The multisensory method of language arts instruction allows for teaching to all of the learning styles – visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic. SMILA is modeled after the Slingerland® Approach, the program incorporates the students’ auditory, visual, and tactile/kinesthetic senses into instruction for learning language skills. Links are consistently being made between the visual (what we see), auditory (what we hear), and kinesthetic-tactile (what we feel) pathways in learning to read and write. This approach teaches children and adults to link sounds of the letters with the written symbol and to feel how the letter or letters are formed. For instance, as students learn a new letter, they carefully trace, copy, and write the letter while verbalizing the corresponding letter name. Students then read and spell words, phrases, and sentences using these patterns. Teachers and their students rely on all three pathways of learning rather than focusing on a single method. Most students that have had tutoring using the SMILA method show an increase in their Terra Nova scores.
Our teachers, Pre Kindergarten, Kindergarten, First grade and Second grade, are trained in using the SMILA technique. We also offer after-school SMILA reading tutoring for Kindergarten through Fifth grade.