The Stevenson Program is an alternative approach for teaching reading, spelling and other basic language skills. Stevenson is highly effective with students who have learning problems and provides special advantages to problem-free students as well. The program possesses several unusual qualities, but its strategic use of mnemonics is probably the most important one. “Mnemonics” (pronounced neh-MON-iks) is a term for memory aids. The sandwich and cake you see here are mnemonic clues that help students understand and remember the structure of certain classes of words. In the July/August 1997 edition of Teaching Exceptional Children, researchers summarized the results of 18 meta-analyzes on different types of interventions in special education1. Mnemonic instruction was considered the most effective of these interventions. The Stevenson Program integrates this methodology with other strategies in imaginative ways to teach reading, spelling and more.
No single instructional technique can solve all learning problems. Therefore, the Stevenson Program weaves together a variety of methodologies to improve students’ decoding, encoding and comprehension. The program works from a base of structured phonics, and presents phonetic elements in a unique sequence. The program teaches both sound/symbol correspondence and linguistic structures with multi-sensory techniques. Stevenson incorporates specific phonemic awareness exercises, beginning in the earliest lessons. Direct instruction is also applied consistently. And, of course, the program uses mnemonics to enhance all of these strategies. Using several methodologies allows Stevenson to accommodate a variety of common learning problems.
The Stevenson Program uses visual clues to help teach the full range of word attack skills, from learning letters to recognizing vowel patterns to unlocking multi-syllable words. Here you see the mnemonic clue that teaches the letter c. Along with this clue, Stevenson provides multi-sensory activities and direct instruction to elicit the hard sound of c and associate it with the letter shape. This approach to sound/symbol correspondence is thorough, but not unique. The Stevenson Program, however, takes this approach a step further. Click below to learn more.
1. Blum, I., Forness, S., Kavale, K. & Lloyd, J., (1997). Mega-Analysis of Meta-Analyzes, What works in special education and related services. TEACHING Exceptional Children (July/August) 4-9.