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Dyslexia Law Solutions: The Magic of the 35-minute Plan


When choosing a dyslexia intervention program, there are many factors to consider — including cost, proven effectiveness, and ease of implementation. For a growing number of school districts, the deciding factor is, “How well can this program be adapted to the structures we already have in place?”

It is this functionality that makes Kelly Chester, Special Education Instructional Coach for Bibb County School District in Bibb County, Georgia a big fan of the Sonday System — especially the 35-minute lesson plans. “A 35-minute lesson cycle is just very doable in a school system,” says Chester. “Teachers can get that instruction time without having to remove kids from general language instruction. We can do it ‘in addition to,’ as opposed to ‘instead of,’ which is so important for our kids because they need more instruction, not less.”

Chester is quick to add that it’s not just the time component that makes the Sonday System so effective. It’s that the time is efficiently filled with proven Orton Gillingham teaching methods. “I’m Orton Gillingham trained,” says Chester, “so that’s really important to me.”

The Sonday System, developed by nationally renowned Orton-Gillingham expert Arlene Sonday, has simplified this complex approach into a streamlined, easy-to-implement multisensory curriculum that empowers teachers to get more students reading sooner — without the added time and cost of additional training.

One key component of each 35-minute lesson plan is the use of a spiraling technique, where concepts are taught and retaught until they are retained. “Struggling readers just need so much repetition and exposure,” says Chester. “The spiraling technique keeps pulling it back in until we can get it into their long-term memory.”

Chester also likes the way the Sonday System uses mastery checks, which are also built into the lesson plan, to personalize instruction. “Orton Gillingham is an individualized philosophy of teaching,” Chester adds. “The mastery checks allow you to really look at each child and determine if we’re moving too slow or too fast.”

And even though she can cite a growing body of data that demonstrates the effectiveness of the Sonday System, what she’s most excited about is the anecdotal evidence. “Their confidence has increased so much,” says Chester. “Their desire and motivation have changed. Kids who said they hated to read are willing to sit down and do it.”

More information about the Sonday System, its Orton Gillingham lesson plans, its cost-effective teacher training requirements and its simple, multisensory reading intervention strategies for students with dyslexia can be found at