Multi-Sensory Phonics

When two (or more) senses are being used in the acquisition of knowledge more connections in the brain are developed to help aid in learning and retaining information. No wonder so many phonics programs claim to provide multi-sensory instruction. But are programs with cut-and paste activities and letter tiles truly offering the full neurological benefits of the mulit-sensory approach? While cutting and pasting and moving around tiles can be a great supplement to phonics instruction, these activities are really only stimulating the brain visually as the child reads the words or letters.

multi-sensory phonics

Contrast these so-called multi-sensory cut-and paste and tile manipulation activities with actually forming the letters and words using small or large motor skills. Research has discovered that “when we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated” and “there is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain.” Whether the writing takes place with a pencil or paper or finger-writing in chocolate pudding, the evidence is clear that forming letters forms pathways in the brain that are beneficial for reading and other forms of knowledge acquisition and retention.

Now what if a child could use his sense of hearing, his speech, his small or large motor skills and his sense of sight all at the same time while learning to spell and read? Can you imagine the connections that would be developed in his brain? Spell to Write and Read (SWR) by Wanda Sanseri offers just that! Simultaneous, mulit-sensory instruction helps a child learn to spell his way into good reading (and spelling)! (Read my full review of SWR here and my tips for overcoming the challenges of the program here.)

The Spell to Write and Read program gives the child the opportunity to hear the word and its sounds as the teacher dictates the word to the child, say the word as the child repeats the word and its sounds back to the teacher, write the word using small or large motor skills (depending on the child’s age and ability) and then see the word written after he has used his motor skills to write the word for himself.

Hear, Say, Write and See… a truly mulit-sensory approach to learning to spell and read!

If you’d like to learn  more about the SWR program click here.

Watch the author of SWR discuss this simultaneous, multi-sensory approach in the video below (or click here). The entire 10 minute video is worth watching but she discusses the multi-sensory approach at the 6 minute mark.

And check out this article about the benefits of handwriting!

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