Teacher Resource: Multisensory Techniques for Teaching Reading

Using multisensory instruction to teach reading is a popular topic in education right now. What exactly is multisensory instruction and how do you implement it in the classroom?

Let’s start with a definition. According to the Multisensory Instruction article on Understood.com:

Multisensory instruction is a term schools use to describe ways of teaching that engage more than one sense at a time…Learning often relies on a child’s sight to look at text and pictures and to read information. It also relies on a child’s hearing to listen to what the teacher is saying. Multisensory teaching isn’t just limited to reading and listening. Instead, it tries to use all of the senses. Every lesson won’t use all of a child’s senses (taste, smell, touch, sight, hearing and movement). But in most multisensory lessons, students engage with the material in more than one way.

A multisensory approach to teaching reading accounts for the fact that different kids learn in different ways. The effectiveness of this technique is well established by research, especially the work done by Orton–Gillingham. Adopting a method that works for all learners is particularly important when teaching reading to students with ADHD and dyslexia. From the same post:

These kids may have trouble with visual or auditory processing. That can make it hard for them to learn information through only reading or listening. Using multiple senses gives these (and other) kids more ways to connect with what they’re learning…Multisensory instruction helps kids tap into their learning strengths to make connections and form memories. And it allows them to use a wider range of ways to show what they’ve learned.

Ready to incorporate multisensory instruction into your classroom? Check out this blog post from This Reading Momma, which lists over 100 different multisensory teaching strategies organized by sense:


Do you have any great tips for multisensory instruction? Let us know in the comments!


  • Elizabeth Ross, M.A., SMARTS Media Manager