Multisensory Reading Instruction

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multi-sensory reading instruction

Multi-Sensory Reading Instruction

An activity can be considered multi-sensory when more than one sensory mode is used to complete a task. A sensory modes are see, touch, hear, taste, and smell. Each sensory mode brings information into a unique area of the brain. The more sensory modes used in your reading instruction, the easier it is to remember the information.

Multi-sensory reading instruction is crucial for the learners that are struggling when learning to read. These methods will help a struggling learner to file and retrieve information in the brain. This means that he will learn and remember the information being taught.

For example, tracing a letter on sandpaper while saying the sound aloud is a multisensory activity. This double action simultaneously activates more than one pathway in the neural systems of the brain. This helps the individual to remember the targeted task. Touch and sound are activated in this activity and if you use a color that would make three sensory pathways activated.


Repeated Practice

Building Strong Neural Pathways

Your goal in multi-sensory reading instruction is to build strong neural pathways in the brain for reading skills. This is done with explicit instruction and repeated practice using multi-sensory reading instruction methods.

Picture the brain like an open field. You travel through that field every day for a shortcut. Eventually, there is a pathway worn into the grass from taking that shortcut.

We want to develop these pathways in the brain which are necessary for reading effectively. These pathways are built with repeated practice. Good readers already have these pathways but struggling readers can develop these pathways using multi-sensory methods and repeated practice.

Multi-Sensory Activities

Read through the multisensory activities. Choose a couple of activities which fit your reader’s needs.

multi-sensory methods, multi-sensory learning methods
Multi-sensory Methods

Struggling readers usually need to use multisensory activities for practicing phonemic awareness skills, learning letter names and sounds (including two and three letter combinations), and learning new sight words. Some of these activities are better suited to younger learners rather than older learners. You will have to judge which activities are best for your unique situation and your unique learner.


Veronica McCarthy

I am a Certified Reading Specialist who has taught reading in the school system as well as privately for over 25 years. Parenting two children with dyslexia, I have addressed the challenges of a struggling reader as a parent and as a teacher. My mission is to assist parents and teachers to help children become fluent readers, one reader at a time!

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6 thoughts on “Multisensory Reading Instruction
  • Brandon

    This is definitely an eye-opening article! I had no idea that there was even something called multisensory. All of this has ALWAYS interested me and I’ve always wanted to get into practicing the tasks. I just checked out your activities that you mentioned and it looks like I can get started right away. Wow, so easy and fast! I’ll be giving them a go right now, so thanks a lot for this great article 🙂

    • here are the top 10 games to help kids practice reading skillsHi Brandon,
      I am so glad that you liked the article! Multi-sensory techniques helped me to teach the the kids who struggled the most in the classroom. I also used these techniques to teach my own children to read. Two of my five daughters have dyslexia. The Reading Blocks Program uses these techniques in every block. That’s why people have such great results with the program! Another great way to practice reading skills is in a game format. Here are the top 10 games to help kids practice reading skills but have fun at the same time. They will never know they are learning! Good Luck!

  • Godlove

    I never knew that anything existed like multi-sensory practices or methods. I will try to use these simple steps immediately and see what happens.
    Thanks so much for the tips! Godlove

    • Hi Godlove,
      I am so delighted that you are going to try using more multi-sensory methods. They are great to use with everyone, but even more important to use with people who struggle to learn. When you use more than one pathway into the brain, you have more ways to help you retain and retrieve the information that you want to learn.If you are trying to teach someone how to read, check out the Reading Blocks Program. Every block contains several multi-sensory methods to help the person learning to read remember the information. Remembering the information is the key to being successful. Good Luck!

  • This is such a phenomenal topic. I was totally unaware of the term and meaning of “multisensory activities”. I certainly learned something unique from this post!

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