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Systematic, Explicit Phonics Along with Multisensory Vowel Tools will Help Dyslexic Children Learn to Read.

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do, indeed,


face challenges


that other students

do not face. 


Parents often ask, “How do I know if my child is dyslexic?” or “How can I teach my dyslexic child to read at home?”  Systematic, explicit phonics along with multisensory vowel tools will help dyslexic children learn to read.  

It’s not hard to understand the anxiety held by parents of dyslexic children.  This is because the true dyslexic student has a disability that is neurological in origin; his brain’s ability to process the signals it receives from the eyes and ears is impaired. However, even though only a small percentage of children are truly dyslexic (it is estimated that only between 4 to 8 percent of the entire population is dyslexic, and only a portion of those people are children), for those students who have been medically diagnosed with dyslexia, their reading challenges often seem overwhelming.  The good news is: according to the National Reading Panel, systematic phonics training with multisensory helps can enable a dyslexic student to learn to read.     


Moms, Dads, if your child has dyslexia, or you suspect that he/she does because he struggles in reading, you should, of course, have him/her tested by a qualified, medical diagnostician to give you a verified conclusion.  However, whether your child is dyslexic or even if he just struggles in reading, you will want to tutor your child one-on-one using a step-by-step phonics curriculum that follows a systematic, explicit phonics-first lesson presentation such as the Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum. So let’s examine dyslexia a little more closely to discover what a systematic, explicit phonics program will do for the dyslexic student.  


Fortunately, as troublesome as it is for dyslexic children to learn material when using words and sometimes symbols, it should also be noted that dyslexic children have positive attributes that other students do not have.  God always provides us with ways of coping and conquering, so it is with delight that we now know with certainty that the neurological differences in dyslexic children have given many of them a definite edge in visual, spatial, and physical co-ordination as well as in lateral thinking abilities.  Because of this edge, a great number of dyslexic children have grown into adults that have become exceptionally victorious in a broad assortment of professions.  For example, one famous architect’s practice gives preference to employing people who are dyslexic because of their strong spatial awareness and lateral thinking abilities. 


However, it is true that dyslexic children may have trouble learning to read because of disabilities in one or more of the following areas:   auditory/language, visual/perceptual, and visual/motor (eye/hand).  As a result, the folks at Candy 4WAY Phonics want parents and teachers to become familiar with the aspects of our phonics curriculum that will, most definitely, benefit the dyslexic learner.  


With that in mind, let me say that what is automatic (after practice) for the non-dyslexic student (that of eye tracking, writing, and letter identification), a dyslexic student can also process, but these skills do not come about for him/her “automatically.” In most cases, because of the different ways in which his/her brain processes information, the dyslexic child must think about and think through each process.  


While tutoring dyslexic students in reading, I have observed that no two children are alike.  However, I have also discovered that giving one-on-one systematic, explicit phonics tutoring majorly improves the reading skills of the dyslexic student. Although systematic, explicit phonics cannot eliminate dyslexic trials, a strong systematic, synthetic phonics curriculum will help a dyslexic student work through his/her trials, one step at a time, and with patience and perseverence finish the task of learning to read. 


 In fact, it has been confirmed that when dyslexic students receive consistent, one-on-one explicit, systematic phonics training, that the training brings about “significant enhancement” in the use of the brain’s “left hemisphere parietal cortex, which governs reading,” as well as in “several areas in the right side of the brain.” Moreover, it has now been confirmed that explicit, systematic phonics tutoring improves the word skills of the dyslexic child in addition to bringing about actual changes in his/her brain’s activity 


The Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum is a systematic, explicit, phonics-first COMPLETE curriculum that offers several key presentations to help dyslexic students improve their reading skills.  These key presentations can be observed through the following questions that target eight key areas of difficulties for the dyslexic student as well as explain how the Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum offsets dyslexic difficulties in all eight areas





The Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum





*What is the first difficulty we are talking about?  Dyslexic students often have trouble learning and remembering the sounds represented by each of the alphabet letters.


*How does the Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum work to offset this difficulty?  We begin phonics lessons by using basic alphabet charts that rhyme coupled with fun pictures that begin with the sound represented by each of the alphabet letters.  We present the alphabet letters in rhyming sets of four, making it easy to fold one set of rhyming letters together with another set.  From there, we filter out the pictures while leaving the rhyme to enable children to recite the sounds of each letter while looking at just the letter.  After mastery with this skill has occurred, the student then sounds the letters in mixed-up order.  If a student forgets the sound of a letter, it is easy for him to look back at the original rhyming chart to help him remember the sound represented by that particular letter.




*What is the second difficulty we are talking about?  Dyslexic students often have problems blending together letter sounds and phonograms from left to right to form words.    


*How does the Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum work to offset this difficulty?  Unlike other phonics programs, we begin our blending lessons using a solid foundation of synthetic phonics by teaching children to blend each beginning consonant with each of the vowels before adding on a third letter. In turn, each lesson is assigned to just one consonant. Moreover, each lesson is mastered before proceeding on to the next lesson.  In this way, when a dyslexic student has difficulty blending the initial sounds of a word, he can easily look back at the lesson that taught exactly that consonant/vowel blend.  Also, by beginning all blending lessons with just the first two letters of a word, a dyslexic student also gains the skill of reading words from left to right.  We have discovered that by putting the vowels in red, it makes it easier for a student to blend the left-positioned consonant into the right-positioned vowel.  (Note – this blending skill is called “synthetic phonics”).    




*What is the third difficulty we are talking about?  Many dyslexic students have difficulty remembering and distinguishing between the simpler words on the Dolch Word List such as that, or, soon, and, away, big and blue.  However, non-dyslexic students share this difficulty with dyslexic students across America.  This is because most students in America are taught to memorize these words as “whole words” in contrast to learning to sound them out and to blend the sounds of their letters together from left to right. 


Regrettably, these whole-word memorization techniques were adopted as far back as 1936 when their author, Mr. Edward William Dolch, chose to redefine the meaning of “sight words.”  Sadly, after redefining “sight words,” he was able to amass a large list of new “sight words” and to convince teachers that memorizing these 315 words as “whole words” would speed up the learning-to-read process.  His idea didn’t work then and it doesn’t work today, which accounts for the fact that more than 8 million students in grades 4 through 12 are now struggling in reading.  However, the task of memorizing these words as whole words has proven especially difficult for the dyslexic student


*How does the Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum work to offset this difficulty?  Unlike the Guided Reading Programs used in our American public classrooms that consistently present an incorrect definition for a “sight word”, we present sight words using their correct definition.  Let me explain.


 Dyslexic students often have difficulty reading and remembering all of the 315 so-called “sight words” presented within the American public school’s Guided Reading Program.  At Candy 4WAY Phonics, we feel it is so sad that the look/n/say advocates who have created the Guided Reading Curricula have adopted a distorted meaning of what is termed a “sight word.” In so doing, they have overwhelmed dyslexic students (as well as all students) with a never-ending list of sight words to memorize as whole words


 How have they done this? 


The American public school’s Guided Reading Program refused to follow the original definition of a sight word when they chose to adopt Edward Dolch’s definition of a sight word that he “made up” back in 1936.  Dolch redefined sight words as “service words” (high frequency words printed aggressively over and over and over and over and over in the dumbed-down readers of his day and of our day).  Mr. Dolch claimed that these 315 words cannot be sounded out using the tools of implicit phonics.  He was correct in that statement, because all words get jumbled in a student’s mind whenever implicit phonics (embedded phonics) is put forth in a reading curriculum.  Unfortunately, many educators back then as well as many educators today do not know the difference between implicit phonics and explicit phonics. 

I am reasonably certain, however, that Mr. Dolch most likely did know the difference, since he was very careful in his materials to emphasize the term “implicit phonics” and use it as an excuse to redefine “sight words.”

Sadly, many teachers back in 1936 and many more teachers since then have failed to see why implicit phonics (embedded phonics) mixed with look/n/say methods are failing to teach our students how to read every word on every page.

By presenting these 315 words over and over and over and over and over and over again in Guided Reading Readers, look/n/say teachers have assigned their students with the overwhelming, boring, frustrating task of memorizing all 315 words as “whole” words 

Even sadder still is the fact that after developing the habit of learning words by memorizing them as “whole words,” students see no other option but to continue to memorize all words in this manner which would include anywhere between 40,000 and 100,000 words throughout their lifetime. This, of course, becomes an impossible task for hundreds of thousands of students across our nation.  Yet, this is the status quo for today’s Guided Reading offspring 

This is so unfortunate, because most of these 315 words can be sounded out using the natural rules of systematic, explicit phonics.  Oh! If only our children were given the chance to learn all the sounds of the letters and phonograms within the framework of an explicit, systematic phonics curriculum, how our literacy rates in this country would soar!  In fact, by returning to the original definition of a sight word as presented to our children back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, we will see that there are really only about 58 geniune sight words in all, and even these 58 words can be sounded out using the sounding/out symbols presented in the ordinary American dictionary. 


So what is the original definition of a sight word?


The ORIGINAL definition of a sight word is this: Any word that cannot be phonetically sounded out using systematic, explicit phonetic rules is a sight word.


Once again, in that respect, there are really only about 58 genuine sight words (not 315), and the Candy 4WAY Phonics Program is the only program on the market that limits its sight-word vocabulary to just these 58 genuine sight words.

 In addition, we integrate these 58 sight words slowly and methodically into the curriculum, printing them in blue lettering, all the way through to a 4th-grade reading level, so that it is not overwhelming for a dyslexic student (or for any other student) to remember these 58 genuine sight words.  Moreover, the Candy 4WAY Phonics Program even teaches students how to sound out these 58 genuine sight words using the sounding/out symbols presented in the ordinary American dictionary.  

(Note – There are phonics programs on the market today that claim that they do not use ANY sight words in their lessons, but this is only because these programs only carry students through to a 2nd or 3rd grade reading level.  Only by omitting phonics readers from their curriculum, readers that bring children into sentence structures that contain complex connective words (as all third grade and higher students should be learning to read on a weekly basis) have these phonics curriculums been able to boast that they have no need to teach these 58 genuine sight words in their program.)   

However, as children progress into a 4th grade reading level and higher, they will, sooner or later, encounter these 58 words that do not follow the phonetic rules.  Therefore, Candy 4WAY Phonics doesn’t skirt the existence of these words.  They present these words within their phonics lessons in blue lettering, slowly and methodically, beginning with the second level of the Candy 4WAY Phonics Program, so that children can easily distinguish, remember and sound out all 58 of these genuine sight words.      



*What is the fourth difficulty we are talking about?  Dyslexic students often have difficulty learning and distinguishing between the short vowel sounds.   

*How does the Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum work to offset this difficulty?  The Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum introduces the short vowel sounds using multisensory pictures that illustrate the pronunciation of these five sounds.  These illustrations help dyslexic children (as well as all children) to remember, punch and differentiate between the short vowel sounds.  In addition, to help children easily locate the vowel in a word, we begin our lessons by putting all the vowels in red lettering.




*What is the fifth difficulty we are talking about?  Not all, but some dyslexic students reverse the letter order in words.  For example, they may write the word saw instead of the word was.    

*How does the Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum work to offset this difficulty?  The Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum teaches students to blend together the sounds of the words from left to right by beginning its blending lessons using a “ladder” approach rather than jumping into a word family approach (Note – word families are employed in the program only after initial left/right blending (a synthetic phonics skill) is mastered. 




*What is the sixth difficulty we are talking about?  Dyslexic students sometimes have difficulty reading or writing words (and even phrases) from left to right.   

*How does the Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum work to offset this difficulty?  In the beginning blending lessons, our program presents the short vowels in the color of red.  This helps children to begin the reading process from the left side of the word blending the initial consonant into the red vowel that follows.  Likewise, each new letter sound or blend is also first presented in red throughout all 100 lessons.  By distinguishing between the beginning of a word and the rest word at the very beginning of their reading adventure, students are able to continue seeing words in parts: first, the beginning of the word; second, the middle of the word; third, the end of a word.  This also helps children later on when they begin the process of breaking words into syllables.  




*What is the seventh difficulty we are talking about?  Dyslexic students sometimes drop a word from a previous line down into the line they are reading.  This is the result of eye tracking problems.  

*How does the Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum work to offset this difficulty?  The Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum explains to parents and teachers how to use a pointer to help children track words from left to right.  A pointer (always held by the instructor) helps a child’s eyes to focus where the teacher wants them focused.    




*What is the eighth difficulty we are talking about?  Dyslexic students often become discouraged during the reading process.  They realize they have limits that other students do not have, so it’s easy to see why they would become discouraged at times.    

*How does the Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum work to offset this difficulty?  In our main instructional book for parents as well as teachers, we give the informational tools necessary to cope with a child’s discouragement. We have placed the explanation for these simple tools within the framework of two chapters.  The first chapter is entitled:  Create a Correct Reading Atomosphere. The second chapter is entitled: The Patience-Approach Formula. At Candy 4WAY Phonics, we have witnessed tremendous surges of encouragement within children when these tools are put into practice on a consistent basis.  


If you are the parent of a dyslexic student and you’re looking for an affordable curriculum to use, one-on-one, with your child, check us out.  The Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum can be purchased in one of three affordable packages starting with our INSTANT DOWNLOAD package of just $9.97 for a COMPLETE Phonics Curriculum. 



Carol Kay, President

Candy 4WAY Phonics