Effective and Efficient Tools

The site banner proclaims “effective and efficient tools”. We believe the tools we sell are both – as they need to be. Teachers and tutors for public and private schools, as well as home schoolers, must have effective tools to help them teach. The tools we sell use time-honored techniques, such as textured letters for multi-sensory instruction, cursive and manuscript letters, and phonics lessons based on Orton-Gillingham methods. These techniques have been shown to be effective for teaching reading and writing. Maria Montessori used sandpaper letters about a century ago, and equivalent products are in use today. Samuel Orton worked with Anna Gillingham at Columbia University, and with Peter Gow of The Gow School near Buffalo, New York. Orton-Gillingham techniques have been used since the 1930s.

Our cursive and manuscript have also been shown to be effective through continued use and research. Some educators and schools use only manuscript, but cursive handwriting has wide support, and has been shown to address some problems that are common for students who are having trouble with legibility and automaticity. Anna Gillingham, as well as William Cruickshank of Syracuse University have recommended the use of cursive for students who are having trouble learning to write. Cursive addresses some of these students’ problems, such as size constancy, reversals, ┬ástarting point, and spacing.

In addition to effectiveness, teaching tools must be efficient for the teacher. Our products include organizational aids. For instance, the textured phonics cards include coding on the edges so that a teacher can find the cards for a particular phonics group visually. The color and position of the coding panels is distinctive for each group. Our cursive and manuscript letters are organized into groups so that several letters can be taught to the students as a group. The construction of the letters uses common paths within the groups. For instance, the cursive lower-case c is the basis for the lower case letters a, d, g, q, and o in the 2 o’clock letter group. This allows the students to learn a path and re-use it efficiently in other letters. The textured surface provides for efficient practice, because the student will practice a correct, legible letter, or else get immediate tactile feedback where the student’s stroke deviated from the target stroke.

The Tixlers Letters products provide effective and efficient tools to teach reading and writing. Our goals are fluency or automaticity for reading and writing, and legibility for writing. With those goals met, you can move on to the higher level skills, such as spelling, grammar, composition, and comprehension.