Students with learning and reading disabilities need to use a reading curriculum especially designed for them. I use a sequential multi-sensory curriculum. I recommend the following reading curriculum for students who are at risk for a learning or reading disability.

Children who are having difficulty learning to read need to be instructed using sequential phonics like the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory method. There are several programs based on this approach. As with any curriculum, the O-G program you use will depend on the age of your child and her reading ability level.

These books are part of the Alphabet Series, supplemental readers for Recipe for Reading.  Set 2 contains 18 decodable readers.  Set 3 contains 3 chapter books which are also decodable readers.  Both sets follow the Recipe for Reading workbooks.

All of the recommended workbooks and manuals are based on this method. I have been using these materials for more than 20 years. The Orton-Gillingham method was designed for dyslexic students 50 years ago. Now it is being used with struggling readers as well.


Parents often ask me how I know which reading curriculum to use. As a teacher, I have to rely on several things to determine what curriculum to use. First, I must determine what phonics the child knows.

Then I have to determine how mature the child is by conversing with the parents. I must find out if the student needs lots of pictures, if she would get freaked out by print that is too small or perhaps if there is too much writing on the page.

I also have to take the child’s grade level and age into consideration. I wouldn’t use Primary Phonics with a 3rd or 4th grader. I almost always start a 3rd or 4th grader out in Explode the Code 3. Explode the Code relates better to these older students.

If a student has been diagnosed with a learning disability prior to starting kindergarten, I would use either Primary Phonics or Recipe for Reading. Again, I would ask the parents and have them look at both curricula to see what would work best for their child.

For students who are 5th grade or above, know their phonetic sounds but have little decoding skills, I may start them out in Explode the Code Workbook #4 or Megawords. Again, this would depend on the child's phonetic knowledge.


Choosing a curriculum is a very personal choice. Teachers and other parents can recommend a program, but the parent is the ultimate decider because they know their child best. The parents are the ones who will have to oversee this program at home and they need to be comfortable with what is used.

When choosing a curriculum, don't forget to get some games and other stand alone materials to supplement the written curriculum. Many children who struggle with reading or who have a learning disability DO NOT like worksheets or workbooks. Many would rather play an educational game. Besides games there are many stand alone language arts and reading materials that have been developed just for the struggling student.

Crossbow Education offers many such choices for phonics and language arts as well as math. Crossbow also has color overlays for Irlen Syndrome (a visual condition), and a virtual visual stress overlay for the computer.

To see the recommended curriculum for your child's grade level, just click on the link listed below.

A Homeschooling Curriculum Guide
Once a career woman, as an industrial engineer, this mother of 3 has great advice about curriculum for the homeschool parent. She also shares what she has learned about child development at different ages and how to incorporate this knowledge into homeschooling.

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