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structured methods in language education (smile-plus) kit

Structured Methods in Language Education (SMILE) is a complete language/literacy program, easily implemented and shown to be effective in teaching language skills to individuals of all ages, with profound disabilities. It uses progressive methods of instruction, phonics, and word-building.

32768 Structured Methods in Language Education (SMILE) Kit


An entire program shown effective in developing language skills in students with profound disabilities and limited verbal skills.

Enid G. Wolf-Schein, Ed. D., CCC-SLP

SMILE is a complete language/literacy program, easily implemented and shown to be effective in teaching language skills to individuals of all ages, with profound disabilities.  It uses progressive methods of instruction, and drill in phonics, word building, comprehension, fluency, sentence structure, and reading of narrative and informational texts.  

It is a step-by-step, multisensory program, based on the Association Method, to teach spoken language, reading and writing, in an integrated way, to individuals struggling with the most severe language learning and literacy problems.  It has been used successfully with a wide variety of students with special-needs, including those with Autism, Traumatic Brain Disorder, intellectual deficits, hearing and vision disorders, and other problems. It can readily be learned by speech-language pathologists and regular and special education teachers.

Intelligible speech, and literacy, can be a goal for any student.  With SMILE, and incorporating appropriate modifications, almost all students—including those with the most severe language learning disorder, hearing impairment, or other significant handicaps, should achieve success.

SMILE teaches habits of attention and imitation, going from the most basic attending skills, to the use of language in a descriptive and conversational manner.   It works well with Auditory-Verbal, ABA and other approaches.

SMiLE Explanation from Author Dr. Enid Wolf-Schein




Sequence of SMILE Skills

  1.  Attention Getting
  2. Phonemic Awareness
  3. Sound-letter Knowledge
  4. Auditory and Visual Discrimination
  5. Sound and Letter Sequencing
  6. Word Recognition
  7. Word Building by Syllable
  8. Development of Picture/Word Association
  9. Transition to Short Sentences
  10. Development of Concept Stories

SMILE is divided into five Language Modules, each building upon the other.  An important part of the routine for each Module is the production of personalize Reading Books, and Workbooks, that are started only after a skill is learned.  The books contain material familiar to the individual student, and are adapted to meet the individual’s visual capability.


Begins with attention-getting activities.  Auditory and Visual attending and tracking skills are addressed.  It teaches an initial 10 phonemes and graphemes, including steps that require visual, as well as auditory discrimination and memory.  Consonant-vowel combinations are introduced in a format call “drop drills”.


Teaches 60 nouns by a process called “cross drills”, which is a series of three consonant-vowel combinations in three or four lines.  This drill teaches speaking, reading and writing of sound combinations, which will be the foundation for many words.  “Cross drills” lead to words which are reinforced by saying, reading and writing, as well as associating them with objects and pictures.  Secondary spellings, and additional phonemes, are taught as needed.


Verbs, colors, numbers, plurals, and beginning structures of grammar are introduced.  Drills are provided to help boost speech speed and listening comprehension.


Teaches simple sentences, followed by the appropriate question to elicit the sentence. Language forms, including possessives, prepositions and past tense are also taught.


Develops description stores about animals, inanimate objects, people and experiences.  Each story includes questions and answers.  Stories start out very simply, and gradually become long and more complex.

The SMiLE Kit includes a Manual with detailed instructions for implementing the SMILE program,   a flash drive with 5 reproducible Supplementary Teacher’s Guides (one for each module) which contain Forms, Worksheets, activities and a series of student workbooks  Also included are Sound, Word and Picture Flash Cards.  All SMiLE materials, plus a White Board and Dry-Erase Markers, come in an easy-to-carry Messenger Bag.



Is empirical data available?

SMILE has a built in initial and final screening process as well as data sheets for monitoring progress.  Using the assessments we have been able to ascertain initial status of students, patterns of change and final outcomes over a period of 5 years involving several school districts. Data from the Florida and New York City school systems where students and teachers from preschool through high school have been using SMILE is available. A short sample from 2009 – 2010:



In a more recent multi-site multi-outcome study, results demonstrated that the SMiLE literacy program has a positive and significant effect on reading skills for students with significant cognitive disabilities.


A flash drive containing SMiLE Plus is also included in the SMiLE Kit.  This contains all Support Materials, Basal Readers, the “Farm Family Reading Series”, Discrimination Activities and “My Book of Tools”. It also contains a selection of narrative and informational texts.

The flash drives come on a colorful lanyard and everything on them is reproducible so that students can have their own collection of worksheets and books.