Our model uses specific materials which we have found effective. The mix of decoding and orthographic mapping lessons, contextualized reading practice and group-building games collectively create a unique and enjoyable learning experience. We also have added the app Ultimate Phonics that students can use to practice their decoding.

The Bare Bones of Reading (PDF)

Decoding Programs

ABECEDARIAN Reading Program by Michael Bend, Ph.D.

We stress the use of a systematic, intensive, efficient program. ABeCeDarian is easy to learn, scripted to teach you how to correctly use it, inexpensive, and offers a lot of free support materials online.

NOTE: In response to the exciting research listed in our research section, Michael Bend has adapted and improved his workbooks and teachers’ guides. BE SURE TO ORDER THE NEWEST  VERSIONS.

Dr. Michael Bend and ABeCeDarian have joined with Sharpen Reading where opportunities for its use are being greatly expanded. They are interested in working with adult learners and adult educators who might like to try out the new offerings of the program and help them develop versions of the materials specifically suited for adult education.
Dr. Bend sent us this description of how ABeCeDarian, as part of Sharpen, will be changing: is happy to announce the availability of new digital versions of the ABeCeDarian Reading Program, now rebranded as Sharpen Reading. Our initial offering, the beginning level of the curriculum for non-readers and very beginning readers, is now available by monthly subscription, and the next level of the program will be available in April, 2023, with more content added throughout the year. These initial digital offerings are designed for in-person teaching, and soon will be enhanced to meet the needs of remote teaching as well. The curriculum contains all of the activities in ABeCeDarian in the same sequence, with some additional features not possible with the print edition, including demonstration videos for each activity, and automatic tracking of student performance in key areas.

The “old” ABeCeDarian print materials will still be available and can be purchased at
Sharpen also offers outstanding assessment tools designed to provide early identification of students who are at high risk of having difficulties learning to read.  These tools include a groundbreaking genetic assessment, a family history survey, a language milestones survey, and a K-2 screening assessment. The assessment tools are available for a single price, and the assessments can be purchased with our without the genetic test. The intent is to make early identification readily available and coupled with an outstanding option for early intervention, thus ensuring that all children can get off to a good start in reading.
Please visit for more information and send any questions to  


Michael Bend, Ph.D.
Senior Director, Education Programs, Inc.
The Wheelhouse Building
33 Bradford Street; Office 30
Concord, MA 01742
cell:  607-227-7368

REWARDS for teaching decoding multi-syllable words, from Voyager Sopris.

Orthographic Mapping Activities

ONE MINUTE ACTIVITIES in Equipped for Reading Success by David Kilpatrick, PhD, 2016.


Contextualized Reading

LET’S READ: A LINGUISTIC APPROACH, by Barnhart & Barnhart, 2010.

TALK OF THE BLOCK (Series) by New Readers Press had gone out of print, but if you call them they will print them to order. There must have been complaints! 1-800-448-8878.

Reading practice using simple themes that apply directly to everyday life is a great way to engage students. We use the Talk of the Block series which consists of 4 main themes; Home, Health, Family and Shopping.

New Readers Press has other great titles as well, such as City Dreams, Health Stories, the Challenger series, and Easy Stories Plus, many with a bit of humor. Students also enjoy the Laubach Readers because they are some of the first stories they can read.

WILSON Reading System Student Readers and Stories for Older Students by Barbara Wilson at

JUNKYARD DAN series and others by Elise Leonard from Fantastic Fiction, Great adult interest novels at low reading level at

TANA REIFF BOOKS, Pathfinders Series, Humour Series and more at Grass Roots Press at

Group Building Games

DOLCH WORDS BINGO–This is long ago out of print, but we may be able to share masters so you can print your own.

CRAZY CARDS  by Sound Readers

Games are a great way to add a  fun component to a program. They help to form closer relationships among students, strengthening the group as a whole. We end each learning session with Crazy Cards; a card game based on UNO and Crazy 8s that that allows for enjoyable decoding practice. It also may help with orthographic mapping if students make up a sentence for the word they lay. There are 15 decks and each focuses on either short vowels (Crazy Shorts), long vowels (Crazy Longs), or the other vowel spellings (Crazy Mores).

We have adapted the game by playing with each person’s cards face up on the table so we can help each other. With the cards visible, the strategizing of the game changes because players know the cards their opponents are trying to get rid of–makes it very interesting in groups with real card sharks! 

Sound Readers has also created new card games and board games which may be great for our students. We’re going to try them, too. The company is giving a discount on these games for people using our toolkit.

Decoding APP

ULTIMATE PHONICS is a great decoding app by Spencer Learning that can be installed on phones, laptops and computers so students can practice anytime, anyplace. 262 lessons, and the first 50 are free. Load from the device app store or at where you can also get support info.