Main Office (973) 334-2861
Lower/Middle School (973) 334-4375
Craig High School (973) 334-1234

The Craig Lower & Middle Schools

Reading Curriculum

Learning to read is a complex process. The teachers at The Craig School are trained in a multitude of multisensory reading programs that target the specific weaknesses contributing to a child’s struggle with reading.  The following are descriptions of the various multisensory reading programs that are utilized at The Craig School. 


Orton-Gillingham Approach:  An instructional approach intended primarily for use with individuals who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing of the sort associated with dyslexia. It is most properly understood and practiced as an approach, not a method, program, system, or technique. In the hands of a well-trained and experienced instructor, it is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility.

Project Read Phonology: This strand of Project Read is a basic decoding method that relies on visual diagrams and hand signals to teach the elements of language. The program begins with phonemic awareness and moves to sound-symbol correspondence, syllabication, and finally to context.

Project Read Linguistics: This strand reviews all the 44 special sounds presented in the Phonology strand, but with more emphasis on multisyllabic words. The program teaches closed and open syllables, vowel teams (e.g., ea, ie, oa), and the five rules for dividing words into syllables or “cutting patterns.” The syllable combinations and rules are visualized as segments of the number 7 and the number 5, respectively, and each lesson is taught with a rhyme and hand signals. Students are also taught prefixes, suffixes, roots, and word origins.

Wilson Reading System: The Wilson Reading System, first published in 1988 by Barbara Wilson, is a phonologically based system that teaches children to segment words and syllables into sound units (sound/symbol relationships) in a multisensory manner. Syllable types and word construction rules are also taught. The program emphasizes both decoding and encoding (spelling).

Benchmark Word Identification Program: Benchmark is a method designed specifically to improve – the awareness of the spelling patterns of the English language. Benchmark students learn a series of keywords each containing a specific spelling pattern. For example, the keyword make contains the spelling pattern a-k-e. Once the student learns the keyword and spelling pattern, other words can be identified with the same spelling pattern, e.g., flake and spake. When practicing a lesson the student is taught to verbalize the connection repeating, “If I know make then I know flake.” Spelling patterns and keywords can also be combined to help students decipher multisyllabic words.

Benchmark and The Orton-Gillingham Approach complement each other. Teachers trained in Orton-Gillingham methods are reinforced in Benchmark lessons. Conversely, Benchmark keywords are carefully chosen to reinforce phonics rules such as hard and soft sounds. The sound-symbol relationships may be more effective with auditory learners whereas Benchmark keywords may appeal to visual learners. Taken together, the two approaches offer a comprehensive system of instruction in decoding and encoding (spelling) for Craig students.

Lexia Phonics Based Reading: Lexia software teaches phonics and early reading in an entertaining and colorful manner allowing the student to work independently either at school or at home. The Early Reading program includes rhyming, recognizing initial and final sounds, segmenting, blending, letter knowledge, sound/symbol correspondence, consonants, short vowels, and consonant digraphs.

Reading S.O.S.: A Lexia program designed for older children. The program includes word-attack and contextual strategies that help the child identify multi-syllabic words, prefixes, suffixes, and word roots.

Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing (LiPS) Program: Children who have poor phonemic awareness have difficulty with decoding and spelling often substituting and reversing sounds and letters and mispronouncing words, e.g., “death” for “deaf.” The LiPS program teaches students to become aware of the movements of the mouth which produce speech sounds. As children begin to understand how speech is produced, they begin to self-correct their reading and speech.


Read Naturally: There is a strong correlation between reading fluency and reading comprehension. Readers struggling with decoding have difficulty reading fluently and hence comprehension suffers. Read Naturally is a fluency program that consists of guided oral reading with quantitative feedback and materials for assessing comprehension.

Great Leaps: Great Leaps is another fluency program that consists of a series of timed selections of syllables, phrases, and narrative text. Students practice reading a selection for a timed period until the reading is error-free.


Project Read Story Form is a multisensory approach to teaching students how to analyze the underlying structure of narrative text.

Project Read Report Form is a multisensory approach to teaching students how to analyze the underlying structure of nonfiction text. This strategy is reinforced when students are taking notes in middle school. 

Visualizing & Verbalizing: This program developed by Nanci Bell, addresses the problem of children who have poor visualization skills. They may see parts or details of a picture, but be unable to integrate them in an organized whole and are said to have “weak concept imagery.” These children may read well but may struggle with comprehension.

Note and Notice Strategy

Note and Notice introduce “signposts” that alert readers to significant moments in a work of literature, or expository text and encourages students to read closely. Learning first to spot these signposts and then to question them, enables readers to explore the text, and find the evidence to support their interpretations of the text. 


Morphology: Reading, math, and content area teachers teach vocabulary through instruction in morphology.  Morphology is the study of prefixes, suffixes, and root words.  These word parts are shared by thousands of words. By learning to quickly recognize them and learn their meanings, the students can significantly improve their reading, spelling, and vocabulary knowledge.

Word Warm-Ups: This reading program developed by Read Naturally features systematic phonics instruction that teaches students to decode and encode one-, two-, and three-syllable words easily. Audio-supported lessons for teaching phonics allow for individualization and enable students to work independently.

Main Office
The Craig Lower/Middle School Campus

15 Tower Hill Rd
Mountain Lakes, NJ 07046
Phone 973.334.4375 | Fax 973.334.2861

Craig High School

24 Changebridge Road
Montville, NJ 07045
Phone 973.334.1234 | Fax 973.334.1288

The Craig School Admission and Administration office

10 Tower Hill Road
Mountain Lakes, NJ 07046
Phone 973.334.1295 | Fax 973 334 1299


Follow Us