I received this email from a parent in Wisconsin. Her grade  3 son was a non-reader when I started tutoring him two months ago . He is already one third finished his ITP.

Just a quick question I was going to ask and then forgot…
Sandy goes to a Montessori school and if you are at all familiar with that educational philosophy it promotes the use of the hands from a very early age, manipulating objects, tracing letters, seeing concepts in 3D before being asked to abstractly apply it to othe subjects.  So the hand is connected to the brain in essence.  When we can touch and feel with our hands we learn more quickly.  Just wondering if any of the books/research you are aware of addresses how writing exercises might help reinforce the learning Sandy is doing now.

Hey Marg

Great question and remarkable timing! No kidding, this is what i read last night :“In preschools that follow the method first instigated by the Italian psychologist Maria Montesorri, one of the activities that prepares children for reading consists of tracing the contours of large sandpaper cutout letters. Children are taught to do this from left to right, paying careful attention to the order in which the strokes are drawn. This activity brings together gestures, touch, vision and a sense of space.” (from page 299 in Dr Dehaene’s excellent book, Reading in the Brain”
I think that any approach that uses “Multiple Intelligences” like Montesorri is an effective pre-reading tool for young children.
My concern  with this  multisensory approach for older students is that it takes too long – 18 – 24 months …. and it is very expensive in both time and money. All of my students  are at least 3+ grades behind and are slow decoders.  Eighteen months is too long for a grade 7 to wait. I always find (so far no exceptions) that after students complete the visual and auditory visual match exercises, decoding fluency improves resulting in  reading comprehension soaring.
I would love to see what the visual match and auditory visual match exercises are doing to Sandy’s brain… I suspect they are wiring the parietal and occipital lobe on the left side of the brain – as shown in  Dr Shaywitz’s book. I expect Sandy’s writing will improve when he becomes a fluent reader.
Thanks for the great question!