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"I can finally be comfortable and confident knowing that I am bringing the best to my students. I love that I have a large community of experts and passionate educators to learn and grow with.  I know that this is the beginning of something big in my teaching practice and for transformative progress in my students". 
- Former public school reading specialist

 "Throughout this process I have come to realize that I have found my niche as an Academic Therapist working with kiddos that are severely impacted with dyslexia and comorbidities as well. I enjoy working with these challenging kiddos and have been successful in helping them progress through the Sounds In Syllables journey." 

Jamie Levy, ASDEC Academic Language Therapist, Maryland

ONLINE Language 1: Sounds in Syllables: Structured Literacy

 Required for  Therapy Level Certification

Developed by Sandra Dillon, Director of the Multisensory Language Training Institute of New Mexico, Sounds In Syllables (SIS) is the most powerful Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching reading (decoding, fluency, and comprehension), spelling, writing, and the foundations of syntax and grammar. In developing SIS, Ms.Dillon incorporated teaching methods she learned directly from Patricia and Charles Lindamood, Beth Slingerland, and Aylett Royal Cox, author of Alphabetic Phonics.  These methods integrate evidence-based practice from neurology, cognitive sciences, psychology, speech-language pathology, and linguistics to produce the most durable remediation for students with even the most severe learning disabilities.  

Academic Therapists learn the precise articulation of the sounds of English and sound-symbol relationships.  They learn to "cement" learning by using multisensory methods that trigger positive changes in the way students process learning.  Research on these strategies demonstrates that multisensory approaches delivered through the repetitive, simultaneous, methods of SIS actually strengthen weak neural pathways and build new ones. This is why SIS students retain the reading and language skills they learn in order to achieve academic success long after they have completed their work with ASDEC therapists.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) considers Multisensory Structured Language Education techniques such as those used in SIS to be the most effective method to teach dyslexic students. In a recent report from the Academy, Dr. Sheryl Handler and Dr. Walter Fierson explain:

Most children with dyslexia need help from a teacher, tutor, or therapist who has been specially trained in using a multisensory, structured language approach. It is important for these children to be taught by a sequenced systematic and explicit method that involves several senses (hearing, seeing, touching) at the same time. Highly structured daily intensive individualized instruction by an educational therapist or skilled teacher specially trained in explicitly teaching phonemic awareness and the application of phonics is the foundation for remedial programs.In addition, students with dyslexia often need a great deal of structured practice and immediate, corrective feedback to develop automatic word-recognition skills. Remedial programs should include specific instruction in decoding, fluency training, vocabulary, and comprehension. The approach to learning decoding begins with detailed instruction in phonemic awareness and then progresses to sound-symbol association (alphabetic principle), phonics, awareness of rhyme, and word segmentation. Pediatrics Vol. 127 No. 3 March 2011 ppe818-e856

SIS includes the following Critical Literacy Components

  • Phonology
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Decoding and spelling
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension
  • Writing

SIS Uses Differentiated Instruction Techniques that are:

  • Diagnostic
  • Prescriptive
  • Multisensory
  • Phonics-based
  • Systematic, structured and sequential

SIS Academic Therapists Learn:

  • Information from current reading research
  • The rationale for multisensory instruction
  • Stages of reading development
  • Phonology, including phonemic awareness
  • Graphophonemic relationships (symbol/sound correspondence)
  • Morphology (meaning units of word parts)
  • Semantics (Vocabulary and syntax)
  • The influence of etymology (word origins) on spelling
  • Multisensory spelling techniques for phonetic and non-phonetic words
  • Syllabication
  • Strategies for building fluency and comprehension
  • Lesson Planning
  • Diagnostic Teaching
  • Adapting instruction to students’ individual needs

For more information View the PDF.

Winter 2024-Dates TBD

 Contact Ellen for information -

Graduate Credit Available From Trinity University for an additional fee - contact for a registration form

Preventing Reading Failure through Comprehensive Structured Literacy Instruction and Intervention for Classroom Teachers, Literacy Coaches and Reading Specialists

Tier 1&2: Structured Literacy Reading instruction in Grades k-8

ASDEC will train classroom teachers in Grades k- 1 and reading specialists in grades 2-5 in a 35-hour training course, SPIRE; an evidence-based Orton-Gillingham based Multisensory Structured Language Reading Curriculum. First grade teachers will deliver SPIRE structured literacy curriculum as part of daily English Language Arts general classroom instruction (50-60-minutes/day). Reading Specialists in grades 2-5 will deliver SPIRE curriculum as a Tier 2 intervention for students at risk of reading failure. Reading Specialists must complete full practicum described below.

SPIRE in primary grades can act as a preventive measure for difficulty in reading and spelling in later grades. It is designed for general classrooms and is scripted which enables the teacher to deliver the curriculum with fidelity to the students.  ASDEC monthly supervision guides the teacher in the effective delivery of the evidence-based procedures. Students are assessed  routinely providing continual feedback on student progress.

SPIRE(Specialized Program Individualizing Reading Excellence) is a reading program developed by Sheila Clark-Edmands, an Orton-Gillingham fellow, to provide accessible materials to assist teachers’ implementation of an Orton-Gillingham based approach to reading instruction. The  instructional design and instructional content align with the findings of the National Reading Panel (2000).

Grades k-8

SPIRE is a comprehensive, multisensory and systematic reading and language arts program designed to help all readers especially our struggling readers.  It is the only program of its kind beginning at the pre-K level (Sounds Sensible®) and extending all the way through Grade 8.  Based on Orton-Gillingham methodologies, SPIRE. incorporates the most recent research regarding best practices in reading and language arts instruction to ensure success for all readers especially those who struggling readers excel.

Scope, Sequence and Pacing

This fully integrated curriculum provides direct instruction in phonics (including decoding and spelling), reading comprehension, vocabulary and written language skills.  The scope and sequence begins with simple skills and moves to more complex, spiraling concepts in order to bring students to full literacy.

Initial placement is determined by student skill level.  The 8 levels of SPIRE can be completed within 2-4 academic years, as dictated by the needs of individual students.

Teacher Materials

Comprehensive, explicit instruction for every lesson

Teacher’s Guides

Detailed, structured, 10-step lessons blend visual, auditory and kinesthetic instruction to ensure mastery.  Introductory Lessons introduce new concepts and are followed by Reinforcement Lessons, which practice the new concept and review previously taught concepts.  The appendices provide an unparalleled resource of word lists, phrases and sentences to further aid in lesson differentiation.

Blackline Masters

These comprehensive resources contain Key Word Concept Sheets, Key Word Cards, Phoneme Segmentation Sheets, Sight Word and Decodable Word Cards, Small Letters, Word Find Sheets, Dictation Paper, Concept Mastery Fluency Drills and Decoding Assessments.

Student Materials: Starting with Level 1


These student books include fully decodable word lists, sentences and reading selections that are carefully controlled for phonetic elements and sight words.  The quantity of selections presented for each new concept is unique to SPIRE and gives teachers the flexibility to select instruction appropriate to the needs of their students.  Acetate sheets and markers are available separately for students to interact with the text.


These consumable books provide independent decoding, fluency and comprehension practice for every concept and reading selection.  All text, including exercise directions, is decodable.


SPIRE. Leveled Kits includes: ($339 per kit) 1 Teacher's Guide, 1 Blackline Master, 6 Student Readers, 6 Workbooks, and 1 set of Word Cards for the level, plus a corresponding set of Large Phonogram Cards, in a convenient storage box. Each kit is meant to be used in teacher directed small intensive reading intervention reading group and services up to 6 students. All the materials needed to implement the program for this small group are included in the kit. A Spire placement test (available for free on  eps.schoolspecialty.comshould be implemented to determine which leveled kits to order. Extra SPIRE workbooks and readers can be ordered separately for about $13 each if teachers have more than 6 students in their SPIRE group.



ASDEC’s Qualified Instructor, Jennifer Appleton, QI, CALT, M.Ed. will deliver a 35-hour initial training course. Upon successful completion of the course, teachers will participate in a 9-month supervision practicum during which they will meet monthly with their supervisor and provide five video-taped lessons for review and feedback.  Teachers completing the practicum will be eligible to sit for a National Certification exam as a Practitioner of Structured Literacy from the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA).  The certification requirements are:

  • ·        Course: 45 hours (one 35-hour course and two follow up seminars)
  • ·        Practicum: 100 hours
  • ·        ALTA Exam

Train the Trainer: One participant who completes a full-year of training and achieves national certification as a Dyslexia Practitioner will be selected to become a Supervisor in Training (they will be supervised for six months).

ASDEC - Dyslexia Therapy, Training, and Parent Advocacy

17 West Jefferson Street, Suite 100
Rockville, MD 20850

Phone: 301-762-2414

Copyright ©2019. ASDEC All rights reserved.

ASDEC is accredited by the International Mulitsensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC), one of two organizations in the US to receive the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) endorsement for meeting teacher training standards in reading.

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