Preventing Academic Failure (PAF)
Preventing Academic Failure (PAF) effectively prevents, lessens, or eliminates reading difficulties. A nationally recognized program for teaching reading to students with dyslexia, PAF is an Orton-Gillingham-based reading program. Orton-Gillingham refers to the methodology first developed and published in 1940 by Dr. Samuel T. Orton and Anna Gillingham for teaching students with dyslexia. PAF targets grades one through four, and systemically and unequivocally teaches the skills required for the successful acquisition of reading, writing, and spelling.
At our Westchester County school, the Preventing Academic Failure program includes a curriculum sequence (level 1 through 245) that provides a complete language lesson with each new skill taught. The level of difficulty determines the length of time necessary for each new skill. Assessment is proficiency and sequentially based. PAF incorporates Orton-Gillingham Methodology, but with newer research-based instructional practices, and includes these critical components:
- Multisensory instruction: Visual (letters) auditory (sounds), and kinesthetic (motor patterns for writing letters) modalities are used simultaneously to strengthen associations and memory. In order to develop multisensory associations, reading instruction must include the teaching of spelling and handwriting.
- Comprehensive curriculum sequence: This begins with the simplest units of written language (the sounds of individual letters) and progresses to the reading of multisyllable words.
- Direct instruction of phonics: Phonetics instruction is crucial in the development of reading and language skills, and is supported by the use of reading material that contains only sounds and words that have been learned (decodable text).