all of a student’s senses is the best approach when teaching children with learning difficulties both at home and at school.

The basics

Multi-sensory teaching (also referred to as visual-auditory-kinaesthetic learning) is when we use all senses to engage in the learning process. This includes sight, sound, taste, touch and movement.

The breakdown

Multi-sensory teaching is a very important aspect of instruction for dyslexic students, and when used by clinically trained teachers it has been proved to have great results. Effective instruction for students with dyslexia is also explicit, direct, cumulative, intensive, and focused on the structure of language.

Multi-sensory learning involves the use of  visual, auditory, tactile (feeling) and kinaesthetic (awareness of motion) to enhance memory and learning of written language. At Summit Point School, our teachers use these senses to fully engage different parts of the students brain while learning fluency in spelling, reading and handwriting all at the same time.

Statistics say that on average

  • 10% of what we hear we retain
  • 30% of what we hear and see we retain
  • 40% of what we hear, see and say we retain
  • 70-100% of what we hear, see, say and do we retain

We believe that this is why it is so effective for a dyslexic learner as they often struggle with retaining what has been taught in mainstream classroom.

Multi-sensory teaching at Summit Point School

Firstly, the teacher always models what is being taught with both a visual and auditory aid. This gives the student a good initial understanding of the task.

As an example, students may be asked to  repeat five to seven words that are dictated by the teacher and contain the sound of the new letter or pattern. The students then discover the sound that is the same in all the words. Next, they may look at the words written on a piece of paper or the chalkboard and discover the new letter or pattern. Finally, they carefully trace, copy, and write the letter(s) while saying the corresponding sound.

The sound may be dictated by the teacher, and the letter name(s) given by the student. Students then read and spell words, phrases, and sentences using these patterns to build their reading fluency. Teachers and their students rely on all three pathways for learning rather than focusing on a ‘whole word memory method’, a ‘tracing method’, or a ‘phonetic method’ alone.

Students learn to link speech sounds (phonemes) to letters or letter-patterns by saying sounds for letters they see, or writing letters for sounds they hear. As students learn a new letter or pattern (such as /s/ or /th/).

Learn more

For more information on multi-sensory teaching, email us or call Summit Point School on (09) 973 5354.

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