"Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society."(*UNESCO)

These skills are acquired over time are rooted in and develop from oral language.

Based upon needs assessments and action plans that address specific instructional practices, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) through the TTAC network provides resources and professional development on evidence-based practices for teachers and school divisions to support the learning and development of literacy skills for school-age children.

Two primary initiatives, the Multi-sensory Structured Language Pilot Program (MSLIPP) and the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) ™ are currently underway.

MSLIPP: In August 2015 the first cohort of teachers attended a30 hours of live or virtual training in the Orton-Gillingham (O-G) approach to decoding.  Subsequent cohorts have been held in the spring of 2018 and 2017 and the summers of 2016, 2017 and 2018. Teachers apply for the opportunity and are expected to implement the approach with students. TTAC Coordinators for Specialized Reading Instruction provide instructional coaching and assist in monitoring student data.

Announcements of the opportunity come via Superintendent’s memos several months prior to the selected dates.

MSLIPP training is one response to the current demand for teachers who have the skills and knowledge to address the issues of dyslexia among students with specific learning disabilities.

The following links are to the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE’s) website that relate to directly dyslexia:

SIM: The Strategic Instruction Model consists of Learning Strategies (LS) and Content Enhancement Routines (CER). VDOE has a cadre of professional developers among the TTAC staff across the commonwealth. SIM trainers must be certified by the University of Kansas Center for Research and Learning. SIM has been integrated  into the Virginia Tiered System of Supports (VTSS) and the Co-Teaching initiatives.

Strategies were designed to provide 1:1 or small group direct explicit instruction to students with learning disabilities in a diagnostic prescriptive environment. Each strategy has been the focus of at least one research study. Their use has expanded to application in general education with diverse populations. For details consult:

Content Enhancement Routines promote direct explicit instruction, higher order thinking and were developed to be used as tier I instructional supports in inclusive classrooms where there is a range of student skills and knowledge. For details consult:

For further information contact: Judith L. Fontana, Ph.D  Office:  703-993-4496
*"The Plurality of Literacy and its implications for Policies and Programs" (PDF). UNESCO Education Sector Position Paper: 13. 2004.


Judith L. Fontana, Ph.D.
Office: 703-993-4496