Legatrain reading method

Use of the staccato-type reading method in the dyslexia therapy

The well-known didactic educator Hans Aebli properly said: “Professional success and advancement in a career require the ability to deal with […] literacy. The ones who are capable will keep up with the material; those who fail will stay back a class or perish.”

From this follows that dyslexic children who show problems with reading are affected worst, since a reading disability does not have a negative effect on the subject German only, but affects all learning subjects, ruins the entire educational career and often prevents the people concerned to receive an appropriate professional training. Therefore it is of special relevance for these children to get the most effective pedagogical therapy possible.

Reading practice according to the “staccato-type reading method” has been carried out in our practices for 13 years now. This method was developed by Dr. Nina Hellwig, being essentially based on the syllabling approach of Ch. Röber-Siekmeyer. The therapeutic expertise of the staccato-type reading method consists of loud reading of syllables and of simultaneous rhythmic knocking of the syllables, first with the index finger solely and later with a corresponding finger for each syllable. The syllables are separated by a vertical line from each other. By this way a synchronous stimulation of the precision motor activity of the brain center, motor center and sensory speech center can take place. This contributes to a better connection (integration) of these brain areas relevant to reading. Several scientific investigations proved that the motor activity and especially the precision motor activity are closely linked with the development of language. The obvious reason for this is that the processing centers of the precision and oral motor activities and of the speech have adjacent cerebral locations and are closely connected. This clearly shows the evolutionary relationship between precision motor activity and speech. We know that children with reduced skills in precision motor activity also show problems in speech development and in learning to read.

Moreover one can assume that perception- and language-based visual-motor and audio-articulatory disabilities are treated simultaneously by the synchronous knocking and speaking. According to the statement of parents and teachers and to own observations, 85% of children with reading disabilities showed significant improvements in reading by the use of this method in the therapy of dyslexics.

The staccato-type reading method may be regarded as a neuro-didactic approach of reading acquisition. The basic ideas of that reading method have emerged from the connection between linguistics and modern brain research.

Dr. Nina Hellwig

Erlangen, 2013