Last updated on March 24th, 2021

PDX Reading Specialist’s Dyslexia Toolkit offers an impressive suite of games and resources to help students with dyslexia and other emergent readers develop phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge. My kindergartener and I gave the toolkit a whirl—here’s what we found. to develop confident and capable learners

I received a free Dyslexia Toolkit (Level 1) from PDX Reading Specialist‘s  in exchange for this review and I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own and I am not required to post a positive review. 

Choosing a Reading Program for Homeschoolers

Before I began homeschooling, I actually looked forward to the day I’d get to teach my children to read. In fact, I may have been a bit overzealous. (Don’t give me that Who? You? look…I know it’s a problem!) I’m not saying that I started constructing DIY reading games for my daughter when she was eighteen months. But I’m not denying it either.

Honestly, I just figured, I love reading. You love being read to. Surely, you’d also like to know how to read to yourself. 

Yeah. Not so much. Although she was as curious as a kitten let outside for the first time in the beginning, the novelty very quickly wore off and the “games” soon became a chore. 

Nonetheless, she did (eventually) learn how to read. Later—as I tried to get her to do her schoolwork while she clutched her latest Wings of Fire installment tightly to her chest and cast an evil eye in my direction—I wondered if all the work I’d put into teaching her to read was necessary. Maybe she would have gotten there on her own. 

So, with my next kid, I tried something different. (Homeschooling, after all, seems to be little more than a series of parental and educational experiments some years.) I pulled way back. I didn’t buy or craft any programs for her. I let her take the lead. 

Now, I don’t know whether it was my approach or the inherent differences in their personalities, but this one really took a long time to warm up to reading. She struggled more with spelling and blending sounds. She didn’t enjoy books nearly as much as her sister. Thankfully, she eventually found a book she loved and hasn’t stopped reading since.

But, third time is a charm, right? With daughter number three, I thought, why not take the best of both approaches? Combine the laid-back, read-for-the-joy of it attitude but combine it with fun games and expertly-crafted reading strategies? It doesn’t have to be one or the other, does it?

Dyslexia Reading Program for Struggling or Emergent Readers

Enter PDX Reading Specialist‘s Dyslexia Toolkit. Although none of my children have, thus far, been diagnosed with dyslexia, I love the approach that the company takes to teaching reading—it’s thorough, research-based, methodical, and easy-to-follow. But it’s still fun! 

Company founder and owner, Barbara Steinberg, is a veteran classroom teacher with a graduate degree in language-based reading disabilities. For over ten years, she has been working with students to overcome the challenges of dyslexia while also advocating for and educating others on dyslexia awareness and intervention. 

In short, she knows what she is doing!

PDX Reading Specialist offers a number of resources for families who are working with dyslexic learners or other children who are struggling to learn to read. Their products and services include:

  • Face-to-face and online tutoring
  • Dyslexia toolkits and other hands-on resources
  • Assessments and curriculum consultations
  • Educational videos and books about dyslexia
  • Advocacy


Overview of the Level 1 Dyslexia Toolkit from PDX Reading Specialist

The kit we tested is the Level 1 Dyslexia Toolkit. Honestly, my first thought when I opened the box was I would have to write a whole book to describe everything that is in here. It is just that crammed with scholarly goodness. I’m going to do my best to tell you about everything it includes, but know that I will probably fall short. It’s seriously extensive. 

dyslexia reading program contents

The Dyslexia Toolkit box contained:

  • An instruction manual
  • Full-size (8.5″x11″), full-colour game boards
  • 2 Dice
  • 1 Spinner
  • 1 Hand puppet
  • 396 square cards
  • 1 Magic spring
  • 8 6″x6″ labeled reusable bags
  • 6 10″x12″ labeled reusable bags

Every item in this kit is printed in bold colour on high quality cardstock. Everything is well designed and labeled—highly attractive to both parents and children. 

The instruction manual itself is extensive, educating parents on the kit, the process of learning to read, dyslexia, phonological awareness, and alphabet knowledge. It includes step-by-step instructions (with pictures) for every game included in the kit. 

The games are divided into six progressive categories, each with its own reusable bag to store the sorted games in.

  1. Rhyme Awareness Activities
    1. Fun anytime, anywhere activities
    2. Rhyme sort
    3. Rhyme sentence fill
    4. Rhyme bingo
    5. Roll and rhyme
  2. Syllable Awareness Activities
    1. Fun anytime, anywhere activities
    2. Syllable sort
    3. Syllable hop
  3. Identifying Initial Sounds
    1. Fun anytime, anywhere activities
    2. Sound match
    3. Sorting sounds
    4. Odd sound out
    5. Tongue twister tales
  4. Identifying Medial and Ending Sounds
    1. Final sound match
    2. Final sound search
    3. Magic spring stretch
  5. Segmenting and Blending Phonemes
    1. Fun anytime, anywhere activities
    2. Separating sounds
    3. Phoneme push
    4. Blend it, Cover it
    5. Scene sound
    6. Sorting sounds
    7. Sound color match
  6. Alphabet Activities
    1. Letter maze
    2. Spot it
    3. Flip-Say-Write
    4. Letter-sound match
    5. Sorting sounds
    6. 4-in-a-row
    7. Letter race
    8. Search and cover
    9. Spin and say

Dyslexia Reading Program - segmenting and blending phonemes activityDyslexia reading program - rhyming bingo

Why I love this Dyslexia Reading Program

My daughter and I really had fun with this kit. Since the day it arrived, she has constantly bombarded me to take it out and play the games with her. 

Dyslexia reading program - playing a reading kit game

As I mentioned, I love how organized and methodical the kit is. Sometimes with products like this, I get overwhelmed by the number of pieces, worrying that they’re going to get lost or—worse—scattered all over my living room floor. 

But someone on PDX Reading Specialist design team must live with kids, because they designed the storage system for these activities so well. You only need to take out a few pieces at a time and, amazingly, they manage to stay sorted and organized. They’re also made of such sturdy materials that even if they do end up on the floor, they can handle a little trampling without looking any worse for the wear. 

More importantly, though, the games are fun AND they work. Kids progress through the various levels of phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge, building up their competency and confidence without even realizing it. The games are simple and engaging, and within each game there are several variations so they do not get bored quickly. 

The instructor’s manual also comes with black and white versions of the game boards in case you want to make extra copies for your kids to write on. 

I would say that this program can easily provide a full year of reading activities for an emergent or struggling reader, but should also stand up to use by several children. 

To learn more about the dyslexia reading program reviewed here, please visit PDX Reading Specialist’s site, or enter to win a free program below. 

Win a Free Dyslexia Reading Program 

PDX Reading Specialist is holding an amazing giveaway for the Level 1 kit (reviewed here) as well as the follow-up Level 2 kit. Enter below for your chance to win!

Save $25 on a Dyslexia Toolkit (Level 1)

Just in case you aren’t the lucky giveaway winner, you can still get $25 off the Dyslexia Toolkit Level 1 with coupon code: READ25 at checkout.  Expires 9/30/19.

Also the first 150 people who purchase a Dyslexia Toolkit – Level 1 will receive a free Student Workbook – Alphabet Knowledge that goes along with the Dyslexia Toolkit – Level 1 {no code required}

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you very much! It is very interesting and useful article!! I think I can use some tips from this article in future! thanks again!!

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