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Direct Instruction Reading/Spelling


Classical School uses Direct Instruction to teach kindergarten through grade three beginning reading and to teach kindergarten through grade six spelling. Direct Instruction’s methods—teacher-directed lessons, unison student responses, and efficient use of classroom time—are key parts of Classical School’s culture.

Direct Instruction is scripted and systematic. Its lessons are carefully planned and tested in classrooms prior to publication in order to maximize student learning through just the right amount of repetition for each new concept while building upon previously introduced knowledge. Developed by Siegfried Engelmann nearly 50 years ago, Direct Instruction is effective with all kinds of students ranging from at-risk to highly gifted. Engelmann builds his programs on the premise that all children can learn—and that if children don’t learn then the teacher has not truly taught.

Direct Instruction was the clear winner in the U.S. government’s largest and most expensive educational study comparing different educational approaches – Project Follow Through.

Why don’t more schools use Direct Instruction? Essentially, Direct Instruction techniques (teaching to mastery, teaching key skills first, and immediately intervening when a bad habit is forming) run counter to the accepted practices and philosophy of today’s educational community. Currently, the overwhelming educational consensus is that a teacher should be a “guide on the side,” not a “sage on the stage.”

Happily, Classical School and its founding board members saw the potential benefit of Direct Instruction. Since then, hundreds of Classical students have learned to read and spell using some of the most effective, systematic and efficient programs available.