Lindamood–Bell is one of several teaching programs for struggling readers that’s consistent with the highly structured Orton–Gillingham approach. Like the others, it’s “multisensory.” It uses the different senses to help students make connections between sounds, letters and words. But it has unique aspects, too.
What It Focuses On
Like Orton–Gillingham, Lindamood–Bell breaks down learning to read into concrete skills. These include connecting letters to sounds and blending sounds into words. Students master one skill before moving on to the next. But along with teaching students to read the words, the program also focuses on understanding content. It does that by using imagery.
For instance, the student might be asked to create mental images of what she’s reading about. “Can you picture the lion?” “Can you describe how she’s playing with her cubs?” This strategy develops a concrete connection between words and images. It can help students find meaning in text and remember what they have read.
“Lindamood–Bell puts particular emphasis on connecting sounds and images with written words and symbols.”
Where to Find It
Lindamood–Bell is not widely used in schools. It’s mainly offered at private Lindamood–Bell Learning Centers, and it’s very costly. The company does partner with some districts, however. It offers workshops for teachers and direct instruction for students. The programs may be used with special education students or as part of response to intervention.
Who It’s For
Lindamood–Bell can be a particularly good for students with dyslexia, auditory processing disorders and dyscalculia.
How It Works
Step one is an evaluation by a Lindamood–Bell instructor. The instructor uses standardized tests to assess the student’s strengths and weaknesses in a number of areas. These include reading, comprehension and math. This isn’t the same as an educational evaluation for special education services.
Next, the instructor creates a learning plan. This plan includes how many instruction hours the student will need to reach learning goals. It also outlines the specific types of instruction the student will need.
Students generally work one-on-one with instructors. They may be expected to come daily for sessions that can last from one to four hours. (When schools use the program, sessions generally range from 30 minutes to two hours. Students most often work in groups.) Instructors monitor each student’s progress and provide parents, and sometimes teachers, with regular updates.
The more you understand your child’s reading issues, the easier it will be to find the right type of instruction. Learn about why kids have trouble reading words and understanding what they read. And if you haven’t had your child evaluated for special education services, you might want to consider it. It’s the best way to get her the reading support she needs at school.