Teacher explains her method for achieving fantastic reading results using Totem and Talisman series

Teachers have written in and asked Anne which method she uses to achieve such success (see table in Remarkable Results…. post below) using the Totem and Talisman series.  Here is her answer:

Being BDA dyslexia trained my lesson format will always include a game and other activity to recap on work done in the previous lesson. These could be from the book I am using, homemade or a SWAP or TRUGS or CROSSBOW Games (initial blends, final blends or their favourite WORD CHUNKS).

I do memory work and kinaesthetic work using alphabet letters – usually wood. I ask the pupil to put out certain letters using letter names and may then say go backwards from M or whichever. Using either a feeling bag of letters or dropping letters into their hand when the eyes are closed, they have to say what they are holding. Some pupils also enjoy placing the letters on the rainbow arc and trying to find the right place with eyes shut.

The new lesson work will include:

  • discovering the new phoneme, often through a game or sorting activity
  • reading words
  • vocab exercises
  • spelling
  • comprehension.

PhonicBooks’ series of Magic Belt, Totem and both Talisman mean I have to do less preparation now that I have made every possible sheet into a sorting or matching activity which has to be read aloud. I do not necessarily complete a whole page of everything. Depending upon the pupil, may do some the next lesson as recap. Everything I do needs to be multi sensory and FUN as most of my pupils have experienced great failure (eg the pupil who said to teacher “I can’t read that from the whiteboard”, so teacher enlarged it, as had not read the notes which said do not ask pupil to read aloud due to extreme dyslexia!)

Sometimes I also use Beat Dyslexia sheets if the pupils are taking a long time to grasp a new phoneme, and some of these I have also made into little activities to make them more kinaesthetic. Some pupils need these foundations put up very slowly and then suddenly begin to zoom.

What makes the difference? My thoughts are…

  1. making a good individual relationship
  2. understanding syllables
  3. increasing the vocabulary, also recommending listening to audio books
    which their peers would read

  4. materials which stimulate and interest the pupil
  5. playing games where the teacher can lose without cheating to lose!

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