Adult Literacy Reading Programs

Teacher helping adult learn to readA well-trained teacher or tutor in an adult literacy program should be trained in at least three methods, including the multisensory approach, which has proven to be effective for adult students with learning disabilities. A multisensory method uses a combination of visual, auditory and tactile-kinesthetic instruction to enhance memory and learning. Following is a list of multi sensory structured language programs.This list does not include every available adult literacy reading program; however, many of the programs listed are based on the “Orton Gillingham-Stillman Approach.” This approach is often described as the grandfather of many successful multisensory
reading programs.

Literacy Reading Programs

Alphabetic Phonics

Alphabetic Phonics was developed by Lucius Waites, M.C. and Aylett R. Cox. Alphabetic Phonics is based on Orton-Gillingham techniques and emphasizes intense phonetic analysis of written language. The program is presented in a structured, multisensory sequence of alphabet, reading and spelling. Contact: Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, 222 Welborn Street, Dallas, TX 75219: 214.559.7815,

Barton Reading and Spelling System

Barton Reading and Spelling System was developed by Susan Barton. The Barton System is an Orton-Gillingham based program designed for volunteer tutors in adult literacy programs. Training is provided on videotape with fully scripted lesson plans. Contact: Barton Reading and Spelling System, 2059 Camden Ave., Suite 186, San Jose, CA 95124, 408.559.3652,

Multi-sensory Teaching Approach

Multisensory Teaching Approach (MTA) was developed by Margaret Taylor Smith. MTA is a comprehensive, multi-sensory program in reading, spelling, cursive handwriting, and alphabet and dictionary skills. Based on Orton-Gillingham techniques and Alphabetic Phonics. Contact: MTS Publications at or 877.552.1090.

The Herman Method

The Herman Method was developed by Renee Herman. Teaches decoding, sight words, structural analysis, contextual clues and dictionary skills with consistent emphasis on comprehension. A remedial reading program that can be taught by trained paraprofessionals. A phonetic, structured, sequential approach based on the Orton-Gillingham Method and specifically designed for students with dyslexia/specific reading disability. Contact: Romar Publications, 4700 Tyrone Ave, Sherman Oaks, CA 94123: 818.784.9566.

Landmark Methodology

Landmark Methodology is a structured multi-sensory reading, spelling and writing program. Contact: Landmark Outreach Program, P.O. Box 227, Prides Crossing, MA 01965, 968.236.3216,


Lindamood-Bell was developed by Patricia Lindamood and Nancy Bell. Lindamood-Bell program offers intensive treatment to develop reading, spelling, language comprehension, visual motor processing, and the ability to follow oral directions. Contact: Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, 416 Higuera, San Luis Obispo, CA 9430: 800.233.1819 / 805.541.3836,

Orton-Gillingham Method

Orton-Gillingham Method was developed by Dr. Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham. Orton-Gillingham Method was developed and published in 1935. A multi-sensory, structured reading and writing program. Contact: Academy of Orton Gillingham, P.O. Box 234, Amenia, NY 12501: 914.373.8919,

Project Read

Project READ was developed by Dr. Mary Lee Enfield and Victoria Green.  Project READ is a method of teaching that is systematic, multi-sensory, concrete and involves direct instruction. It is a language arts program based on the theories of Samuel Orton. Contact: Project READ, P.O. Box 20631, Bloomington, MN 55420: 800.450.0343,

multisensorySlingerland Approach

>Slingerland Approach was developed by Beth Slingerland. The Slingerland Approach is based on Orton-Gillingham techniques. All learning takes place through the involvement of the auditory, visual and kinesthetic motor channels. It is the linkage of these channels that individuals with dyslexia often find challenging. The Slingerland Approach starts with the smallest unit of sight, sound and feeling – a single letter. Expanding upon that single unit, students are taught through an approach which strengthens inner-sensory association and enables the strong channel of learning to reinforce the weak. It is thorough and integrated, providing a complete language learning experience. Contact: Slingerland Institute for Literacy, 12729 Northup Way, Suite 1, Bellevue, WA 98005: 425.453.1190,

Starting Over Starting Right

Starting Over Starting Right employs multi-sensory phonics, whole words, and language experience techniques to teach the building of words, vocabulary, and sentences. Assessment tools are included. Contact: Knight Education, Inc., 212.769.2760,

Wilson Reading System

Wilson Reading System was developed by Barbara Wilson. The Wilson Reading System is a 12-step remedial reading and writing program for individuals with language-based learning disabilities. The system specifically teaches strategies for decoding and spelling. It also includes oral expressive language development and comprehension. Visualization techniques are used for comprehension. Based on the Orton-Gillingham teaching techniques. Contact: Wilson Language Training, 162 West St, Millbury, MA 01527-1943: 800.899. 8454,

Training Video

Dyslexia Training Program

Dyslexia Training Program was developed by the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital Laboratory. The Dyslexia Training Program (DTP) + Rite Flight: A Classroom Reading Rate Program (RF Rate) and Rite Flight: A Classroom Comprehension Program (RF Comprehension) is a two-year dyslexia intervention that meets the National Reading Panel recommendations as a comprehensive Tier III reading intervention program. This video-based series provides expertise and classroom instruction delivered by a trained professional while an onsite facilitator provides attention to individual needs. he multisensory lessons target six instructional components which include both explicit and systematic instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and spelling. For more information, go to

Note from editor: There are multitudes of materials available online regarding teaching with multisensory instruction – far too many to list here. For more ideas, search for multisensory instructional materials and/or videos on your web browser.

Download Adult Literacy Reading Programs

© 2014 Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA). LDA encourages the distribution of this information. Please provide appropriate credit if portions are cited. Information may not be reprinted for the purpose of resale.

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  1. I would like to learn more about adults literacy. I have a learning disabilitie myself and would like to learn to read and spell. I would like to go back to school so I can get a job. But I can not read or spell all that good to do that. and I would just like to do that for my kids. My kids thy all do good in school. But thy do not have the time to help me. I would just like to learn.

    • Jinell Carlyle says:

      I have same learning disabilities as u so don’t worry, just do ur best and thats what that they ask for because they love u

      Jinell Carlyle

  2. Jinell Carlyle says:

    I have a learning disabilities to and i have a 7 year old boy and a wounder full boyfriend who loves me. it is hard for me to help my son with his homework, read books to him but i do try thought. iit is hard to spell, write, and do math with my son. i am trying to go back to school for my son. i would like to do my schooling online because it is better for me. thank you for leasing and reading my post

    Jinell Carlyle

  3. jason stewart says:

    i just need some help with reading and math i,m okay enough to get by but i want to join the military and as it sits right now i can not pass the asvba to get in i just need some help. I have work very hard to get what i have in reading and will work even harder i just need some help form someone who knows how to teceh someone like me in short i just wont to serve my country. thank you for your time

  4. I to have a learning disability, and so does my father. Growing up my mom had to help me with my homework, but my dad always had little tricks he would teach me to make my work easier. Growing up I wanted to be a school teacher. My parents told me I could do whatever I wanted in life. They told me I would have to always work twice as hard as everyone else cause of my disability, but that it would make me a better person. I ended up graduating high school with a 4.0 GPA. I went on to community college and graduated with an AA in elementary education. I got excepted into WWU’s teaching program. After one quarter of that everything seemed so hard, I was working my ass off and failing my classes. For a year after that I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I felt like I was to stupid to ever become a teacher. Then one day my work cut my hour from 40 down to 4! This was the turning point in my life. After work I checked my phone and saw I had a misses call from my old montessori school I went to as a child and had talk to a couple months before. I quickly called back and was offered a teaching position! I walked back into my job and told them I quit and never looked back. I currently teach preK math and will be attending montessori teaching school in the fall. I have been scared every step of the way. I have kept my learning disability a secret from everyone for 23 years. Through everything my dad has been there to watch and help me with all the struggles he once had. I am living my dream of being a teacher. I’m also getting a chance to learn my math facts again as I teach them.
    I want to find a program where my dad and I can learn to read. We both can read and wright but I’m always looking to be better. I passed my dad on the reading level A longtime ago back when I was in middle school. I want him to feel all the joy I have felt from his support with giving him a second chance to learn.

  5. I would like to become an adult liiteracy program volunteer teaching adults to read in the evenings but have a hard time finding out which agencies will accept my services im in Louisiana

  6. Monica Williams says:

    Hello I would like to have some more information on your adult literacy program I have a learning disability myself and I would like to learn how to do math reading and spelling and writing I am planning on going to college in the spring of 2016 but I cannot read very well or spell I would like to learn

  7. Kimberly Rizo says:

    I’m hard and hearing .. I still want learn more reading and spelling and speak right too I want do something out there my life

  8. iris de ridder says:

    I am a dutch doctor working in rural papua new guinea. this is a place with a very low literacy rate, especially the women.
    I want to set up a adult literacy program in our little town here but due to cultural issues (shame/gossip/not possible to attend regular lessons etc) it would be much better to have a self learn program on the computer which women can use to teach themselves instead of going to classes.
    Internet is not good enough here to do online sessions. So I am looking for a literacy program I can instal on the computer in the women centre and which each individual can then use to educate themselves in their own time and speed without feeling shame.
    Does anybody know where I can find/buy/download such a program?


    • Asha Patel says:

      I just read this post and was wondering if you ever found the appropriate program for these women. I have been working in a special education class for the last 16 years and had some thoughts and could possibly recommend some program based on some information.

    • Rebecca Hawkins says:

      Hello Iris,

      We use a program called Lexia in our office and that could be useful to you. It’s very user friendly and our students from all over the word use it.

  9. hello i would like to have more information about your adult literacy program i have a learning disability and i would like how reading,spelling and writing i planning no going to college. thank you for you time .

  10. Hi my mom is great and has found many other ways to function through life. But although she does not ask or talk about it much I know she wants to try and learn how to read.I try and encourage her everyday to learn stuff.she has figured out how to use the internet by talk to type, but I know she would rather know exactly what it is saying..she’s knows a lot but reading would be a gift. She’s 55 now and knows a little, but she’s usually good with a physical presence of a teacher something to hold herself accountable. If there’s a away to help her be better I’m for it.. Please reply with guidance..

  11. Hi I’m 43 years old I would like to know about your literacy program hard time through life and I would just like to better myself and go back to school and become a nurse one day

  12. I have a learning disability as well. I have learned to adapt and is able to be productive in the workforce. I have been to college twice. I am using my certificate and my diploma in the wonderful career working with children. When I was in high school I didn’t even know how to spell my last name. Having my son made me want to learn and read more. Our minds may be different and we learn different but never give up. The only person that will hold you back is yourself. Your journey may be hard but it will be worth it in the end. 🙂

  13. Denise Druding says:

    How can I get some one to teach my brother to read? Where do I take him? He is 59

  14. I am 59 years old and don’t know how to read and it’s hard to find a reading program that still help people read in the Texas Metroplex area, I think fear keeps a lot of people away from the programs, they don’t want to be embarrassed by being so old and don’t know how to read

    • hi, if you have a computer at home. There are million of websites for reading how to read. Or go to your public library in Metroplex Texas, they can find the website for you. Good Luck

  15. I’ve been having a learning disability since 3rd grade and it’s very hard I didn’t graduate and now that I have 3 children I want to be able to get my GED was really really hard I want to be able to provide for them and help them with their homework I can barely do that so I really need help trying to get my GED what do I do where do I go I’ve tried regular GED classes my brain wasn’t retaining the information like it should have been and I feel less anybody help I’m not looking for a handout I just want to get the education to properly take care of my children please and thank you I live in Kansas City Missouri so if there’s any places that I can go to please let me know

    • Jimmy Williams says:

      I would like to know how this program works can somebody give me some information about it

  16. Ashley H says:

    Hi. I am wanting to know the best way to help my husband learn to read and write better. He is 36 yo and I believe he’s severely dyslexic. I wish there was a facility that he could go to and be taught one on one, but that is highly unlikely unless you are a teenager in our small town community. If there is such a place, it isn’t advertised. So, I am having to take this task on myself and struggling to find what program will work best. Thanks so much!

  17. Asha Patel-
    I’m interested in what programs you have in mind. I have a friend whose son is having a lot of difficulty with reading and spelling and she cannot afford tutoring. Any home based, do it yourself programs would be great to pass along.

  18. Rose Demechko says:

    My son is 25 and lives in the Oklahoma City area. He was diagnosed with dyslexia at a very young age. He feels very defeated, he can not read a menu, street signs etc. I’m looking for a program that could help him.

  19. Mother 3 and I think I really need to do something for myself for them . I’m a strong woman but one of my weakest is learning how to read it I always had to struggle with it my whole life and I know if I didn’t order it I will have a lot of strength and I should have become somebody in the world

  20. Vicky Sawyer says:

    I am a teacher. My child has challenges and hated school. By some miracle I was given the opportunity to learn the OG system (I am only Level 1 though). The session I attended needed children and I asked if my son could participate. He was nervous but because I was nearby learning too, he agreed. By day 3 he told me, “Mom, Im getting it! Why didn’t anyone teach me this way before? Can I please go again?!?” Oh my did I cry!! (I’m emotional at times.)

    During the training my instructor asked who had Lindamood Bell or Handwriting Without Tears. I was shocked to learn “how lucky” I am to have them. Last spring I added Peoject Read. I have several other top rated program trainings but never realized their value beyond my classroom.

    I cried, yes cried, reading the painful posts of adults here wanting to read. It wasn’t until this past week that I decided I will no longer be a classroom teacher. I dont know how to teach adults, well…I’ve never been trained or given the opportunity to yet…but seeing the pleas for help here I see a new direction. What an inspiration to see adults step up and ask for help.

    I am not done learning myself but I will be helping others unlock our language.

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