Orton Gillingham has his list of red words: words that cannot be decoded. He also designates some high-frequency words as green words or those you can go ahead and decode. You can find 643 words in our inventory which are colorfully stylized to make learning them easy for your children.
I have a theory: if we access each child’s area of giftedness, we will turn them on to learning. In reality, the brain is already wired to learn. What remains is for us to figure out how to create a learning environment in which brains can learn, want to learn, and do so without a ton of effort on our part as teachers.
When a child is struggling, I believe in looking at the child first and uncovering the beauty of her design. Next, I believe in tailoring instruction to her. Most of the time, this will not happen when a child is in a traditional setting.
I've come to believe that if a child is struggling with memorizing spelling words, she might also have difficulty with reading – and vice versa. The figure below shows the process of sound-spelling pattern acquisition and how a child uses it to advance in reading.
I have worked extensively with children who struggle with reading. If there is a gap in understanding, that gap might as well be a mile wide. Many gaps arise from teaching reading in a sequential, left-brained manner. Right-brained kids will not learn material that is presented verbally, sequentially, and abstractly.