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Language-Based Curriculum

Language-Based Curriculum

Students attend Cambridge School because they have been diagnosed with a language-based learning disability — such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, auditory processing disorder, or executive function difficulties — and have struggled in traditional academic settings. These bright children thrive at Cambridge through the support of our:

  • Language-based curriculum that utilizes evidence-based programs
  • Explicit, direct, and systematic instruction that is carefully individualized to meet the needs of each child
  • Multi-sensory teaching techniques that create more concrete and complete learning experience
  • Classroom instruction supported by cutting-edge technology

Enhanced by small classes, our approach allows each student to progresses at his or her pace, leading to increased mastery of skills and improved self-esteem.

Additionally, all Cambridge School teachers, regardless of their content specialty, are trained in the language programs we use, including, but not limited to:

  • Orton-Gillingham
  • Wilson Reading System® (Level-1 certification)
  • Lindamood-Bell® Learning Processes
  • Hochman Basic Writing Skills
  • Story Grammar Marker®

Our language-based curriculum includes three, 45-minute periods of language instruction daily, including language, written expression, and reading. Information regarding the programs and approaches we use at Cambridge can be found below.

Language (Phonemic Awareness, Reading, and Spelling)

Language (Phonemic Awareness, Reading, and Spelling)

Orton-Gillingham

Orton-Gillingham is the original sequential, multi-sensory, phonics-based methodology.  Basic sound/symbol associations are introduced by incorporating visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities. A three-part drill engages these senses while students are introduced to and integrate new phonetic concepts. The program engages students through the use of multi-sensory tools including sand-trays, blending boards, vowel tents, “air writing”, and writing screens. Students build phonemic awareness and increase phonological processing — foundational skills for reading and spelling.

Wilson Reading Programs

Wilson Reading Programs are based on the Orton-Gillingham philosophy. Through direct, sequential, multi-sensory instruction students learn the structure of the English language and increase decoding and encoding skills to a mastery level. Lessons introduce new concepts while reinforcing those already learned.

Wilson Reading System® – The Wilson Reading System® is the foundation of all Wilson intervention programs including Fundations® and Wilson Just Words®. The Wilson Reading System®  is an intensive program for students in grades 2 – 12 who are not making sufficient progress through their current intervention or require more intensive structured literacy instruction due to the level of their language-based learning difference. At Cambridge School instruction in the Wilson Reading System® is provided in 1:1 or small group settings.

Wilson Fundations® Used in our Lower School, Fundations® is an early intervention program based on the principals of the Wilson Reading System®. Through research-based strategies and systematic and explicit instruction Fundations® provides comprehensive instruction in reading, spelling, and handwriting.

Wilson Just Words® Used in our Middle School, Wilson Just Words®, is a word study program with an emphasis on phonemic awareness, word structure, and fluent decoding and encoding skills. Just Words®  is designed for students with decoding and encoding skills that are below average. It provides information at a sophisticated level with an accelerated introduction to the six syllable types and spelling rules.

Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing® (LiPS®)

The Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing® Program for Reading, Spelling, and Speech (LiPS®) program builds phonemic awareness. It begins with discovering how speech sounds are articulated and extends into reading and spelling multi-syllable words and contextual application. LiPS® uses a multi-sensory approach to increase knowledge of letter symbols and their corresponding sounds. Cambridge language specialists guide students to identify what is “working” in their mouths (lips, tongue, jaw) to discriminate and identify the subtleties that exist between speech sounds. Students are also guided towards self-correcting their errors using feedback from feeling the positions used in the production of sounds. Multi-sensory instruction aids in comprehension of concepts.

Seeing Stars®

The Seeing Stars® Program for Reading Fluency and Spelling is a Lindamood-Bell program that helps students develop symbol imagery for sounds within words and visual memory for orthographic patterns. Cambridge uses aspects of the Seeing Stars program to help students build symbol imagery skills, such as “air-writing” simple and complex syllables and high-frequency prefix and suffixes. In addition to working with word parts, sight words are also presented so that students have a stronger base of sight words that they can read and spell with success.

Written Expression (Expository-Writing and Handwriting)

Written Expression (Expository-Writing and Handwriting)

Hochman Basic Writing Skills

The Hochman Basic Writing Skills program helps students develop expository writing skills. The goal of the writing program is to enable students to express clearly and accurately in written form, the ideas they are able to verbalize. At the heart of this program is intense work at the sentence level. Multi-sensory activities that include sentence expansion, sentence starters, and conjunctions empower students to develop the skill of writing linguistically complex sentences.

Cambridge language specialists also provide direct instruction in the process of writing, which gives students the structure and organizational strategies integral to the task. Lessons emphasize planning, outlining, proofreading, and editing. Study skills including note taking, paraphrasing, and summarizing. Mechanics of language and writing, and grammar are included and practiced. The primary emphasis is on providing a framework for organizing written expression while building linguistic complexity.

Since many students have difficulty applying the writing skills learned in one class to the subject matter of another, reinforcement is important. Therefore, teachers of science, social studies, mathematics, art, etc. help to carry over and reinforce the skills the students have learned in their writing classes. This consistent reinforcement of writing skills assures that students learn to think and write with precision and confidence.

Directionality and Handwriting Exercises

Directionality and handwriting exercises are an important component of our Lower School program and are performed daily. To develop handwriting fluency, it is essential for students to internalize the formation of letters beginning with proper top to bottom and left to right movement.

Using multi-sensory techniques, manuscript writing is taught in Lower School I & II using the D’Nealian™ method and cursive writing in Lower School III & IV using the WilsonⓇ sequence for letter formation.

In addition to handwriting practice, students also receive instruction in touch typing skills to increase keyboard awareness, speed, and accuracy.

Reading (Fluency and Comprehension)

Reading (Fluency and Comprehension)

Guided Reading

Guided Reading is a strategy that helps students to apply the skills that are required to comprehend what they read. This approach begins by introducing a book by accessing students’ prior knowledge, and building a background and a purpose for reading. As they work their way through the book, Cambridge language specialists guided lessons help students to recognize context clues, make predictions, and use higher order thinking skills. With guidance, students come to possess the skills and knowledge necessary to read and comprehend increasingly difficult text with greater independence and success.

Visualizing and Verbalizing®

The Visualizing and Verbalizing® Program for Language Comprehension and Thinking is a Lindamood-Bell program that helps students develop concept imagery — the ability to create an imaged gestalt from language. The program applies concept imagery to reading comprehension, following directions, oral language comprehension,  higher order thinking skills, expressive language, and writing. At the heart of the Visualizing and Verbalizing® program are 12 structure words. This helps students to develop the skill of “making a  picture or movie” in their minds as they read from the text or as they take in auditory information, for example, storytelling. As the student becomes skillful with the strategies in this program his/her reading comprehension, listening comprehension, critical thinking, and expressive language skills improve.

Read NaturallyⓇ Live

Read NaturallyⓇ Live is an online implementation of Read Naturally’s highly effective fluency intervention. Read NaturallyⓇ Live provides a framework for students to improve reading fluency. This research-based reading program combines three powerful strategies for improving the speed and accuracy that is crucial to effective reading. Read NaturallyⓇ Live also supports vocabulary development and promotes comprehension. This effective strategy combines modeling, repeated reading, and progress monitoring to increase students’ success and attitude toward reading.

Story Grammar Marker®

Story Grammar Marker® is a research-based program that provides explicit, systematic instruction in narrative development and expository text comprehension.  Its multi-sensory approach is designed to develop oral language skills, written expression, critical thinking, and perspective taking. The SGM® program explicitly teaches the overall organization of a story, such as character, setting, initiating event, and resolution. This practice of externalizing story elements using visual tools,  effectively reduces the load on working memory and allows students to focus on translating their ideas into words. Additionally, the SGM® tools and maps highlight the microstructure of text, which is the use of linguistic devices that convey meaning and promote critical thinking. While this method effectively advances literacy skills, it also enables students to understand emotions, motivations, and perspectives and to more effectively retell the story.

Additional Language Enrichment

Additional Language Enrichment

Idiom Instruction

The language of inferences, sayings, and idioms can be difficult to grasp for learning different students — children who can be very literal in their thinking. The entire school community is instructed in “The Idiom of the Week” which is an interesting way for the students to enrich their language and assist them in moving from concrete thinking to more abstract thinking. Exposure to inferences, sayings, and idioms also help with reading comprehension skills.

Storytelling

Storytelling, a unique art form, is part of the Lower School curriculum. Storytelling creates a bridge between written and oral language and improves listening, reading comprehension, and literacy skills. Storytelling also builds self-esteem, exposes students to cultures through folklore, provides problem-solving techniques for conflict resolution, and teaches students how to relate with empathy toward others.

Greek and Latin Word Roots

Middle School I & II students learn Greek and Latin word roots to help them increase vocabulary and reading comprehension. Each week, students are presented with strategic vocabulary instruction through Greek and Latin word parts from the book series, Vocabulary from Classical Roots. Students are empowered with a useful, transferable technique for making sense of unfamiliar vocabulary across content areas and on standardized tests. Classroom exercises encourage students to think about word relationships, determine correct usage in context, complete analogies, and use words in writing and discussion. Teachers also provide students with multi-sensory activities that include these word roots so that they become internalized.


Cambridge School is NOT Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes nor is it affiliated with, certified, endorsed, licensed, monitored or sponsored by Lindamood-Bell, Nanci Bell, Phyllis Lindamood or Pat Lindamood. Lindamood-Bell – an international organization creating and implementing unique instructional methods and programs for quality intervention to advance language and literacy skills – in no way endorses or monitors the services provided by Cambridge School.

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