The Scenic Route Literacy Process

Baruch HaShem

Where are we now?

Before we begin our journey, we musk know where we are and where we would like to go.


An Initial Screener has the purpose to assess learners’ academic risks as it compares their scores on foundational skills to norm referenced benchmarks.

POINT 2: Literacy Evaluation

We then conduct a Full Battery of Diagnostic Reading Assessments  with the purpose of identifying learners areas and strengths, challenges and interests in order to plan a customized learning plan. We do this by assessing the individual sub-components of reading  such as phonemic awareness, symbol imagery, alphabetic principle, word attack, accuracy and fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Image result for scarborough rope
The Scarborough Braid shows how complex reading may be. Many strands need to be woven together for successful reading. We assess many strands separately and together.

To decipher instructional needs especially regarding the intensity and duration of intervention, we use norm referenced tools to gain more insight into the gaps we hope to close and we use skill inventories to establish baselines.

A literacy evaluation includes a written report and a consultation explaining the results and supports with planning an intervention.

Where do we hope to go? How do we get there?

Next, we map out our route and plan the steps to our goal.  Teaching, tutoring, therapy or intervention… whatever we call it, it’s the personal interaction, training and transfer of skills that helps your child become the best reader they can be.


Choice 1: Direct therapy

Based on logistics, private tutoring can occur at student’s school or at our office and during or after school hours. The purpose of a tutoring session, is not only to provide valuable targeted instruction, but also to provide the student with a weeks worth of opportunities for independent learning.

Learners will be able to borrow a couple of leveled books from amongst almost a whooping, and growing, 1,000 curated books. From classics to mystery, from emergent reader and decodable books to chapter books, from Jewish history to engineering, the choices are endless.

To strengthen the connection between learning and real life applications, learners who receive regular weekly sessions will receive a seat on an electronic library classroom where they will receive targeted weekly reading assignments based on interests, level and needs from amongst thousands of digital books and resources.

Choice 2: Indirect Therapy 

Consultation, Coaching, and Collaboration with school and home based educators          (SETSS providers, classroom teachers, existing school services)

This option is optimal for students who have existing support services in place and would like to optimize its benefits while keeping a leaner budget.

It will be necessary for students who are receiving this indirect service to receive a full reading evaluation so we can design, plan and oversee a rigorous learning plan. Additionally, we can assist the team in obtaining pertinent and specialized learning materials by either renting or supplying items based on the your needs.

What’s included?

Point 3: Structured Phonics in the Balanced Literacy Model

Why do we teach Structured Phonics, which is essentially Systematic and Explicit Phonics Instruction, within a balanced literacy model?

Explicit and Systematic phonics instruction has been proven to actually change the way the Dyslexic brain works. Before intervention, the Dyslexic brain primarily and insufficiently uses the Broca’s area for reading but after instruction the reader can also use the Parieto- temporal  and the Occipito-temporal lobes for more efficient reading. This is made possible by stimulating the gear- like brain through multi-sensory and simultaneous instruction.With imaging, we can observe how a proper reading intervention can actually alter the way the brain works!  Amazing!

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 2.57.19 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 1.40.45 PM.png

However, the struggling reader typically needs to practice some essential skills countless times until they can use them automatically. Some readers may need to be exposed to a word 100 times before they can read it by sight. Consequently, the struggling reader needs to be extremely motivated. Fun games and activities help but what can be so much more beneficial is to arouse the learners intrinsic motivation to practice and apply new skills in real life situations such as inquiry based learning, deep and meaningful discussions and of course reading and writing across the genres for pleasure and purpose. Therefore, we used the Balanced Literacy Model as way of providing these real life literacy experiences within a supportive framework.

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 1.58.05 PM.png

We use a Gradual Release of Responsibility to ensure our students are acquiring the essential strategies and skills and using them independently. We make sure we target goals in the learners Zone of Proximal Development and that all the scaffold we use are only for temporary use. We want to make sure that our student can acquire, maintain, generalize and adapt what they are using with self-determination.

Image result for balanced literacy approach

Scenic Route Therapy addresses the following skills, in combinations customized for the needs of each student with the intention of moving our learners through the stages of learning:

  • Print awareness
  • Letter knowledge with handwriting
  • Phonological and Phonemic awareness
  • Word study: phonics, spelling, irregular words, syllabification and morphology
  • Fluency: accuracy, rate and prosody and selecting texts
  • Vocabulary and Language
  • Comprehension: Cross curricula, across genres, including narrative, informative, poetic and opinion texts with strategies for independent learning
  • The writing process
  • Speaking and listening
  • Higher-order thinking skills and
  • Growth Mindset

Our ultimate gaol is to navigate with learners as they reach literacy milestones, embrace the moment and prepare for the future. Our goals are aligned with the NYS Common Core Standards to ensure that our students are on the path to college and career readiness. It is our job as educators to provide learners with the tools they will need to accomplish their life missions, whatever it may be, only the future can tell. Most importantly, we want this generation of children to be mindful about their powers, capabilities and intelligences that can be channeled to help themselves, their communities and the world at large, as we serve our Master – Hashem.