The Barton System is…
The Barton Reading & Spelling System is a Structured Literacy program that is Orton-Gillingham influenced. Our multi-sensory, direct, explicit, structured and sequential intense intervention program is research and evidence based.
To understand why it works so well, and to see the research, click here.
What’s a Level?
New tutors need to be trained as quickly as possible.
That’s why we split the Barton System into ten levels. That means you don’t have to learn the entire system before you start.
You only need to learn one level at a time.
Each level is shipped in a separate, easy-to-store box.
Watch Susan Barton explain Levels
Each level contains everything you need to be successful:
- Tutor Training on DVD — or watch online
- These tutor training DVDs contain five to six hours of in-depth instruction. Susan Barton will demonstrate every lesson you’ll be teaching in this level – with a real student.
- You’ll stop and practice new skills every ten to fifteen minutes.
- She’ll demonstrate mistakes students may make – and how to correct them.This convenient training comes to you – so you don’t have to attend seminars to get started.
- You can also watch our tutor training videos online while waiting for a level to be delivered by UPS – or at any time. Just click here to learn more – or ask for that option when you place your order.
- Tutor Manual with Complete Lesson Plans
- The tutor manual contains everything you need to teach the lessons in one well-organized place.
- Complete lesson plans are provided. There is enough material in our lesson plans to teach a lesson twice – without using the same words, sentences, or stories.
- Each page in our tutor manual contains a wide column and a narrow column. The wide column contains full scripting (for those who want that level of support) while the narrow column contains just summary information To view a page from our tutor manual, click here
- Each lesson contains many steps, starting with the easiest and working up to the hardest. To view an outline of the steps in a Barton lesson plan, click here.
- Color-coded Letter Tiles
- These color-coded letters tiles are manufactured specifically for the Barton Reading & Spelling System. As you saw in the demo, color makes syllable types obvious, and it simplifies syllable division.
- If you have an iPad or an Android 7” or 10” tablet, you can use our Barton Tiles app instead of the wooden tiles. Click here to learn more about our Barton Tiles app.
- All other manipulatives
- Everything else you need to teach the lessons or play the reinforcement games is included.
- Plus free unlimited support
List of Levels
There are ten levels in the Barton System
Get just one level at a time. Spend a Saturday afternoon watching its Tutor Training DVDs. Then start teaching on Monday.
Only when your student is near the end of that level would you get the next level.
Each level contains from 10 to 15 lessons. (Levels 1 and 2 are a bit shorter.)
If a student is being tutored twice a week, it will take from 3 to 5 months to complete a level (once they are in level 3 or higher).
If you’re with a school or buying these with a grant, you may wish to get all ten levels at once.
But if you’re a parent or on a tight budget, you can get just one level at a time.
Name of Level
|Consonants & Short Vowels|
|Closed Syllables and Units|
|Syllable Division & Vowel Teams|
|Prefixes and Suffixes|
|Six Reasons for Silent-E|
|Advanced Vowel Teams|
|Influences of Foreign Languages|
|Greek Words & Latin Roots|
Our level numbers do NOT equate to grade level. They simply indicate the sequence in which the material must be taught.
To learn why most students, no matter how old they are, must start with Level 1, click here.
Students who have completed all ten levels will be reading, spelling, and doing basic writing at the mid-ninth grade level.
Scope and Sequence
To see what’s taught in every lesson of every level, click here.
Cost of the Barton System
We offer two different versions of the Barton System.
- Our Single Tutor version allows one tutor to teach many students.
- Our Site License version allows many tutors to teach many students.
To learn more about these two versions, and their cost, click here.
We are the sole distributor of the Barton System. So if you are with a school or other governmental agency, you do not have to request competitive bidding to obtain the Barton System.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does a student have to start at Level 1?
A: Most students need to start at Level 1 – no matter how old they are.That’s because research proves that a lack of phonemic awareness is what is preventing them from being able to read unknown words by sounding them out – and to spell by sounding out. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate each sound in a word – in your head, without letters.
In fact, research shows there are seven essential phonemic awareness skills a student must have before letters will start to make sense. We teach all seven of those skills in Level 1.
So if your student has not had recent and intense Orton-Gillingham-based tutoring, start the student in Level 1. If it proves to be too easy, we will exchange it – FREE – for Level 2.
But if your student has had recent and intense Orton-Gillingham-based tutoring, let us know. We will then send you the post-tests for our first few levels so you can determine the right starting spot for that student.
Q: Do you have pre- and post-tests so that I can prove progress on an IEP?
A: Yes. Each level has a post-test that you can use as a pre-test (if necessary) to prove that a student could not before you taught those lessons, but the student can do those same tasks easily and with at least 95% accuracy (which is true mastery) after you have taught the lessons in that level.
By the way, if you are a Resource Specialist, let us know if you need IEP goals that exactly match each level in the Barton System.
Q: How long does it take to complete all ten levels?
A: Since no two people with dyslexia learn at exactly the same pace, we can only provide a range.
If a student has classic, or moderate, dyslexia, and is tutored twice a week in a one-on-one setting for an hour each time, it will take from 2 to 3 years to complete the entire Barton System. So in just 2 to 3 years, you can take a struggling student to the mid-ninth-grade level in reading, spelling, and basic writing.
Students with mild dyslexia may complete the system a bit faster, while students with more severe dyslexia may need 4 to 5 years.
The only way a student can make faster progress is to be tutored more often. If a child can be tutored 3 or 4 times a week, they’ll complete the Barton System much faster.
For more details on the frequency and length of tutoring sessions,
Q: Why stop at the mid-ninth grade level?
A: There are no more rules to teach. At that point, the student can read anything – even college textbooks.In our society today, adult reading level is ninth-grade level.
Once an adult can read and spell at the ninth-grade level, they can read well enough to attend Adult Basic Education courses to prepare for the G.E.D. or go to college.
Q: My child is only in third grade. Do I need to get all ten levels?
A: No. But do not stop at Level 3. Our level numbers do NOT equate to grade levels.
I recommend taking a student who is in elementary school all the way through the end of Level 8. That’s because teachers in intermediate school (junior high) assume their students can already do everything we teach in Levels 1 through 8.
It’s wonderful to see a child progress from being the worst speller in the class in third grade, to being an average speller in fourth grade, to being a superstar in fifth grade – and be able to explain to the teacher exactly why a word is spelled that way.We’ve seen this happen thousands of times.
We’ve taken many third graders through Level 8. If they’re being tutored only twice a week, they may be a fifth grader by the time they complete Level 8.
By that time, they may have a large enough vocabulary to be able to tackle Levels 9 and 10. If not, work on growing their oral vocabulary and delay those last two levels until seventh grade.
Level 9, the Influence of Foreign Languages, and Level 10, Latin Roots and Greek Words, ideally would be taught before a child enters high school.
Those two levels will ensure that the student can read and spell all of the sophisticated words they’ll encounter in high school and college science, social studies, and math courses.
Q: Does the Barton System come with any software?
A: Yes. We have created extra practice games to reinforce the skills taught in Levels 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the Barton System.
These free games reside on the Internet, so you do not have to purchase software to access them.
The link to those games is on our Tutor Support website.
We also have free fluency drills that can be used on a computer on that same Tutor Support website.
If you have an iPad or a 7” or 10” Android tablet, take a look at our Barton Tiles app – which replaces our color-coded wooden letter tiles.
Q: I know the Barton System contains many one-page stories at the end of every lesson. Are there any stand-alone books that my child can read while going through your system?
A: Yes. Once children with dyslexia realize that they CAN read – without guessing or memorizing words – they’re eager to read books.
To order them on our secure estore, click here.
But until they’ve been taught all of the rules in the first 8 levels, they can’t read most library books – without reverting to guessing.
So we’ve hired authors to create stand-alone controlled-text books for every level of the Barton System.
To download an order form for these stand-alone books, click here.
We also searched libraries and other sources for controlled-text books. Books written by other authors are listed in the Games section of our tutor manuals.
Q: I am a Reading Specialist, and I can tutor students one-on-one. How many levels will I need for a nine-month school year?
A: You will need at least Levels 1, 2, and 3.
If your budget permits, also get Level 4. Some of your students may be able to complete the first half of Level 4 before the school year ends.
Q: I am a resource specialist. Soon I will be getting a student who completed Level 4 at his previous school. Can I start teaching Level 5 – even though I have never taught any of the prior levels?
A: Sadly, no. No one – not even someone with a Ph.D. in Reading Instruction – can take over tutoring for a Barton Student in Level 5.
That’s because the Barton System is cumulative. In order to teach Level 5 accurately and well, a tutor must have experience teaching levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 – and know the material, rules, and error correction techniques used in those levels “cold.”
There is no way that anyone can learn them adequately enough to use them just by watching the hours and hours and hours of tutor training videos. A teacher would have to watch 30 hours of video (6 hours per level times 5 levels) – that’s almost an entire week – retain it all, and internalize it so that she could use every technique, every spelling rule, and every error technique automatically when needed.
It is truly impossible to do that just by watching videos.
In fact, that’s why the Barton System is designed for a teacher to watch just 6 hours of instruction (just one level), and then stop and go give those lessons to real students for several months (to internalize and master those rules and techniques – and use the error correction techniques) before watching 6 more hours of training (for the next level), etc.
A teacher or SLP or parent might be able to take over and do an adequate job if a student is only in Level 3. But they would not be able to take over for a student in Level 5.
Q: If I teach 3 students at the same time, do I need to modify your system or get extra supplies?
A: Yes. Only one set of color-coded letter tiles is included with each Barton Level. But it helps students stay actively involved with the lesson if they each have their own set. So we recommend you purchase an extra set of tiles for each student.
If you purchased your Barton Levels directly from us, and you have a single tutor version, you can order up to 3 extra sets of tiles. If your school has a site license, they can order as many extra sets of tiles as they need.
To download the Extra Tiles Order Form, click here.
To order extra tiles on our secure estore, click here.
Please be aware you will not save any time tutoring in a group. That is because each student in that group must receive the equivalent intensity of 2 hours of 1-on-1 tutoring per week. The intensity in 3-on-1 tutoring is not the same as 1-on-1 tutoring. To get the same intensity, you must tutor a group of 3 students for 6 hours each week.
Also, the more students in a group, the longer it will take to complete the Barton System. That’s because you have to pace the lesson for the slowest student. And you cannot present new material if any one of the students is absent.
So if at all possible, please do one-on-one tutoring – even if that means training an aide or a parent or a volunteer to use the Barton System.
Q: Can I teach the Barton System to my entire class?
A: No. The Barton System is not designed to be classroom curriculum. So if you are a regular education teacher, do not purchase the Barton System.
It was designed for intense intervention, which if possible, should be done one-on-one. The maximum group size allowed with the Barton System is three-on-one.
Q: I no longer have a DVD player. What can I do?
A: That is not a problem because you can now watch our tutor training videos over the internet – on your desktop or portable computer, your iPad or Android tablet or even your phone.
Just click here to learn more or to sign up.