ASD Reading offers a unique, patented system of education developed by Dr. Marion Blank, the Director of the Light on Learning Institute at Columbia University. Unlike other programs that present children with a series of random exercises, ASD Reading provides children with a scientifically designed curriculum that teaches them exactly what they need to learn, when they need it.

The reading and writing formats of ASD Reading are divided into 5 levels with 6 books at each level (for a total of 30 books). This portion of the program teaches the skills of reading, writing and comprehension, starting with short, simple words and phrases and moving on to increasingly complex language. Prior to reading a book a child is taught all the words of that book using 4 different teaching formats to teach each word. In this way, once a child reaches a book, he or she can already read and understand the meaning of all the words in that book. As the levels progress, the words and books become more complex and a format that reinforces reading comprehension is added as well.

Components: each of the 5 levels offers the following in terms of new words and new books:

Level New Words New Words + Variants Total New Words New Books
1 36 63 99 6
2 60 96 156 6
3 62 177 239 6
4 63 180 243 6
5 62 151 213 6
Total 283 667 950 30

The words

Many words are taught with multiple variants. For instance, a word like "park" will be taught along with "parks," "parking," and "parked." Consequently, the total number of words taught in the program is considerably higher than the number of new words alone.

Another key feature of ASD Reading is that it places a strong emphasis on learning the non-content words (such as the, he, was, be, does) which are often referred to as "sight" words or "little words." Because these words cannot be sounded out, they receive relatively little teaching time in standard reading programs. Yet these words occupy 50%-60% of any page of text and they are critical to meaning as you can see in the following sentences which differ by the single word "to."

The boy walked the dog.
The boy walked to the dog.


Because there are only about 100 of these commonly used words and they occupy 50%-60% of every page of text in the English language, we call them the super sight words.

Each word in ASD Reading program is taught through a series of 4 fun and game-like formats with a session taking about 15-20 minutes to complete. The word teaching formats have been scientifically designed to teach all the components in reading and writing including word recognition, spelling, comprehension, and sentence construction.

A key feature of ASD Reading is that before each content word is taught, the program uses a mini-assessment to determine if a child already knows the word. If he or she does know the word, the teaching formats for that word are skipped and the child moves on to the next word. This way children do not get bored with material they already know, or frustrated by material that is too advanced for them. In this example children are assessed on their ability to spell the word "animals."

Reading and Writing Assessment

Level 1 in the reading/writing portion of ASD Reading starts with simple words and phrases such as a kid and Here are some toys.

By Levels 4 and 5, a child is reading and writing sentences like:

  • One of the things in the sky is the moon. The moon does not look the same all the time.
  • There was a baby bullfrog. He was also very bullheaded. He liked to go to places on his own and did not stay with his mother.

The books

  • All the books have engaging graphics, animations, sound effects and music.
  • Children are taught all the words in a book before beginning a book, so they can always read it successfully.
  • Children can click on any word to hear the word said aloud so they never have to face the frustration of not knowing what a word is "saying."
  • Every other book is a fill in book that requires the children to select and type words to complete the missing parts, so that they become more active participants in the reading/writing process.
  • Starting with book 13 children are given a comprehension section at the end of each book called Gleaning Meaning. This helps children to capture the "main idea," a critical aspect of reading.

Length of time to complete

Typically one new word or one new book is offered in a session. As children become more proficient, they are taught two new words per session. Assuming 4 to 5 sessions a week, each level takes approximately 6-10 weeks to complete. Children do not have to do all the levels. Based on the Skills Survey, they enter at the level that is appropriate to the skills they already possess. In addition, prior to teaching a word, the program determines if a child already knows that word, and if so, the program skips that word and moves on to the next word.