• are a complete package comprised of Self Regulation Tools, Alphabet Mastery, Reading Skills and Word Mastery

  • are easy to learn in 2 days by the classroom teacher

  • eeach all the children in the class regardless of learning style

  • level the playing field between the linear sequential sound based learner (who typically does well in our current education system) and the visual spatial image based learner (who typically gets labelled learning disabled).

  • provide an equal cognitive opportunity for all children

  • are cost effective, negating the need for the current level of special education staff


Three elementary schools beat all others in their respective regions by introducing Davis® Learning Strategies - methods which eliminate learning difficulties and ensure more gifted referrals.



  1. A study published in 2001 showed that instead of the national average of 15% special needs referrals, the DLS classes had not a single special needs referral. Furthermore, instead of the national average of 5% gifted referrals, the DLS classes had an average of 20% gifted referrals - four times the national average.

  2. In the year 2006, Elbert Elementary school's third grade reading scores went straight from the worst to the best of all schools in the Pikes Peak district in Colorado, US, immediately after 17 staff members were trained in using DLS. Two years later the school had still retained their leading position.

  3. Walsh Elementary is a small, underfunded, rural school in Colorado serving preschool through sixth grades. They introduced DLS in 2003, and four years later - against all odds - they had the highest reading scores in the state of Colorado, with 89% of the children scoring at or above grade level proficiency.

  4. Waihao Downs School in rural Canterbury, New Zealand. At the end of 4 years using DLS 90% of students aged 9-11 were at or above the national standard. Which represents a 34% jump from before. Watch News Now Report Here , Read Ready to Learn here.

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With these results in mind - you must be wondering how to become a Davis Learning Strategies Model School?


A full report of the results of this study is contained in an article entitled "The Effect of the Davis Learning Strategies on First Grade Word Recognition and Subsequent Special Education Referrals" in the Summer 2001 issue of the Journal Reading Improvement (Vol. 38, No. 2).

The Model School award programme recognizes the schools that have efficiently and effectively implemented the Davis Learning Strategies throughout their primary grades.


The criteria for being named a DLS Model School are

  • Administration should be knowledgeable and supportive of DLS.

  • All primary teachers must have attended a DLS Workshop.

  • Staff received 2 years of mentoring from a DLS Mentor.

  • The school community is enthusiastic about DLS, clearly understanding that Davis Learning Strategies are lifelong strategies for ALL students.

  • The Staff is willing to allow other (outside) school personnel to visit.

  • The school can demonstrate positive results through test scores and/or teacher/principal observation of incorporating DLS in the curriculum and school environment.

Details of the DLS Workshop to be held in BC, 2019 will be posted asap. In the meantime, contact Sue Hall (info@thewds.org) or Carole Ford (clford@shaw.ca), to have your questions answered.

Full details at www.davislearn.com.


What Do Teachers Learn?



If a child is able to focus at will, relax and control their energy levels, there is no need for the teacher to manage the children. The child is the only person who can control themselves, so instead of being told to concentrate, the teacher is trained to show them how to focus at will, how to choose appropriate energy levels and how to be relaxed - ready to learn.

Davis Symbol Mastery

Using the medium of white plasticine clay, Davis® Symbol Mastery combines tactile-kinaesthetic and visual-spatial learning components to enable learners to take ownership of the symbols they will encounter on the printed page, starting with the alphabet, then progressing to punctuation marks. This hands-on approach reaches the children who learn by doing and understanding.  (PHOTO)


davis reading strategies

Once the alphabet letters are mastered the Spell Reading technique can be shared. Instead of having to sound out to read, the students simply spell an unknown word to their helper, who tells them the word; they say it and continue. When a student spells out an unknown word to their helper confidence is built. The helper knows they are seeing the same as the student, the student knows the helper will provide the whole sound of the word. There is no guessing, no predicting, no rules to follow which are rarely absolute rules.

Davis® Reading Strategies can bypass the issue of phonological weakness, serving as a standalone reading teaching programme that allows the "phonic non-responder" to become a fluent and accurate reader by this different, visual-spatial route alongside the typical reader. While the approach taken focuses primarily on visual rather than phonic relationships, it is compatible with existing teaching programmes that may include phonics instruction, while also enabling those children who might not respond well to phonics to acquire ease and accuracy in the reading process.

Once the mechanics of left-to-right scanning and word recognition have been mastered, a further stage, known as Picture-At-Punctuation, utilises visualisation as a powerful vehicle for the detailed extraction of meaning from a text. Using this technique, children quickly learn to derive pleasure from fictional reading, while also honing their accuracy and deep-level understanding of factual and subject-specific material. An adaptation of this technique can also be used on mathematical "story problems."

Mastering Words

True mastery means that the student can recognise the word, pronounce it and think with the meaning of the word. Thinking with the meaning of 'cat' is not difficult, but the new reader soon meets the Basic Word list consisting of pronouns, articles, prepositions, conjunctions, and certain verbs and adverbs. There are no picture meanings for these words, and therefore the picture thinkers are unable to think with the meaning. This causes gaps in the thought process, and loss of understanding, comprehension and focus.

When words are mastered, the children look up the word in the Dictionary, a clay model is made to represent the word's meaning, the word is made and then the mastery process is completed.

These methods ensure everyone wins - all students, regardless of learning style, the teachers, the parents - and most of all those students who might have become labelled as learning disabled, never have to experience or live that label.

“The creative process and the learning process, if not the same thing, are so closely associated, we will never be able to separate them.”
— Ronald Davis
“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
— Confucius