Multisensory Structured Language (MSL) includes the principles of scientific reading research but goes one step further with addition of the multisensory component. The multisensory component is what makes MSL differ to other traditional reading and spelling programs. The MSL Orton Gillingham approach is considered the golden standard and assists ALL children including children who have been identified with dyslexia or a related difference.
Individuals with dyslexia or a related difference require explicit, direct and systematic instruction in both oral and written language. (National Reading Panel 2007) (Australian Dyslexia Working Party document 2010) (National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy 2007)
Effective MSL Instruction includes:
Explicit Instruction: Must directly teach the alphabetical principle (letter-sound system)
Systematic Instruction: Has a definite logical sequence of concept introduction,ordered from simple to more complex.(Synthetic and analytic)
Structured, Multi sensory: Structured and Multi sensory delivery of language content is characteristic of effective instruction.
Flexible: Since dyslexia occurs on a continuum a specialised teaching approach is best,rather than a program or method which does not allow flexibility.
Diagnostic Teaching: The teacher continually assesses their student's ability to understand and apply learned concepts. If it is discovered that a previously taught concept is confused,it is retaught. Individuals with dyslexia may require instruction of greater intensity and duration than typically developing readers and writers.
Cognitive-Dual Route Approach: Instruction needs to consider lexical and non-lexical pathways and the cognitive and linguistic processes involved in learning to read.
Visual recognition instruction is required: Irregular words are estimated to make up 10% of the English language. Many of these words occur in early reading experience. Irregular words need to be taught directly and explicitly. Ample exposure and practice is required to strengthen the visual memory "word bank" for irregular words both for reading and spelling.
Effective reading instruction needs to be implemented by a trained teacher and include:
- Phonics (synthetic and analytic)
- As well as writing and spelling.