Multisensory Monday: TacScreen Review

Hi Everyone,
I know it’s been awhile since I posted for Multisensory Monday– it’s been a busy time at Ladder Learning as we prepare for many new students this summer!


Today I have a video review of the TacScreen, which is a great multisensory tool for travelling Orton-Gillingham tutors or those who just want another option to keep their students engaged (most of our students love some occasional iPad work to break up the lesson.) The TacScreen would be ideal for students with ADHD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, and Autism Spectrum.

I was sent a free copy of TacScreen to evaluate it, although I had previously purchased a few for my tutors in Atlanta to use. I have been personally using the TacScreen for a few weeks now, and I can definitely say I’m going to leave it on my iPad and continue to use it in my tutoring sessions!

If you would like to purchase your own TacScreen cover, you can do so at

The Top 3 Dyslexia Accommodations

School IEP/504 meetings are coming up!

Here are the Top 3 accommodations which we have found to help our students with dyslexia:

1. Access to AudioBooks (especially important if your child is beginning an Orton-Gillingham program– eventually your child may be able to read all text on his/her own but it takes time to get to that point!) The best we have found is Bookshare paired with the Voicedream app (on an Ipad). Learning Ally is also an option and sometimes the school will pay for your child’s membership.

2. Additional time on tests (because it will take a dyslexic student longer to read/write and re-read text)

3. Use of word-prediction software when writing (Co:Writer is a good one.) This will help your child not have to be concerned with spelling and get his/her ideas onto the page. Eventually your child can use dictation software, but this tends to not work as well for kid’s voices.

Also, please make sure the teachers do not count your child off for spelling, and do NOT make him/her read in front of the class!

If you are interested in learning more about accommodations that help for children with dyslexia, I would recommend watching the 3rd video down on this page: (you can also share this link with your child’s teacher). This video was created by Susan Barton, who is an expert in the field of dyslexia. This handout goes along with the video.

Keep in mind as you watch the video that you are going to choose the 3-5 most important accommodations for your child, and push for those with the school to keep it simple (it doesn’t state that until the very end). You may have more luck getting accommodations informally with your child’s teacher this year, then when the school sees how much they help they may be willing to write it into your child’s plan. This will be important for continuity between years or if your child changes schools.

Multisensory Monday: Phonemic Awareness Apps

Today I wanted to show you some really great iPad apps for working on Phonemic Awareness skills. There are not very many apps out there that help with these skills at a pre-reader level, but one company, Preschool University, has several.

The first one is called “Sound Beginnings” and it’s free on the iTunes store.

The app is designed to match letters to pictures to identify beginning, middle, or ending sounds. Here is a video on how it works:

Obviously, the sound effects and voices are designed to appeal to little kids, so if you are using this app with an older child I would turn the sound off and make the vocalizations myself, or if you are in a classroom you would definitely want to provide headphones.

Another app by Preschool University that I like to use is called “ABC Magic 3.” It has two columns of pictures and you draw a line between the two with the same beginning sounds. You can also do letters to pictures. This is a great activity for any student in the beginning stages of an Orton-Gillingham program who needs more practice with their phonemic awareness skills.

The app “ABC Magic 5” will let you match letters to pictures to find the beginning sound, and gives you a grid of choices (you can set it from 4 to 9 choices and to go from pictures to letters or letters to pictures).

Overall, this company (Preschool University) has 22 apps that focus on phonemic awareness, phonics, and spelling skills, and many of them are free or only $.99 on the iTunes stores. You can see their full line of apps here.

This week Sarah Z. has a great Halloween-themed activity with Ghostbusters theme to help with editing practice. You can check it out here.

Multisensory Monday: Montessori Crosswords

Today’s Multisensory Monday is another app that I and my other tutors use quite often, called “Montessori Crosswords.” We also recommend it to parents of the kids we work with for practice at home because it is self-checking and easy to use. Many of our younger kids LOVE this app and we use it as a reward after we are done with the “harder stuff” :o)

Montessori Crosswords is a Montessori-style “movable alphabet” app with many different features and activities. It encourages children to spell by sound, and can be used by young children who are just learning their letters. The app is made by L’Escapadou (who you may remember from my previous post about “Drawing With Stars”) and costs $2.99 from the app store.

Here is a video which shows off the different things it can do (note how you can sort by phoneme– and the cool animations you can play with after completing a word. There is a different random animation after each word!)

Sarah over at RLAC today has a great game to practice multisyllable words that end with “y” inspired by her dog, whose name is Thirty. Check out her post here: Sandy Thirty.

Orton-Gillingham Tutoring Online

In a recent Facebook post I promised big changes were coming– well, here you go! I have designed a wonderful, user-friendly online tutoring system to deliver Orton-Gillingham reading, writing, spelling, and handwriting lessons to anyone, anywhere. Here is a screen-shot of the tutoring board that I use: Orton-Gillingham Board

I have now been successfully tutoring two students using this board, both in Georgia, while I am here in Santa Fe! I have worked out the kinks and am now happy to offer these services to anyone with the following:

  • a high-speed internet connection
  • a webcam (optional, but nice to have)
  • a headset with microphone
  • If you want handwriting help, you must have a pen tablet

I am offering 50-min lessons for $50/session, any week day (no weekends). Please contact me at santafereadingtutor @ for a free demo!

iPad App to work on reversals

I am always looking for fun ways to help my students with their reversals.

This iPad game helps students with reversals of letters (b/d/p/q) and words (was/saw, etc). You have to tilt the iPad to roll a marble into the correct hole for the letter it says. All of my students love it and beg to play “the marble game!” It costs $1.99 and is available from the iTunes Store: Letter Reflex.