The Lindamood-Bell approach to reading comprehension is quite promising, and you could consider adopting it as part of your teaching program.

You must understand the strengths and weaknesses of this particular technique – though many people can benefit from this particular approach, it doesn’t work the same for everybody. Students learn incredibly differently, so it’s difficult for one method to cover everyone and their learning styles. Lindamood-Bell can be especially helpful for improving reading comprehension, so it’s still worth learning about this approach and its benefits.

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What is Lindamood-Bell?

The Lindamood-Bell technique aims to help students that struggle to read, such as those with dyslexia, various processing disorders, and other conditions. Even without a condition, there might be children who don’t know how to read for many reasons, and Lindamood-Bell offers one-on-one multisensory intervention that assists these students. This is similar to the Orton-Gillingham method, though they have major differences. Lindamood-Bell presents reading as various skills, combining words with imagery to promote a better understanding of letters and their sounds while stimulating the child’s imagination.

The key benefits of Lindamood-Bell

Lindamood-Bell has five main benefits that might influence if you invest in this method. They include:

1. Variety in curriculum materials

Lindamood-Bell takes a multisensory reading perspective – meaning they integrate different media types or materials to improve pupil reading skills. This means a wide range of formats can go alongside this approach, with a strong focus on imagery. Most of the population are visual learners and benefit from seeing the information they need to retain. Still, visual aids are helpful even for students that learn in other ways. This program includes manuals for teachers to help them get the most out of this approach and other useful materials that help them develop individual learning plans.

2. Provides instructional support

Plenty of training opportunities are available for teachers to understand how to best use Lindamood-Bell in the classroom, including introductory courses and overview lectures. This helps educational professionals learn the basics of this approach, which lets them determine the way forward for that institution’s use of Lindamood-Bell. Teachers and schools can be certified in using this method, showing that they have the resources to accommodate any pupils who might be struggling. Learning about this technique and how to approach it can improve your school’s chance of successfully incorporating Lindamood-Bell.

3. Can work for the whole school

Lindamood-Bell works best in certain circumstances, such as helping a struggling student with clear one-on-one guidance. It is a remedial program that bridges the gap between them and their classmates, allowing them to effectively ‘catch up’ to their peers. One iteration of the program, the Human Learning Model, applies to entire classrooms or even the whole school, though this is only effective with the right staff implementing it. The number of qualified instructors the program needs depends on the number of pupils using it, and the cost of training teachers increases over time.

4. Individualized teaching approach

Lindamood-Bell usually uses one-on-one teaching – which offers various benefits for both the teacher and student. This helps ensure that every lesson is one that the student requires and that focuses on developing their reading skills as much as possible. The program begins with an initial assessment determining their strengths and weaknesses, including their possible learning goals. This allows instructors to develop a personalized plan for the student’s time in the program, depending upon their estimated pace. The Lindamood-Bell learning process is mainly about individual students and how schools can accommodate diverse reading difficulties.

5. Frequent sessions

Many instructional programs only see each student once or twice a week, but Lindamood-Bell aims to get even quicker results by seeing students five days a week – the sessions last between one and four hours. When a school uses this program, students work in groups while the sessions last between 30 minutes and two hours. This is still a lot of weekly time that focuses on improving a pupil’s reading comprehension, and you might see significant improvements in just a couple of weeks. Having frequent sessions also maintains momentum between sessions, creating even more noticeable shifts in reading ability.

Who created Lindamood-Bell?

The Lindamood-Bell program has a rich history – which starts with Patricia and Charles Lindamood publishing Auditory Discrimination in Depth (ADD), an early version of the current Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing Program, in 1969. Nanci Bell joined them a year later, and the three created Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes in 1986, building on the research they conducted throughout the intervening years. They set up learning centers nationwide, eventually expanding to Australia in 1996 while refining their school-based programs. To this day, Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes continues to improve upon its various programs and establish more facilities for the children that need them.

Lindamood-Bell programs available to schools

The Lindamood-Bell approach encompasses various individual programs and remedial therapies to help children from kindergarten onwards. These components include:

1. Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing Program

The Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing Program, or Auditory Discrimination in Depth (ADD), is a core part of the overall Lindamood-Bell approach. Not every assessed student requires this particular technique, but it’s one of the most frequent components in their personalized learning plans. This aims to teach pupils how to perceive a sound in isolation and how they blend to produce words. Some phonemes a student finds difficult can be due to a lack of practice but might point toward a learning difficulty. LiPS also showcases how mouths move when producing sounds, a key visual aid.

2. On Cloud Nine

On Cloud Nine is Lindamood-Bell’s mathematics program, which combines imagery and language to facilitate a child’s development in this subject. When discussing children’s reading comprehension, math is not often what comes to mind, but this still involves interpreting symbols and language. The Lindamood-Bell approach is suitable for children suffering from dyscalculia and other number-related difficulties, easily explaining tricky math processes in a way that boosts both reasoning and computation. On top of this, arithmetic difficulties correlate significantly with general reading difficulties, making it important that teachers work to improve these skills in tandem with one another.

3. Talkies

Talkies aim to help children with difficulty speaking, including those with autism spectrum disorder and turn their understanding of written language into proficiency in spoken language. It aims to stimulate dual coding, using different formats to encode information; students who struggle to speak find this process especially difficult. Problems with speaking can lead to intense social difficulties and a lack of confidence – so remedying this at the source could be very helpful. This isn’t an exclusive treatment for speech processing disorders, but it can help to significantly improve their awareness of a link between imagery and language.

4. Visualizing & Verbalizing

Visualizing & Verbalizing assist students with developing an ‘imaged gestalt,’ a mental visualization of a concept or object. Not everybody has this, to begin with, but for some people, this absence makes it harder to comprehend language from an early age. When reading information without their ability to visualize, a student might only gain partial information, limiting their overall understanding of the text. This could result in problems with critical thinking, memory, and speaking further down the line without intervention, which the Visualizing & Verbalizing program aims to tackle.

5. Seeing Stars

Seeing Stars specifically targets a child’s symbol imagery, their ability to turn images and symbols into sounds – a pupil might be able to sound out words well enough but struggle to read them aloud from a page. Improving this, and helping students develop strong symbol imagery wherever possible, boosts their awareness of words, phonemes, and orthographic (letter recognition) skills. Seeing Stars uses hundreds of flashcards and additional easy-to-use prompts containing letters and words to facilitate this. Recognizing letters is paramount for reading and makes it easier for students to correct mistakes.

How much does Lindamood-Bell cost?

The costs for Lindamood-Bell fluctuate depending on various factors, including the number of children and if a training course is necessary to accommodate staff requirements. Training teachers to deliver these programs is a significant amount of the usual costs, which can be around $115 per teacher for every training day. On top of this, the usual materials may cost $350 for each teacher. Implementing Human Model Learning throughout the school could incur fees of up to $50,000 a year, so assessing the benefits and investigating whether a personalized approach would be more worthwhile is always important.

It’s ultimately up to teachers and school administrators to decide if Lindamood-Bell is a cost-effective solution; the teacher, for example, might offer advice on students and their unique learning styles. In most institutions, only a handful of students would require these services, though some places may benefit from the school-wide branch of this program if reading comprehension is particularly low. The Lindamood-Bell approach also boasts a quick timetable for improvement, with successful results usually becoming apparent within a few weeks; this means it isn’t too much of a long-term investment for each pupil.

What makes a learning program successful?

There are certain criteria to consider when deciding which learning program, if any, to implement into the school curriculum. Even relatively short-term programs like Lindamood-Bell are a big investment, so you must understand the main signs of a successful learning initiative. While the specifics of each can vary, these four traits are usually present in a good learning program that you can trust:

Support systems

A good learning program isn’t just a package you buy and use but a service you can continuously rely on to help with your unique needs. For example, they might provide new resources when they’re available, with program specialists available to help with any queries and provide refresher training. Lindamood-Bell is consistently in contact with institutions using their services, offering additional levels and campus learning centers where necessary for additional help. Using Lindamood-Bell can connect you with industry experts, who help teachers compile and follow, personal lesson plans for each student using this program.

Good results

The most significant mark of quality for a learning program is if teachers note significant improvements to their student’s performance due to these courses, assessments, and individualized lessons. It is not enough to trust in the theory behind each program. You also need to look at how they perform in practice. Ensure you look at independent ratings rather than those on the Lindamood-Bell website, which helps guarantee objectivity. Every program has negative reviews from the people it doesn’t work for, so make sure to consider both sides when making your decision.


Having good results once under certain conditions is one matter, but repeating those results is another, and success beyond the initial schools and institutions is a strong mark of quality. Testing this might involve a closer look at the reviews across various settings, many of which can differ greatly from your current institution. Check how schools within the state, or the local area, have used Lindamood-Bell to their advantage, as though flexibility is a key part of the program, it may perform better in some environments when compared to others.

Range of options

Not every student learns the same way – and a robust learning program must accommodate this by offering an impressive range of learning options. In one institution, no two students are likely to receive the same aid from any Lindamood-Bell program, as they might have separate conditions that stop them from reading to the same standards as their peers. The Lindamood-Bell approach does rely quite heavily on imagery, which isn’t going to fit every pupil but is broadly effective for many students. The variety in materials and even the programs allow Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes to help more people.

The differences between Lindamood-Bell and Orton-Gillingham

Lindamood-Bell is quite similar to Orton-Gillingham, another school-based program, but some major differences exist. First, the Lindamood-Bell program helps build phonological awareness like its Orton-Gillingham equivalent but also incorporates symbol imagery to help develop orthographic skills. This indicates an important distinction between the two programs; Lindamood-Bell places a much greater emphasis on imagery in its features – Orton-Gillingham still uses it as part of a multisensory approach, but to a lesser degree. Orton-Gillingham is more about reading, whereas Lindamood-Bell incorporates speaking and visualization in its various school programs.

Good speaking and visualization skills often correlate to a high-level reading ability – so it appears Lindamood-Bell is taking a more holistic approach, addressing other symptoms which feed into reading difficulties. Orton-Gillingham does involve learning how to produce sounds to a degree, but Lindamood-Bell takes this further by showing how to perceive these sounds in the first place, which might be a significant obstacle. Comprehension is essential for reading and writing, and Lindamood-Bell’s emphasis on this may encourage you to choose it over Orton-Gillingham and various other alternatives.

Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes has developed a range of unique programs that can help students keep pace with their peers when reading at any point in their K-12 journey. Their approach may not be for everyone, but their focused individual approach and broad techniques allow Lindamood-Bell to remain a prominent (and respected) name in reading-based learning programs. The initial assessment reveals which of the various specific programs would be most helpful for each child, targeting specific problems such as the lack of an imaged gestalt. Overall, the Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes approach can benefit struggling students, but make sure you take the time to figure out if it’s a perfect fit for your cohort.