I read this book multiple times the first few weeks I had it. The ideas in this book are more developed than Oelwein's original book, "Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndrome." The steps are well described. Multiple activities (not worksheets) are thoroughly described and blackline masters are provided for teaching reading to children with all types of reading and retention difficulties.
It is important to restrain yourself from skipping steps. I have witnessed how difficult it is for children who have been rushed to skip steps and how they actually regress when they are pushed to the next level before they have mastered the foundation steps for new skills. The method described in this book should make perfect sense to teachers who teach reading remediation to children who have not yet learned to read by middle or high school. It will take time to undo the confusion caused by forcing students too rapidly through the standard steps and then repeating the the same strategies even when it is obvious that those strategies have not worked and are still not working.
Even before reading the book I was implementing many of the strategies and I was also successfully using Tucker signing to help my kinesthetic learners. I was pleased to see that the book contains a chapter on using signing to support student learning. The authors present sound research to support the use of signing. I am working now to reform my methods because I was guilty of moving on before my students were really fluent. I am also guilty of starting reading instruction for students who are not "table ready" or cannot match two identical objects, pictures or symbols. They aren't ready and it is counterproductive to force the issue. Work on table readiness and matching games before starting a reading program.
The authors' method (abbreviated and in my words)is:
1. Acquisition -
a. Matching (picture to picture, word to word, word to picture, etc.)
b. Selecting (selects word from 2 or three other words)
c. Naming (reads the card aloud or uses signs or some other method to denote recognition of the word)
2. Fluency - playing games to promote quick recognition of a word
3. Transfer - student is able to read words in different fonts, colors, size, etc. and imbedded in sentences.
4. Generalization - student recognizes word in environmental print
Vocabulary - building personal and relevant dictionary to record mastered words
Sentence Construction - Building sentences with word cards, letter tiles and in a word processing program
Alphabet and Phonics - Gradual, starting with relevant letters such as letters of student's name. If student is not ready for alphabet and phonics, continue with the preceding acquiring words strategy. It is not necessary to know the alphabet to recognize that a pattern of symbols signifies a name or word. I have students who master over 100 sight words before being able to identify a single letter of the alphabet correctly. They weren't interested in learning that information until reading became a desirable skill and it wasn't desirable until they could read a little bit.
This program is inherently customized to each student and all the materials are easy to make with materials you already have on hand. The authors offer suggestions for recruiting help to make the materials - good idea - teachers are often guilty of not asking for help.