Preventing Academic Failure (PAF) was written as a beginning reading program for all children, including high-risk and dyslexic students. Using an explicit phonics program that integrates spelling (multisensory reading) in the early grades can prevent reading problems and reduce referrals and special education placements.
In order to be used successfully, a multisensory reading program should include decodable (contain words comprised only of sounds that have been taught) and controlled readers (with sufficient repetition of vocabulary to develop word recognition). Selections must include fiction and non-fiction, and be long enough to support the teaching of evidence- based comprehension strategies. The books that best meet these criteria are those in the PAF Reading Series or the Merrill Reading Program. It is the use of comprehensive, decodable reading materials that distinguishes PAF from other phonics-based programs.

  • Tier 1
    A beginning reading program starting in first grade or the second half of kindergarten and ending in third grade
  • PAF can be used as a Tier 1 beginning reading program because every important instructional component recommended by the National Reading Panel is included: phonemic awareness and phonics (through the spelling dictations and PAF Skills Books), fluency (through repeated readings of the word and sentence lists) and vocabulary and comprehension (through the monitored oral reading of the PAF Reading Series). It is important to note the majority of the class will not need the controlled vocabulary of the PAF Reading Series and can continue the comprehension part of the lessons with reading material the teacher chooses. By providing the appropriate instruction early in mainstream classes, the entire class will improve their reading, spelling, and writing skills.
    There will be a group of students for whom decodable text is critical — students who will be confused if you teach them that a = ă and then ask them to read cake. These are students who would typically be receiving intervention services or going to the resource room. By providing multisensory reading in the mainstream, most of these students will learn to read successfully in their classroom with no additional support. The number of students needing support and special education services will dramatically decrease.

  • Tier 2
  • It can be used as a remedial reading program (Grades 1-6).

  • Tier 3
  • It can be used a reading program for self-contained special education (ungraded).

    PAF has always been used with unparalleled success as an intervention (Tier 2) or special education (Tier 3) program for students who have not been successful with other reading methodologies because it incorporates Orton-Gillingham instruction which was created specifically for dyslexic students.