About Us

SLD Read is a nonprofit community resource serving West Michigan. Our vision is a community working together for literacy that empowers all individuals to achieve their full potential. To reach this vision, we help individuals with dyslexia, learning differences, and other reading challenges to develop lifelong language skills through our multisensory program. We assist educators to identify learning challenges and provide training and techniques to enhance their reading curriculum. We increase community awareness and understanding of literacy issues.

History of SLD Read

Since 1974,  SLD Read, a community resource of West Michigan, has been committed to bringing the power of reading, writing and spelling to all individuals with dyslexia or other unique learning styles, enabling them to achieve their full potential.

In 1976, SLD Read was instrumental in the formation of the Michigan Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.

SLD Read was founded on 1:1 specialized instruction based on the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading, writing and spelling which includes multisensory techniques, in particular, utilizing the visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile  learning pathways. With the evolution of technology and print resources, and through  support from our community funders such as The Frey Foundation, we have thoroughly updated our Phonics Fundamentals© curriculum materials to include modern graphics, updated resources (including technology based resources) and  a complete activity program for phonological awareness development.

Our training course received accreditation in 2008 and our Education Services Department expanded our tutor training and supervision to include maintenance of accreditation standards. Teachers continue to be underprepared for the complexities awaiting them in the classrooms and expectations are increasing. In 2010, the International Dyslexia Association released the document Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading because “reading difficulties are the most common cause of academic failure and underachievement”. At SLD Read, we responded to this need and expanded our Education Services further by developing a formal Curriculum & Instruction Department. We now offer Professional Development to SLD Read Staff as well as other educators in our communities.

We have further responded by developing workshops for parents and other community members  in learning styles, dyslexia, early childhood  and reading development.

Who are Orton and Gillingham?

Neurologist and psychiatrist Samuel Orton (1879 – 1948) was a clinician and researcher specializing in remedial reading programs and ways to correct speech problems. He was one of the first to identify the syndrome of dyslexia and to offer a physiological explanation for its cause. During his lifetime, Dr. Orton directed many research projects dealing with developmental reading disabilities.

Anna Gillingham(1878 – 1963) was the Director of Remedial Teaching in the Ethical Culture School in New York City, a research fellow at the Neurological Institute of New York, a teacher trainer, and a school consultant in reading and spelling disabilities. Together, Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham developed procedures and comprehensive materials for early identification and remediation of dyslexic children. Their program is known today as the Orton-Gillingham approach.

Current research and years of experience have proven the methods developed by Dr. Orton and Ms. Gillingham to be effective in helping ALL children learn to read and spell. Although originally designed for intensive one-to-one therapy, Orton-Gillingham techniques can be successfully adapted to small groups and regular classroom use.