The intended frequency and duration of the program is 3-4 times a week for 8-10 weeks, over a total of 30-35 sessions where each session lasts 10-15 minutes. However, this dosage can and should be adapted to the individual child (i.e., students with greater difficulties may need more sessions). Instruction is given one-to-one (for the students with the greatest difficulties) or in small-groups of 2-3 students by a tutor. Teachers, special educators, pedagogues, and teacher’s aides may serve as tutors. The participating schools may choose the type of tutors that is best suited given their organizational context. The tutors receive a manual and can see three short films illustrating the method.
The aim of Læseklar is threefold: First, to make the students realize that words denote both content (e.g., “lion” represents the animal) and has a form made up of a number of phonemes. Second, to help students grasp the connection between letters and sounds. Third, and most important, to show students how to decode simple words (i.e., to translate written letter combinations into sounds).
The program includes three types of sessions. In the first type, the tutor uses clay figurines representing 24 Danish language sounds and letters, a box with a compartment for each letter, and a laminated sheet with the fingerspelling alphabet. A session starts with the tutor selecting three figurines. The student’s (or students’, if the session is conducted in a small group) task is to help the figurine to move into its designated compartment, or “house”. To do so, the student needs to figure out a code. The first part of the code is the sound of the first letter in the figurine’s name, for example, /l/ in “lion”, and the second part consists of fingerspelling the letter. The student should make the /l/ sound, while at exactly the same time fingerspelling the letter. Then the student moves the figurine into its house, which is marked with the corresponding letter. After the three figurines have moved into their houses, the procedure is repeated once and then the session ends. During the next session, the student repeats the previously completed figurines, and then continues with a couple of new ones. For students experiencing difficulties remembering letter-sound combinations, tutors can use a mirror so that students see how their mouths look and feel when saying letter names and sounds. This multi-sensory method can also be used in the second and third type of session.
The second type of session starts after the student has learnt about 12-15 of the letter sounds, which typically takes less than a month. The tutor uses images representing short words, which are glued onto the back of the pages in a small booklet. The tutor acts as a secretary for the student, who sounds out the phonemes in the word represented by the image. As the student sounds out the phonemes, the tutor writes the word on the front of the page. If needed, the student uses fingerspelling to aid the memory of the letter-sound combinations. Using the booklet, the student can practice by themselves or with their parents, as it is possible to verify whether words are read correctly by simply turning the page and check the image.
The third type of session aims to build decoding speed and fluency by practicing the decoding of short syllables with the help of flashcards. The student’s task is to decode as many syllables as possible during one minute. The tutor registers the result on a chart and then the same syllables are repeated in the same order two more times in the same session. This procedure usually yields a clear improvement. Making improvements visible for the students with the help of the chart usually motivates them to practice more. The second and third type of session are often used interchangeably, which decreases the risk that the student gets bored. It is also possible to go back to the first type of session, when words contain letter-sounds that were not among the first 12-15 that the students learned.