Why SIS Shines
Sounds In Syllables (SIS) is a highly effective Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching reading, spelling, writing, and the foundations of syntax and grammar. Developed in the 1980's by Sandra Dillon, SIS draws from evidence-based practices in neurology, cognitive sciences, psychology, speech-language pathology, and linguistics. The method is designed to provide durable remediation for students, even those with severe learning disabilities, through a structured, multisensory, and intensive instructional program. Let's explore why SIS stands out as a powerful and unique approach to literacy instruction.
Integration of Proven Teaching Methods: SIS is built upon teaching methods directly derived from renowned educators and researchers, including Patricia and Charles Lindamood, Beth Slingerland, and Aylett Royal Cox. These methods incorporate insights from various fields to ensure comprehensive and effective language instruction.
Multisensory Learning for Strong Neural Pathways: Academic Therapists trained and certified in SIS employ precise articulation of English sounds and sound-symbol relationships. By using multisensory methods, such as visual, auditory, and kinesthetic techniques, SIS triggers positive changes in the way students process learning. Research indicates that these multisensory approaches strengthen weak neural pathways and even create new ones. As a result, students retain the skills they learn and achieve academic success long after completing their work with SIS therapists.
Tightly Integrated and Structured Procedures: SIS employs structured procedures that reshape the way dyslexic students process the sounds and symbols of language. The method emphasizes visual image, auditory response, and motor skills, including left-to-right visual tracking and smooth blending of sounds, leading to accurate and automatic reading.
Small Steps Linked by Motor-Learning Principles: One of the unique features of SIS is its ability to present material in small, incremental steps, closely linked by motor-learning principles. Each consonant and vowel in closed syllables is taught one at a time, followed by reading and spelling practice. New information is then integrated with previously learned material. This incremental and structured approach ensures mastery and retention of skills.
Emphasis on Spelling Instruction: SIS places significant emphasis on spelling instruction, which sets it apart from many other Orton-Gillingham based programs. Students are explicitly taught the most frequent phoneme-grapheme correspondences to mastery before moving on to more irregular correspondences. This approach builds confidence and accuracy in language processing.
Intensity and Explicitness of Instruction: SIS adheres to the principles of neuroplasticity and learning theory. The therapeutic procedures delivered in SIS lessons are highly controlled and structured, building reliable, accurate, and automatic behaviors. Consistent and frequent practice of these procedures leads to long-term memory storage and retrieval of learned skills.