Take Flight:  A Comprehensive Intervention for Students with Dyslexia

What is Take Flight?

Take Flight: A Comprehensive Intervention for Students with Dyslexia is a two-year Orton-Gillingham based curriculum written by the staff of the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas.

Take Flight is based on the pioneering research of Dr. Samual T. Orton, neuropsychiatrist, and the educational and psychological insights of Anna Gillingham.  The Orton-Gillingham techniques for children lacking a talent for language became the basis of a pilot from 1965-1975 at the Language Laboratory at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, TX.  An interdisciplinary team worked to incorporate multi-sensory teaching techniques, current findings in learning theories, and discovery teaching into the Take Flight curriculum.  

What makes Take Flight an effective intervention?

Take Flight addresses the five components of effective reading instruction identified by the National Reading Panel's research and is a comprehensive Tier III intervention for students with dyslexia.  

What are the 5 components of effective reading instruction?

  • Phonemic Awareness - Follows established procedures for explicitly teaching the relationships between speech-sound production and spelling-sound patterns.

  • Phonics - Provides a systematic approach for single word decoding.  Students learn 96 grapheme-phoneme correspondences.

  • Fluency - Uses research-proven directed practice in repeated reading of words, phrases, and passages to help students read a newly encountered text more fluently. 

  • Vocabulary - Features multiple word learning strategies (definitional, structural, contextual) and explicit teaching techniques with application in text. Students learn 87 affixes with an emphasis on English morphology.  They learn Anglo-Saxon and Latin roots and Greek combining forms. 

  • Reading Comprehension - Teaches students to explicitly use and articulate multiple comprehension strategies for narrative and expository text.

Who can implement Take Flight?

It was designed for use by a Certified Academic Language Therapist for children with dyslexia ages  7 and older. For children younger than 7 years of age, the curriculum called Pre Flight is used for intervention.

What is a Certified Academic Language Therapist?

Certified Academic Language Therapists (CALT) are not tutors.  They are specially trained to work with students with dyslexia and related language-based learning differences such as dysgraphia and dyscalculia.  They have completed extensive training in multi-sensory structured language at a training center or university program that is accredited by IDA (International Dyslexia Association), and IMSLEC (International Multi-sensory Structured Language Education Council).

Therapy level standards require a CALT to:

Hold a master's degree in education or a related field.

  • Complete 200 course contact hours in an accredited learning therapy program.

  • Complete a minimum of 700 clinical teaching hours.

  • Complete 10 demonstration lessons.

  • Successfully pass The Alliance for Accreditation and Certification of Structured Language Education Exam to gain certification.

How is structured literacy taught?

  • Simultaneous and Multi-sensory - In order to enhance learning and memory, all learning pathways in the brain (visual - auditory - kinesthetic - tactile) are engaged simultaneously.

  • Systematic and Cumulative - Organization of the material follows the logical order of the English language.  Instruction begins with the most simple elements and progresses to the most difficult concepts.  Each lesson is built on the previous concept learned and content is regularly reviewed to enhance retention. 

  • Direct Instruction - Multi-sensory language instruction includes the direct teaching of all concepts.  The therapist does not assume students have learned all of the skills.  

  • Diagnostic Teaching- The instructional plan for every student is based on continuous assessment of individual needs with the goal of content being mastered to the degree of automaticity. 

  • Synthetic and Analytic Instruction - Synthetic instruction presents the parts of the language and how they work together to form a whole.   Analytic instruction presents the whole of language and demonstrates how it can be broken down into parts.

How often do students receive instruction?

The two-year program is taught three to four days per week (60 minutes per day) and is intended for one-on-one therapy or small group instruction.  Take Flight includes 132 lessons with a total of 230 hours of direct instruction.