The Snap Words System and Neurodiversity
Jan 05, 2022

The SnapWords® System and Neurodiversity

How the SnapWords® System Answers the Neurodiversity of Children

Because we desire to meet the needs of children in school with equity, our mission is to provide resources that empower children to learn from their own strengths. In a recent blog, On Honoring the Neurodiversity of Children, I talked about the fact that children ARE neurodiverse, and that when we honor the differences in their natural wiring, learning becomes so much easier.

In this blog, I want to show you what resources look like that are created to meet the needs of children all across The Learning Spectrum. The resources I am highlighting are ones that have been used with thousands of children and have a track record of providing equity in learning for children who are considered non-traditional processors.

Characteristics of Children Across the Spectrum

This chart shows the learning preferences of children across the spectrum. A closer look highlights the fact that in most cases, learning needs are exactly opposite when you compare left to right. If we teach to one side of the Spectrum, the other side loses out. So, the only option we have is to teach to both sides at one time. This is where Child1st comes in.

Processing Styles

The Learning Spectrum

This section shines a light on some of the ways in which children take in, process, use, and remember what they learn. 

Left-brain dominant processors:

Right-brain dominant processors:

work well with abstract symbols view symbols as meaningless
think in words think in pictures
learn and use steps in a procedure need the goal and create a procedure for themselves
are sequential processors are global processors
learn from part to whole learn from whole to part
images are superfluous must have images to learn
benefit from drill and repetition learn visually, all at once, and permanently
view their work as an end in itself need relevance and a link to their life
can remember isolated data need a meaningful link to known data – a context
can articulate their thoughts verbally understand but struggle to verbalize

The SnapWords® System Design

The SnapWords® System is designed to be a supplemental set of resources that can be implemented in 40 minutes a day (see a detailed plan in next week’s blog) and requires no training. The resources themselves do the work of reaching children across the Spectrum. Teachers don’t have to know each child’s dominant processing strength; they just have to present the material and each child will come to rely on the elements that match their processing style on their own.


This resource is a collection of 645 high-frequency words that make up around 90% of texts children will read. The reason SnapWords® work for differing processing styles is shown in the illustration below.

How SnapWords meet the needs of visual/spatial children


SnapWords® Mini-Lessons

This resource is integrally meshed with teaching SnapWords® There are lessons for every word and every lesson is designed to meet the diversity of learners. Purchases of SnapWords® include the lessons you need for the product you purchased. 

SnapWords® HIGH

Here is a sample lesson for the word HIGH.

       Show the children the SnapWord® for HIGH and tell them what it says. Body motion: Reaching up as HIGH as you can and say, “The beam is very HIGH in the air!” Study the picture together, noting that the first and last letters are the same and are the tall letters that are supporting the beam. Visual imprinting: Have the children then close their eyes and “see” the word and its image in their imaginations. While their eyes are still closed, ask questions like: “What are the first and last letters?” “What is the second letter?” “The third?”

      Writing: Then have them open their eyes and practice writing HIGH on their whiteboards without referring to the SnapWord® picture word for help. Phonemic awareness/phonics concept: Explain to the children that HIGH is a four-letter word but only has two sounds in it! H-I, except that it takes three letters to make the long I sound!

       Body motion: Have the children make body motions for the IGH spelling: One pointer finger straight up for the I, for the G, make a C shape with your left hand and use your right pointer finger to make the “table” on the bottom of the C, and for the H, hold your palms vertically and touch the tips of your thumbs together. Pattern-seeking/word family: Add other letters to this sound spelling to make: nigh, sigh, thigh, night, light, might, right, sight, tight, blight, bright, flight, fright, plight, slight.

Easy-for-Me™ Decodable Readers

Easy-for-Me Children's Readers Set DThe next step in the System is to give your students the chance to practice the skills and words they have learned in the context of stories.  Our Readers have a teacher’s guide inside every book to serve as a reminder for the adult of the skills you will be practicing. For the word HIGH, you will use Set D, Book 4.

The lesson in the book will prompt you to review the SnapWords® and phonics concepts you have studied to date. There are pre- and post-reading notes and comprehension questions included.

Beyond Sight Words Activities

Beyond Sight Words Activities DThis incredible resource will provide over 200 printable ready-to-use activities that correlate exactly with the previous resources we have talked about. The skills included are word recognition, phonemic awareness, phonics, writing, comprehension, fluency, and critical thinking. A reading assessment is included for each of the difficulty levels and plain word wall words.

Order Your Own Set Today!


Just one of the activities that reinforce the phonics concept is a tactile making words activities downloadable here. There are two sheets of letters that children can use to make words for the IGH family. 

The SnapWords System Infographic

The SnapWords® System is Comprehensive and Complete

We’ve included all the skills children need to be taught. Nothing is left to guesswork either for the adult or their students. Best of all, the design of the resources ensure that all processing styles are spoken to so busy teachers can present the material once and know their students will relate automatically to the strategy that makes the most sense to them.

My next blog, Teaching Phonics: Make the biggest Impact in 30 Minutes a Day, will detail what I did and how I did it. Time was very limited, so I chose the activities that would make the most difference to my students.

Read more about neurodiversity

On Honoring the Neurodiversity of Children

Celebrating Neurodiversity in the Classroom

Teaching Phonics: Make the Biggest Impact in 30 Minutes a Day

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