Multisensory Teaching Method to Reading

Informal Methods Using the Multisensory Approach

Boy writing in the sand at the beach.

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The multisensory teaching approach to reading is based upon the idea that some students learn best when the material that they are given is presented to them in a variety of modalities. This method uses movement (kinesthetic) and touch (tactile), along with what we see (visual) and what we hear (auditory) to help students learn to read, write and spell.

Who Benefits From This Approach?

All students can benefit from multisensory learning, not just special education students. Every child processes information differently, and this teaching method allows for each child to use a variety of their senses to understand and process information.

Teachers that provide classroom activities that utilize various senses, will notice that their students learning attention will increase, and it will make for an optimal learning environment.

Age Range: K-3

Multisensory Activities

All of the following activities use a multisensory approach to help students learn to read, write and spell using a variety of their senses. These activities feature hearing, seeing, tracing and writing which are referred to as VAKT ( visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile).

Clay Letters Have the student create words out of letters made of clay. The student should say the name and sound of each letter and after the word is created, he/she should read the word aloud.

Magnetic Letters Give the student a bag full of plastic magnetic letters and a chalkboard. Then have the student use the magnetic letters to practice making words. To practice segmenting have the student say each letter sound as he/she selects the letter. Then to practice blending, have the student say the sound of the letter faster.

Sandpaper Words For this multisensory activity have the student place a strip of paper over a piece of sandpaper, and using a crayon, have him/her write a word onto the paper. After the word is written, have the student trace the word while spelling the word aloud.

Sand Writing Place a handful of sand onto a cookie sheet and have the student write a word with his/her finger in the sand. While the student is writing the word have them say the letter, its sound, and then read the whole word aloud. Once the student completed the task he/she can erase by wiping the sand away. This activity also works well with shaving cream, finger paint, and rice.

Wikki Sticks Provide the student with a few Wikki Sticks. These colorful acrylic yarn sticks are perfect for children to practice forming their letters. For this activity have the student form a word with the sticks. While they are forming each letter have them say the letter, its sound, and then read the whole word aloud.

Letter/Sound Tiles Use letter tiles to help students develop their reading skills and establish phonological processing. For this activity, you can use Scrabble letters or any other letter tiles you may have. Like the activities above, have the student create a word using the tiles. Again, have them say the letter, followed by its sound, and then finally read the word aloud.

Pipe Cleaner Letters For students who are having trouble grasping how letters should be formed, have them place pipe cleaners around a flashcard of each letter in the alphabet. After they place the pipe cleaner around the letter, have them say the name of the letter and its sound.

Edible Letters Mini marshmallows, M&M's, Jelly Beans or Skittles are great for having children practice learning how to form and read the alphabet. Provide the child with an alphabet flashcard, and a bowl of their favorite treat. Then have them place the food around the letter while they say the letter name and sound.


Orton Gillingham Approach

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Your Citation
Cox, Janelle. "Multisensory Teaching Method to Reading." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Cox, Janelle. (2023, April 5). Multisensory Teaching Method to Reading. Retrieved from Cox, Janelle. "Multisensory Teaching Method to Reading." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 30, 2023).