Getting started with Lexercise and a structured literacy approach



I.  What is a structured literacy (aka Orton-Gillingham) approach and how does it differ from other language-literacy therapy approaches?


II.  What do clinicians need to know about language structure to provide effective treatment for dyslexia and other language-based processing disorders and what are some resources for continuing education and independent study?


III.  INITIAL CHECKLIST of word and sub-word language structure competencies for clinicians new to Orton-Gillingham methods.   (Here is a glossary of language structure terms from Moats, 2000).


1.   Isolate and sequence phonemes in words.


2.   Contrast the essential elements of vowel sounds and consonant sounds.


3.   Define a syllable (a unit of speech that has one and only one vowel sound).


4.   Identify the following structures in words:

a.   Consonant blends 

b.   Consonant digraphs


5.   Categorize vowel sounds as:

a.   Long (tense)

b.   Short (lax)

c.    Diphthong

d.   R-controlled (Note that the concept of r-controlled syllables is different from the way r-vowel allophones are taught in phonetics courses.)


6.   Categorize phonetically regular, printed syllables by syllable type (that predicts the sound of the vowel):

a.   closed

b.   r-controlled

c.    open

d.   silent –e

e.   vowel digraph (also called vowel team)

f.     consonant +le


7.   Categorize English suffixes by type

a.   Inflectional Suffixes:  The closed category of 8 suffixes. In English. They ate sometimes called grammatical suffixes. They do not change the part of speech of the base word.

                       i. Markers for nouns

1.   Plural (bats, buses)

2.   Possessive (boy’s, boys’)

                       ii.  Markers for verbs

1.   Progressive (bating)

2.   Past tense (batted)

3.   Voice (driven)

4.   Agreement (He drives. She kisses.)

                      iii.  Markers for adjectives

1.   Superlative (smartest)

2.   Comparative (smarter)


b.   Derivational Suffixes:  This is an open category of suffixes that, when added to a root word, mark and/or change the word’s part of speech. Examples include:

                      i.   Noun Suffixes  (encouragement, illness, verbiage, rarity, action)

                      ii.  Adjective Suffixes (selective, natural, numerous, stoic, mindful, detectible

                      iii. Verb Suffixes (collate, generalize, indemnify)

                      iv. Adverb Suffixes (beautifully)


8.   Sort words by the sound(s) of their inflectional suffix, (e.g., the 3 sounds of the regular, plural suffix, the 3 sounds of the regular past tense suffix).


9.   Define what is meant by the terms “phonetically regular and irregular,” and sort words as phonetically regular or irregular.

a.   In a phonetically regular word all of the word’s phoneme-grapheme associations follow a known, predictable pattern.

b. Some patterns are more predictable than others and many of the regular patterns in English are context-dependent.  Two examples of context dependence are:

  • <-ck> is regular grapheme for the phoneme /k/ but only at the end of one syllable words with short vowel sounds. 
  • The phoneme(s) associated with <x> depends on where in the syllable <x> occurs.  If <x> occurs at the beginning of a syllable, as in xylophone, it is associated with /z/.  If it occurs at the end of a syllable, as in tax, it is associated with the consonant blend, /ks/.



                   c.  There is usually a reason for phonetic irregularity. An etymology dictionary is an essential tool for investigating the reasons why words are spelled the way they are. See this video example of teaching students to reason about the phonetically irregular word:  does.


10.        Identify the stressed and unstressed syllables in multisyllabic words and indicate where syllables divide by orthographic syllable type.


11.         Sequence phonetically regular words by their phoneme-grapheme pairs.


12.        Accurately use terms for the sub-units of a word and identify these parts of a word:

a.   phoneme

b.   grapheme

c.    syllable (and the syllable's type)

                         i.   rime segment

                         ii.  coda

                         iii.  stressed versus unstressed syllable(s)

d.   morpheme (element)

        i. base (Differentiate base and root;  free and bound bases.)

        ii. affix

                               1. suffix

                               2. prefix

                               3. connecting element


 If you are a clinical professional and are interested in becoming a Lexercise Teletherapist you can learn more about that after passing the final exam in this course (or passing the equivalent test-out exam).  Contact for more information.


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