Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Founded in 1974, the AVKO Educational Research Foundation promises in their mission statement to "provide free and low cost resources to home and school educators in order to achieve literacy for all even despite learning challenges or dyslexia." Their website,, offers a low cost yearly membership to the site providing resources and support for those coping with or teaching a dyslexic reader. As a member of TOS Review Crew I received a complimentary Basic membership to the AVKO website in exchange for this review.

Serving as the Research Director of AVKO, Michigan native, author and educator, Don McCabe
is passionate about teaching literacy. His passion probably stems from his own personal struggles. His autobiography, To Teach a Dyslexic chronicles events of his life that enabled him to read, write and also teach. McCabe is dyslexic and has made it his life pursuit to decode the logic of the English language being quoted on his website with the following statement:

"English does have an internal logic that good readers and good spellers somehow subconsciously learn without being taught. Dyslexics tend to be logical and try to follow what
they have been taught. But the way reading is
taught today has nothing to do with this internal logic. English has highly consistent logical patterns. So, if we exclude the very few (but highly common) "insane" words such as was and does, English can be said to be 99.9% phonically consistent. The anti-phonics people fail to realize the vast difference between phonetics, phonemics, and phonics."

In addition to serving as Research Director for the AVKO Educational Research Foundation, McCabe has authored over 20 books and articles relating to teaching reading and spelling including The Patterns of English Spelling, a reference tool for teachers providing all English words which follow any particular spelling pattern. McCabe has set forth a challenge on his website for any researcher or politician willing to fund it which provides for achieving a 97% Satisfactory Literacy for American 15 year olds in 25 years or less. McCabe is committed to the study of language and teaching of reading.

Our family has never had a struggle with dyslexia, but my second daughter absolutely struggled with learning to read and spelling. Reading over the information provided on the AVKO website I began to understand how I might have taught her better while she learned to decode English. Many homeschooling families are familiar with the AVKO spelling curriculum Sequential Spelling. I have not used it in my homeschool, and found it a bit too late in my daughter's primary education to benefit from it, but it is my understanding the curriculum follows all the principles discovered through McCabe's research and is highly successful in teaching students to spell who have been unsuccessful with other approaches.

I used my complimentary membership to the AVKO website to educate myself since I presently have no dyslexic students. As a member I had access to supplementary worksheets that coordinate with the Sequential Spelling curriculum, access to 6 audio workshops on MP3 files, a variety of free e-books downloadable from the website, and a 25% discount on all other AVKO materials. I chose to listen to McCabe's workshop, Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative, Don't Mess with Mr. Inbetween. I found the sound clear and uninterrupted, but the lack of visuals left me a bit uninspired. All workshops are designed to help teachers become better educators of reading and spelling.

A Basic Membership for one year costs $25.00 and includes:

Payment for membership can be made with VISA, MasterCard, Discover, PayPal, AMEX or e-check. For those who prefer NOT to shop on-line the foundation will accept a personal check mailed to them.

For more information regarding teaching dyslexic students and the resources offered by AVKO please visit their website, read their blog at, become a fan on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

No comments: